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Olajuwon or Nowitzki - Best International Player of all time

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by DFWRocket, Nov 11, 2014.

  1. DFWRocket

    DFWRocket Member

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    Man, I can't even believe their comparing the two, but what do you expect from the Dallas Morning news. for me its no contest - Hakeem all the way. Of course Idiot Cuban picks Dirk.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/da...with-signature-moves-are-best-of-the-best.ece


    Pull up a barstool. This debate is going to get heated.
    In NBA history, who is the No. 1 all-time international player?
    We could set parameters, such as players born in a U.S. territory, like a certain superstar in San Antonio, are not eligible.
    But even if you open the discussion to every player not born in the 50 states and District of Columbia, astute NBA fans would quickly figure out that it boils down to a select few when talking about the very best foreign players.
    Steve Nash and Tim Duncan are certainly in the conversation. But if you value scoring and championships as the two greatest criteria, then it really boils down to two players who became legendary in Texas — Dirk Nowitzki and Hakeem Olajuwon.
    The international arm of the NBA has grown in reach. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Pau and Marc Gasol — and in past generations Arvydas Sabonis, Drazen Petrovic and Sarunas Marciulionis — all have stamped themselves among the greatest basketball players who weren’t born on U.S. soil. And Duncan and Nash can make their claims to being tops.
    But when you are talking the best of the best, it really comes down to Nowitzki and Olajuwon.
    “First of all, I’d take either one of them,” said Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks, who played with Olajuwon and has coached against Nowitzki. “But really, I’d hate to have to choose. Both of them revolutionized the position they play.”
    Revolutionizing the game
    On Tuesday night against Sacramento, the German-born Nowitzki will line up for the jump ball needing 17 points to pass the Nigerian-born Olajuwon for ninth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. It’s heady stuff. You realize as Nowitzki passes some of the biggest names in basketball history just how special he is.
    Even he doesn’t comprehend it.
    “It’s unbelievable,” Nowitzki said. “I started watching the NBA in the ’90s and [Michael] Jordan obviously retired for those two years there. Hakeem was spectacular. The moves he made, the footwork he had for a big guy, the hands he had, the touch — just really unguardable down on the blocks. It was so much fun to watch. I was a big fan.
    “It’s still kind of surreal to be surrounded by all these names, names I’ve been watching throughout my career and before that when I was growing up. I was a huge Olajuwon fan and it’s going to feel weird to pass him, for sure.”
    In many ways, Nowitzki and Olajuwon, who is on his annual trip to Jordan and could not be reached for this story, are eerily similar, even though they have wildly different styles.
    Both came to the U.S. as unpolished products, Olajuwon going to college for three seasons at the University of Houston, Nowitzki forsaking the University of Kentucky to go straight to the NBA, which wasn't an option for Olajuwon back in the early ’80s.
    Both changed the positions they play. Olajuwon launched the era of centers who were faster and more athletic. He didn’t have to play with his back to the basket, although he often did because his speed gave him a distinct advantage. He could create for himself and others on the court.
    Nowitzki simply took the power forward position beyond the 3-point line, along with becoming the most deadly 7-foot shooter in history.
    Mark Cuban is biased, of course. He’s grown up as an NBA owner at about the same clip as Nowitzki has grown up as a basketball player. And he believes Nowitzki has done more to change the game than Olajuwon.
    “Hakeem was a top 20 all-time player,” Cuban said. “But he played in an era of dominant centers and continued a long line of centers that played mostly out of the post.
    “Dirk created a new world for 7-footers. He could play out of the post or from the 3-point line. Both are amazing. But Dirk gets the nod for redefining what 7 footers could do.”
    Signature moves
    What makes Nowitzki and Olajuwon so unique, of course, is that they both developed signature moves that would come to define them.
    The Dream Shake was unstoppable. NBA archives will always have in them the clip of Olajuwon going into his spin-cycle move and leaving David Robinson looking left, right and behind himself trying to figure out where Olajuwon went during that playoff series in 1995.
    For Nowitzki, the one-legged fadeaway is every bit as impossible. As one assistant coach in the league said recently, “His release point is up around 9 feet on that and he’s fading away. Nobody can get to that shot.”
    That’s why it’s been copied so much in the last year or two.
    Nowitzki firmly believes that Olajuwon’s move was a little more difficult to perfect, which is why nobody has ever duplicated it with any long-term success.
    “The Dream Shake was so sweet,” Nowitzki said. “I think for a big guy, he was just so agile, his moves were so quick and the shake so quick and his footwork so good, he could spin around anybody. I don’t know if growing up playing soccer helped his footwork, but his footwork and agility was unbelievable for a big guy, for sure.”
    Olajuwon was an amazing athlete, especially considering he was 7-0 tall. As Nowitzki said, “I wouldn’t say we were both great athletes, not on my end, anyway.”
    But while Nowitzki has played under the rim for the last few years of his career, you don’t get to nearly 27,000 points in the NBA without being an elite athlete. Nowitzki and mentor Holger Geschwindner figured out long ago that speed and hops weren’t Nowitzki’s ticket to the Hall of Fame.
    It would be more finesse, touch and skill.
    Ergo, the one-legged fadeaway, although it was never a planned addition to his quiver of offensive weapons.
    “It’s actually kind of funny,” Nowitzki said. “That shot was never practiced. Holger never really said, ‘OK, this is a shot we’re going to put in.’
    “That was a shot that just happened to come along on the fly with me getting older and trying to find a way to get a little separation and get a little look at the basket. It was just a quick look and a little stepback. So that’s how that shot started. It was never something we started working on. I just kind of made that shot out of nowhere and it stuck.”
    That defines most of the great signature moves in NBA history. They just happen.
    From vastly different cultures, that’s the way it is — and was — for Nowitzki and Olajuwon. Their greatness just happened. And they will be forever linked in the great debate about best international player ever in the NBA.
    This close
    Dirk Nowitzki and Hakeem Olajuwon are clearly the best international players of all time, as long as you call Tim Duncan an American since he was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Here’s a look at how close Nowitzki and Olajuwon are statistically.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Haymitch

    Haymitch Contributing Member

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    Missing from that image is steals. Olajuwon has more than twice as many in his career than Dirk.

