How good was Dominique Wilkins?

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 3 months ago '16        #1
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Player2 482 heat pts482
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How good was Dominique Wilkins?
 

 
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I think Dominique gets a little bit undervalued on most career/peak lists. First—he’s known/remembered for acrobatics, rather than fundamentals. Second—he was not a hugely efficient player. Third—he didn’t win a title, or even make it to the finals. All of those things have some bearing on his value…but I don’t think they have as much as people often think. In order:

Dominique is known/remembered for acrobatics, rather than fundamentals/ He’s “the human highlight film.” Well, yeah, but he also had a rebound rate of around 11, averaged 3 a.ssists a game, and rarely had more turnovers than a.ssists. And I’ve gotten into arguments about this before but…Nique was not a bad defender. He wasn’t a great defender—wasn’t smart about getting position—but he used his (great) physical skills well. He was pretty good on that end. He rarely fouled. So you’ve got a good rebounding, decent passing and defending guy that rarely commits fouls and doesn't turn the ball over much for a 25-30 ppg scorer. I think Nique’s fundamentals are underrated.

Nique was not super efficient. He wasn’t. But I think efficiency is a little overrated sometimes; it’s desirable, but there are limits to how much you can read into it. In his peak 9 year period, Nique’s eFG% was .479 and his TS% was .544. That TS% is in the ballpark with the peaks of conetmporaries like Alex English (.557 from 1980-89) or Clyde Drexler (.553 from 1987-95) or Bernard King (.561 career). That‘s not too far off from guys like Kobe (eFG% .489, TS% .558) or Carmelo (.479, .545) in the 2000s. I don’t see a whole lot of people blasting those guys for their lousy efficiency. And if he’d entered a league that shot threes like they do now, he’d be higher—Nique’s eFG% and TS% were markedly higher when he started shooting more threes (along with the rest of the league) in 1990.

The Hawks never came close to winning a title. No, they didn’t. But they played in a conference with the tail end of the great Bird Celtics teams, the Bad Boy Pistons, and the first threepeat Bulls teams. The Hawks were a .560 team during Nique’s big decade, and had four fifty win teams. I mean, look at some of those 50 win teams. In 1987, the Hawks had Nique and doc Rivers and Kevin Willis (who was better on paper than on the court). After that…well, they didn’t have a whole lot. They won 57 games. They won 50 the next year when Willis slumped and they added…nobody.

And don’t go into the Moses thing. Moses was almost shot by the time he got to Atlanta. He had one good year, and one decent year. For the most part, he was nothing like the player he had been at his peak. (Which wasn’t his fault…he just a lot of mileage on him. When he joined Atlanta, Moses had played more regular season minutes than Shaq had going into this season.)

So Nique didn’t win a title—but he did win, and he won with a pretty mediocre supporting group.

I’ve said this before…if you want to ask about how good Nique was, you want to ask how good Clyde Drexler was. They’re virtual contemporaries. Their careers and peak period coincided almost exactly. Nique entered the league in 1983; Drexler came in in 1984. Drexler's peak/near peak was about 779 games long and ran from about 1987 to 1997. Nique's peak was about 825 games and ran from about 1984 to 1994. Nique has slightly more MVP win shares and did slightly better in All-NBA voting. Since their retirements, there's been a big push toward Drexler. This was not what was believed at the time.

Clyde Drexler has one top 3 MVP finish and 3 top 6 finishes.
Dominique Wilkins has one top 3 MVP finish and 4 top 6 finishes.

Both players, at their peak, were top 5 players for several years. And I think both could/should be considered superstars.



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84 comments for "How good was Dominique Wilkins?"

 3 months ago '10        #2
trill jackson 816 heat pts816
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Top 50 goat hawk
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 3 months ago '10        #3
REG773 
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Wasn't old enough to remember any parts of his career so take it for what it's worth.

