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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Did Mike Decourcy channel his inner BTI with this article?

Never played in a college championship atmosphere, didn’t seem to hurt him in the pros.

As someone who has written his fair share of idiotic articles and posts, I have become pretty good at also recognizing other writers ridiculous articles too.  But I have to say that over my 3 1/2 years at KSR, the article posted by Mike Decourcy this weekend about the difference between NBA players out of high school compared to NBA players out of college has to win the gold medal.  His article is based on the premise that if Lebron had went to college, he would have handled the NBA Finals better.  If you want to read the entire article, you can click here.  But, I will give you some of the “highlights” and then my response.  And be warned, there will be some ranting. 

First, Decourcy attempts to explain that Lebron couldn’t handle the pressure:

You’re seeing now how James could be better–have seen it in the fourth quarter of five consecutive NBA Finals games. For the first time in his basketball career, James is facing genuine championship pressure, and he is reacting as though it is foreign to him.

WHAT????  LEBRON HAS ALREADY BEEN IN THE FINALS!!  Decourcy mentions this later on, but blows past that fact like it isn’t important.  You can’t say for the first time in his career he is facing pressure, and then later admit it’s not the first time.  Nonetheless, do I need to list some of the college players with tons of NBA rings who never experienced college championship pressure, which I would assume means the Final Four to Decourcy:  Tim Duncan (4 rings), Shaq (4 rings), Robert Horry (7 rings), Kevin Mchale (4 rings).  Should I continue?  Oh, let’s not forget Scottie Pippen, who not only never played in a Final Four, but never played in the NCAA Tournament.  I think he won a few rings and turned out to be a pretty good player.  On the other side of the coin, it seemed like Kobe Bryant didn’t need championship experience to win a NBA ring in his 4th year and 1st time in the Finals. 

Then, Decourcy attempts to show that NBA legends of the past used their college experience to excel in the NBA:

Chamberlain, Russell, Bird, Jordan, Johnson, Robertson, Baylor, West, Jabbar, Walton, Thomas–every one of them played in the Final Four. Isiah and Michael and Magic won; Larry and Oscar and Wilt lost. They all felt the experience of playing on that grand stage, with such extraordinary rewards and consequences. One can argue this was coincidental, but the experience is nearly universal for the game’s greats. It was part of what formed them as players.

Sigh.  It almost makes me angry that this guy is so obviously ignoring the truth and expects the reader to be stupid enough not to notice.  Every single player that Decourcy lists played in college in the 1980’s or sooner.  You know, the time when players didn’t jump to the NBA out of high school.  Do you really think that Chamberlain or Abdul Jabbar or Jordan would have played college if they existed in the 1990’s or 2000’s?  You really think a 7’2” high school legend wouldn’t have jumped straight to the NBA, Mike? It is so convienient to use the guys he used as PROOF that college makes these great players.  OK, what about Charles Barkley?  Karl Malone?  Reggie Miller?  Dominique Wilkins?  They were amazing college players too.  Funny, none of them have rings.  Maybe if they had jumped sooner, gotten on different teams, they would have some rings. 

And then, in the short paragraph that fully through me over the edge, Decourcy decides to pick and choose whichever players match his argument:

Howard, McGrady, Jermaine O’Neal, Amare Stoudemire–none has won a title, not to mention the likes of Eddy Curry, Jonathan Bender, Gerald Green, Al Harrington, Kwame Brown. If James and the Heat lose this series it would make champions of Tyson Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson, but in complementary and not central roles.

I love how Decourcy picks Curry, Bender, Green, Harrington, and Brown, but doesn’t mention Bryant and Garnett.  Then he throws a shot at Howard, McGrady, O’Neal, and Stoudemire.  Those players are NBA SUPERSTARS!!!  They are not the reason their teams have not won NBA titles.  The reason is their teammates.  Their teammates and teams sucked!  To argue those guys, who are multi-millionaires and wildly successful in the NBA, made the wrong decision is so smug and pretentious about college basketball it makes Bob Knight blush.  Dwight Howard took a bunch of nobodies to the NBA Finals 3 years ago, in much of the same way that Lebron took the Cavs, full of mediocre NBA players to the Finals. 

