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.