Put Rodman In


For far too long it has been ignored but such a crime cannot continue: Dennis Rodman deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Indeed, the Hall is all about rewarding players who contributed to winning and who help tell the history of the game of basketball; and if the committee truly believes those things, they should ignore all of Rodman’s off the court transgressions (hell, some of them were even on the court) and make sure that his name is forever mentioned in the same breath as some of the greatest players of all time.

Listed at all of 6’8, Rodman is one of the best rebounders in the history of the NBA despite playing in the same era as Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Patrick Ewing to name a few. Not convinced? Have a look at the graphic below that lists the 25 players with the most rebounds in NBA history (players with an asterisk next to their name have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame):

Rank
Player
Total Rebounds
1
Wilt Chamberlain*
23924
2
Bill Russell*
21620
3
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*
17440
4
Elvin Hayes*
16279
5
Moses Malone*
16212
6
Karl Malone*
14968
7
Robert Parish*
14715
8
Nate Thurmond*
14464
9
Walt Bellamy*
14241
10
Wes Unseld*
13769
11
Hakeem Olajuwon*
13748
12
Buck Williams
13017
13
Jerry Lucas*
12942
14
Shaquille O'Neal
12921
15
Bob Pettit*
12849
16
Charles Barkley*
12546
17
Dikembe Mutombo
12359
18
Paul Silas
12357
19
Charles Oakley
12205
20
Kevin Garnett
12188
21
Dennis Rodman
11954
22
Kevin Willis
11901
23
Patrick Ewing*
11607
24
Elgin Baylor
11463
25
Tim Duncan*
11335

The list does display an elite class of rebounders but then again, if you play long enough in the NBA and avoid injuries, you can amass numbers just through longevity. So instead, let’s look at the top 20 rebounders in NBA history, but this time we will list them by rebounding average (players with an asterisk next to their name have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame):

Rank
Player
RPG
1
Wilt Chamberlain*
22.89
2
Bill Russell*
22.45
3
Bob Pettit*
16.22
4
Jerry Lucas*
15.61
5
Nate Thurmond*
15.00
6
Wes Unseld*
13.99
7
Walt Bellamy*
13.65
8
Dave Cowens*
13.63
9
Elgin Baylor*
13.55
10
Dennis Rodman
13.12
11
Willis Reed*
12.94
12
Gus Johnson*
12.68
13
Dwight Howard
12.66
14
Elvin Hayes*
12.49
15
Moses Malone*
12.20
16
Dolph Schayes*
12.08
17
Bill Bridges
11.94
18
Harry Gallatin*
11.89
19
Charles Barkley*
11.69
20
Tim Duncan
11.60

After carefully reviewing the graphic above, you might have noticed that there are only four players in the list that have not yet been inducted into the Hall of Fame: Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard are not yet eligible because they are active players (they will both probably get in at some point) and the other two are Bill Bridges and Dennis Rodman. Bridges played during the 60’s and 70’s where the pace of the game was faster and where there were more rebounds available due to the lack of efficient shooters. Rodman on the other is clearly one of the best rebounders of NBA history given the fact that he dominated that aspect of the game like few have. Have a quick glance below at some of his rebounding accomplishments:

-Led the league in offensive rebounds six times, which is second all time to Moses Malone who did it eight times.
-Led the league in defensive rebounds three times, which is second all time only to Kevin Garnett who has done it five times.
-Led the league in total rebounds four times, which is third all time only to Wilt Chamberlain who did it 11 times and Moses Malone who did it five times.
-Led the league in rebounds per game seven times, which is second all time only to Wilt Chamberlain who did it 11 times.

Let me reiterate this again: Dennis Rodman was 6’8 and yet he played like he was a seven footer as he routinely cleaned the glass. His rebounding prowess alone should place him in the Hall and yet, he was more than just a rebounder. Indeed, Rodman was such a ferocious defender (especially in his younger Pistons days), that his coaches would often have him guard the other team’s best player, regardless of position. One night, he might have been asked to guard a perimeter player like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen or Michael Jordan (you know, only five of the best 40 players to have ever played basketball) and the next he would be asked to bang inside with the likes of Karl Malone, Charles Barkley or Shaquille O’Neal. In case you’re wondering just how good of a defender Rodman truly was, he was voted seven times to the NBA All-Defensive 1st Team (to put this in perspective, Ben Wallace has been voted to the 1st team five times) and also collected two Defensive Player of the Year awards.

