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Replacing an Institution

Posted by Neil Paine on February 7, 2011

In last night's Super Bowl, the Packers defeated the Steelers on the strength of an MVP effort from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. What made Rodgers' accomplishment more impressive was the fact that, less than three years ago, he was tasked with replacing Brett Favre, an institution at QB for Green Bay. Favre had been the Pack's starter for 16 consecutive years before the team moved on to Rodgers, but it's hard to argue that the decision was anything other than a success in light of their championship last night. Here are some similar situations in the NBA (when a team replaced a longtime fixture at a given position), many of which didn't work out as well as the Favre/Rodgers transition did:

Year Team Pos Fixture Replacement(s) W-L Prev 5 Yrs Later 10 Yrs Later
2004 UTA PF Karl Malone Jarron Collins, Andrei Kirilenko 42-40 47-35 Carlos Boozer Paul Millsap?
2006 IND SG Reggie Miller Fred Jones, Anthony Johnson 41-41 44-38 Brandon Rush ???
2004 UTA PG John Stockton Carlos Arroyo, Raul Lopez 42-40 47-35 Deron Williams Deron Williams?
1979 BOS SF John Havlicek Cedric Maxwell 29-53 32-50 Larry Bird Larry Bird
2002 HOU C Hakeem Olajuwon Kelvin Cato 28-54 45-37 Yao Ming Chuck Hayes
2000 DET SG Joe Dumars Jerry Stackhouse 42-40 29-21 Richard Hamilton Richard Hamilton
2001 NYK C Patrick Ewing Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas 48-34 50-32 Nazr Mohammed David Lee
1974 PHI SG Hal Greer Larry Jones, Fred Carter 25-57 9-73 Doug Collins Andrew Toney
1995 BOS C Robert Parish Eric Montross, Dino Radja 35-47 32-50 Tony Battie Mark Blount
1990 LAL C Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Mychal Thompson, A.C. Green 63-19 57-25 Vlade Divac Shaquille O'Neal
1989 PHO C Alvan Adams Mark West, Armen Gilliam 55-27 28-54 Tom Chambers Danny Manning
2004 SEA PG Gary Payton Antonio Daniels 37-45 40-42 Earl Watson Russell Westbrook?
2004 SAS C David Robinson Rasho Nesterovic, Tim Duncan 57-25 60-22 Fabricio Oberto DeJuan Blair?
1970 BOS C Bill Russell Hank Finkel 34-48 48-34 Dave Cowens Dave Cowens
1982 WSB C Wes Unseld Jeff Ruland, Rick Mahorn 43-39 39-43 Manute Bol Pervis Ellison
1975 LAL PG Jerry West Lucius Allen, Gail Goodrich 30-52 47-35 Norm Nixon Magic Johnson
1973 LAL SF Elgin Baylor Jim McMillian, Keith Erickson 60-22 69-13 Cazzie Russell Jamaal Wilkes
1993 BOS SF Larry Bird Kevin Gamble, Reggie Lewis 48-34 51-31 Rick Fox Paul Pierce
1964 BOS PG Bob Cousy K.C. Jones 59-21 58-22 Larry Siegfried Jo Jo White
2008 MIN PF Kevin Garnett Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson 22-60 32-50 Kevin Love? ???

Other notables:

10 Responses to “Replacing an Institution”

  1. Jason J Says:

    You wouldn't say LB filled in for Hondo rather than Ainge & DJ?

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    Good catch; the query was mistakenly calling on Havlicek's secondary position of SG instead of SF.

  3. P Middy Says:

    Couple of dumb questions, whose win loss and what's prev?

  4. Neil Paine Says:

    That's the team's W-L in the year listed (the year they had to replace the legend) and their previous W-L (record in the final year with the legend).

    And yes, Alvan Adams is stretching the definition of "legend" here.

  5. nate smith Says:

    C'mon, no Michael Jordan -> Pete Myers?

    Was it too obvious?

  6. Neil Paine Says:

    I should have said that the list was sorted by players who had the most consecutive years as a primary starter for the same team. When he retired after 1992-93, MJ had been that for seven consecutive seasons, which didn't quite put him in the same class of a Karl Malone (18 straight) or even a Dr. J (11 straight seasons for Philly). Had Jordan played '94 and all of '95, he would have been able to claim 12 straight seasons and would have definitely been on the list (replaced by Brent Barry and Ron Harper in '99).

  7. Greyberger Says:

    I'll betcha Jordan's missing years in the roster makes the query overlook him as a 'fixture'.

  8. Greyberger Says:

    D'oh! Redundant post(s).

  9. Gabe Says:

    Based on what you wrote in #4, it seems a bit confusing. The columns list the Fixture and then the Replacement(s); but the records columns show the records with the Replacement(s) and then the previous records with the Fixture.

  10. Chuck Says:

    A little late on this, I know, but really great list here! It brings up an interesting idea, too ... could B-R do a list of everyone's primary starter at each position each year? Obviously, some of the starters are more difficult to identify than others (and you could easily go with a listing of two guys when it's not clear, as you've done in some cases here). But I think such a list would give you an easy, at-a-glance picture of a certain team in a certain year.