Sunday, May 26, 2013

Old Man Swag: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Invented It, Tim Duncan's Just the Latest Living It

Tim Duncan had a great Game 3 against the Memphis Grizzlies to put the Spurs up 3-0 in the Western Conference Finals, but his old man swag can't compare to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time scoring leader.

A dumbass tweet inspired this post.

My first NBA memory is Kareem winning MVP of the 1985 Finals at 38 years old after averaging 26 points and 9 rebounds against 1 of the greatest frontlines in NBA history with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish (3 hall of famers). The tweet above was sent after Duncan (37 years-old) put up 24 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists in a Western Conference Finals game against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph (3 all-star seasons combined in their careers).

Below is a comparison of the regular season stats for Kareem and Duncan from their 16th years in the NBA.

Kareem wasn't necessarily a better middle-aged player than Duncan in his 16th regular season, but he was his equal. Both players produced a 12.5 Win Score per 48 Minutes (WS48) in the regular season. Win Score is a stat created by sports economist David Berri to measure NBA player's production based on their stats from the boxscore. The simple formula is PTS-FGA-FTA/2+OREB+AST/2-TOV+DREB/2+STL+BLK/2-PF/2. See the HEAT Produced Page for more information.

But this post was inspired by a tweet after a playoff game. Below is a comparison of the playoff stats for Kareem and Duncan from their 16th seasons in the NBA.

Kareem produced a 12.6 WS48 in the 1985 playoffs while Duncan only produced a 7.4 WS48 in the 2013 playoffs before Game 3 of the WCF. As always, the playoffs separate the great from the #ChildrenOfALesserGod.

Kareem's 1985 playoff run is arguably the greatest postseason performance by a middle-aged player in modern NBA history while Duncan's performance in the 2013 playoffs ranks behind performances by John Stockton, Robert Parish, Kevin Garnett and Jason Kidd after 16 or more seasons in the league. The spreadsheet below lists the most productive playoff performances by middle-aged players ranked by WS48.

The last point about Kareem vs. Duncan has nothing to do with basketball but everything to do with Old Man Swag. Duncan hired a private investigator to follow his wife. Kareem was Big Pimpin' with Pam Grier.

Now THAT'S Old Man Swag.

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