Kobe Bryant Haters: EXPOSED!

It is fantastic to be back on the keyboard and we are coming back with an explosive, condense and controversial write up. This article is NOT intended to be edgy nor unconventional for the sake off it, it is to keep narratives in check and objectivity to thrive. Now, do I hate Kobe? I use to, what made me change my mind was appreciation. The greatness off him as a player and looking at different point of views of other people. There will be plenty of mentions about LeBron James in this article, I love LeBron as a player and a person but I am not going to stand for biased and subjective point of views where if you say anything wrong about him, you are considered a “hater”. This is what is wrong with the world at the moment, we never attempt to look at another individuals perspective without instant judgement or distaste and pick apart the flaws and positives to their argument or point. Before I get into this article, I would like to give one of my favourite YouTubers, RBTheBreakThrough a shout out for the inspiration to create this article. I will ensure to link his YouTube channel down below in the references as I would feel bad about myself for believing I fully copied him or made his exact same points, which is not my intentions whatsoever. The points will be created down below as a list and will have a breakdown to elaborate why each one is either false or misinterpreted by fans.

Kobe Bryant was “INEFFICIENT”

Mmmmmm…. This is an extremely poor argument against Kobe Bryant. This is a player who is known to favour the mid range jump shot as his bread and butter, knowing that Kobe statistically shoots at an average of 45.1% of his FGA and 43.35 FG% at a distance of 10-23ft during his considered prime (2007-2010). Would that not make the overall FG% more impressive knowing that Kobe shot a majority of his attempts from the most inefficient shooting area on the court? He was extremely efficient at the worst shot in the NBA. That is impressive, and not only considering the other points that make this argument flawed is Kobe shot the majority of his 2 pointers off the dribble, which makes the shot more complex to execute and requires excellent hand to eye and spatial awareness. Once again, stats to back this up shows that 34.7% of his 2 pointers were assisted, that is not much at all and experience as a basketball player can further be practical evidence as to why Kobe’s shot selection can NEVER be undisputed by fans or analysts who have never touched a basketball or played. Could you argue that Kobe was inefficient with his shot selection? Absolutely not, because Kobe understood this was his game, the bread and butter being the mid range jumpshot with counter dribble moves that allow for Bryant to attack the basket as defenders closed in. My final point, Kobe was not being guarded by scrubs during his play days and zone defense was viable option for teams back then as well. Context matters when it comes to statistics and this is something that analysts of modern era television do not understand.

Kobe has not carried a team like LeBron James has

First off, let me give enourmous recognition to LeBron for his incredible run in this recent postseason. It was remarkabale and a treat as a fan of basketball to watch such dominance by one player occur. Fans though do not realise had a rough time returning to true dominance and the teammates he had during 2005-2007 were absolutely horrendous. Players like Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, Devean George and Chris Mihm like do you consider these guys to be better than LeBron James’s teammates on paper? Of course not, these players were bad. Yet Kobe made the playoffs with these players. Not only that, he almost pulled one of the biggest upsets in NBA history in 2006 against the powerhouse 62-20 Phoenix Suns with an MVP Steve Nash and Amare Stoudimire but they blew a 3-1 lead. To be up 3-1 to the best team in basketball with the supporting cast Bryant had, is remarkably impressive. 2008 is Kobe’s MVP season, people will always argue for CP3 to win this MVP which I disagree. Let’s provide context to this argument, Kobe had NO all stars, Kobe’s team had a better winning record by one more win, Kobe was more impact on both ends off the floor, played all 82 games, played on a torn pinky finger, lead his squad in PPG, APG, SPG, MPG and Games Played. Pau Gasol was NOT an all star that season, David West this season specifically was superior to Gasol. Averaging 20.6 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 1.3 BPG on 48.2 FG%. The Western Conference in 2008 was insane, where the 10th seed Portland Trail Blazers had a 41-41 record with Brandon Roy, young LaMarcus Aldridge and an excellent bench with Outlaw, Jack, Frye and James Jones. It was competition at it’s peak, and Kobe lead this squad to the NBA Finals averaging 30.1 PPG/5.7 RPG/5.6 APG/1.7 SPG on 47.9 FG% in the postseason. Those are phenomenal numbers for a shooting guard. All this context behind Bryant’s MVP season makes his efforts so incredible and impressive, the squad from 2006-07 did not change much either coming into this season. So yes, Kobe has taken a squad to the NBA Finals with not so much talent but people will say he had the right system around him, which is true. LeBron had a system that is specified to him as well, so why knock back Kobe for that?