For all intents and purposes, other than Bill Russell, no other player in NBA history embodies the notion of defense quite like Rodman. Although I touched on this in the previous paragraph, it warrants being repeated: never in the rich history of the NBA has there been and will there be another player capable of guarding Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal. Never.

And yet, here we are still discussing whether Rodman deserves a spot in the prestigious Hall simply because he lived an eccentric life, was fond of tattoos and once wore a wedding dress out in public. It is high time that we looked past those issues and recognize that the man was a once in a generation type of player that poured blood, sweat and tears on the hardwood on his way to five championship rings. If that can’t get you inducted, I’m not sure what can anymore…

Saying Goodbye To Sheed


With Rasheed Wallace’s career now over, his legacy will be that of perhaps the most volatile indifferent (quite an oxymoron, I know) player in NBA history because of the numerous technical fouls accumulated as well as the scowls and over the top reactions to the calls of officials. In addition, this past season alone, Celtics fans watched Wallace as he carried some added weight during the course of the year (people in Boston might as well get familiar with the idea considering that Shaquille O’Neal is now part of the Celtics), fired away some ill-advised three point shots all the while not even bothering to run down to the post. His defensive rotations were at times slow and he seemed completely bothered by the idea of actually playing during the course of the regular season.

Once the playoffs started, Sheed looked like he was more invested into the team. He pulled down tough rebounds in traffic, made some hard fouls and hit some dagger shots late in ball games. In addition, he helped slow down Dwight Howard in the Eastern Conference Finals and made life a living hell for Pau Gasol in the Finals.  And yet, in a few years when his name comes up, he will be simply be remembered as an overly emotional player that racked up technical fouls. But the truth is Wallace was so much more.

Just a few years ago, Rasheed Wallace was the most talented power forward in the league. No one player in the league could stop his combination of post moves as well as his ferocity when attacking the rim (and for good measure, he would step out to knock down a few threes). Seriously, Sheed was like a mix of Pau Gasol and Amare Stoudemire in the way he attacked and punished his defenders. He had the best turn around jump shot in the post (high release that prevented people from blocking it), a great drop step, always finished around the basket, displayed good leaping ability and for good measure guarded every player in the frontcourt (small forwards, power forwards and centers).

We tend to forget just how skilled he was because of two events:

1. Game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals
The Portland Trail Blazers entered the fourth quarter with a 16-point lead at the Staples Center, only to miss shot after shot as the Lakers mounted a great comeback on their way to a win. The Blazers defeat is seen as one of the biggest choke jobs in sports history and yet, check out the former Tar Heel’s line from the game:
30 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 13-26 FGs, 2-2 3PT FGs.

The only reason the Blazers were in the game was because Wallace carried them for most of the game. But he, as well as every other player from that team, carries the stigma of players that were talented, but not talented enough.

2. Game 5 of the 2005 NBA Finals
With the Pistons leading by two points  (series tied 2-2) and a few seconds left in overtime, Spurs forward Robert Horry inbounded the ball to Manu Ginobili in the corner (left baseline of the frontcourt at the three point line) and Rasheed Wallace left Horry (big mistake) to double team Ginobili. The Argentine then passed the ball back to Horry who hit the game winning three point shot. The Spurs went on to eventually win the title while everybody blamed the loss on Wallace’s mistake. Yet, no one ever mentions that the 2005 Finals went seven games because Sheed did one of the best defensive jobs ever on Tim Duncan. TD’s numbers during the 2005 Finals were:
20.6 PG, 14.1 RPG, 2.1 BPG, 54-129 FGs (41.9 FG%)

When you couple these two events with the fact that Wallace had a high propensity to accumulate technical fouls, it’s easy to overlook his overall game. Indeed, he reminds me in that sense of MC Hammer: we all remember him as perhaps the best artist to ever go bankrupt. Yet, rarely is it mentioned that his Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt’Em album is the highest selling rap album of all time. Yes, all time. So the next time you think back to Rasheed Wallace, it’s perfectly fine to remember his on court behavior, but let’s also remember that he was an extremely talented big man. Although his team lost the Lakers in the 2010 Finals, Wallace went throwback and showed us his low post repertoire one last time in Game 7; and really his performance makes it easier for all of us to say goodbye to Sheed…..

