Dirk better than Larry?

I had a few requests and inquires about a segment on WWZN yesterday with Cedric Maxwell talking about Dirk Nowitzki and Larry Bird. To clarify, the conversation was pretty light hearted, it did not get heated like the transcript from yesterday. Here’s the entire segment:


Billy Fairweather: Hey Max, Set the record straight because I had somebody in the hallway here tell me just a moment ago that you thought that Dirk Nowitzki was such a great player, he might even be better than Larry, and I said there’s no way those words ever came out.

Cedric Maxwell: Yeah, I did.

BF: You did?

CM: I just talked to Jerry Stackhouse about that. Not to say he’s a better player, I’m just saying he’s a better athlete, and there’s a lot of things that he can do that Larry Bird wouldn’t be able to do. Now I know that’ssacrilegious, and I might get cut off here by Eddie

Eddie Andelman: No you wouldn’t, because Larry couldn’t run as well as Nowitzki

CM: That’s my basic premise. Now this kid, he’s seven foot one, he has better foot speed, just as good a jump shot, if not better, he’s probably a better rebounder than Larry, umm…he can block shots better. Now Larry Bird was just a great player, instinctively. Now, is Dirk better physically than Larry? Yes, I still think if you had to pick between the two, and you had a physical specimen on the side and they were playing, I think you would pick Dirk. But from a purely basketball standpoint, You have to look at another thing about Larry Bird, look at the people that Larry Bird played with. Yes he played and made people better, but Larry Bird also played with guys who are Hall of Famers.

BF: Max, is there a history of memory loss in your family?

CM: No there’s not, now you tell me where I’m wrong.

EA: ah Max, let me ask you the question another way. He certainly can run better than Larry, there’s no question. Rebounding, I don’t think he’s better than Larry, cause Larry got better position. But let me put it to you another way. You’re starting a basketball team tomorrow and you can pick any player other than Russell. Who would be the first guy that you pick, would you pick Nowitzki or would you pick Larry?

CM: No, I wouldn’t pick either one of them. I’d pick Shaq. (laughs all around)

BF: Are you saying Max that if you had the choice to pick between those two guys in their prime?

CM: Yes, if I had my choice in their prime, right now, between the two players, I would take Dirk. I’m not kicking at Larry, Because I think Larry..Larry was one of the greatest players to play the game. But again, If I had just pure physical ability, and if you take it from top to bottom, well, you tell me, what does Larry do better than Dirk does?

EA: I’ll tell you what he does – he leads the team better. His will to win is better, his will to improve his game is better, and I think clutch shooting.

BF: Passing

CM: Have I heard you guys say any physical attributes at all?

EA: no, no

CM: Is there anything physically that you can say that Dirk is not better?

EA: No, Max, No one’s going to argue, you couldn’t argue, on who could run better, ah, but Dirk can’t pass as well as Larry, I could tell you of the things that Dirk could do better, but I would take Larry on my team, nothing to do with being a home guy or anything else Max, and I think Nowitzki is a great player, the Celtics as you know, almost had him…

BF: …and may be as close a player as there has been to Larry that’s come along in a long time.

CM: Well, I think, you know what you’re going to get an opportunity to see him tonight. And you’ll get a chance to see what I say. You know one thing that Dirk does, probably a bit better than Larry does is the fact that he does have that foot speed. So what he does, and he’s taller – Dirk Nowitzki is seven foot, probably seven foot one, and he can take you on the outside, and knock down the jump shot, not only can he post you inside, but he can drive by you and get to the basket. Larry had, Larry did not have the foot speed to get past you.

BF: but you know, Larry didn’t get beat down the court too often though, either

CM: Excuse me?

BF: Larry didn’t get beat down the court too often though, either, on either end.

CM: Wait a minute, Did I hear…are you having memory problems?

BF: Are you going to tell me that Larry wasn’t there on the break?

CM: Wait a minute, who do you think was closer out there, me or you? (laughs all around)

BF: Well, look, you know I’m going to concede that to you.

CM: Who do you think was covering Larry’s man from time to time? Who do you think made all-defensive team and I didn’t make all-defensive team? Okay. I’m not kicking at Larry, Larry was a great player, I tease Larry today. But the simple fact is, from a physical standpoint, Dirk is a better player. Now his will, now all the intangibles that you guys are throwing in, makes Larry Bird the better player. But from a physical, from a purely physical basketball…

BF: But Max, that’s not what you’re saying, what you’re saying is that if you were starting a basketball team today, and both guys are in their prime, you’re going to take Nowitzki over Larry Bird.

CM: I’m still saying…

BF: You’re not saying physical,

CM: I’m still saying, no I just told you what he would do, but again, you’re asking me if I’m a GM and I had to pick between the two guys, I’d take Dirk.

Conversation turns to current Celtics team

All Over The Place

A disappointing night for the Celtics, but a number of very good articles in the newspapers from this morning. The Red Sox trade away Byung-Hyun Kim, there are a number of articles on the Red Sox and Yankees (every day, it seems) and a good number of football articles, including some interesting pieces from Mike Reiss and Eric McHugh.

Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks sent the Celtics to their fourth straight loss last night, a 112-100 setback which had Doc Rivers closing the lockerroom for 30 minutes following the game. However, Shira Springer says that Rivers has not yet hit panic mode with his club. Steve Bulpett says that last night will likely see an exodus from the Celtics bandwagon, and if the team doesn’t improve their fundamentals, it could be a quick transition to the Red Sox. Carolyn Thornton notes that one thing Rivers emphasized to his team was the need to stick to the game plan. Lenny Megliola takes a look at Doc Rivers’ concerns with his team and gets input from Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker as well. Peter May has an article on Mavericks coach Avery Johnson, who started the season as a player, but is now the head coach of the team, replacing Don Nelson. Michael Gee (subscription only) says that the Celtics need to share the ball on offense better instead of breaking down into a 1-on-1 team. Mark Murphy has a pair of articles on Antoine Walker, the first looking at his recent struggles from the field, and River’s annoyance at Walker inserting himself into a staredown between Kendrick Perkins and Nowitzki. The second piece from Murphy has Mark Cuban expressing some kind words and admiration for Walker. Springer’s notebook has more on Walker’s struggles, and incident with Nowitzki. Bulpett’s notebook has Rivers taking comfort in the standings. Thornton’s notebook has more from Cuban on Walker.

The Red Sox finally shipped Byung-Hyun Kim out of town yesterday, sending the submarining right hander to the Rockies. Gordon Edes, Jeff Horrigan, David Heuschkel and David Borges all report on the trade, which was done in a pretty creative manner which will end up saving the Red Sox some money as to opposed to if they had kept Kim. Is Eddie Andelman taking notes? Theo saved the minority owners some money! Tony Massarotti has more on Epstein erasing his only critical blunder. Chris Snow has an enjoyable article about Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller. Get off your knees Chris. (That’s a reference to another Andelman comment) Christopher Price files a notebook-style piece on thoughts from Spring Training. Buddy Thomas (is he a Yankees fan in addition to a Colts fan?) makes his baseball predictions, division by division.

The Herald trots out another pair of Upside/Downside dueling articles, this time on baseball addressing its problems. Steve Buckley takes the upside, saying that the league and players are working to correct issues such as steroids. Karen Guregian says that the damage is already done, and that fans are unlikely to forgive and forget. Buckley has a subscription column in which he says that an effort to get the Red Sox and Yankees to line up and shake hands before the game on opening night would be an “overly contrived stunt” and “terribly patronizing to kids”. I would agree. Many on both teams don’t like each other, but they do have grudging respect for the other team. As Buckley says, just play ball. Rick Massimo has a review of the book, Blood Feud: The Red Sox, the Yankees & the Struggle of Good versus Evil. The review describes it as a book “by, and for, fans — it combines history with the slow savoring, and reliving, of the Red Sox’ ultimate triumph.” Howard Bryant (subscription only) writes that once again the two team division of the AL East is ready to start play, noting the farce that is the “random schedule” as the Sox and Yankees each open at home against each other, open the second half against each other, and finish the season against each other.

Edes’ notebook reports on Tim Wakefield’s contract situation. The knuckleballer’s deal ends after the season, and while there were contract talks earlier in the spring between the two sides, it appears nothing will get done until after the season. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Mike Myers returning to the Red Sox. The lefty reliever feels like he never left, and is happy to be here. Borges’ notebook looks at one of the strengths of the Red Sox, a very deep and talented bullpen topped off with one of the best closers in the game.

Mike Reiss has a very good article on Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who spoke last night at Bryant College, speaking on a number of topics, such as building a team, developing a career, some tales from coaching, and when asked about Tedy Bruschi, he said that he comes in everyday, he’s getter better, and has a smile on his face like he always does. This would probably be the type of article that would drive certain other writers in town nuts. They would accuse Reiss of waving the pompoms, or ingratiating himself, but I believe this is the type of thing the fans want to read. I’m guessing it will be one of the most read links on this site today. Michael Felger reports on the progress of Rodney Bailey, who is eager to get out on the field and contribute this season after missing all of last year with a torn achilles. Eric McHugh has a short piece on Patriots assistant coach Josh McDaniels, but he also has a piece on McDaniels’ father, Thom, who mentored Maurice Clarett in high school, and who believes the running back just needs some “tough love”. Could he get that with the Patriots? With the direct connection to a member of the Patriots coaching staff, who knows? John Altavilla has a look at the NFL Draft, but mostly from the perspective of the Giants. Nick Cafardo has a report on the NFL looking to toughen its own steroid policy.

Mark Blaudschun looks at an older, wiser Rick Pitino, able to enjoy coaching once again.

John Molori’s Media Blitz lists out a number of items in the sports media world as of late, and looks at them from a good news/bad news perspective.

Dennis & Callahan announced this morning that Curt Schilling will be a guest of the program each Tuesday during the 9:00 hour starting next week.

TNT has Bulls/Cavs at 8:00 and Timberwolves/Lakers at 10:30. ESPN has the NIT championship, South Carolina/St. Joseph’s at 7:00. NESN has Red Sox/Diamondbacks at 8:30.

Ryen vs. Eddie

During Eddie Andelman’s show today, Ryen Russillo came on to challenge Eddie about his constant bashing of Theo Epstein. Here is the full transcript of the conversation, it got fairly heated at times and is worth a full read.

RR: I gotta come after you Eddie, this