Saturday, December 15, 2012

Love it

I just came across this photo and I thought it was funny. I'm not one of the many Kobe haters, but I get a kick out of the reputation he has developed as someone who shoots first and asks questions later.

I guess that's the mentality you need to have if you are going to be the all time leading scorer in the history of the game. Kobe is currently at the number 5 spot. He's on track to pass Wilt Chamberlain for the number four spot by the end of the season.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

138 Points!

I recently saw that a division 3 college player scored 138 points in a game this week. At first I thought that was an amazing accomplishment but the more I think about it and the more information I get about the event, the less impressed I am. While I'm happy he was able to break a record set back in the 50's, I have some major concerns about the accomplishment. Here are a couple of my thoughts on the subject.

I hope his teammates were excited about breaking the record because last time I checked, there are 5 players on a team. When I saw the box scores, only two other starters on his team scored for a combined total of 7 points. Can you say black hole?

What kind of teams have an ending score of 179 to 104? Does either team know what defense is? This game makes the NBA all star game sound like a defensive clinic.Who was guarding this kid? You would think they would know who to focus on after the first few minutes. I would take it personal if someone scored 20 points on me let alone 138. At what point does your pride kick in an you do something about it?

I heard his coach instructed his players to foul the other team so they could stop the clock and get the ball back to their ball hog star scorer quickly. The dude took 108 shots including 71 three pointers. Who could not score 138 points under those circumstances?

I don't want to sound like Debbie Downer and rain on this guy's parade, but I can't be the only one who feels this way. I'm not the kind of person who thinks every player should get a trophy. I believe in competition, but I think this was a selfish display by both the player and his coach.

So what's next for Jack Taylor? How is he going to top this? I suggest he try to dish out at least 3 assists next game.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

DeAndre's Dunk

I've seen guys get up higher on dunks, but I don't ever recall seeing a player touch the net with their feet before.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Karl Malone

One of my favorite players of all time is Karl Malone. There are several reasons for this. I'll admit the first reason was because I grew up watching Jazz games. Aside from my home town bias, I have always been impressed with the Mailman for the following reasons.

His work ethic. Few players exerted more effort on the court than Malone. He is known for fighting for rebounds, sprinting down the lane and finishing strong with power dunks. As a result of his physical play, no other NBA player has shot or made more free throws.

His work ethic also carried this over into his off season training. Some athletes occasionally show up at the beginning of the season unprepared and out of shape, but Malone always showed up ready. He kept himself in great shape which is one reason he lasted 19 seasons in the NBA. I was a little sad when he decided to retire because I knew if any player had a chance at breaking Kareem's all time scoring record, it could have been Karl since he kept himself in such great condition. He is the second all time leading career scorer in the NBA. He also earned two MVP trophies during his career.

Karl wasn't afraid to speak his mind, however; this was also one thing that occasionally made me uncomfortable. Sometimes I would cringe when he'd make certain statements, but I still have to respect the guy for speaking up and saying what he believed.

Some have criticized him for never winning a championship ring despite two years to the finals with losses to Michael Jordan and the Bulls, but he still solidified himself as one of the greatest power forwards to play the game. Karl Malone will always be one of my favorite players.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Countdown

Just 13 days until the 2012-2013 NBA regular season starts. I'm excited to watch a full season of NBA basketball this year. I'm glad the lockout issue was resolved last year so we can start the season on time this year.

I don't get too excited for the pre-season games and apparantly neither do the Lakers who are off to a 0-4 start. I'm sure that will change when the regular season starts. Can't wait to start watching my NBA top 10 highlights at the end of each day.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lucky Shots

Many players have been accused of being lucky when it comes to making a shot, but I think the more a person  practices, the luckier they get.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Domimique Wilkins

When I was young, my favorite players were Dr. J., Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Dominique Wilkins. These players all had great athletic ability and were great dunkers.

I think Dominique Wilkins was a pioneer when it came to dunking. He would pull off dunk contest caliber dunks in close games.  He was also the originator of the windmill dunk. Lots of guys can cradle the ball and wiggle it around before they dunk it, but Dominique started the full blown windmill. Nobody could come near the range of motion he pulled off with his windmills.
There have been many players with great leaping ability, but Wilkins also had great dunking power. He wasn't content with just flushing the ball through the rim but looked more like he was trying to rip the rim off with his power dunks.

 I was a little surprised when he was not named to the top 50 greatest all time players since he was one of the top 10 all time career scorers in the NBA at the time.  The Human Highlight Film may have been known more for his scoring skills and dunking than he was for defense, but he still made some big contributions to the game.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

NBA Memes on Facebook

I like the NBA Memes on Facebook. They usually have some 
funny stuff there. That's where these came from.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Big News in L.A.

