Thursday, March 7, 2019

What's Up With Lebron?

Yesterday Lebron passed Michael Jordan and moved up to 4th place in the all time scoring leaders. Despite that milestone I have been really concerned about his level of play recently. Lebron has many haters but I have never been one of them. He is one of my favorite players and I have admired how he has carried himself on and off the court since he entered the league. 

Despite this, I can't help but acknowledge that something has been off since he came back from his injury last month. The Lakers are in a tailspin losing to some of the worst teams in the league as they attempt to make the playoffs by the skin of their teeth.

I was expecting the Lakers to need some time to gel and rebuild before being serious contenders with Lebron, so not making the playoffs is not the real problem. There was drama with the potential Anthony Davis trade last month when the organization was willing to unload pretty much anyone and everyone on the team for him. The way that went down certainly couldn't have helped team morale. 

You can easily see there is a problem by watching Lebron's body language lately. He still puts up impressive numbers but he's walking around on defense and finger pointing at teammates. He's staying out late with rappers and then sitting out games the next day. It's one thing to see the Lakers struggle but it's harder for me to see him in the kind of slump which frankly includes a bad attitude. He's starting to remind me of  Demarcus Cousins. I've never seen this before from him. He's also missing the usual leadership spark he's expected to have. I'm not sure if he's given up on the current squad for this year or if he's going through some other kind of personal struggles.

I just hope the Lakers can rebuild and prepare for the upcoming season and I hope Lebron can get the rest he may need since he's had extended seasons including playoffs for the longest time. I think as painful as it has been to watch over the last  month, that next year will be much better. I am not giving up on one of the greatest players ever. He will be back and in full form eventually.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Joker

Nicola Jokic has been in the league for over 5 years but last year was the first time he really caught my attention. I haven't been a big Nuggets fan in the past, but I'm impressed with this big man from Serbia since he is so fun to watch. For a 7 footer, he's not a very physical player but has great post moves and can stretch his game out behind the arc. The thing that most impresses me about him is his passing skills. I haven't seen a big man distribute the ball this well since Arvydas Sabonis.

His teammates are spoiled to have such a great player on their team. He's been carrying the team most of this season and I look forward to more of his highlights.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Most Boring NBA Players

I get a kick out of how basketball has evolved over the years. You've probably seen old black and white footage from the 50's of tall, slender, and pretty average looking  guys showing off their skills by dribbling with their left hand, doing a bounce pass, or making a bank shot. It didn't take much to entertain back then.

Players like Elgin Baylor, Julius Erving, Dominique Wilkins, and Michael Jordan are known for their innovation and ushering in an exciting style of play. Some players are also known for their entertaining off-court personalities like Daryl Dawkins, Dennis Rodman, Ron Artest, and Shaq. Then there are those players who are just kind of boring. If the NBA was Baskin Robbins, then the following players would be plain vanilla flavored.

Warning: I'm not saying these players are not good or talented or effective. They are obviously seasoned professionals, but I just don't like watching them play as much as others since their game can come across as boring.

Tim Duncan- He's one of the greatest player of all time but he usually did it without much pizazz. There is a reason they nicknamed him "The Big Fundamental." and not "The Human Highlight Film."

Robert Parish- Going back a little on this one. "The Chief" was a solid player and had great longevity in the league but his on and off court demeanor was pretty expressionless.

Kevin Love- He has been effective in the past, especially as a Timberwolf with all his double doubles, but you seldom see anything fancy from him.

Andre Miller- He's the #10 on the all time assists leaders, but was so boring to watch.

Al Jefferson- I rooted for Big Al as a Jazz fan but still had to admit it was not very exciting to watch him do his thing.

Zach Randolph- He does not look like he should even be out on the court. I only remember seeing layups and close range shots from him.

Other boring players on my list include Matt Bonner, Mike Dunleavy, Mike Bibby, Jaron Collins, Brian Scalabrine, Anderson Varejao, and Bill Cartwright.

There are even some  guys who have been big stars and have plenty of highlights, but I still consider them to be boring like Carmello Anthony. Then there are amazing players who have a seemingly quiet on court presence, yet they can casually score 30 points a night. Alex English used to be this way.

You probably won't see most of these guys on Sports Center with the top 10 plays unless it is a tip in at the buzzer. I know defense and fundamentals wins championships, but there are times I'd rather watch an exciting team with athletic players who are entertaining.

Side note: I started this post in 2015 and it has been sitting in my draft box for years. One of the players I originally listed as boring was Brook Lopez, but after seeing him light it up from three point range this year I took his name off. Thanks for making things more entertaining and for showing it's never too late to change.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Kyle Korver

I was recently pleased to see that Cleveland traded Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz. I have always liked Korver and am glad to see him playing with the Jazz again. He seems like a pretty good guy and I have always been in awe of his 3 point shooting. He has made more 3 pointers than any other active player and is currently #4 on the all time list after Ray Allen, Reggie Miller, and Jason Terry. If he stays healthy he will move up to the #3 spot this season.