    Offensively it's debatable. But on defense and therefore overall? Come on.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. LFE171

    LFE171 Member

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    But can Dirk say he also played for the US team?

    [​IMG]
     
  4. dje243

    dje243 Member

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    To me there's no real doubt... Olajuwon was a two way player. He dominated on offense and defense. He was skilled and had finesse, but was also an elite athlete, possibly the most agile big man of all-time. Dirk is an elite scorer, one of the best to ever play the game, but Olajuwon vs. Dirk should be a no-brainer, even if you're a homer. Olajuwon would absolutely destroy Dirk if he were to play him today. Dirk probably wouldn't have the legacy he does playing in the era that Olajuwon played in. But I believe that Olajuwon would still dominate the game if he were in his prime right now.
     
  5. Williamson

    Williamson JOSH CHRISTOPHER ONLY FAN
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    I wouldn't expect Cuban to say anything else. It would be terrible PR.

    This isn't even a debate though. As brilliant of a player as Nowitski is, it's arguable whether he is even a better offensive player than Hakeem. But defensively? It isn't even close. Hakeem by miles.
     
  6. chenjy9

    chenjy9 Numbers Don't Lie
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    Offensively, it's a wash. Dirk has the luxury of range extending well beyond the 3pt line. It's incredibly hard to guard a 7 footer with his range and shooting touch. Hakeem had to work much harder for his points during the golden era of big men. Defensively, it's not even close and IMO that's the clincher to this argument. Hakeem was a comparable offensive player and a god compared to Dirk on the other end.
     
  7. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    Wake me up when Dirk wins DPOY and MVP the same year.

    Hell, wake me up when Dirk does anything defensively. Hakeem was one of the most feared defenders of his era. Dirk? Not so much.....
     
  8. dje243

    dje243 Member

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    Also, I'm fairly sure that both Jordan AND Shaq have Olajuwon on their "all-time best" teams.
     
  9. dachuda86

    dachuda86 Member

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    Close this thread. This isn't even debatable unless you're a Dallas homer. Regret giving that site a click.
     
  10. FTW Rockets FTW

    FTW Rockets FTW Contributing Member

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    Dream and it's NOT EVEN CLOSE.
     
  11. DreamShook

    DreamShook Member

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    chuckle*
    [​IMG]
     
    2 people like this.
  12. waytookrzy079

    waytookrzy079 Member

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    Leave it to Dallas to only go over half-the story that shows that Dirk will have a better career... But there's 2 sides to basketball. Sure offensive numbers are similar, but what has Dirk ever done on the defensive side?

    Not to mention that Hakeem played in an era filled with superstar centers and in the era before the league became completely p****fied.
     
  13. TheFreak

    TheFreak Contributing Member

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    Not sure I'd consider anyone who played college basketball in the US as part of the discussion actually.
     
  14. bumbum09

    bumbum09 Contributing Member

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    There are so many more statistical categories where Dream is much higher than Dirk, especially their playoff numbers. One major/basic stat that should be on that list but isn't... steals!

    8th Hakeem Olajuwon 2,162
    134th Dirk Nowitzki 1041
     
  15. AroundTheWorld

    Supporting Member

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    They are both great. As a Rockets fan, I'll say that Olajuwon is even better because he is one of the best defenders of all time AND was so great offensively. I guess Anthony Davis is more similar to Hakeem than Dirk, as a player...
     
  16. Ismail

    Ismail Member

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    Offensively, it's close, but I would still give the edge to Dream. His footwork has only been replicated by guards, and even they don't do it justice. Defensively, Hakeem was miles better in every measurable statistic and the eye-test. Not only was he a dominant force offensively, Hakeem makes the all-time All-Defense team pretty easily, IMO. Dirk is not even close to that.
     
  17. dachuda86

    dachuda86 Member

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    I don't think even a majority of Mavs fans would agree with such a sentiment. If they do, it is out of spite.
     
  18. JMAD21

    JMAD21 Member

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    Stop it! It's not close!
     
  19. Kam

    Kam Contributing Member

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    Damn. Dirk is about to pass up Hakeem in points. I guess that's why the story was written.
     
  20. steddinotayto

    steddinotayto Contributing Member

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    This is a joke. It's not even a debate. In a span of two seasons, Hakeem and his team denied almost half of the dream team roster an NBA championship:

    Malone and Stockton in 1994 and 1995
    David Robinson in 1995
    Barkley in 1994 and 1995
    Patrick Ewing in 1994
    Clyde Drexler in 1994

    This doesn't include the toe to toe matchups against Jordan and Pippen in the regular season nor does it include besting Shaq in the NBA Finals.
     

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