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A Day Inside The Mind Of Allen Iverson



Hi, my name is Allen Iverson,
But I bet you already knew that. Right now, there is something wrong with the NBA. All I have done for the past 14 years is lay it all on the line during games and play to the best of my abilities. And yet, it seems as though no one respects my game anymore. I feel like back in high school, when I was wrongfully prosecuted and eventually released (you’ve seen my story on ESPN’s 30 for 20 documentary); the odds are getting stacked against me, but I will prevail.

For some reason, NBA general managers don’t seem to like the swagger I bring to the basketball court. How else do you explain the fact that no one wants to return my calls? Look at my credentials:

-11 NBA All-Star selections
-1996-97 NBA Rookie of the Year
-2000-01 NBA All-Star Game MVP
-2000-01 NBA MVP
-2004-05 All-Star Game MVP
-6th all time in points per game (26.7 PPG)
-7th all time in steals per game (2.2 SPG)
-22nd all time in total points scored (24,368 points)
-45th al time in assists per game (6.2 APG)

Let’s be honest, I’m going to the Hall of Fame baby. So what if I’ve only made eight playoff appearances? Who cares right? It’s clear to me that when I’m on my game, my teams win. I’m not a big fan of practice and anything that’s a bit too team oriented, but if you make sure to always focus on just me, I’ll always play to the best of my abilities. Seriously, every now and then, I might light up the scoreboard as I make jump shots rain from all over the place. But please understand, it’s all about me though.

As a dude that’s a big fan of music, I feel that the song that best captures my abilities is Tie Me Down by the New Boyz. They sing about how no one can lock them up and I feel that that describes Allen Iverson perfectly; doesn’t matter that they aren’t talking about basketball.

Now that I think about it, maybe the big fuss that these GMs have is that they don’t like the fact that I roll with a posse and that I have exhibited a destructive behavior at every stop I’ve made…Nah, forget that! No way in hell! I’m Allen Iverson. I’ve been to the Finals baby! Hell, no disrespect to Chris Webber and his dudes, but I was and still am the biggest generational shift in basketball. The Fab Five was good but they didn’t have my crossover, my braids or my tattoos. I started a new movement; I made the league what it is today.

 If people in the NBA are too stubborn to see just how great I am, maybe it’s time I went elsewhere so people can appreciate my talent. Call Kobe, call Yao and call that other baldheaded dude…..his name escapes me right now…..Steve? No that’s not it. DeShawn maybe? Nah. Whatever. I’m talking about the dude that ate Vaseline and cried on webcam [his yes man says: Stephon Marbury]. Yes, that dude; call all those dudes up and tell them there’s about to be a hostile takeover in China because Allen Iverson is far too great to not be playing basketball….

NFL Picks Challenge (Week 3)

Records
Belgar: 21-11
B-Wet: 15-17
Brandy: 18-14 (hungover this week)
Bolanile: 15-17
Carlos: 21-11
CatsKaos: 21-11
Chaos: 18-14
Chelle: 16-16
Crunk: 21-11
Cutlergal: 19-13
Eric W: 9-7 (missed 1st week)
Gamblaar: 19-13
Heller: 15-17
Jon: 20-12
Karen: 17-15
Kateloon: 18-14
Lani: 16-16
Liv: 16-16
Mari: 18-14
MW: 17-15
Nathan: 20-12
SamJags: 18-14
Shyne: 18-14
Sportsbrain: 9-7 (missed 1st week)
SportsDebate: 17-15
SoCal: 20-12
Stevo: 16-16
Teri: 15-17
TKO: 18-14


