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Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Ben Wallace

The Accidental Hater

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Image from Chapelle's Show

With Shaquille O’Neal‘s retirement I feel compelled share what unique place Shaq Diesel occupied in my mind.

This won’t be something everyone enjoys because it’s a quite negative place. However, I do think that it represents a side of Shaq’s career that needs to be told along with the good. Is it sour grapes? Call it what you will.

Call me Magic

I was born and raised a Laker fan in Los Angeles. Magic Johnson was the first player I ever knew of. He was the star of the city, and hey, with my last name and my penchant for basketball, how could I now want to call myself “Magic”.

Fast forward to Shaq’s feud with Kobe Bryant. I begin to get more and more irritated. While Kobe’s ball hogging tendencies made me a touch sympathetic to teammates complaining, Shaq’s behavior was so awful that he was the one I felt the frustration toward.

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Howard is the DPOY, but he’s no Garnett

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Kevin Garnett led the league in defensive rebo...

Image via Wikipedia

Dwight Howard just won his 3rd straight Defensive Player of the Year, and I don’t disagree with the choice. In fact, I don’t disagree with any of the three votings that gave Howard the award. However, with Howard becoming the first player to win the award three times in a row comes discussion of how Howard stands compared to the best defenders of other eras, and there is a problem with this: Howard isn’t even the most impactful defender of this era, that would be Kevin Garnett.

Let’s start out by acknowledging that Howard and Garnett don’t play defense the same way. When we think of the great defensive big men, we tend to think of blocked shots. Howard fits that bill significantly more than Garnett. Although lets pause and consider that Howard’s 2.3 BPG this year, is only just ahead of Garnett’s 2.2 BPG peak – and that Howard’s never actually averaged 3 blocks per game in his career. If Howard were putting up these blocking numbers in other eras, we wouldn’t look at him as anything like the shotblocking ideal he often gets talked about today.

Still, thinking about defense in these terms, it’s not at all hard to see why people think Howard’s the superior defender when comparing peak to peak, and especially now as Garnett ages. Add in Howard’s current rebounding edge, and the fact that Orlando always ranks well on defense despite Howard’s supporting cast not having a stellar defensive reputation, and the debate is over before it begins in a lot of people’s minds.

Garnett, Russell & the Horizontal Game  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matt Johnson

April 23, 2011 at 12:07 am

What Kendrick Perkins is doing for the Thunder and The Ben Wallace, Dave Debusschere effect

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Image via USA Today

I’m going to eat some mini crow for the Kendrick Perkins trade. I didn’t post about it on here, but my original reaction was a “calm down” to fans saying the Thunder robbed Boston and now had a title shot. I saw the combined value of Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic’s superior offense due to their range as equally valuable as Perkins D.

Well right now the Thunder are rolling and the Celtics are crumbling. The playoffs will prove how valuable the trade is to both teams, but right now OKC is the one laughing. While switching Green for Perkins has shored up their interior defense, I believe the real impact is intangible. Perkins has become the Thunder’s mental anchor as much as their on court defensive one. He gives them a desperately needed toughness and winning swagger from the center position they needed. He is their on court defensive leader and makes no qualms calling out his younger teammates if they make a mistake defensively. He’s brought the Thunder together defensively. What it reminds me of is Ben Wallace.

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Written by jr.

April 1, 2011 at 12:00 am