You might think the title to this post is about the Lakers landing Dwight Howard and dealing Bynum. That's big news, but I'm even more surprised by what I read yesterday about Kobe's statement that he has nothing to learn from his fellow Olympian teammates.

I am not a Kobe hater but I'm sure those who are can't wait to jump all over him for that statement. I understand that he is the elder statesman on the team and has had a distinguished career so he is where most of his teammates would like to be down the road, but saying he has nothing to learn from them is ridiculous.

Maybe his comment was completely sarcastic and was meant as a joke, or taken out of context, but if he seriously believes he has nothing to learn from his fellow All Stars, then maybe he is right and he is done improving.

I would think that any great player would never stop learning from their teammates and opponents. That doesn't mean he has to idolize them or have posters of Lebron and Durrant hanging in his bedroom.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new look Lakers next season. It's too bad Kobe won't be learning anything from Steve Nash because it wouldn't hurt his game to be able to dish out a few more assists.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Chuck Taylor Converse

I have a lot of respect for the old school players. Not only did they have to play in black and white (according to the old footage I've seen), but they also played while wearing horrendous footwear. I can't believe that some guys played professional ball while wearing Chucky T's.

First of all, I really like the Converse brand and Weapons were my shoe of choice when I was younger. I wish Converse made more basketball shoes these days. I had a pair of Chuck Taylor canvas shoes when I was in high school, but they were just worn for leisure and I would never think of seriously playing in them.

Old canvas basketball shoes are the equivalent of the old leather football helmets that football players used to wear when they would try to win one for the Gipper. It makes me wonder how much longer some of the old legends could have played if they had today's hi tech footwear as opposed to the shoes they wore which pretty much resembled bowling shoes.

The other day when I was at the mall, I slipped into a Foot Locker store in order to avoid a pushy kiosk salesperson. While I was there I noticed how expensive the basketball shoes were. I can't see paying over $100 for a pair of shoes and they had pairs for close to $200. The kid working there said he owned 7 pairs of Kobe shoes. I guess I know what he does with his paycheck each week.

My hat is off to the players who had less than ideal equipment, gear, and shoes to play in, yet still excelled at the sport.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hakeem Olajuwon

I think Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon is not only one of the greatest big men to ever play in the NBA, but one of the top 10 players of all time. He compiled some impressive stats over the course of his career. He is the #9 all time leading scorer, #11 all time rebounder, #1 all time shot blocker, and surprisingly #9 for all time steals which is unheard of for a big man.

Despite his solid play, I think he gets overlooked for how well rounded he was as a player. If you look at the top 20 all time NBA leaders for points, rebounds, blocks, assists, and steals, Hakeem and Kevin Garnett are the only two players to be listed in 4 of the 5 categories.

His inside moves and footwork were amazing and he often made defenders look foolish with a huge array of pivot moves in the post. His abusive "Dream shake" moves were to big men, what ankle breaking is to guards.

Olajuwon earned two championships for the Rockets while outplaying the likes of Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, and Shaquille O'Neal. He is the only player to earn the NBA MVP, defensive player of the year, and NBA finals MVP all in the same season (93-94).

Aside from his great play, I also like the guy because he was a good role model off the court. Despite one year when he was having contract disputes in Houston, I don't ever recall any negative press about the guy. He was a devout Muslim and I've read he would fast during Ramadan even if it conflicted with basketball games.

Hakeem could not only teach some of today's players a thing or two about post moves, foot work, and defense, but he could also teach them about class.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Black Holes in the NBA

Basketball is a team game, but some players don't realize this and they have a reputation for being a black hole. If you pass the ball to them, you can count on them putting up a shot. This post is dedicated to the most famous Ball hogs who have ever graced the game. I am not saying these are bad players. If they were on my team, I'd prefer they shoot the ball each time. I am just saying some of them are a little more one dimensional than other players.

I've played ball with some guys who feel obligated to force up a shot as soon as they get the ball. As a result, they are double and triple teamed each time they touch the ball because the defenders know that passing is not an option for them. If these guys could just learn to to kick the ball out to an open man when they got double teamed, their assists would sky rocket, the team shooting percentage would improve, they'd have better team chemistry, and even the ball hog player would benefit because the defenders would not be able to double down on them anymore if they knew they could also pass.

I have listed some of the players who are most frequently accused of being a ball hog along with their average points and assists per game over the course of their career. I have also included their field goal percentage even though I have not factored it into the equation. I know this ratio might be very simplistic, but it is still very telling. The higher the player is listed on this list, the more likely they are to shoot instead of pass to a teammate.