Now, let me give you the names of some college players who were drafted in TOP 5 OF THE NBA DRAFT since Garnett came out in 1995 through 2007:  Marcus Camby, Keith Van Horn, Mike Bibby, Raef Lafrentz, Elton Brand, Mike Miller, Jason Richardson, Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Drew Gooden, Carmelo Anthony, Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon, Marvin Williams, Deron Williams, Raymond Felton, Tyrus Thomas, Shelden Williams, Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Jeff Green.      

What do all those players have in common?  THEY ALL PLAYED IN THE FINAL FOUR.  Every one of those players was a Top 5 NBA draft pick, has been in the league at least 4 years and has “championship college experience”, and yet not a single one holds an NBA ring.  Why didn’t you mention these guys Mike?  You gave us a total of 4 high school players that were busts on the NBA level.  Using your same parameters, I gave you 22 players who have your vaunted “college experience” and still remain title-less. 

I don’t know why Decourcy’s article bothered me.  I think it’s because it is an opinion piece with misleading stats, something that has become a plague in the real journalism world.  Here on a blog, we can almost get away with stuff like that.  For a real journalist to put out this biased crap just irritates me.  I think it also bugs me that Mike loves college basketball so much, and has such a bias as to its advantages, that he selectively chooses the worst case scenario players to argue his case that high school players struggle to succeed, when the actual facts show many more college stars who failed in the NBA and many high school players who hold titles.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

39 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Did Mike Decourcy channel his inner BTI with this article?

  1. pji
    9:10 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    This article is dumb, but in his defense on one point, he said this is the first time in Lebron’s career he was facing genuine championship pressure. His first finals was such a surprise the fact they got swept was no biggie. He was not expected to win because of his youth, inexperience, and his crappy teammates. He has none of those excuses now. That is all he meant. I don’t think he was slanting the facts on this particular point. Relax.

  2. flipisatrip
    9:12 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    the more we age together, BTI, the more your posts make sense and are agreeable.

  3. comebackcat
    9:15 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    by the way, Dirk Nowitzki didnt get the college experience, yet he seemed to do pretty well in the championship games. what a swiss-cheese article!

  4. Rich
    9:26 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Pot, meet kettle.

  5. Dylan
    9:32 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Is there some form of witch hunt against BTI? There is NOTHING dumb about this article. He must of called us UK fans out a time or two to be as prosecuted as he is. BTI, you’re a great writer, and I enjoy reading your posts everyday. It’s your consistency that I appreciate. If he did call us UK fans that we deserved it.

    Crowd volumes at Rupp Arena and Commonwealth Stadium are jokes. Not to mention the way we embarrass ourselves on ESPN comment boards

  6. Grammar King
    9:38 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    5) #1 wasn’t saying BTI’s article was dumb, but the Decourcy article. Nice post BTI.

  7. dwayne wade
    9:45 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Pretty sure I played in a Final Four and had NBA champion experience also how did that work out for me?

  8. Brad
    9:45 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Some of your best work, no kidding.

  9. Lori M
    9:45 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    LeBron said the reason he hadn’t won a title yet was because of his teammates so he went to Miami. Now his teammates can say the reason they didn’t win was LeBron.

    Yes, LeBron played in a championship series but no, there was no pressure. The Spurs were heavily favored and easily swept them. Kind of like the guy who takes a “pressure packed shot” with two seconds left of a TIE game. What pressure?

  10. PhDCat
    9:48 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Also, don’t forget about Moses Malone. Jumped straight from high school to the ABA, then became a force in the NBA and won a championship with the Sixers in 1983 against some of those “battle tested” players, such as Abdul-Jabbar and Magic.

    I’m not a Lebron defender, but I recognize a stupid argument when I see one.

  11. Section 133
    9:55 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Who cares.

  12. Matt
    9:56 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    The words journalist and journalism should be used less and less these days. These “journalists” just write pieces full of inaccurate stats or use true stats and twist them to try to fit their argument. While I don’t share the same anger towards this particular article like BTI, I can see where articles just like this one start to weigh on people.

  13. bigblueGH
    9:58 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Silly argument. Its been 3 days, and we’re already forgetting what the Mavs and so many other teams have shown us. Individuals don’t win championships. Teams win championships. To take a single player out of context from his team and place all success or failure on that one player is beyond ridiculous.

