Mr. Cool himself, the great Walt Frazier called Luka Magic one of the biggest cry babies in the league. Which is only funny because of how similar their games were - well except for the obvious baiting and sooking for fouls. But when will old-heads understand that they would be doing the exact same if the era permitted it?
A mirror image of style
What’s the old saying? As you gaze at yourself in the mirror held by another, you will see the flaws way more clearer.
The sound of a roaring opponent's crowd being zapped down to an almost anesthetic state - Frazier had that gene and then some. Dead silence is the greatest sound of a warrior and it’s this manifested horror that we use to label the greatest crowd killers ever. It seems like Luka might sit at that throne for his generation. But for Frazier, we knew he was, and best of yet - he knew he was.
He was the guy that when boxed in a Game 7 in ‘70, he notched 36 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 steals against Jerry West (supposedly Mr. Clutch). He was known by his fans for an enact ability for getting anywhere on the floor he wanted to. Sound familiar?
Frazier held MSG in his hands and how couldn’t he? One of the best defensive guards ever had a level of charisma and confidence that only he could. No one rocked the mutton chops like Frazier. Nobody.
The way Luka stands out today for breaking defenders down with savviness and size from the perimeter - Frazier was instead the ultimate high-post player of his era. An underrated forefather of the shake and bake, Frazier’s moon shot jumper was predictable but unstoppable. Right in front of a defender’s face and there was no falling down with the tad of contact to milk free-throws.
Bonus points for them being the two slowest guards ever to completely dominate the competition. It wasn’t a coincidence that Frazier’s game dropped rapidly after the merger, with no injuries or drugs to point to. Speedy point guards like Norm Nixon, John Lucas, Gus Williams, and Kevin Porter took the game away from Frazier sooner than we would have liked.
Not in Knicks town
The “crybaby” narrative was one of 10 legitimate reasons the signing of Julius Randle was underwhelmed by Knicks fans. New York (although through self-appointment) are labeled as the old-head fan base who will scorn even their franchise players if they are not up to par. Because Knicks fans who haven’t won a championship since Frazier are doing so great they can boo players…
While Randle’s crying to the referee proclivities are not necessarily a tier-one problems in a system of complaints Knicks fans have against him - it doesn’t help anything.
The truth is that everyone from the 70s would have flopped for free throws to put them closer to a win. It's no secret that the best players do what they have to in order to win.
The leader in free-throw attempts
1. Joel Embiid: 11.9
2. Giannis Antetokoumnpo: 11.4
3. James Harden: 8.0
4. DeMar DeRozan: 8.0
5. Luka Doncic: 7.4
6. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: 7.3
7. Ja Morant: 7.2
8. Trae Young: 7.0
9. Kevin Durant: 7.0
10. Jayson Tatum: 6.3