|Posted on December 26, 2012 at 10:50 PM|
This season has been filled with spectacular highlights, so here are the best of the year so far, with additional analysis on how the NBA should fix the slam dunk contest, the one and only Javale McGee, and the little-known player that is somehow the second best center in the league.
* If there's no video, click on the links to see the plays.
1. Harrison Barnes dunks on Nikola Pekovic
Top 5 things about this play:
5) Andres Biedrins’s incredibly awkward one-legged celebration
4) I just found out Nikola Pekovic is second among NBA centers in scoring (I told you the world should have ended last Friday)! He’s also second among centers in free-throw percentage, third in offensive rebounds, and first in moving picks (every single pick he sets is either what I call an “extended pick,” in which Pekovic sets himself at first and then takes and extra step into the defender as he’s passing by, or what I call a “rotating pick,” in which his point guard comes back over the pick the opposite way and Pekovic does a 180-degree spin and obliterates the defender).
3) When I look at the Minnesota Timberwolves’ starting lineup, I see a lot of white guys, a lot of Luke Ridnour, and not a whole lot of defense, yet they are four spots ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in the standings
2) Barnes’ stare-down
1) David Lee’s completely unnecessary spinning pass
Both Gerald and Jeff Green got called for technical fouls for taunting, which reminds me that the NBA referees need to take it easy on the technical fouls. I understand that they don’t want brawls and they don’t the NBA being seen as an unprofessional organization, but giving free points to the opposing team when a player looks at an opponent or simply curses in frustration is absurd. There’s no need to discipline NBA players like kindergarteners, especially when those two or three free throws a night end up changing the outcomes of a lot more games than you’d think.
When it comes to the dunk contest, here’s my Christmas wish list (and if the NBA wants people to actually watch this thing, it would be wise for them to pay attention):
- Make the competitors Russell Westbrook (he said he wants to be in it), Terrence Ross (we should let the Raptors win something this season), Gerald Green (see play #5), James White (here’s an amazing dunk contest he and Gerald Green had in Russia), Javale McGee (see play #11), and Deandre Jordan (see this dunk).
- Go back to six contestants like it was in the good old days (I think it goes without saying that none of those six should be Chase Budinger), and if we don’t have enough time for that, then get rid of the Haier Shooting Stars... actually, we should get rid of that garbage anyway (do you think fans want to see Dennis Scott air-balling half-court shots or Javale McGee dunking on two baskets at once?).
- Why is Dwight Howard all of a sudden a horrible defender? Please don’t tell me he actually thought Varejao was going to shoot an 18-footer?
- The Cleveland Cavaliers need to trade Anderson Varejao. His stock never has been and will never be higher — he’s averaging career highs in points, assists, rebounds, steals, free throws. However, there’s no way 14 points a game from him is sustainable, he’s already 30 years old, they can’t build a team around him, and they can definitely get pieces for him. So why not deal him to Oklahoma City for, let’s say, Kendrick Perkins, Jeremy Lamb, and the Raptors’ draft pick (The Cavs get what should be a top-5 draft pick, the Thunder get an obscenely rich man’s Nick Collison that would otherwise be rotting like a banana in Cleveland).
9. Various alley-oops courtesy of the Los Angeles Clippers
I looked up Javale McGee’s per-36-mintutes statistics, and they’re off the charts (20.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.8 blocks, 60% field goal shooting!), which led me to wonder why the Denver Nuggets are starting Kosta Koufos at center over McGee, to whom they gave a $44 million contract this past offseason. Additionally, McGee is arguably the most athletic player in the league, and one of the better shot-blockers, so he would help a Denver team that is 25th in the NBA in points allowed.
But after some research, I found that Kosta Koufos has the highest plus-minus on Denver’s roster (+100), and McGee has the second lowest (-16). Pretty strange, right? And then it hit me… he’s frickin’ Javale McGee! – the same guy who shoots 15-foot hook shots and then runs back on defense like his life depends on it, the same guy who thinks he’s on a volleyball court, the same guy who missed an open free-throw line dunk in a game and then tried the same dunk again a week later with a defender in his way, the same guy who passes the ball to the other team as often as he passes it to his own team, and the same guy who thinks he’s a point guard and then heaves the ball 25 feet out of bounds!
13. Various ankle-breakers
Categories: Top 10