Shaq carried Kobe to win 3 titles

No he did not. That’s an attempt for fans to nullify Kobe’s legacy in order to increase another player’s legacy. Let’s take a lot at some stats during 2000-2003:

Kobe Bryant 1999-2000:

Regular Season:

22.5 PPG/6.3 RPG/4.9 APG/1.6 SPG on 46.8 FG%

Playoffs:

21.1 PPG/4.5 RPG/4.4 APG/1.45 BPG/1.45 SPG on 44.2 FG%

2000-01:

Regular Season:

28.5 PPG/5.9 RPG/5.0 APG/1.68 SPG on 46.4 FG%

Playoffs:

29.4 PPG/7.3 RPG/6.1 APG/1.56 SPG on 46.9 FG%

2001-02:

Regular Season:

25.2 PPG/5.5 RPG/5.5 APG/1.48 SPG on 46.9 FG%

Playoffs:

26.6 PPG/5.8 RPG/4.6 APG/1.42 SPG on 43.4 FG%

2002-03:

Regular Season:

30.0 PPG/6.9 RPG/5.9 APG/2.2 SPG on 45.1 FG%

Playoffs:

32.1 PPG/5.1 RPG/5.2 APG/1.42 SPG on 43.2 FG%

Yeah Kobe no doubt with 32 PPG at 24 years old was carried by Shaq…….The fact that still people believe this is concerning and tell us what type of generation we are bringing up. Evidence is shown in the 2000 NBA Finals Game 4, Shaq fouled out early in overtime and Kobe took over the game to help get a 3-1 lead over the Pacers ended the game of with 28 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Kobe Bryant had a below average impact in the 2000 NBA Finals due to having an ankle injury. Another thing to know is Kobe won 2 titles without Shaq, this was in 2009 and 2010 and an NBA Finals appearance n 2008. Shaq and Kobe were like the principles of yin and yang, it is opposite forces in play styles that complement one another and it is a balance of the two players. At this time, Shaq can not win without Kobe and Kobe can not win without Shaq.

Kobe Bryant was a ballhog

Yeah sure, Kobe had his moments as a player where he failed badly in big moments like in the 2004 NBA Finals, 1997 Postseason against Utah Jazz with the airballs he attempted and the 2008 NBA Finals. But didn’t Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird have these moments. Kobe has been quoted to be a ballhog by fans for years and to call him anything else, you would be called a “Kobestan”. For someone that was such a ballhog, his squads were always among the best in assists per game for multiple seasons. More team stats!

2005-06: 9th in Assists Per Game: 21.1

2006-07: 6th in Assists Per Game: 22.6

2007-08: 4th in Assists Per Game: 24.4

2008-09: 2nd in Assists Per Game: 23.3

 

The triangle offense allows for an equal opportunity of shots and people must remember, Bryant is a shooting guard. Objectively speaking, a shooting guard’s goal is to score points for his squad not to be an all time great facilitator that people have expectations for him to be. That is the issue with LeBron, Kobe, Jordan, Bird, Magic, Wilt, Kareem and Shaq, each athlete had different purpose, play styles, role and contributions on a championship team that it makes it difficult to differentiate the all time greats and their impact. Different eras, different defensive matchups depending on their strengths and weaknesses, different mindsets on both sides off the floor, different context behind statistics, coaches and even teammates. It is too difficult, so why are we critiquing Kobe for something his team required for him to do. Which was be the all out scorer and be a facilitator when it was necessary. Through 1999-2013 regular season, Kobe averaged 5.2 assists per game and Jordan throughout the 1986-1998 regular season, averaged 5.4 assists per game yet there is no individuals calling MJ a “ballhog”.

Kobe Bryant is not as clutch as people say he is

Playoff game on the line shot attempts:

Kobe Bryant: 7-25 for 28% shooting

LeBron James: 5-12 for 41.7% shooting

Regular season game on the line shot attempts:

LeBron James: 23-69 for 33.3% shooting

Kobe Bryant: 36-115 for 31.3% shooting

BUT……

People don’t want to show these statistics….. Observe

Once again, the anti-Kobe agenda rises to the occasion! Provided with the better statistics, it displays that Bryant is a more superior athlete in the clutch. Now, this is NOT to say LeBron isn’t clutch cause after the 2018 Playoffs, that myth has been exposed for sure and this source is from 2017, so it may need a proper update on these statistics. What should really surprise people is the assist numbers for Kobe! LeBron is an all time great passer there is no questioning that, so to see Kobe really be a better and more efficient facilitator is surprising. Statistics do not actually present an individual’s willingness to take a shot and killer instinct defines itself to being fearless into taking the tough shots in the closest and more nerve racking moments.

