That's the only explanation I can come up with. If you missed it, SI just put up a "Ultimate Fantasy Draft" wherein their staff conducts a ... well, I guess it's obvious what they conduct.
Anyhow, Gary Payton went 50th overall, which seems nice on the surface, but then you see who got picked ahead of him:
Payton finished his career with 145.5 win shares and was All-NBA (1st, 2nd or 3rd) nine times. I know, WS are not the be-all, but they are a measuring stick. Here's how those six gentlemen ranked:
-Nash: 119.5, 7 times
-Moncrief: 90.3, 5 times
- Rodman: 89.8, twice
- Walton: 39.3, twice
- Dumars: 86.2, twice
- Miller: 174.4, 3 times
I'll give you Walton, just because writers have a hard-on for him and he was good that one time in Portland. I'll give you Nash, because his career isn't over ... and, no, screw that. I won't give you Nash, or Rodman, or Miller, or Sidney Freaking Moncrief or are you flipping kidding me, Joe Dumars? Do you seriously expect me to lie down and take the fact that you think Joe Dumars is better than Gary Payton?
In what aspect? Defense? Really, Joe Dumars was a better defender than Gary Payton? Joe Dumars had 900 steals in his career, Payton had MORE THAN TWO THOUSAND.
Fine, let's say they're even. Is Dumars even in the same universe as Payton as an offensive player? Payton routinely grabbed twice as many rebounds, dished out twice as many assists, and scored much more often. And not just one season. EVERY SEASON.
Fine, Dumars was a better three-point shooter. So was Dana Barros. I DON'T CARE.
I know this stuff is meaningless, and it's not worth getting upset about. But Gary Payton doesn't have a fanbase anymore. He doesn't have a hometown team, because his team doesn't exist. Gary Payton's got us. If we don't stick up for him, GP becomes some loud-mouthed guy that used to play for that team that doesn't exist.
Well, that's crap. Gary Payton is one of the best point guards in basketball history, a doberman on defense and a offensive genius on the other end. He could score, rebound, pass, and defend as well if not better than just about anyone not named Magic in NBA history. And the people at SI ought to know it.