2001-02 Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers

DeMarcus Cousins currently possesses the NBA’s best combination of overwhelming physicality and pirouetting finesse, but he still can’t hold a candle to the exploits of prime Shaquille O’Neal. The Los Angeles Lakers center was an absolute monster around the turn nfl replica jersey of the century, throwing opponents for loops in every manner imaginable.

How important was O’Neal to the Purple and Gold?

Well, the team was loaded with talent, featuring O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, Rick Fox and Robert Horry leading the charge. It went 58-24 during the regular season, then charged through the playoffs, bookending hard-fought victories over the San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings with sweeps of the Portland Trail Blazers (opening round) and New Jersey Nets (NBA Finals).nfl replica jerseys china hi-res-2a839d64c8fe2fb29297d624a604f2d0_crop_exact

And yet, the team could still only muster a meager 1.4 net rating when its bruising big man was pondering new nicknames on the pine. That number skyrocketed to 11.3 when O’Neal played, and his on/off differential (9.9) was rather easily Los Angeles’ replica nfl jerseys wholesale best mark. Bryant, by contrast, saw the team improve by two points per 100 possessions when he wasn’t playing.

Despite operating on the wrong end of 30, Larry Bird shot 52.7 percent from the field, 41.4 percent from three-point territory and 91.6 percent from the charity stripe for the Boston Celtics in 1987-88. And these marks weren’t coming with limited volume, as he took 3.1 attempts per game from beyond the arc and still found time to average six trips to the stripe.

Bird enjoys a well-deserved reputation as one of the best shooters in NBA history, but this was his coup de grace. He’d never averaged more points (nor did he again), and that career high was established while he spent every game with an unconscious shooting touch. replica nfl jerseys china

This season couldn’t quite stack up with his MVP-winning efforts in 1984, ’85 and ’86, but that was largely due to declining defense as back injuries started to factor into his game. His scoring was still top-notch—especially when you remember that many of the team’s key pieces were starting to show signs of wear and tear, no longer able to draw quite as much defensive attention away from the Indiana State product.

Bird had four other campaigns that didn’t result in trophy ceremonies but replica nfl jersey still deserve historical credit. None can touch this one.

1960-61 Elgin Baylor, Los Angeles Lakers

This is why it’s important to put numbers in historical context.

Just three seasons removed from Seattle University, Elgin Baylor produced a staggering 34.8 points, 19.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists during his average contest for the Los Angeles Lakers in their nfl youth jerseys first campaign after moving away from Minneapolis. But those per-game marks don’t tell the full story, since the entire league operated at a break-neck pace, sprinting up and down the floor and barely hesitating before launching up attempts.

Baylor’s Lakers used 124.9 possessions per 48 minutes, and that mark topped only youth nfl jerseys the New York Knicks (122.9) and Cincinnati Royals (122.8) in the eight-team Association. For the sake of comparison, the Brooklyn Nets are currently the NBA’s fasted team, making the most least of 101.2 possessions per 48 minutes.

This isn’t to discredit Baylor. The Hall of Fame small forward still produced an all-time great season, even pacing the league in PER while he converted one shot after another. But it’s just not quite the same as averaging even 27 points in today’s landscape, if only from a pace perspective. 9bd875ef7ae2ea40026cb37048aa081b_crop_north

It’s the win shares that doom Westbrook.

And while that’s by no means a perfect metric when analyzed in a vacuum, it does bring to light the one glaring flaw with the dynamic point guard’s resume: His team isn’t winning games at an elite level. No matter how much he does by himself, there’s only so many win shares to divvy out when the nfl youth jerseys cheap Oklahoma City Thunder aren’t working their way toward the top of the Western Conference.

Last year’s 55-win campaign had no such drawbacks, and Westbrook was still operating at a historic level, even if Stephen Curry’s exploits were sucking away all the attention.

When you hear Dirk Nowitzki’s name, you should immediately conjure images of him torturing defenses with jumpers. Whether he’s knocking down spot-up triples, rising and firing over an undersized assignment or kicking out with one limb to complete his patented one-footed fadeaway, he’s always had an uncanny ability to pick apart the opposition without sticking near the hoop.

That was never more true than in 2005-06.

This wasn’t his famed 50/40/90 campaign, which came one season later and led to an actual MVP award. He’s even had five years with superior true shooting percentages.

But Nowitzki coupled volume with efficiency better than ever, cheap nfl youth jerseys which led to career highs in PER, offensive win shares, overall win shares and offensive box plus/minus. He admittedly sacrificed some defensive intensity to bring out his best on the scoring end, but it paid off for a Dallas Mavericks squad that won 60 games and advanced to the NBA Finals before falling victim to Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat. nfl youth jersey

Perhaps more importantly, he succumbed to the efforts of his former teammate in the MVP race, then beat Steve Nash’s Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals. replica nfl jerseys