Kobe completely replicated MJ’s game!

I really do not understand how this can be a knock on Kobe, people complain no one uses the skyhook in today’s game. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Kobe seemed to have more complex footwork to Jordan, more in favour off utilising the jab step, attempts much more difficult shots to Jordan and created a more devastating separation off the dribble. It is just these very small things that really do differentiate Jordan and Kobe’s scoring arsenal and how they did it. This was something I tended to agree with people on but it really took an INCREDIBLE focus on minuscule tendencies in game to finally conclude with this opinion.

Aaron Parker!

References:

 

 

https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/bryanko01.html

https://www.quora.com/What-is-Kobe-Bryants-playing-style

 

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Dennis Rodman: My Addiction to the passion and intensity!

Heart

Intensity

Passion

Tenacity

All these descriptive words epitomise the legendary influence became on so many young players in today’s generation including myself. Rodman, Russell, Pippen, Bryant and Magic Johnson are the biggest influences to how I play the game, develop the killer mindset of the Mamba, the passion of Rodman and Russell, athleticism and versatility of Pippen and control and unselfishness of Magic Johnson. I am quite proud to say that these guys influence how I play and it has reaped many benefits as a player. I am an above average rebounder for my height and I really like to grit and grind. As cliche as it sounds, I like the contact of the opposition as I feel it unleashes my heart and inner perseverance to the range of intensity, where anger is channelled and drives my game. I’m loud and rough on all on the defensive end like who? Dennis Rodman. I am always pushing my will, I am always playing head games with myself telling myself I am not tired. Rodman always pushed his limitations and dominated off a less glamorous role.

One story by myself, I would not leave the basketball gym until I got a 100 rebounds on each side off the backboard. I would put a 10kg vest on, throw the ball off the backboard, rebound it and put it back in. Players like Barkley, Rodman, Russell, Drummond and Moses have taught me the importance of rebounding and how valuable it is for any team. This is not bullshit either, I really wanted to become a ferocious rebounder more than anything in a game but more on offensive side than the defensive side. All of this was influenced by Rodman.

https://www.viralhoops.com/dennis-rodman-rebounding-story/

They reckon Rodman’s attention to rebounding was insane, telling how many times the ball would be spinning before the grabbing it. He would view how many times a players ball would rotate!! There isn’t word that can describe this, it is terrifying yet genius. Terrifying that his dedication to rebounding was scary and innovated rebounding down to a evidence based practice by analysing, experimenting and implementing. No doubt, through like this Rodman should be considered to be off an all time great basketball IQ level. Rodman never required an elite athletic package, just an unconventional scientific approach, heart and passion to that side and he never push boundaries with what his role was. This is what makes Rodman a bonafide legend of the game and a player everyone loves. Here are some crazy statistics to help reinforce how great Rodman was rebounding:

Height: 6 foot 7 inches

Wingspan: Reportedly 7ft 2 in-7ft 4in

1030 total career games where he had an offensive rebound. 95.3% of career games.

Career high 34 Rebounds vs Indiana Pacers, 4/3/92.

18 Offensive Rebounds: Career High

Tied 1st All Time among forwards since 1983-84

Tied 1st All Time among 30+ year old since 1983-84

82 Consecutive Games of 2+ Offensive Rebounds

208 Consecutive Games of at least a single Offensive Rebound

52 Games of 10+ Offensive Rebounds

517 Games of 5+ Offensive Rebounds

942 Games of 2+ Offensive Rebounds

2 Seasons of 70+ Games of 10+ Total Rebounds during Regular Season

66 Games of 15+ Total Rebounds in 1991-92 during Regular Season

4 Consecutive Seasons averaging 15 rebounds per game

7 Time Rebounding Champion

6 Seasons of a Total Rebound Percentage over 25%

2nd, 4th and 5th position in All Time Single Season Total Rebound Percentage

Career High 26.6 TRB%: 1995-96

For a 6 foot 7 inch player to get even 10 rebounds in one game is fantastic but to become the greatest ever rebounder off his approach is exceptional and special. It is always a treat to watch some throwback highlights off Rodman. I’m pleased to present this amazing article to you guys and one that is special to myself! Share amongst your friends and be sure to…..