Belgar B-Wet Brandy Bolanile Carlos CatsKaos
TEN NYG NYG TEN TEN
TB TB PIT PIT PIT
CIN CIN CAR CIN CIN
BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL
DAL HOU HOU HOU HOU
SF SF KC SF KC
DET MIN MIN MIN MIN
NE NE NE NE NE
NO NO ATL NO NO
WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS
PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI
OAK ARI ARI ARI ARI
SD SD SD SD SD
IND IND IND IND IND
MIA MIA MIA MIA NYJ
GB GB CHI GB GB
Chaos Chelle Crunk CutlerGal Eric W. Gamblaar
TEN NYG NYG NYG NYG TEN
PIT PIT TB PIT PIT PIT
CAR CIN CIN CAR CIN CIN
BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL
DAL HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU
KC SF SF KC KC SF
MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN
NE NE NE BUF NE NE
NO NO NO ATL NO NO
WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS
PHI PHI JAX PHI PHI PHI
OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK
SD SD SD SD SD SD
IND DEN IND DEN IND IND
MIA MIA MIA MIA NYJ NYJ
GB GB GB CHI CHI  
Heller Jon Karen Kateloon Lani Liv
TEN NYG NYG TEN TEN NYG
PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT
CIN CIN CIN CIN CIN CIN
BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL
HOU DAL HOU HOU HOU DAL
SF SF SF SF SF KC
DET MIN MIN MIN MIN MIN
NE NE NE NE NE NE
NO ATL NO NO NO NO
WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS
PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI
ARI OAK ARI ARI ARI ARI
SD SD SD SD SD SD
IND IND IND DEN IND IND
MIA NYJ NYJ NYJ MIA NYJ
GB GB GB GB MIA
Mari MW Nathan SamJags Shyne SportsBrain
NYG TEN TEN NYG TEN TEN
PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT
CIN CAR CIN CIN CIN CIN
BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL
DAL DAL HOU HOU HOU HOU
SF KC SF SF SF SF
MIN DET MIN MIN DET MIN
NE NE NE NE NE NE
ATL NO NO NO NO NO
WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS
JAX PHI JAX JAX PHI PHI
ARI OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK
SD SD SD SD SD SD
IND IND IND IND IND IND
MIA NYJ MIA NYJ MIA MIA
GB GB GB GB GB GB
SportsD.SoCal Stevo Teri TKO
NYG NYG NYG NYG TEN
PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT
CIN CAR CIN CIN CIN
BAL BAL BAL BAL BAL
HOU DAL HOU DAL HOU
KC SF KC SF SF
MIN MIN DET DET MIN
NE NE NE NE NE
NO NO NO ATL NO
WAS WAS WAS WAS WAS
PHI PHI PHI PHI JAX
OAK ARI ARI OAK ARI
SD SD SD SD SD
DEN IND IND IND IND
MIA NYJ NYJ NYJ MIA
GB GB GB GB GB

A Sleeping Giant: The Orlando Magic




This past off-season might have been arguably the most tumultuous one in NBA history given the players that switched teams during free agency. The biggest winners during this past summer have been (in no specific order) the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls, The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. These four teams acquired players that could potentially help them get to the NBA Finals and win it. Let’s have a quick breakdown of the acquisitions.
 
Los Angeles Lakers
Matt Barnes
Steve Blake
Theo Ratliff

Boston Celtics
Jermaine O’neal
Shaquilel O’Neal
Von Wafer
Delotne West

Miami Heat
Chris Bosh
Eddie House
Juwan Howard
Zydrunas Ilgauskas
LeBron James
Mike Miller

Chicago Bulls
Carlos Boozer
Kyle Korver
Kurt Thomas
CJ Watson

Just in case your memory is a bit faulty, the Lakers and Celtics played each other head to head in last season’s Finals and yet managed to get better. Needless to say, the road to the NBA Finals should be an interesting one but it does raise an intriguing question: have the Orlando Magic been paying attention? Review the teams listed above, three of them are in the Eastern Conference. Given the fact that Orlando has championship aspirations and that their team was eliminated by Boston in the Eastern Conference Finals, don’t they clearly need to upgrade their roster?

This is not to say that the Magic are now a middle of the pack team; but rather that the best line up they trotted out last season was not good enough to win a title. An overhaul isn’t necessary but the team needs to make two important acquisitions. Let’s have a look at them.

1. Acquisition #1: A defensive stopper
If Orlando is going to win an NBA championship, they will at some point have the beat two or three of the teams listed above. As a result, it’s imperative they have someone on the roster to guard the likes of Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. Magic fans will quickly come to the defense of Mickael Pietrus and say that with Matt Barnes gone he should be able to rise to the challenge. The truth is that Pietrus (same goes for Quentin Richardson by the way) is a decent defender, however, he is not the pest that Matt Barnes was last year. Barnes understood how to get inside his opponents heads and get them out of their games.

