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.