Breaking Down the NBA
What's good, basketball fans? The title says it all, so we can dispense with the formalities and get down to business right away. As always, you can reach me with your comments, questions and suggestions via email (CY.Ellis@HoopsVibe.com) or the box at the bottom of the page.
What's good, basketball fans? The title tells most of the tale, so I needn't waste much of your time setting it up. What follows are twenty fun facts you may or may not have already known, all of which came straight from the part of my brain formerly used to store the rules of chess. I may have become the next Gary Kasparov, but instead I chose to fill my head with useless basketball trivia. I stand by my decision. Let's get right into it.
What's good, basketball fans? The Articles That Diminish My Credibility as a Writer series continues with a look at the current NBA players most skilled at faking, fooling and generally freaking their defenders. Although the title suggests a fairly limited number of selection criteria, I'll be considering more than simply crossovers for this list, although they remain the primary factor in my decisions. As with previous articles, the players are not ranked in any particular order. Let's get right into things.
What's good, basketball fans? We continue the Articles that Diminish My Credibility as a Writer series with a look at the league's top dunkers, from the finesse finishers to the players that pack it in with power. Since all dunks are worth two points (excepting those in the contest), this is a highly subjective topic, so I'm not pretending to have devised a formula for measuring the high-flyers against one another, which is why the following list is in no particular order. That said, style, elevation, creativity and the ability to jam over defenders will all be considered as factors. The only other point to note is that these players have been chosen for their in-game dunking, which is why some dunk contest entrants have been omitted.
What's good, basketball fans? With the NBA news coming in at the rate of approximately one meaningful piece of information every four to five days, we'll continue with the Articles that Diminish My Credibility as a Writer series. Today's feature is the time-honoured tradition of the caption contest, in which you, good readers, chip in with your contributions to help put words to the images.
What's good, basketball fans? I apologise for the tardiness of this edition of The Blog, but I've been busy interviewing a streetball legend. Who? You'll have to wait until Friday evening to find out. For now, we'll be dealing with the second piece in a series I've named “Articles That Diminish My Credibility As a Writer”. Today we look at the fifty things I'd most like to see in the NBA this coming year. If you haven't guessed, I can't wait for the season to begin.
What's good, basketball fans? Once the final buzzer has sounded and the cheerleaders have cleared the court, there's nothing more entertaining than a lively player in a post-game press conference. Many resort to generalities, clichés and other tactics to avoid saying anything of substance, but a few occasionally let loose and speak their mind. When they do, it's generally not long before they say something inappropriate, hilarious, or both.
What's good, basketball fans? For a little change from all the player rankings we've been making lately (many thanks for all your responses, by the way), I decided to switch things up with a foray into a slightly different topic. As the title implies, today we'll be taking a look at the nuts in the cereal bowl that is the NBA, from the slightly maladjusted to the downright insane. A shallow topic it may be, but given that the season doesn't kick off until November the first (that's forty-eight blogs away), this is as good a moment as any to waste some time with a light-hearted discussion. With the stupidity of the article justified, let's bring on our first contestant. Journalistic integrity, we hardly knew ye.
What's good, basketball fans? Allow me to clear up any controversy before we begin by pointing out that, being English, I spell the word "centre". There's no spelling mistake, typo or other error. Thanks for your time, folks. Today we deal with the fifth and final part in this series as we rank the league's best big men. If you're not familiar with the factors taken into account to create these lists, check out the earlier articles, which can be found in the archive to the right of your screen. Let's get going.