Stay Smart, Stay Sharp and Keep Balling 🙂

  • Aaron Parker (9/02/2018)

 

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo= Kylo Ren of Basketball??

*MAJOR SPOILERS FOR THE LAST JEDI*

 

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………..

I am the first to admit it, I love Star Wars! It is my favourite movie franchise and I enjoy most of the media they produce and for me, to combine Star Wars and Basketball is always going to be fun to look into. I have been contemplating this idea for a long time and I have not yet seen a more unique look at a player in a complete 180 turn before today. The Last Jedi since release has without a doubt been one of the divisive movies of all time in terms of audience and critical reception. In my honest opinion, I was overwhelmed at initial thought and shocked on how different it was to every other Star Wars film ever. Now though, I adore the film! It was gutsy, unique, beautiful music by John Williams, excellent cinematography and great acting by the whole cast. The part of the film that definitively stood out amongst the pack was Adam Driver, who acted as the “villain” Kylo Ren. Considered by myself to be the best villain performance of the last 5 years, why is what you be asking? Complexity behind his character, a combination of light and dark to make for an unpredictable personality and of course, a path to power & dominance that is incredibly similar to one of a current NBA player. Giannis Antetokounmpo……. This article will present why Giannis is the Kylo Ren of basketball.


“When I found you, I saw what old masters live to see… Raw, untamed power and beyond that, something truly special. The potential of your bloodline.”

RAW UNTAMED POWER…..

“With his ball-handling skills and his passing ability. He plays above the rim. I never could do that. But in his understanding of the game, his basketball IQ, his creativity of shots for his teammates. That’s where we [have the] same thing. Can bring it down, make a pass, make a play. I’m just happy he’s starting in the All-Star game because he deserves that. And he’s going to be like an MVP, a champion, this dude he’s going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he’s going to bring them a championship one day.”- Earvin Magic Johnson.

“This guy is scary. He’s more athletic than I am. He’s longer than me. He’s faster. He’s going to be stronger than I am.”- Kevin Durant to Bill Simmons about Giannis.

Kylo Ren in the new Sequel trilogy is familiar to Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy in terms of potential with the force through lineage. Since Leia Organa Solo and Han Solo were married and gave birth to Ben Solo, the potential for him to be extremely powerful is very likely due to having Skywalker blood in him. In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren is very powerful but Supreme Leader Snoke does not believe Kylo’s potential is no where near the fullest it can be. This is what Snoke refers to as raw untamed power.

Giannis is a physical freak of nature, 6 foot 9 inches, 205 pounds, 7 foot 3 inch wingspan, hands equal to Kawhi Leonard on draft day and literally strides off a Gazelle. When most athletes that have this type of physical profile, are always raw due to their package favouring their ability to polish up their offensive game. He was drafted out of Greece at 15th Overall to the Milwaukee Bucks at 18 years old. It was known that the Bucks organisation during draft day were willing to take the risk on Giannis’s upside and it was going to take time until we truly discovered whether he was going to be a bust or the best player in the draft. His offensive game is literally based around finishing around the rim, the jumper was way below average, shooting form way below average but the physical profile + finishing around the rim + incredible ball handling skills for his position is something truly special!

The potential for Giannis is devastating as fans will always have this in the back of their mind. What if Giannis develops a good jump shot, what if Giannis becomes an 85+% free throw shooter and what if Giannis even develops into an elite jump shooter. Currently, his scoring averages are through the roof for a player that does not have a good jump shot AT ALL.

Scoring:

2013-14: 6.8 PPG, 41.4 FG%, 51.8 TS% on 24.6 Minutes Per Game.

2014-15: 12.7 PPG, 49.1 FG%, 55.2 TS% on 31.4 Minutes Per Game.

2015-16: 16.9 PPG, 50.6 FG%, 56.6 TS% on 35.3 Minutes Per Game.

2016-17: 22.9 PPG, 52.1 FG%, 59.9 TS% on 35.6 Minutes Per Game.

2017-18: 28.3 PPG, 54.4 FG%, 61.4 TS% on 37.2 Minutes Per Game.