Dirk Nowitzki- 22.9 Points per game / 1.5 Assists per game / .475 Field Goal %

Kevin Durrant- 26.3 PPG / 2.8 APG / .516%

Reggie Miller- 20.6 PPG  / 2.5 APG / .471%

Carmelo Anthony- 24.7 PPG / 3.1 APG / .532%

Vince Carter- 21.4 PPG / 3.9 APG / .444%

Kobe Bryant- 25.4 PPG / 4.7 APG / .509%

Allen Iverson- 26.7  PPG / 6.2 APG /.425%

Lebron James- 27.6 PPG  / 6.9 APG / .483%  (averages more assists than anyone else on this list)

Tyreke Evans- 18.2 PPG / 5.3 APG / .441%

Derek Rose- 21.00 PPG / 6.8 APG / .464%

Russell Westbrook- 19.00 PPG / 6.8 APG / .430%

All of these players are starters who play most of the game and they can all score at will, but I think it is interesting that some of these guys who are known for being ball hogs are probably not quite as guilty as others. Kobe and Westbrook take a lot of heat for being ball hogs, but you seldom hear people say that about Nowitzke and Durrant even though their stats show they are even more guilty of shooting before passing.

I would expect more assists from some of these players, especially the guards, since they touch the ball every play. I know that shooting percentages, team mates field goal percentages, and other factors should come in to play in order to get a better analysis of this topic, but until I get a crack staff of statisticians to help me out, you will have to settle for what I just gave you.

In summary, I think all of these players are amazing and they get the job done for their teams when it comes to scoring. It's not such a bad thing to be labeled a ball hog or a black hole if you actually make your shots and it helps your team win games. I just think it is interesting how some of these great scorers are more one dimensional than others, but that is a topic for another day.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Basketball Team

I love the summer Olympics so much more than the Winter Olympics for many reasons. I respect any athlete who is able to compete in the Olympics at any event, but I have never been a big fan of the winter sports. I am so excited to see all the the Olympians compete in track and field, volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling, swimming, and of course basketball.

The U.S. recently announced their team and I'm a little surprised they didn't do more to get another center. Hopefully Tyson Chandler doesn't turn an ankle during the next month because he's the only center on the squad. Regardless of who people think should or should not have made the Olympic team, I think these games will be fun to watch. I just hope this all star team plays defense better than they do during all star weekend becaue I'm sure Spain, Argentina, France, and every other country would love to dethrone these guys.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Free Agent Frenzy

Now that the off-season is upon us and there are no games to watch, we have to entertain ourselves by speculating about what all the free agents will do for the upcoming season.

I kind of like seeing the NBA players play musical chairs and mix things up on team rosters. Below I have listed some of the more well known free agents who may end up switching teams in the near future.

Deron Williams
Jason Kidd
Ray Allen
Steve Nash
Tim Duncan
Gerald Wallace
JR Smith
OJ Mayo
Chauncey Billups
Jeremy Lin
Kenyon Martin
CJ Miles
Roy Hibbert
Nick Young

As much as I like to see team chemistry change and update each year, I still don't think I could handle the shock of seeing Tim Duncan in anything other than a black and silver uniform.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Time To Move On

I was glad to see Miami win another championship. I know Lebron has many critics and haters, but I'm glad he finally got a ring so I don't have to keep hearing stupid jokes about him having no 4th quarter play and reading comments how most Americans have as many rings as he does. I guess now people will have to find more important things to criticize him for like his receding hairline.

I also think Lebron was deserving as the MVP this year and look forward to seeing him get even better with time. Now I just need to be able to make it through baseball season without slitting my wrists. The 2013 NBA season can't come soon enough.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fair Weathered Fans

I jokingly sent a tweet last month that read "Some fair weather fans only started liking the Clippers after Griffin dunked on Gasol. I've been a long time Clippers fan since he dunked on Perkins".

A couple months ago a friend told me he has followed the Clippers since the late 80's. I thought it was interesting when I asked who his favorite players from the Clippers were from that era and he could not name one player.

I've noticed the same trend with the Thunder. They are an exciting team and are gaining many fans. I saw this picture today that sums up how I feel about fair weathered fans.

I'm not saying you have to be fanatical and know every player and their stats in order to root for a team, but if you are going to pretend to be a hard core fan, then you'd better be able to back it up.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Miami vs OKC

I love the Heat and the Thunder so I'm a little torn about who to root for in the 2012 NBA finals. I've been pulling for the Heat all year and would love to see Lebron get a ring and finally silence all of his critics, but I also really like Durrant, Westbrook, Hardin, and Ibaka and totally respect  their team and enjoy watching them.

I would almost prefer having a team I didn't like in the finals since it would make picking a team to cheer for so much easier. It's too bad the Grizzlies, Pacers, Sixers, or Hawks didn't make it to the finals, because I'd love to cheer against them.