For those of you just joining us, make sure to check out the previous articles in this series, links to which can be found on the right of your screen. Without an understanding of my ranking methodology, several of the picks may baffle you, so it's important that you read up on my thinking behind these lists before you dive in. The rest of you know the drill already, so we'll waste no time in getting started with it. If you have any comments or questions, you can reach me via the box below this article or by emailing me directly at CY.Ellis@HoopsVibe.com. The NBA's Top Forwards: Part Two 6. Ron Artest At 6'7'', 246, Artest is one of the toughest defenders the league has ever seen, capable of shutting down point guards through power forwards with a combination of instinct, determination and sheer physical ability. At the other end of the floor, he has become one of the league's most efficient scorers, making him one of the most rounded players in the game. That's not what you know him for, though. You see, Ron-Ron is a little crazy, and I might be as well for listing him at number six. Put him on the floor and you never know which player you're going to get; one night it may be the all-round threat described above, but one another you might see the flagrant-fouling nutcase that looks as if he might let loose and feast on the opposing bench at any moment. If only there were a cure for whatever it is that prevents Ron from acting properly long enough to play as he should, the Pacers would have posed a real threat to the league last year. 7. Vince Carter Oh no he didn't. Unfortunately, I did. Before you begin typing the inevitable hatemail set to fill my inbox following this pick, know this: I've made all the Vince Carter jokes you have. I've mocked him for being soft, heckled him when he shot jumpers when the lane was open, and criticized him for the constant injuries. I kicked up more of a fuss than anyone when he admitted he wasn't always trying his hardest in Toronto, and I questioned his value as loudly as the most hateful of haters when there were rumours that he had tipped off opponents as to the plays the Raptors would run. However, someone or something slapped him in the face following his trade to New Jersey, and we once again saw the man known as “Vinsanity” rather than the sorry sight of “Wince” Carter. By the season's end, he was the eighth in the league in scoring and hitting forty-five percent of his threes. Perhaps more promisingly, the highlights were back, and he seemed to care about the game of basketball again. Some of you will say that this is only a temporary change and that he'll be “Charmin” Carter once more. I can't guarantee that you're not right. However, given that he has already worked through about as much negative press as any player in the league to return to being one of the game's best, I wouldn't expect Vince to let himself slip again. 8. Carmelo Anthony Another player whose attitude is considered an issue, Carmelo is going to have to show us all what he can do before we truly believe it. After a promising rookie outing, hopes were high that he'd have another great year. However, like so many before him, he fell prey to the dreaded sophomore slump and found himself averaging slightly less across the board than he had the previous season. That doesn't tell the whole story, though. Following George Karl's arrival in Denver, he managed to fix up and find his form once more, helping the Nuggets get back on track and make the playoffs despite a woeful start. I had my doubts previously, but I'll lay it on the line right now and say what a lot of you don't want to hear: Carmelo will be a star next season. Don't expect him to reach the level of classmates LeBron and Dwyane just yet, but do count on a year that vaults him to All-Star status. With his newfound maturity and composure, ‘Melo will be more than capable of leading a team come next season. If you don't believe in him yet (as I didn't), you soon will. 9. Shawn Marion Sure, he pulled a major choke job in the playoffs, but we can all be forgiven one mistake. Ignoring that minor stain on his escutcheon, we see a do-it-all forward who last year ranked second in the league in double-doubles. Although his shooting motion may make Celine Dion look pretty, he's nothing if not solid from the field, particularly when he finds himself open along the baseline for one his trademark leaners. While I found it difficult to let a twenty-ten player slip all the way to nine, I also couldn't see a man who has never been the go-to guy making it any higher. A great scorer and rebounder he may be, but his ability to take a team on his shoulders is yet to be tested. Until he demonstrates that, I won't be able to bring myself to push him any further up the list. 10. Elton Brand Elton Brand chipped away at my arguments against him as steadily as he operates on the court. I wrote and underlined the word “boring” next to my player report, then replaced it with “reliable”. I scribbled “Unremarkable” beneath, but later added “(but that's a good thing)”. “Bland Brand” became “Steady Elton” in my mind, and with that he moved from the honourable mention pool to the final forward on the list. If it's not yet clear, I'll state plainly that my objections to E.B. were invalid, being based on the fact that I couldn't bring myself to appreciate a player with such a lack of presence. Now that I've learnt to love his game for what it is, I recognise that Brand would, if required, be able to step up and play the lead role in a decent team. For now, however, he's in exile with the Clippers, a team that seems destined to show just enough promise to keep our interest before falling from grace once again. He may never have the chance to be part of a championship-calibre squad, but that's not to say that he couldn't play a big part in such a unit if traded. Honourable mention: Andrei Kirilenko, Rashard Lewis, Chris Webber, Antawn Jamison, Paul Pierce, Grant Hill. Stop by again tomorrow for my rankings of the top five big men in the league, which will be the final installment in this series. Until then, take it easy. - CYE