Finishing At The Rim: 0-3ft:

2013-14: 57.3 FG% @ 47.6% of Field Goals Attempt

2014-15: 64.6 FG% @ 50.6% of Field Goal Attempts

2015-16: 68.4 FG% @ 50.9% of Field Goal Attempts

2016-17: 70.9 FG% @ 49.6% of Field Goal Attempts

2017-18: 75.9 FG% @ 47.4% of Field Goal Attempts

This is not the only part of Giannis’s game that is only getting stronger, his defensive instincts are elite for a forward but his physical profile in my opinion can be enough to make him a future defensive player of the year for 1-2 seasons in his prime. Arguably, one of the most versatile defenders in the league, this returns us to the potential aspect. He could defend the 1-5, he could average 2.5-3 blocks per game and 2-3 steals per game. It all comes down to the physical gift and genetics, just like….. Kylo Ren.

Kylo and Giannis are similar is that they have big flaws and they are already powerful yet people know they could become even stronger to the point where they may become the most powerful.

For Kylo, the flaws are his willingness to become balanced with the force. Fully embracing the dark side without conflict and acknowledging the strength of the light side to create for a incredibly powerful force user that could be just as strong as anyone in the galaxy far far away.

Giannis does have flaws and huge ones as well. His jump shot is way below average, his perimeter defense could easily improve to the point of being elite and his free throw is good but could be great.

If Giannis can average 38%-41% from three point range and 82%-87% from the free throw line whilst increasing the volume off his shots slightly more. He will average 31-35 points per game at an incredible efficiency. His hard work is also quite astounding!

“He storms out of the Bradley Center in full uniform, from home locker room to player parking lot, and hops into the black Explorer the local Ford dealer lent him. He turns right on North 4th Street in downtown Milwaukee, steers toward the Hoan Bridge and continues six miles south to the Catholic seminary in St. Francis, where the priests pray and the Bucks train and The Freak dispenses his rage. Alone, Antetokounmpo reenacts the game he just played, every shot he clanked and every read he missed. Sometimes, he leaves by 1 a.m. Other times, he stays until three, sweating through his white jersey for a second time. “I get so mad, and if I go right home, I’m afraid I’ll never get that anger out,” Antetokounmpo says. “This is how I get the anger away.”- Sports Illustrated, 2017.


“Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”

Kylo Ren refers in an interesting way as it is something we can all relate to. In the context of Kylo, the past is being a Vader fanboy, being the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa and finally, hindrances of the light side in him. Kylo did so, killing his father, killing his master and doing something Vader could not do. Rule the galaxy, Kylo after his earlier confrontation with Snoke, he refused to become another puppet boy to his master just like his grand father was to Emperor Palpatine aka Darth Sidious. By taking initial action on the people around him, we as the audience are seeing the rise of his potential and power by evolving himself.

Giannis relates with this, he is killing position stereotypes with every game he plays. By doing this, he is putting the past to rest and alongside Ben Simmons, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are revolutionising the forward position. Forever…..

Kind of an exaggeration, don’t you think Aaron?? Not at all. Restrictions off positions are going to die out soon and that is the honest truth, to the point where we are getting 7 foot athletic freaks that can comfortably play all 5 positions when required. In fact, Giannis already played the point guard after all star break in the 2015-16 regular season averaging a fantastic 18.8 PPG/8.6 RPG/7.2 APG/1.4 SPG/1.9 BPG on 50.9 FG% statline.

Tell me a player at 7 foot that pushes the floor on offense as much as Giannis does. It is high octane, forces the defense to scramble as the point guard he then becomes a dynamic threat. Play 1 on 1 and let him finish on top of you or have teammates alongside to find the open pass. Come back on the defensive end, play the perimeter and defend guards, play the low post defense on power forwards and centers and finally, coming off the weakside for a great block. His pacing and control over the game is unparallel for his height and physical attributes. He is also shown that he can pass the basketball at an excellent rate and usually can found the right player in their most comfortable areas like what most elite playmakers can do.