I'm still pulling for Miami, but I'm enjoying watching these two exciting teams regardless of who wins the championship.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Flop Trend

I'm not a Jeff Van Gundy fan. I suppose he is alright as a commentator, but he is very opinionated and there are times I disagree with him. However... I think he is spot on when he gets angry about flopping. I've frequently heard him rant about how flopping is killing the game and last night he took it a step further and said Mickael Pietrus "should be fined one million dollars" for a flop he did in the final minutes of the Miami/Boston Game.

I'd like to see some penalties for flopping, especially for the repeat serial floppers. Maybe technicals, perhaps some fines, but at least some shame. They should really hand it to the guys who ratchet things up a level when they flop and then fake an injury or pretend to catch an elbow from a player who is clearing space.

I see flopping from every team and even from many of the players I like, so it's not like I'm pointing fingers at a particular team or individual. If the NBA is going to punish floppers for trying to deceive officials, then they should probably do the same thing whenever a player knowingly points the wrong way to influence the ref when a ball goes out of bounds or is they raise their hand after a foul to try and take the blame and protect their star player from fouling out.

If players really want to trick those officiating, why not be bold and have a player distract the score keeper while a teammate sneaks extra points onto the score board? That would work with professional wrestling. I don't have the answer to the growing flopping trend, but I hate seeing players rewarded for acting and don't want to see the NBA turn into European soccer. 

One more thought- If guys are willing to blatantly flop to try and deceive the refs in front of millions of viewers, then I wonder how their wives feel about trusting them while they are away on road trips.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Basketball Team Names

When I was in College I enjoyed playing intramural basketball. My favorite part was at the beginning of the semester when we got a team together and had to come up with a team name. Many of the teams would use unoriginal names like Phi Slamma Jamma, the Lakers, or the Fab Five. I have found that it is much more fun if you intentionally give yourself a stupid team name.

Not only is giving yourself a dumb name funny but it also messes with the minds of the opposing players. How can your opponent mentally prepare for a game throughout the week once they find out they are supposed to play "The Buddy Hacketts"? Over the years we have had some good team names, but there have been so many good choices that we could only use a handful of them. Below is a list of some of the prior candidates I have considered.

Chewbacca Delight
Gargoyle Express
The Greezy Wombats
The Sloppy Guts
Shrimp Scampi
Cyborg Jubilee
French Pastry
The Belly Misers
The Walkabouts
Galen the Freak
The Grizzly Warlocks
Pithy Maxims
The Sleestaks
The Whistling Marsupials
The Crustacean Factor
Gravy Train
Thorax Extravaganza

I know these sound juvenile, but if just saying some of those names out loud does not bring a smile to your face or make you laugh you have some issues. If you are ever looking for some cheap entertainment go to a local University and look up the intramural tournament brackets and read the team names. I think anyone could write the great American novel or be a literary genius if they had a whole book to do so, but it takes real talent to express yourself in 2 or 3 words and come up with the perfect team name.

PS- This post was originally written several years ago and was taken from Chaka's World.  Since I now have a blog dedicated exclusively to basketball, I thought it would be appropriate to post it here.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How to Box Out WWF Style

While I was watching the Lakers/Thunder game on Friday, I was shocked to see the technique Ibaka used to box out Pau Gasol while Kobe was shooting free throws. He actually did this same "turn and bear hug your opponent" move a couple times at the end of the game and there was no foul called either time.

Sorry about the poor quality. That was the only copy of this I could find. Side note- What's up with Gasol's "love tap" afterwards. I always thought it was awkward enough to see guys patting each other's butts, but Gasol takes it to another level.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Enes Kanter Dare

I know their season is over now, but this was one of my favorite highlights of the year for the Jazz. Several players dared Enes to make a fool out of himself and to drop the mic when he was given the chance to make an announcement for the team. They told him he would no longer be a rookie if he did so. I love the reaction of his teammates.

Unfortunately they didn't follow through with their promise and after the game, they dumped ice water on him while he was showering. I guess there is no way to get around being a rookie.

Monday, May 7, 2012

2012 Playoff Insights

I thought New York's injuries were just a coincidence after Lin, Shumpert, and Stoudemire all got hurt, but after seeing Baron Davis mess up his knee yesterday, I think it's a safe bet that the entire team must have made fun of an old gypsy lady and as a result have been cursed.  If I were Melo, I'd be wearing braces on every joint.

I'm impressed with OKC sweeping last years champions, but didn't expect The Mavs to go down in just four games. The Thunder are looking like a tough team to beat.

Speaking of going down, things do not look good for Chicago. I wasn't paying close attention to some of the Eastern teams and just assumed Chicago would be advancing, so I was shocked to see them trailing the Sixers 3-1.

I don't know what to say about my Jazz. I'm just glad they made the playoffs, but it's been painful to see the Veteran Spurs have their way with them.

