The entire A Stern Warning office (all seventeen floors of it) just spat their porridge out and dropped their peanut-and-banana toast on the carpet. Perfectly rightly, too.
Navigating on over to the fine Ball Don’t Lie pages, as one is wanton to do, the mailroom boy took heedance to a link to Dime Magazine, posing the question: “Who was better, Reggie Miller or Clyde Drexler?”
You see, when the mail room boy passed on the news of this to the accounts department, who in turn told the Finance Director, who then headed into my CEO office, I was befuddled. After listening to the beginning of the sentence, followed by the name Reggie Miller, I was sure to hear the name Michael Redd, or perhaps at a stretch Chris Mullin mentioned.
Why is Drexler versus Miller even a conversation? We’re comparing an NBA champion, one of the 50 Greatest Players ever in the NBA, a Dream Teamer, to a glorified jump-shooter, albeit one who hit some incredible clutch shots in his time. No, I’m not referring to Robert Horry or Steve Kerr, I mean Reggie Miller. Easy to confuse, no?
Let’s not forget, Clyde the Glide was a man that was able to make the most hideous pajamas uniforms in NBA history into title-winning nightwear. Reggie might have worn pinstripes too, but did he look good in them? No way — he didn’t have the figure for it. As Austin Burton, Dime’s Miller proponent said himself, “Reggie was a beanpole. He weighed 185 in his prime, and didn’t make up for it with athleticism and grace” Meanwhile he openly admits that Drexler was “a thoroughbred athlete whose legs were thicker than Reggie’s torso.”
How do we even justify this with a debate, you say? Well, let’s humour the guys at Dime (ignoring for one moment the importance of filling out a pinstripe uniform and other trivialities like winning a title) and look at something irrelevant, like the statistics they each put up in their careers.
Clyde Drexler. Career averages of 20.4ppg, 5.6apg, 6.1rpg, 2.0spg.
Reggie Miller. Career averages of 18.2ppg, 3.0apg, 3.0rpg, 1.1spg.
Those numbers of Reggie’s look more anaemic than his stringbean legs. Sure, he put up some points, he fought against the odds of childhood health issues, but does he enter the same bar room conversation as Hall of Famer, Drexler?
I’ll leave the last word to (noted Phoenix Suns fan) Ben York on this one:
“You can take a look at some of Reggie’s individual seasons and it’s awe-inspiring how good he was in the regular season, as well as the post-season. However, when doing the same for Drexler, it becomes clear that he was one of the most consistent basketball players ever to play the game. For example, in the ‘85-86 season he averaged just under 20 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals per game. From ‘86-87 to ‘93-94, Clyde posted 7 straight seasons averaging over 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists per game. He did the exact same in the playoffs from ‘88 to ‘92. That type of reliability is ridiculous and comparable with some of the all-time greats.
Yes, Reggie was clutch when the Pacers needed him to be. But at the same time, he never averaged more than 24 points per game (Clyde averaged over 27 ppg twice), 4 assists per game (Clyde’s career high is 8.0 apg), 3.9 rpg (Drexler averaged over 7 rpg three times), or 1.5 steals per game (the Glide averaged over 2.0 spg 7 times).
No contest here, give me the consistency of Clyde the Glide every time.”