  14. Paducah Patty
    9:59 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    I admit I haven’t read the article yet but I do agree with his overall premise, however, I don’t know yet about his reasoning. LeBron at least would have handled his relationship better with the fans if he had gone to a major college, like UK.

  15. hoss
    10:04 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    show thread?


  16. Duckbutter
    10:04 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    One of BTI’s more readable posts. However, how does anyone with a high school diploma confuse “through” and “threw”? Terrible. Just terrible.

  17. Cals Cats
    10:04 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Its apples and oranges and way too many players who never reached the final four in the NBA, which will of course equal a ton of them making the finals without making the final four.

    The question is does it help to be first put in other pressure situations. Sure it does, any situation where you were put in a pressure situation will help you in future pressure situations unless you just had some dramatic experience from it and you can’t get over it.

  18. The Realist
    10:12 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Now BTI, you can understand how so many of your articles look like to us that have seen UK teams/players/coaches of the past. Stats do not all ways tell the story. Example; Lebron’s triple double, yet he choked

  19. mommasays
    10:12 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    had went?

  20. Dylan
    10:13 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    I’m pretty sure you won a title in 2006… right?

  21. dwayne wade
    10:17 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    20 yeah i did when a title but why didn’t i win one this year with a better team? you know with all this valuable experience in pressure situations i have and all

  22. uklaw95
    10:19 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    By FAR the best BTI article. I hope this is a turning point and you will leave the “Did Tubby really suck as bad as we think he did?” posts behind. I do agree with #1 on the pressure point.

    Dylan is an epicly failing Louisville fan.

  23. sporting news
    10:24 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Looks like mike got me the hits he promised with this article, in an off season story. He said it didn’t make sense, but that he could get the masses stirred up, well it worked. Got to admit though, it really is a lame article.

  24. bluegrassbooya
    10:35 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    its sample size. The pool of talented players coming directly from high school is a much smaller portion of the NBA than those that came from college.

  25. wd
    10:39 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Just like MJ says, stop making excuses Lebron. James appears to be a great player on the outer surface. But you have to have a desire to win to be a champion. This is what James lacks. Also lacks the ability to be coached. What a disapointment!

  26. MammaKin
    10:47 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    …Uh I think his artical was a success. It did just what he wanted it to do. FO people to read it. It to be polar on people. And for people to discuss it all along talking about the writer, either spot on or stupid, and his employeer….. So,, if you really think it was crap…you should ignore it…..and he would go away when his employeer fires him for having no views……

    And could someone PLEASe get this Santa picture off.

  27. them
    10:50 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Has “went” i.e. “had Lebron went to college” become interchangeable with “gone’: “had Lebron gone to college”. It must be colloquial to a part of Kentucky. I see this a lot in comments. I grew-up in Ky my first 25 yrs. /born in Ashland, lived in Lex., summers in Morehead and Morgan county.

    I find colloquialism’s to be interesting. Here in Eastern PA.where we have our country house,it is common to hear as example: “it has red on to it.”
    What part of the state are you from?

  28. Just a guy
    11:12 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Mike also missed Deshaun Stevenson who was huge in Game 6 when Dirk was struggling. Stevenson couldn’t even get INTO college his grades and test scores were so bad and suspect. Tyson Chandler as well (and he was supposed to be second coming of Garnett!) and his prep career was notoriously dirty-filled with shady characters and situations.

    Not to mention the Media and the rabble they stir up treating Lebron like he’s some bad person. Good God, Jason Kidd beat his wife! Deshaun Stevenson had sex with a 13 year old his rookie season and Dirk was in a relationship with a con women. But Lebron James, only guilty of hubris and his ass not cashing the checks his mouth wrote, is some great evil.

  29. Robin
    11:17 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Let’s be honest here, the reason none of those 22 players you mentioned has a ring is BECAUSE THEY WERE SUCCESSFUL IN COLLEGE. Being successful in college made them fall in love with things like (1) a 35 second shot clock (2) and absence of a charging circle and (3) a shortened thee point line. They grew to love the pecuiliarities of the college game and are now unable to succeed in the pro game. The big difference between your 22 and DeCourcy’s list of college players was that when those guys jumped from college to the pros the two leagues had essentially the same rules, ie. no three point line, tight shorts, etc. The rules differences now make it impossible to succeed at both levels. Tiny athlete brains cannot comprehend the difference between an NBA and college 3-point line, and their internal clocks cannot reset to 24 seconds.