Stay tuned for more insights and timely updates (usually three to four days after the action occurs) at Morning Hoop. I was going to be the official blog of the NBA, until they realized how much this blog sucks.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

April 2012 Milestones

Suprisingly, I'm not going to address the Clippers huge come from behind win against the Grizzlies or Amare "hitting the glass". Instead, I'm going to give an all time stats update since the regular season is now over. Since I last updated this feature on 02/21/12, the players below have made the following accomplishments.

Kevin Garnett- passed Charles Barkely and became the #18 all time leading scorer, passed Shaq and moved up to #12 on the all time leading rebounds, and passed Gus Williams and Charles Barkley and is currently #19 in the all time steals category too.

Kobe Bryant- Passed Ron Harper and is now at #16 all time steals, just two picks behind Magic Johnson.

Dirk Nowitzki- Passed Barkley and leaped over Kevin Garnett so he is the new #18 all time scorer.

Tim Duncan- Passed Clyde Drexler for #26 in scoring, also passed Paul Silas and Dikembe Mutombo and is now #18 for all time rebounds.

Paul Pierce- Passed Tim Duncan and Clyde Drexler and is now #25 all time scoring, just behind his teammate Ray Allen.

Ben Wallace- Passed Dave Cowens and broke into the top 30 all time rebounders. He also passed Shawn Bradley and sits at #13 for all time blocks in the NBA.

Steve Nash- Passed Oscar Robertson and is now #5 on the all time assists leader board.

Andre Miller- Passed Maurice Cheeks and moved up to the #10 all time assists leader.

Some people might not think much of these milestones, but anytime you can pass a legend with your career totals, I think it deserves recognition.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

World Peace or Crazy Thug?

It's all fun and games until Meta World Peace makes a good play and celebrates by elbowing his opponent in the head. There was a good reason I listed him on my Loose Cannon list. Maybe he should have picked a different name besides "World Peace".

The sad thing is that he had just completed an amazing play, but it will now be overshadowed by his pugilistic celebration.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Rule?

Since when is passing the ball into yourself legal? (sorry about the poor quality)

I guess KG must have felt guilty since he just turned it back over with the bad pass after.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Skinniest NBA Players

Every time I watch highlights from the Detroit Pistons and see Tayshaun Prince, I am always shocked at how skinny the guy is. He gets the job done on the court, but it's a good thing he doesn't have to make his living posting up against the bigs in the paint.

Typically, basketball players are known for being tall and skinny, but some guys really stick out and look like they could use some more meat on their bones. Here is a list of some other horizontally challenged players I've noticed in the NBA.

John Salley- The spider was pretty thin when he started his career in Detroit as are many rookies.

Shawn Bradley-When he got to the NBA, his trainers had him eating insane amounts of calories in an effort to bulk up, but his metabolism didn't want to cooperate until he had been in the leauge a while.

Manute Bol- He is the poster child of skinny and the most obvious choice for this category. Being nearly 7' 7" only exaggerated his thin frame.

Reggie Miller- The guy was skin and bones when he played. After he shaved his head, he always reminded me of a chemo patient.

Allen Iverson- Apparently being skinny was not a disability when it came to scoring.

Richard Hamilton- I'm sensing a trend here with gaunt Piston players. Maybe it was something in the water in Michigan.

Kevin Durrant- I heard rumors that Durrant was the only rookie who could not pass the upper body strength test at the combine before he was drafted. He has obviously put on some muscle over the past several seasons, but he is still pretty lean.

Honorable Mentions- Larry Nance, Monte Ellis, Rajon Rondo, Andrei Kirilenko

After reviewing this list, it appears that being skinny is not really a problem since there are so many great players who have taken on an emaciated appearance.

What is the easiest way for a player to gain weight? Retire. It's pretty scary when you see some players 5 years after retiring from the NBA.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Kevin Love's Hair

As a guy who is experiencing a receding hairline, I don't think male patterned baldness is a laughing matter, but I wonder how Kevin Love has turned back the clock this season. I'm not sure if his improved hairline is a result of growing his hair out longer, Rogaine, or some other trickery, but maybe he should share his secret with Lebron.

(At least he's not painting his hair on)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Playoff Eliminations

This is an exciting time to watch the NBA. The regular season ends on April 26th and teams are picking up their intensity in an effort to make the playoffs. With just three weeks remaining, only three teams have clinched playoff berths and only three have been eliminated so there is still a wide open field where anything can happen.

Chicago, Miami, and Oklahoma City are already in and unless Indiana, Orlando, Boston, and Atlanta lose all the rest of their games, they should qualify soon too.

The Western Conference is particularly intense right now and too close to call. Memphis, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Utah, Phoenix, Portland, and Minnesota are all fighting for the last 4 spots and these teams are all within 5 games of each other.