Keep in mind though, given the fact that the Magic are a team that spreads the court with shooters to allow Dwight Howard to operate; it’s of utmost importance to get a defensive player that is also capable of making open shots. So who are these would be stoppers? I have two in mind.

a. Tayshaun Prince
He’s 6’9 and became known as a stopper for doing a great job on Allen Iverson (in 2002 playoffs) and Kobe Bryant (in 2004 Finals) in the playoffs; just two of the most prolific scorers in NBA history. He would be able to play four positions for the Magic (on offense and defense) and keep defenses honest from deep where he shot 37.0% from three point range last year (also a career 37.0% 3PT FG shooter). Prince will make $11.1 million this coming season and the Pistons do not seem interested in giving him an extension; therefore a package of Marcin Gortat ($6.3 million) and Chris Duhon ($3.3 million) might just be enough to pry him away from Detroit.

b. James Posey
If the Pistons decide to hold out for a better offer, Orlando can always look at James Posey. He can guard multiple positions, has been part of two championship teams (2006 Heat and 2008 Celtics) and is a good shooter (shot 33.5% from deep last year but is a 35.1% three point shooter for his career; not great but not bad either). Since Posey makes $6.5 million, he could be traded for Marcin Gortat or possibly a package featuring Brandon Bass.

2. Acquisition #2: An elite playmaker
Dwight Howard is a really good defensive player (if he cuts down the fouls, he will be a truly great defensive force); however a great offensive player he is not. Further exacerbating the problem is that far too often he is treated like a good Sunday television show during football season; in other words, only a few people are watching him (yes CSI: Miami, that shall be your fate). Quite often, Howard works hard to get himself open only for his teammate with the ball to completely ignore him and take a tough shot or pass it to another player who is covered.

The solution to this issue would be to bring on board an elite playmaker capable of getting the ball to Howard when he’s open. Mind you, considering the fact that Howard is not much of an offensive option late in the fourth quarter; it is imperative that this said playmaker be able to assert himself offensively late in games and carry the team to the finish. Just who is it that fits that description perfectly? Well….

After watching Steve Nash spoon feed Amare Stoudemire for dunks over the course of these past few seasons and carry the Suns offense during the same time span, wouldn’t it make perfect sense to bring Nash to Orlando? Detractors might point to Nash’s less than stellar defense; but please remember he has never played on a team that actually placed a huge emphasis on defense. Also, having Howard protect the rim behind him will actually help mask his deficiencies as a defensive player.

So just how would the Magic bring Nash to Florida? Glad you asked.  Orlando could trade Vince Carter ($17.3 million contract with team option, meaning Phoenix could make him a free agent after the 2010-2011 season and get cap space), Jameer Nelson ($6.7 million) and Ryan Anderson for Steve Nash ($10.3 million) and Jason Richardson ($14.4 million expiring contract).

The Suns lose Nash (who has two years left on his contract) but get a younger Jameer Nelson to replace him. Also, with Vince Carter in a contract year, Phoenix could get a solid three months out of him and then trade him at the deadline for perhaps draft picks (Suns owner Robert Sarver loves those) or a good young player. If Carter pouts, he can either be bought out or just let go at the end of the season. Furthermore, the Suns would get Ryan Anderson in this trade; who just happens to be the type of player the Suns like (size and shooting touch).

The Magic on the other hand get a premiere point guard to feed their All-Star center and also to get open shots for the likes of J.J. Redick, Rashard Lewis and Mickael Pietrus. In addition, Nash’s shooting touch (career 48.9%FG and career 43.2% 3PT FG) will be a welcomed addition in Orlando as well as his ability to raise his game late in games (possibly the most underrated clutch player in the NBA); thus removing the burden to make plays late from players who typically shrink from those responsibilities.

Jason Richardson could remain on the team, be bought out or traded away for a potential draft pick. Mind you, his presence on the team would actually bolster the Magic line up given that he would bring shooting and athleticism to the team.

 Not bad right? Well just remember that before acquiring Nash and Richardson, we got a defensive stopper on the team in the form of either Tayshaun Prince or James Posey. How do you like the Magic’s chances now to compete with the likes of Los Angeles, Boston, Miami and Chicago? And yet, Orlando stood pat during the summer. Let’s see if things change between now and February…..