  30. Owen
    11:18 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Your response to the second quote doesn’t make his premise any less true. So what if they played before the 90s? How does that change the fact that there might be a correlation to succeeding in college and succeeding in the pros? Someone really ought to look at it a bit more scientifically than Decourcy, and there certainly are exceptions to every rule but I think he absolutely might have a bit of a point; NBA greats that won multiple titles seem to have also succeeded at the college level.

    Beyond that, Decourcy doesn’t say that championship experience -> great NBA champions. I think he’s saying the reverse. Great NBA champions have had championship experience at the college level. You keep trying to argue points that aren’t relevant to what he’s saying. So what if guys who haven’t had success in the playoffs have championship experience? How does that change whether or not guys who won multiple titles almost always had success at the college level?

    Also, so you mention KG… but Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were also leaders of that team. Bryant seems to be the only true exception here and Shaq on some level since his college teams were not particularly good (I mean, I guess they won an SEC championship…).

    I mean it definitely takes teams to win championships but it takes a special player, sometimes two. Dallas certainly would not have won without Dirk, the Lakers without Kobe, the Spurs without Duncan/Parker. The only team I can think of to do it within recent memory were the Pistons.

    It’s too early to tell with Lebron yet but don’t say Decourcy doesn’t have a point when he mentions the vast majority of guys with multiple championships had success in the NCAA tournament.

    Oh, another thing, no one expected the Cavs to even make the Finals, let alone win, when they got SWEPT by San Antonio. Don’t say that was genuine playoff pressure.

  31. Sittin' Bull
    11:54 am June 15, 2011 Permalink

    BTI – if this one got you upset BETTER not read any “real” political journalist!

  32. I'm Smarter Than You
    12:08 pm June 15, 2011 Permalink

    One point that has to be contested in your article, BTI, is your statement about the superstars like Jermaine O’Neal, Amare Stoudemire, Tracy McGrady, and Dwight Howard had sucky teammates, and that is why they lost. Amare Stoudemire had the second most loaded team to not win a championship (the most is the 2004 Lakers). That team had Stoudemire, Nash (MVP), Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion, and a Quetin Richardson playing at his absolute best. Amare’s been to the Conference Finals twice, both teams were certainly good enough to win. As for McGrady’s teams, once he got to Houston there was no reason to not win. Every year they seemed to be favored to win, then it just didn’t happen. He’s never been out of the first round of the playoffs. His teams were certainly good enough. At a certain point it just falls on him. O’Neal was a Tayshaun Prince block away from having a chance against the 2004 imploding Lakers. He won 61 games that year, you don’t do that with sucky teammates. I won’t go so far as to say that Dwight had a good team when he made the Finals, but the point remains the same. I definitely don’t disagree with the majority of your article, I almost couldn’t believe you wrote this. However, once I saw the ridiculous statement about those players having sucky teams and teammates, I knew it was you.

  33. Rice'
    12:32 pm June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Lebron sucks, get off his balls

  34. Joe C
    12:45 pm June 15, 2011 Permalink

    What about Kobe Bryant? Straight out of highschool. 5 rings.

  35. The Vig
    1:09 pm June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Dick Stalker says it’s not Jerry Tipton’s job to know what a basketball is.

  36. Carl
    1:58 pm June 15, 2011 Permalink

    The ‘killer instinct’ or ability to ‘rise to the occasion’ are developed in the school yards, playing in grade school and high school tourneys. The only thing a year or two of college would have proven was that James doesn’t have those strengths and he would not have come in pre-destined as King James of the NBA. He may yet develop but how many years were Christian Laetner and Chris Webber in the league and no rings to show for it?

  37. gossie21
    3:00 pm June 15, 2011 Permalink

    I feel dirty agreeing with a BTI rant.

    One correction, Keith Van Horn never played in a final four. UK knocked Utah out in the elite 8 in 1997, KVH’s senior season. Utah made the final four the next year with Andre Miller, Mike Doleac, and Hanno Mottola.

  38. mark
    7:43 pm June 15, 2011 Permalink

    Lebron wouldnt have faced any pressure in college,he would have dominated.

  39. Dave in BKK
    1:09 pm June 16, 2011 Permalink

    Didn’t Karl Malone win an NBA Championship with the Lakers?