Since the playoff race is so close, teams have to adopt a must win mentality and play with greater intensity if they are going to make it. Sometimes professional players have a reputation for going through the motions and not playing with as much heart as those at the collegiate level, but we should have a chance to see some intense games as they finish out an already short season.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Cleanest Reputations in the NBA

It seems that plenty of NBA players have tarnished their images over the years. It's easy to point fingers at high profile players who have problems with the law, drugs, gambling, paternity issues, or problems with teammates or coaches. I'd like to focus this post on some of the NBA players who are known for their clean reputations.

Being in the NBA could be a recipe for disaster for many young men. Imagine the temptations and potential problems that might arise if you were a young, rich, and traveling around the country with fans in every city. I'm not saying that all the guys below are squeaky clean, but they have done a good job of staying out of trouble and maintaining a good image and are good role models.

Kevin Johnson
AC Green
David Robinson
Dikembe Mutombo
Kevin Durrant
Grant Hill
Steve Nash
Ray Allen
Tim Duncan
Richard Jefferson
Dwayne Wade

I hope I don't jinx these guys by saying I think they have great reputations. Hopefully I won't read about a murder in a strip club that they were all at over the weekend. Anyway, my hat is off to guys who maintain a clean image, participate in community outreach programs, develop charitable foundations, and give back to their community.

I'm sure there are many more NBA players who have been generous with their time and money, who have also been good role models. Feel free to add any suggestions to the list.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The NBA Loose Cannons

Like all sports, basketball requires mental toughness and keeping your head in the game. Many people assume basketball is based on one's physical skills, but the mental component is also a huge factor.

I've noticed that certain players are more susceptible to mentally wandering off during a game than others. The mental breakdown spectrum ranges from 1) Being easily distracted 2) Having frequent mental slip ups 3) Not being able to control one's emotions 4) Being just plain crazy 5) Achieving complete head case/train wreck status.

In sports like MMA, football, and wrestling, it might be beneficial for a participant to have a reputation as someone who barks at the moon and is a little crazy, but it appears some of these personalities are also in the NBA. Below I have listed some players who have had interesting moments, mental breakdowns, or completely lost it at times during their career.

Dennis Rodman- He set the standard for craziness. Despite his flamboyant looks, controversial behavior, and lack of opening up to teammates, he still somehow got the job done. It makes me wonder what he could have been capable of if he was willing to conform with his team a little bit more.

Ron Artest aka Meta World Peace- The name change speaks volumes on this subject. He's known for hard fouls and never backing down to an opponent, but people really started to question his mental state when he went up in the stands to fight fans at the brawl in Detroit.

Javale McGee-I like watching this talented leaper, but he is full of surprises and regularly does some funny stuff that makes me wonder if he is even paying attention during games. Sometimes I think he has the attention span and maturity of a little kid.

Latrell Spreewell- He was one of the most talented scorers during his days in the NBA, but choking out your coach is a sure fire way to get you on the list of loose cannons.

JR Smith- Is an exciting player with great athletic ability, but doesn't like to conform. He's know for run ins with coaches. He recently came back from playing in China and supposedly accrued 1 million dollars in fees for breaking team rules.

Nate Robinson- I like Nate, but he's a little too intense. He has a flare for showboating and it makes me wonder if he can make wise decisions at the right time. Things like nearly scoring on the wrong basket and almost injuring himself while jumping on his own players while celebrating come to mind.

Andrew Bynum- He's been playing great this year, but I could have sworn he was heading for a meltdown at the end of last season after the cheap shots and suspension he got during the playoffs. Anytime I see a player rip of his jersey and walk of the court it makes me wonder how stable he is.

Chris "The Birdman" Anderson- I haven't seen any mental meltdowns from Anderson and I admit I'm judging him by his appearance, but you gotta wonder whats going through the guys head. He looks more like a Hells Angels leader than an athlete.

Honorary mentions to John "headbutt" Starks, Michael Beesley, Drew Gooden, Delonte West, Stephon Marbury, Gilbert Arenas, Scot Pollard, and Stephen Jackson.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Madness Bracket Dilemma

I've heard that March is one of the least productive months in the work place due to the bracket predictions, friendly wagers, watching games, and talking about your picks to coworkers. I used to look forward to filling out my March Madness brackets, but I've had some bad experiences over the last several years.

I'm fortunate enough to have a boss who likes to have fun with bracketology and he encourages everyone to participate by submitting their predictions. Last year a co-worker who knows next to nothing about basketball won the office pool. Myself and a former college player came in dead last. How could this be? How could the two guys who knew more about basketball than everyone else in the office do so poorly?

I realized it was because in the past I have made the mistake of using the following criteria to make my predictions.

*Statistics and historical data
*Each team's overall record
*Who the experts predict will win each round
*The momentum a team has as they head to the Big Dance
*The school history and how many titles their program consistently wins
*A knowledge of particular players and their strengths and weaknesses

I have found that using the above criteria is nearly useless because it is too complicated. Instead, I am going to make my bracket predictions using the following two questions since this is what the girls in the office who have won the office pool over the last three years have done.