Nique was cold, yall just don't value anything from the pre-00s because they didn't jack up 60 threes a game.....he had to battle boston with a HOF starting lineup, the pistons who had an entire nickname and then the bulls.....nique was early example of still being able to play after tearing achilles i think in the year i was born, right before or right after.....he wasnt a high flyer after that but still got buckets.....just ask ya old(er) heads about him....
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 3 months ago '05        #4
legacy313 2 heat pts
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I got Dominique #41 on my all time list. He was a great player, the only flaws to his resume is that he never got to a Conference Finals or won an MVP.
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 3 months ago '16        #5
Player2 482 heat pts482 OP
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 REG773 said:
.....nique was early example of still being able to play after tearing achilles i think in the year i was born, right before or right after.....he wasnt a high flyer after that but still got buckets.....just ask ya old(er) heads about him....
Yup, had one of his best seasons coming off a blown achilles
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 3 months ago '16        #6
Player2 482 heat pts482 OP
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 legacy313 said:
I got Dominique #41 on my all time list. He was a great player, the only flaws to his resume is that he never got to a Conference Finals or won an MVP.
How do you have him ranked vs Melo and Drexler
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 3 months ago '05        #7
legacy313 2 heat pts
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 Player2 said:
How do you have him ranked vs Melo and Drexler
I have Melo ranked #53, I have Drexler ranked #40
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 3 months ago '04        #8
spunkyXL 37 heat pts37
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Nique had a 3point shot? I only remember his monster dunks and watching his games on TBS w/Mookie and Augmon
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 3 months ago '04        #9
Javon23 287 heat pts287
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He didn't make the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History list in 1996
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 3 months ago '16        #10
Player2 482 heat pts482 OP
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 legacy313 said:
I have Melo ranked #53, I have Drexler ranked #40
You've got Clyde kinda low..

Who do you have 35-39
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 3 months ago '10        #11
sho 2010 199 heat pts199
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Somebody tell me
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 3 months ago '07        #12
dionedre3000 
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 spunkyXL said:
Nique had a 3point shot? I only remember his monster dunks and watching his games on TBS w/Mookie and Augmon
Throwback......but dude was a scorer, that just so happen will tear the rim off.
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 3 months ago '16        #13
Player2 482 heat pts482 OP
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 spunkyXL said:
Nique had a 3point shot? I only remember his monster dunks and watching his games on TBS w/Mookie and Augmon
The season coming off the achilles injury he shot 38% on 4.5 attempts, which was really good for 1993's 3-point standards
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 3 months ago '04        #14
spunkyXL 37 heat pts37
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was he clutch though?
 3 months ago '16        #15
honda 8 heat pts
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 Player2 said:
You've got Clyde kinda low..

Who do you have 35-39
Do you knock Clyde for his dribbling? I think Clyde's skills were a bit overrated in comparison to other elite perimeter players.
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 3 months ago '16        #16
Player2 482 heat pts482 OP
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 spunkyXL said:
was he clutch though?
Damn, '04 came out of lurking to troll a Nique thread
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 3 months ago '05        #17
micseles 3 heat pts
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To be honest he gets disrespected history wise. Im old enough to remember whenever him and Jordan played against eachother how the crowd would stand up and go nuts whenever they guarded eachother. He was a force of nature offensively. Most rediculous case of somebody maximizing what they CAN do in order to minimize what they struggle at. Had no right hand, early in his career struggled with his jumpshot and was a two footed jumper and still did whatever he wanted to do on the court. Still put up numbers as a Spur in the twighlight of his career too
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 3 months ago '12        #18
Thworldisyours 51 heat pts51
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[video - click to view]




Dominique was filthy
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 3 months ago '04        #19
spunkyXL 37 heat pts37
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 Player2 said:
Damn, '04 came out of lurking to troll a Nique thread
Long time lurker, first time poster..i'm a big a fan of the show
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 3 months ago '05        #20
micseles 3 heat pts
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 honda said:
Do you knock Clyde for his dribbling? I think Clyde's skills were a bit overrated in comparison to other elite perimeter players.
I'd knock Clyde for his lack of handle if it hindered him from being effective. He still did whatever he wanted scoring wise, head down and one handed as he was, nobody could stop him.
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