Tuesday , Dec , 28 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

NBA Trash Talk: Volume VII

Hi, all. Let’s get things started by having a look at your responses to last week’s poll:

Who would you take right now?

Andrei Kirilenko or Shawn Marion? Result – 50:50

Zach Randolph or Carlos Boozer? Result – 50:50

Kobe Bryant or LeBron James? Result – 80:20 in favour of James

<b>NBA Trash Talk</b>: <I>Volume VII</I>“/><P>The results surprised me, but only a little. Firstly, I expected Kirilenko and Marion to roughly split the vote. Here are their respective numbers for this year: <BR><BR><B>Shawn Marion</B><BR><BR>PPG 20.2 <BR>RPG 11.5 <BR>APG 2.3 <BR>SPG 1.85 <BR>BPG 1.96 <BR>FG% .481 <BR>FT% .813 <BR>3P% .368 <BR>MPG 39.9 <BR><BR><B>Andrei Kirilenko</B><BR><BR>PPG 14.8 <BR>RPG 7.20 <BR>APG 2.6 <BR>SPG 1.43 <BR>BPG 4.43 <BR>FG% .504 <BR>FT% .730 <BR>3P% .286 <BR>MPG 34.4 <BR><BR>While Marion’s 20-10 average would seem to give him the edge, Kirilenko is clearly more of an all-round threat. As one of the two active players (Marcus Camby is the other) to have ever recorded a <I>High Five</I>, or a <I>5X5</I> as it’s sometimes known, AK47 can fill up a stat sheet like no other. (For those who don’t know, a <I>High Five</I> is a statistical feat in which a player records five or more points, boards, dimes, steals and blocks in a game.) Fifteen points a night is hardly shabby and, taking a look at his ridiculous 4.43-block average, it’s clear that he’s no slouch on the defensive end either. All in all, it seems reasonable that this pair matched one another vote-for-vote. <BR><BR>Boozer and Randolph also received equal numbers of votes, which is no surprise given their statistics. <BR><BR><B>Zach Randolph</B><BR><BR>PPG 20.7 <BR>RPG 10.8 <BR>APG 2.2 <BR>SPG .84 <BR>BPG .44 <BR>FG% .438 <BR>FT% .804 <BR>3P% .000 <BR>MPG 38.4 <BR><BR><B>Carlos Boozer</B><BR><BR>PPG 20.1 <BR>RPG 9.6 <BR>APG 2.7 <BR>SPG .74 <BR>BPG .33 <BR>FG% .527 <BR>FT% .708 <BR>3P% .000 <BR>MPG 36.1 <BR><BR>You might not find two more similar lines in the entire league. The only noticeable differences are in that Boozer shoots about ten percent better from the field than Randolph, but ten percent worse from the charity stripe. Given that fact, I’d have taken Boozer since accuracy from the field is particularly important now that zone defences have been allowed. Also, Randolph is know for having had troubles with teammates in the past and still is unable to pass out of any double-team. Even if the trap consisted of Muggsy Bogues and Earl Boykins, he’d still throw it into the upper tier of the arena. Half the time he decides instead to force up a horrible shot, which perhaps goes some way to accounting for his low FG%.<BR><BR>Finally we turn to Kobe and LeBron, the first pairing from which a clear favourite emerged, with King James taking eighty percent of the vote. Cast your eye over the numbers: <BR><BR><B>LeBron James</B><BR><BR>PPG 24.6 <BR>RPG 7.0 <BR>APG 7.3 <BR>SPG 2.63 <BR>BPG .93 <BR>FG% .489 <BR>FT% .762 <BR>3P% .348 <BR>MPG 41.6 <BR><BR><B>Kobe Bryant</B><BR><BR>PPG 27.7 <BR>RPG 7.3 <BR>APG 7.2 <BR>SPG 1.35 <BR>BPG 1.19 <BR>FG% .393 <BR>FT% .801 <BR>3P% .318 <BR>MPG 43.6 <BR><BR>Again, we have here two similar sets of statistics, which ostensibly differ only in two categories. The numbers perhaps slightly favour James, but not to the extent that he deserved four times the number of votes cast for Kobe. What then can account for so great a discrepancy? As far as I’m concerned, it comes down to one thing, and one thing only: people hate Kobe. Sure, a decent number of the Laker faithful are still standing behind their guy, but a far greater proportion of the basketball world likes Kobe about as much as Shaq does. <BR><BR>Of course, those two were the hot topic in the week leading up to Christmas when, as you’ll all know, the Heat and Lakers squared off at Staples in what proved to be a pretty exciting affair. However, while enjoyable, the game ultimately left me disappointed for the simple reason that, at the end of the game, matters were still unresolved between the Corvette and the brick wall. Kobe may have netted 42, but he shot only 12-30 and came up cold in the final minutes. Shaq managed a respectable 24 and 11 but wasn’t even on the floor in crunch time, leaving the heroics to Flash and the ever-reliable Eddie Jones. The box score showed that the Heat beat the Lakers, but we all know that the contest was about Shaq and Kobe and not much else. The unfinished business will now hopefully be resolved on March 17th when Shaq and friends host Kobe and the Lakers at the American Airlines Arena. Until then, I’m sure there’ll be enough media sniping between the two halves of the former combo to keep us entertained. <BR><BR>It’s about that time of year that we turn our attention to the midseason extravaganza that is the All-Star game. Lately a few of you have asked me who’ll be getting my vote and why, so to you I present my teams: <BR><BR><B>West</B> <BR>Derek Anderson <BR>Emanuel Ginobili<BR>Carmelo Anthony<BR>Nenê<BR>Vlade Divac </P><br />
<P><STRONG>East</STRONG> <BR>Dwyane Wade  <BR>LeBron James  <BR>Grant Hill  <BR>Drew Gooden <BR>Shaquille O’Neal <BR><BR>As you can probably see, I vote primarily for my favourites, unashamedly choosing those who play for my teams (Denver and Miami) and filling in the remaining gaps with those I feel deserve the spots. Given that few take the game seriously (officiating is lax and defence is optional), I don’t see any reason to vote sensibly. I encourage you all to vote for the guys you’d like to see on the floor for whatever reason, no matter how petty. Why did I vote for Derek Anderson? I enjoyed watching him at Kentucky. Why Ginobili? His style of play and mine are virtually identical. Why Vlade? I just like the beard. <BR><BR>As always, I ask for your feedback and comments in the box below or via email (8charles@gmail.com). In particular, I’d like to hear about your feelings concerning three players: Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter and Shaquille O’Neal. All I’m interested in here is whether you like them or not, and why. In fact, to make things a little more scientific, I’d like you to vote on a scale of one to ten, with zero showing no love at all and ten indicating that you like them like Iverson likes tattoos. I know we’re not supposed to consider personality and popularity, but I’m asking you to do it anyway. Of course, there is a point to it. Check back next week for the results and the breakdown. <BR><BR>Anyway, I’ll let you get back to your holidays, assuming you’re still away from work, school or whatever it is that normally occupies your time. I hope you had an enjoyable Christmas and I wish you all a happy new year. <BR><BR>Take it easy now, <BR><BR>Chuck. <BR><BR></P></p>