1- Which teams have the cutest uniforms (also known as outfits)
2- Which mascots are the most adorable.

At least I'm not bitter about my prediction abilities.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gerald Green Hops !!!

Check out the air Gerald Green got on this alley oop! Not only could have he bitten the rim, but he decided to windmill it too.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Marcin Gortat

There are certain big men in the NBA who have have a big following. Guys like Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, and the Gasol brothers have been getting a lot of publicity, but one player who has really caught my attention this year is Marcin Gortat of the Phoenix Suns.

Marcin is from Poland and played pro for 3 years in Europe before joining the NBA. He's not a big name player, but he has been a very solid player since he was traded from the Magic. Gortat has averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds this year. I'm sure one reason for this is because he has been the fortunate recipient of many Steve Nash assists.

Gortat may not be an All Star yet, but he has some impressive stats on He is ranked #14 for efficiency and #22 for fantasy players. I really like how this guy plays. If he ever happens to be playing at the rec. center on Saturday, I will try to pick him up on my team.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I'm not a Kobe hater, but I thought this was funny.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February 2012 Milestones

I've been tracking the top 30 all time NBA leaders in points, rebounds, blocks, assists, and steals on a regular basis for the past 15 years. I love seeing seasoned players move up the all time stats charts. I decided to start a regular feature call the monthly milestones aka: spotlight on the old players.

Below I have listed some of the players who recently passed prior legends in the all time stats department.

Kobe Bryant recently passed Shaq and is now #5 for the most points scored in an NBA carreer. He also passed Fat Lever and is now #17 on the all time steals list.

Kevin Garnett passed Jerry Lucas and Buck Williams to move up to #13 on all time rebounds. He also passed Rod Strickland and Hersey Hawkins to become #21 in all time steals. Not bad for a big man. Hakeem is the only other guy his size in that the top 30 steals department.

Dirk Nowitzki passed Elgin Baylor, Adrien Dantley, and Robert Parrish to move up to #20 in the all time scoring bracket.

Tim Duncan passed Larry Bird and Gary Payton and is now the # 26 all time leading scorer. He also passed Charles Oakley and is now #20 for rebounds.

Paul Pierce moved up 3 spots and is now the 27th leading scorer in NBA history.

Jermaine O'Neal passed Kevin McHale to become #23 for all time rebounds.

Andre Miller passed Tim Hardaway, Terry Porter, and Lenny Wilkins and is now #11 for All time assists.

Jason Kidd passed Michael Jordan and is now the #2 in all time steals. He's going to need 749 more if he plans on beating John Stockton.

I'm not a big fan of all of these players, but they have my respect for sticking with it and having the longevity to put up such impressive numbers over the course of their carreers.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

NBA Dunk Contest Concerns

The NBA dunk contest has been one of my favorite sporting events ever since I watched the first one back in 1984. Since that time, the dunk contest has been an annual event at all star weekend. Below I have listed the winners of each year's contests.

1984- Larry Nance
1985- Dominique Wilkins
1986- Spud Webb
1987- Michael Jordan
1988- Michael Jordan
1989- Kenny Walker
1990- Dominique Wilkins
1991- Dee Brown
1992- Cedric Ceballos
1993- Harold Miner
1994- Isaiah Rider
1995- Harold Miner
1996- Brent Barry
1997- Kobe Bryant
1998- No competition held
1999- Lockout- no competition
2000- Vince Carter
2001- Desmond Mason
2002- Jason Richardson
2003- Jason Richardson
2004- Fred Jones
2005- Josh Smith
2006- Nate Robinson
2007- Gerald Green
2008- Dwight Howard
2009- Nate Robinson
2010- Nate Robinson
2011- Blake Griffin

Some of these contests have definitely been more memorable than others. A few of them have been downright disappointing. Dr. J set the standard for these contests. The battles between Dominique and Jordan were legendary. Spud Web, Kenny Walker, and Dee Brown were fun surprises winners. Jason Richardson pulled off some incredibly difficult dunks and Vince Carter's performance was perfect and revitalized the contest.

I couldn't believe some of the people they chose to judge the contest in the early years. I remember Martina Navratilova and Joe Piscapo judging one year. That make sense since they were both such seasoned dunkers...NOT! I'm glad past players and prior dunk champs judge now since they know what they are doing and can appreciate what the athletes do.

In 2004 they changed the format to a 4 person contest and I don't understand why. There are so many talented dunkers in the NBA so why would you want to limit the action and excitement? I'd prefer the way it was set up in the early days when you had many more participants. I'd even be happy if each team sent a player and they just did exhibition dunks in layup lines for 15 minutes as opposed to all the hype behind the limited action we now see.

