Pete Maravich and George Gervin; How do I begin to describe them? Let's start with them being two of the greatest shooters of all time. They both had a silky smooth jumper that seemed like it always went into the hoop. They were pure scorers too. They averaged 24 and 25 points per game for their careers. With these similarities I just had to compare both of them and decide which one is better. That's what I will be doing today. I will compare them by different categories. The categories will be, scoring, passing, defense, rebounding, and the finale. The finale will include different and smaller categories. Don't forget to follow me on twitter at @CJ_H_12 and please comment in the section below so I can hear your opinion. Thank you and enjoy.
Scoring: Both were pure scorers. They both revolved around scoring and shooting. Pete still holds the collegiate record for total points scored and George led the NBA in scoring four times. First I will look at their career PPG:
George: 25.1 Maravich: 24.2. As you can see the Iceman beats Maravich in career PPG. Gervin also led the league in scoring 4 times while Maravich only did this once. Both of them did this mostly on shooting. Their shooting was possibly the smoothest in the history of the game. Lastly, I will look at how they did while they both played. They both played from 1973 to 1980 so I will compare how well they scored from this time period. From this time period, they both averaged 25 PPG (Gervin averaged 0.3 more). I can't use offensive win shares or offensive ratings as a comparison because they both were invented in 1978. The statistics definitely show that Gervin was the better scorer. Maravich however, is just a little below Gervin's standards so this category has to go to Gervin.
Passing: This one doesn't fit either of their strengths. Many people have probably seen Pistol Pete's amazing passes but these can be misleading. Oscar Robertson once said Pistol was sometimes too flashy. He said once that Maravich tried to bowl a ball to his teammate and was way off. The teammate glared at him the way back down the court. I don't blame him! You hustle your butt to get an open shot only to get an awful pass from someone trying to be fancy. George Gervin wasn't much of a passer himself however. He only averaged 2.6 APG for his career. That's only 2 passes to a teammate that causes a basket! Pete Maravich averaged 5.4 APG which is an above average for shooting guards. I have to go with Maravich with this but neither one was a great passer.
Advantage: Pete Maravich
Defense: This is another category that doesn't suit either one. They were both below average defenders. George Gervin's defense credentials are this: SPG: 1.2 Defensive First Team: 0 Defensive Second Team: 0 Defensive Rating: Not in 250th of all time. Defensive Win Shares: 28.57 (207th of all time) Not impressive right.
Here are Pete Maravich's defensive credentials: SPG: 1.4 Defensive First Team: 0 Defensive Second Team: 0 Defensive Rating: 102.24 (105th of all time) Defensive Win Shares: Not in 250th of all time. Neither of their credentials are impressive. Pete Maravich's 105th of all time in defensive rating can be misleading though. For example Gary Payton is 233rd of all time. For this category, I have to choose nobody.
Rebounding: This one actually surprised me. George Gervin averaged 5.3 TRB for his career and Pete Maravich averaged 4.2 TRB for his career. George Gervin also averaged 7.4 TRB in the ABA. George Gervin averaged at least 5TRB 6 times in his NBA career. Maravich did this twice. Gervin actually averaged 8 TRB 4 times in his ABA career. Although both of their TRB would drop in today's game I have to go with Gervin.
Finale: For the finale I will separate the categories into miniature categories. The categories are, shooting efficiency, MPG/GPS, leadership, and of course, the clutch factor. First is the shooting efficiency. Their career field goal percentages are:
Gervin: 50.4% Maravich: 44.1%. As you can see, Gervin beats Maravich when it comes to field goal percentage. There are two other topics for shooting efficiency though. The next one is 3 point percentage. George Gervin's career 3 point percentage is 27.1%. Pete Maravich's is 66.7%. This fact can be misleading though. He played only 3 seasons with a 3 point line and only averaged 0.3 three pointers a game. This means in 10 games, he will shoot 3, 3 pointers. George Gervin averaged 0.6 three pointers a game. Due to these facts I can't choose either one for three point efficiency. Last, is free throw percentage. George Gervin's free throw percentage for his career is 84.1%. Pete Maravich's free throw percentage is 82% for his career. George Gervin has a better shooting percentage for all of the topics except for 3 point percentage, which is inconclusive. Now the score from all the categories is 3-1 with Iceman leading. The next category is MPG/GPS. This stands for minutes per game and games per season. George Gervin's MPG for his career is 33.6 MPG. Pete Maravich's MPG for his career is 37 MPG. Pete clearly plays more than Gervin but will he win the GPS? Gervin's GPS is 79.5 games per season. I did not count his first and second years because he was traded a lot. Pete Maravich's GPS for his career is 58.41 games per season. I will now calculate how many minutes each of them would play in a season. I will do this by multiplying their games per season by their minutes per game. George Gervin's average total minutes in a season would be, 2617.2 minutes per game in a season. Pete Maravich would give you 2161.17. These totals are extremely close to each other. In fact they're only around 5 minute's difference. Due to this I think the data is too close to decide which one would average more. The score now remains 3-1. Next is leadership. To decide leadership I will study which of the two were the best team players and lead their team to victory. First, I will start with the Pistol. Maravich did not always have the greatest relationship with his teammates. Pete Maravich's teammates often were jealous of Pete's 1.9 Million dollar contract. They also didn't like his style of play. One time in Oscar Robertson's autobiography Oscar talks about Pete shooting while he his double teamed or trying to pass to a teammate by bowling it to him. These examples angered his teammates. George Gervin had good relations with his teammates. One time George Gervin missed 6 straight shots and he wanted his teammates to shoot more, but his teammates kept feeding him the ball because they trusted him. The last part of leadership is leading their teams to victory. Sadly, neither one won a championship but I will still look at their team's success. Maravich only had a win-loss record above .500 once in his prime (First year with Hawks to last year with Jazz, which would be his first year to his ninth year). While George Gervin was on the Spurs his team was below .500 once! That's 11 years above .500 compared to 1. I rarely do this comparison because that usually is just comparing teams but their teams were almost equal to me. George Gervin only had 7 players in all the time he played with the Spurs who played with him for at least 5 years. He also only played with one hall of famer (Artis Gilmore who only played with him for 3 years). Pete Maravich played with 3 Hall of Famers in his Jazz/Hawks career. To me neither team was better and Gervin still lead his team to a better record. The score is now 4-1 Gervin. The last mini category is the clutch factor. George Gervin has got to win this category. You don't get nicknamed the iceman for nothing. He was known for his clutch plays especially in the playoffs. Combining his sweet shot and finger roll he was almost unstoppable near the end of games. I can't find anything for Pete Maravich however. This doesn't mean he's not clutch, it just means he's not as good of a clutch player as Gervin. This now ends the debate with Gervin winning 5-1. Thank you for reading and please comment if you have disagreements.
Winner: George Iceman Gervin