The first time I remember seeing Kyle Korver it was not his shooting that caught my attention but the fact that he looked like Ashton Kutcher. By the way, if there is ever a movie about Robert Horry, Will Smith had better get the role because they also look so similar. Sorry to get distracted with the whole evil twin topic. By the way you can see my original post from 2011 about NBA look-alikes.

Anyway, I really like seeing Korver make shots but I am not blind to the fact that he frequently struggles trying to defend some of the younger and more athletic players. Even so, when a team needs to stretch the court out or if they are looking for someone who can get a 3 point shot off fast and usually make it, then he is the guy. I'm wishing him the best with his transition back to the Jazz and I'm hoping Utah get the bugs out soon and start playing like they were at the end of last season.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My least favorite NBA players part 2

Several years ago I did a post highlighting my least favorite NBA players. It's time to add some more names to the list.  I admit I am being judgmental because these guys are great athletes, incredible ball players, and probably good guys too, but my spidey senses make it hard for me to cheer for them when they are playing basketball.

Image result for marcus smart james harden

Draymond Green- He's a great defender and an intense competitor but I don't like his kicking and abrasive attitude. Golden State's team looked invincible last year and I expected a 5 year run with that squad so I am surprised to see them struggling as a team recently due to their own players not getting along. Green is a big part of that.

Russell Westbrook- I've been a big Westbrook fan for a long time but things are changing. He's probably the most athletic guy in the NBA and I love his rim abusing dunks but I've been getting negative vibes since he averaged a triple double last season. He's now coming across as more of a stat padder when I watch him fight his own big men for rebounds.

James Harden- is an amazing offensive talent. I liked him when he was in a supporting role in OKC but since he has been the "go to" guy in Houston I have had a hard time liking him. He has gotten better as an all around player over the last two years but I still am just not a fan of the Beard.

Chris Paul- I can't really pinpoint what it is about Paul that bothers me but I guess deep down inside I just don't trust the guy. He is an amazing floor general so his ability is not in question. It's probably more of his attitude. Seeing how my prior list included Carmello Anthony you can imagine that I'm not a fan of the Rockets.

Trae Young and De'Aaron Fox tie for this spot for the same reason. I don't like their hair style. I know I am a shallow human being and probably going to hell for being so judgmental but they'd both look much better if they trimmed their hair and sharpened it up to match their game.

Dwight Howard- I used to love watching him play but over time he has fallen from grace with me. I think it started when he was trying to get out of Orlando. It also doesn't help that his performance has dropped so far over the last several seasons.

Lamarcus Aldridge and Al Horford- They are both great players but I think they are so boring. They remind me of Tim Duncan's little brothers who are even less flashy than the Big Fundamental.

Marcus Smart- I admire his hustle and tenacity but I think he can be a loose cannon. He has attempted some of the most blatant flops I have ever seen. Anyone who acts like they were body slammed by Hulk Hogan and goes into convulsions just rom Kyle Korver barely boxing him out is hard to cheer for.

Bonus- least favorite commentator- Tommy Heinson. I know he is a legend and has been announcing the Celtics games forever but he is way too biased. I've seen so many highlights over the years as he turns a blind eye to his home team during his commentary.

The funny thing is I don't hate these guys. I'd probably still think it's cool to meet them if I ever ran into them but I have a hard time cheering for them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Michael Jordan vs. Lebron James debate

I grew up watching and idolizing Michael Jordan. I think he is the greatest player in the history of the NBA. I have also been a huge Lebron James fan since his rookie year and he has lived up to all the hype since he entered the league. I love both of these players and am getting a little tired of people always arguing over who is the greatest player.

I've been guilty of ranking players by order of greatness in the past and will probably continue to share my opinion about it in the future, but one thing I 've learned when doing this is that there are many very passionate fans out there. We all have our preferences and favorites, but some of these fans have some serious blinders on and can be very close minded and angry if they don't agree with you.

One problem with this debate is how to define greatest. Is it the best player, most successful, highest skill level, most records, most amazing highlights? Winning championships is definitely part of the equation but I don't like putting too much stock into that. Bill Russell is amazing with his 11 rings, but you also have to remember that Sam Jones has 10, Tommy Heinsohn, K.C. Jones, and John Havlicek all have 8. Jim Loscutoff and Robert Horry have more rings than Jordan too.

I think Lebron is a better all around player but Jordan has more tenacity and killer instinct. They play at different positions, in different times when there have been changes to how the game is played, and one of their career's is still not over yet so this further complicates the debate.

Anyway, I think as of today that Jordan is still the GOAT but Lebron is right on his heels. I also have no doubt that by the time Lebron retires he will be the undisputed GOAT. I love both players and don't see the need to bash either one. I think Kobe best summed it up this week when he tweeted "We can enjoy one without tearing down one. I love what he’s doing. Don’t debate what can’t be definitively won by anyone."

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Mark Eaton- Shot Blocker and Author

I love shot blocking! One of the greatest shot blockers in the NBA was Mark Eaton. He led the league with an average of 3.5 blocks per game. Here is a sample of his work from a monster night he had against Chicago in 1986.

Mark recently came out with a book called The Four Commitments and you can check out the details on the Amazon link below.

The Four Commitments