I'm also not a fan of props. I can understand if someone wants to put a sticker on the backboard, put tape down on the floor to show where they jumped from, or jump over a person, but we don't need phone booths, superman capes, or cars, and we really don't need gospel choirs marching out on the floor and singing before a dunk attempt. As much as I love Blake Griffin, last years contest was too much hype and not enough substance. I hope they don't pick up where they left off.

Also, if you are going to limit participation to just 4 players, why don't you pick the best dunkers in the league? I honestly think the NBA is trying to sabotage the event this year. I wish they would make some changes to the dunk contest since it has the potential to be one of the funnest and most exciting events of the year, but I find myself enjoying it less and less with time. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I doubt I'm the only one who feels this way.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

14 Kinds of Players Who Drive Me Crazy

Over the years I have encountered all kinds of players in pickup games. Some are fun to play with and others get on my nerves. Here are a list of some of the players who drive me crazy. I'm sure you will recognize some of these descriptions.

1) Guys who want to prove they can shoot jump shots beyond Jimmer range. It's not so bad when they are on the other team, but it's no fun having these guys turn the ball over on your team.

2) Being stuck on a team with a bunch of Allen Iversons who have to showcase their mad dribbling skills and would rather lose every game than pass the ball to an open player.

3) The guy who has to argue and dispute EVERY single little call that happens EVERY time. These guys need to take up debate and give basketball a break.

4) The hot head who takes it personally whenever he is fouled and reacts like you were trying to take him out with a flagrant foul. Yes, I fouled your arm and I called a foul. That doesn't mean we have to duke it out in the parking lot after the game.

5) When a teammate invites friends to play on your team and they cut into your playing time. (7 is the perfect number for a team if you don't have injuries). I've had 12 guys show up for church ball games and it is nearly impossible to have any chemistry with that many players constantly subbing in and out.

6) When you have 9 players who want to play full court, but the 5 other prima donnas shooting around on the other side of the gym are too good to join your game.

7) The cheap shot artist who resorts to throwing elbows, undercutting, and flagrant fouls. Some guys are intentionally cheap and others are just clueless, yet as dangerous as a bull in a china shop.

8) The guy who has a 10 second reaction delay and waits to call fouls until after the other team has got the rebound and scored.

9) The wimp who calls a foul if you even look at him wrong. He is know for calling a foul every time he misses a shot if there is anyone near him.

10) The guy who thinks the clothes make the player. He usually wears NBA apparel and has a head band, shooting sleeves, and the most expensive shoes, ....and usually sucks.

11) Guys who don't want to take their turn subbing out because they think they are in such great shape and are not tired. They fail to realize that the 3 or 4 other guys sitting didn't come out because they were tired. It was so other players could have a chance to play!

12) The cocky trash talker. He seldom backs up his smack and it gets old hearing him blab all game in a lame attempt to intimidate the opposing team. See the "And One" guy.

13) The nearly 7 foot player who can not chew gum and walk at the same time but insists on playing point guard and turning the ball over or having it stolen every play bringing it up the court. Just because Magic Johnson and Kevin Durrant are tall and can handle the ball doesn't mean they can.

14) The guy who plays pickup games with his ear buds in. Last week I saw a kid was trying to play with full blown head phones! Is your music really that good that you can't unplug for a few minutes to actually be able to communicate with the guys you are playing with?

I'm sure I do things that bug other players at times, but I try not to resort to any of these 14 things. If you find yourself guilty of fitting a couple of these descriptions, go ahead and work on eliminating them from your game. Doing so may not improve your game much, but the guys you play with will like you a lot more.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Most Awkward Shooting Form

When I started playing basketball in 4th grade I taught myself how to shoot the ball. Because I was taller than most of my friends, I learned to pull the ball behind my head with both hands to protect it from defenders. As a result, I spent years of practicing an awkward behind the head shot with two hands. Luckily I was able to correct my form before I got to high school.

I've seen some ugly shooting form over the years. Some guys have no chance of making a basket with their pathetic form. Others are surprisingly accurate shooters despite having an awkward looking shot. As I was thinking about ugly form, Matt Bonner comes to mind. I'm surprised he makes as many shots as he does, but the NBA player who jumps to the top of the list in this category has to be Shawn Marion.

It's one thing to have a weird foul shot, many players do, but it's another thing to have a such an odd jump shot. The best way I can describe his form is what it might look like if someone was trying to throw a shot put with their elbows. I've heard others describe it as watching a T-Rex shoot a basketball.

For any Shawn Marion fans or family members out there, try not to take offense. I know the Matrix is a great player and he is 100 times better than me and he could beat me up, etc. etc... I'm just saying his jump shot is disturbing and it's amazing he has gone as far as he has with a shot like that. See for yourself.