So Kylo Ren is letting the past die by literal killing people around him just to feel more power and exploiting underwhelming expectations off his true potential as people believe to be another Vader, when now he wants to certify his own legacy just like Giannis. Giannis is killing stereotypes, his game is so unique that teams are potentially looking out for players like Simmons and Giannis for their teams as this maybe the recipe for future dominance and are moulding forwards to develop into primary ball handlers and even playmkers . A 7 foot point guard who can do it all literally except shoot from outside 10 feet. It is not a joke or a stretch to say Antetokounmpo may become the best player in the league very soon and it is possible he may also become the most dominant athlete the game has seem since Shaq and Chamberlain. It is also not a stretch to believe Giannis maybe the sole game changer behind basketball finally being positionless once and for all. Giannis maybe the balance for basketball, where you have a bit of all five positions and can excel at any position, just like Kylo Ren. He favours the dark side but added touches of the light side of force to make him even stronger as one side is favoured, there is a flaw within the arsenal that can become better with more understanding off another philosophy that broadens your skill set but creates for a new ideal to be discovered in the process. This is what Giannis is, a modification from an already melded establishment that is being perfected and expanding upon set by Magic Johnson and LeBron James.


I hope you guys enjoyed this very unique look on my favourite movie franchise alongside one of my favourite players at the moment. Be sure to share this amongst your mates, have fun reading and provide feedback!

Stay Smart, Stay Sharp and Keep Balling! 🙂

Aaron Parker (5/02/2018)

Is LeBron James a TRUE point guard?

LeBron is one of the most if not the most all around player to ever grace the court. He is a game changing talent that has developed his resume and skillset to standards that no one has seen since the likes of Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul Jabbar in their prime. One aspect off his game that has not changed at all, but has been apart of the repertoire since his high school days at St Vincent St Mary in Akron, Ohio is his passing. This is a quote from Aran Smith in 2003 about LeBron’s vision and passing through a scout report prior to the draft, “His vision and passing skills are what sets him apart. A player with his combination of size, and point guard skills is very rare. The only player to have this in the past was Magic Johnson. There are no more than 5 players in the NBA that have the vision and passing skills of LeBron.” Now as he progresses forward into his career, one of the great assets about his game will carryover to his retirement, passing at an incredible level and rate as technically a small forward but what if I told you that he is not even a small forward nor as what some call like myself a “point forward”. He is a point guard! No if’s, buts or maybe behind this idea, lets start to elaborate and reason behind this idea. I will provide reasons behind why LeBron James being a point guard should be referred to even more than ever:


1. Pass First Mentality

In 2016-17, LeBron James averaged a career high of 8.7 assists per game. 6th in the NBA for the season, 1st among non-point guards. This is beyond elite for a forward in fact, it is all time greatness. By nature, James is a pass first player always ensuring his teammates are getting involved with the offense before himself. This is his point guard instincts and displays his unselfishness as an athlete. When you look at the stats, this is not false, fake news or a myth.

Passes Made: 13th: 59.4

Potential Assists: 4th: 17.3

Assist to Pass Percentage: 6th: 14.7

One of the critiques LeBron has got over the years has been his ability to be too unselfish, not really developing a ‘killer instinct’. His ability to pass correctly to optimise offense and ball movement and as a leader of a team, James will encourage to continue ball movement amongst other teammates.


2. Optimal Ball Handling

James ball handling skills are way above average for a forward even a point guard

We must remember there is more to elite ball handling then just craftiness and making the highlight reel on ESPN. There are a few things I look for in elite ball handlers that make up their skills.

  1. Off Hand Dribbling
  2. Change of speed
  3. Multi-directional
  4. Control
  5. Stand still dribbling

James ticks all these boxes at a strong level. Examples will be provided.

Example #1: Control

This is an incredible finish from James but one thing that is neglected is the focus that is placed into the dribbling. He quickly surveys around him before making a decision, which is a great asset off a point guard as well, does not go too fast nor too slow, controlling the dribble very nicely and alternating the hand to gain some space from the other players in transition. Simple yet nice ball handling.

Example #2: Change In Speed

This is a phenomenal finish for a 32 year old! The change of speed is obvious here, slow dribble until the Smith screen at the left wing. Once the screen arrives, James performs a crossover and switches gears to gather enough power through the kinetic chain of the body to rise over the top off Tobias Harris. I really the burst of speed that was out of nowhere, the great usage of Smith’s screen and the crossover to the left to fake out Ish Smith and switching on the pick and roll was poor by Leur. Going over the screen is disrespectful for James off the drive where no one comes to help.

Example #3: Multi-directional

Ball handling here is on fleek!! Behind the dribbles, going laterally trying to create space, using the Tristan Thompson screen, halting and providing the defense with the pull back dribble. James is moving with the in great control presenting the complete package here as the point, when you are able to move in with different directions with the ball. It will create the defender to play tight which means LeBron by him for the easy or pick and roll where the defender is forced to make a decision to go over or under the screen.


