Sunday, February 6, 2011

Random NBA Thoughts

Today’s Topic: Random NBA Thoughts

If you don’t like basketball or the NBA, this post is not for you.

- I’m extremely excited about the NBA All-Star game; it has the potential to be the best game since 2001. The teams are evenly matched. The game is in LA. Should be good. The talent level in the NBA now is the best it’s been since 1992.

- Most importantly, I believe this season shows who the alpha dogs will be in the NBA for the next few years. A lot of young talent in the league, very impressed. The frontrunners for players with less than five years experience: Derrick Rose (possible MVP this season). Kevin Love (stuck on a bottom feeding team). Blake Griffin & Eric Gordon (Clippers..more on them later). Russell Westbrook & Kevin Durant (playoff team).

- I bought my stock in Kevin Love when he came out of UCLA. As of now, my investment is looking pretty good. Even when he was stuck playing behind Al Jefferson, the potential was there, so I held on to my stock. Now, he’s leading the league in rebounds, avg 22 ppg, and is shooting 45% from three. He’s 6’10 260; he’s like Moses Malone/Dirk. He’s worked on his game, but he’s stuck on a losing team. Once he gets out of his rookie deal and moves to another team, people will start giving him more credit. Arguably, Love’s been better than Blake Griffin, but because Griffin’s game is more exciting, he receives more recognition, and publicity.

- I worried about Blake Griffin once the Clippers drafted him. The Clippers are a graveyard franchise. Historically known for torn ACL’s, knee injuries, overweight players, and losing. Since 1984, the Clippers have only won one playoff series. Once Griffin was drafted, it was only a matter of time before he tore an ACL, and officially became a Clipper (Benoit Benjamin is a lifetime member). Sure enough, during his first preseason, Blake suffers a season ending knee injury. I figured: “that sounds about right.” Out for the season, I did not think his career would amount to anything simply because he is a Clipper. Blake bounced back though, he’s been ballin. If you’re a fan of basketball, him and Kevin Love are two big men you have to watch play. Great IQ’s. Solid footwork. Competitive. They’ll be this generations argument for best PF. My generation was Duncan vs. KG; Duncan won. Before that, it was Barkley vs. Malone; Malone barely wins.

- This next generation of basketball fans needs a cultural icon. For my generation it was Allen Iverson. When Jordan was on the rise to being an icon, I was 5/6 years old. I remember the commercials, shoes, and highlights, but I was too young to fully grasp what was going on. I was caught up in the hype. I distinctly remember where I was when AI was drafted, and have witnessed the change in not only the league, but in black America, specifically black men. AI represents my generation. Everything from his look, to how he approaches the game gave so many men between the ages of 20-35 an identity, for better or worse. Before AI, there were no tattoos, celebrated crossovers, braided hair, platinum chains, players wore suits to games, and listened to R&B. Once he arrived, he influenced the players around him, and they conformed to his look. It created a generation gap between players. The older players saw his image as detrimental to the league; others embraced it, and copied him. There is a dress code in the NBA largely because of AI. Players have multiple tattoos now because AI said it was cool in ’97. They watched AI has a child, and are now mirror images of him. Black men in this age group ride for AI; Kobe, not at all. They like AI because he reminds fans of themselves. Allen Iverson is a fiercely devoted family man who is notorious for partying and cheating on his wife. An extremely competitive person who hates to practice, yet hates to lose. The smallest guy on the floor trying the hardest. Sees the big picture, hates small details. This personality will never win a ring, and yet it will be the most intriguing personality in the league because it is complex. Just like his fans. This is what made AI a cultural icon. He was an original. Not contrived by Nike, or David Stern. He did what he wanted, and corporate America came calling to him. Similar in a way to what Lil Wayne is doing now...back to the original point, there isn’t a cultural icon playing in the NBA now, and I don’t see anyone with that potential. Lebron James is popular and good at basketball, but kids do not want to look or dress like him. Same with D. Wade, Kobe, and Boris Diaw.

- The biggest underachiever in the NBA during my lifetime was Derrick Coleman. He had the skill set to be one of the greatest players ever. 6’10, 230. Instead, he did only enough to get his next big paycheck. Every time I watch the ’94 All-Star game I think about what could have been….damn shame. 2nd on my list was Chris Webber. At least Webber’s problem wasn’t self-destructive. Webber was afraid of the moment, he was afraid of being the man. Coleman drank too much, and didn’t practice.

- I vividly remember the Kings vs. LA during the early 00’s. Webber, the best player on his team, would routinely pass up open shots in clutch situations to Mike Bibby. The Kings would never get over the hump of being contenders in the Western Conference with Chris Webber as their best player. You need your best player to want the ball in the 4th qtr. For Webber, it goes back to the “timeout” called in ’93 vs. UNC. Since then, he has not been the same player. When Webber retired, he had made more money playing basketball than anyone not named Shaq. His skill set could’ve made him one of the all time greats. Incredible hands. Solid ball handler. Great footwork. Inside/Outside game. He had the total package; however, you would not want him to take the last shot in a game. You would lose. In the end, he had a solid career. Made a lot of money, all-star, dated Tyra Banks, and he’s an even better TV analyst. More people would choose Webber’s career, than Robert Horry’s…which is sad.

that’s all folks © porky pig

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