If you've been following along so far during quarantine, we've had some real motherfuckers when it comes to this Start/Bench/Cut exercise. A collection of three guys that you felt terrible cutting any one of them. All three were usually legends and largely considered some of the best players ever so it wasn't exactly an easy exercise. Which is why I was relieved to see today's debate, because this one was fairly easy for me. Didn't sit here hating myself as I'm pretty sure most will agree with my selection.
There's no debate that all three of these dudes were boned by injuries. Some careers were cut shorter than others, but all three saw their ceilings lower a little bit because they could never stay healthy. Now it's a little confusing because Grant Hill was essentially never hurt while a member of the Pistons. He played 70 games as a rookie and then pretty much played every single game until his move to ORL. So his injuries really started on the Magic, so he should be wearing that jersey in my opinion. But whatever, the point of this is all three at their peak with no injuries, how would you rank them?
Start: Grant Hill
For me, this was an easy choice. The beauty of this exercise is Grant Hill and Penny were both healthy in the same era and frankly Hill was the better player. Did you know in two of his first three seasons Grant Hill averaged at least 9 rebounds a game? The guy was a walking 21/7/6 through his first like five seasons. I'd also argue he was the better all around defender. Penny was close in a lot of areas, but with Grant being the better rebounder he's getting the edge for me.
Bench: Penny Hardaway
He wasn't quite the scorer Brandon Roy was, but Penny was certainly more efficient from the floor, was a better passer, and was without a doubt a better defender. The one knock on Penny was he sneaky was a big time turnover machine, but I'm willing to overlook that given everything else he can do on the floor. In my opinion his 1995-96 season (21.7/4.3/7.1/2.0 on 51/31% splits) was better than any Roy season so he gets the edge.
Cut: Brandon Roy
Listen, this is nothing against Roy. He was basically an early version Dame Lillard for those Blazers teams. We're just talking about two guys in Grant Hill and Penny Hardaway that were on their way to being all time players. Brandon Roy was nice as hell when healthy, but I don't think we ever said that about him. It's not like he got snubbed for some scrubs or anything like that, this is Grant Hill and Penny! He also had the worst playoff numbers of the three (when Hill was in DET) so you combine everything and I have to let Roy go.
Maybe you have Penny/Hill swapped, I can understand the argument. I just disagree. So now I'll open it up to you all, what order are you ending up with?