3. Leadership

The point guard control and pace the offense by example through leadership, their pass first mentality, vocal prowess and correct decision making. LeBron is considered to be the best leader in the league, his ability to become a player coach in addition to his extremely high basketball IQ makes the game extremely comfortable and easy for him. You see it every game! James talking to teammates, moving his hands when dribbling the ball up and when on the bench, the extroverted leadership is displays itself. “The amount of time he spends being great with lifting and shooting and training, he is as equal when it comes to spending time trying to be a good teammate. Having people over to his house for dinner, throwing a Christmas party or a Halloween party, having guys orchestrating a dinner here or a movie night here. He spends as much time trying to be great on the court as he does trying to make sure the team is a cohesive unit off the court.”- Richard Jefferson, 2016. He has extraordinary qualities as a leader. Let me show examples on why LeBron is such an incredible leader and can be argued to be the one of the greatest in sports.

His vocal side off his leadership is presented here, STRONG fundamentals to the game, always talking to his guys about the plays and communicating in game on defense. High fives to teammates, moments of adrenaline and pregame speeches that attempt to motivate his teammates to play as one, not as individuals, focus on your roles and let him lead as the front-man. Which is something he is doing something every single night!

This is awesome! Understands and admits to his own mistakes, this presents that he is accountable to what he did wrong. This is a great example of his leadership and he has said on many accounts that he is his biggest critic to his game. Assumably if he does this in the locker room to his teammates, it is a fantastic trait to have as a leader. LeBron did not point the finger at anyone else, he straight up was disgusted with his ability to take care of the ball. 11 turnovers is supremely rare for LeBron, so do not expect him to make that many mistakes ever again!

Taking over the ball game is another trait of leadership LeBron James does not get enough appreciation for. The guy can easily take over the ball in the 4th quarter and be a man amongst boys. When you can take over the game in arguably the most important quarter of the game, you are willing to put the team on your back and place effort higher than any player out there. That is leadership through their game and presents the never say never attitude. It helps inspire and motivate the team to push themselves even more.


4. Decision Making of an elite point guard

LeBron is one of the smartest and quickest decision makers ever in terms of passing and scoring the ball. He will always look quickly to find options that are open to optimise offense and minimise low percentile shooting. Their must be a strong value behind each possession, the decision making is everything for the point guard as they are pretty much the barometer to whether a team succeeds or fails on offense. Defense is a team effort, accountability and communication is drastically more important on that side of the floor. LeBron is one of the most efficient and prolific scorers the game has ever seen and with the efficiency of 53.4% FG, 61.1 TS%, 76% from 0-3ft and 26.4 PPG since 2010-11. Yes, he does not have the complete package of Jordan, Bird, Durant or even Kobe but it takes strong basketball IQ and decision making to score as much as he had without necessarily having an elite jump shot unless it is 2017 postseason and 2012-13 season. Athleticism does take into account of course but you still need to figure out ways to break the defense with utilising your given athletic ability. It really is a combination of IQ, athleticism, hard work and offensive schemes.

Pretty much this game was all about off ball cuts, finshing around the rim, hook shots from the low block and face up action from the mid post but the shot selection is phenomenal! Positioning to catch the ball off the ball,  fast tempo and aggressive in both halfs. Extremely impressive display of scoring and efficiency.

25/7/17 is an insane statline! James’s passing was such a throwback to Magic Johnson , superb handoffs, quick passing, putting the ball into the right place, moving off the ball to score the basket and bounce passes in transition and halfcourt offense.


5. Magic Johnson 2.0??

LeBron is Magic Johnson on steroids! Both orchestrate as point guards, physically imposing, passing gods, excellent rebounders, solid defenders and excel in open transition. Difference is LeBron is an upgrade to Magic scoring the ball but I can not falter him on that as the play-style back in those times were drastically different to today’s game, where the three point shot is the most viable and vital shot in the game, so in that retrospective it is hard to compare scoring but to only present what they did in their playing era. Magic is a more dominant passer, better low post scorer, has won more so far and is a better free throw shooter. LeBron is an athletic freak of nature, better jump shooter from three, stronger and more efficient finisher at the rim.

Let be honest though, LeBron is a literal clone to Magic and this is why I never understood the Jordan and LeBron arguments. The closest thing to LeBron is Magic Johnson, they both play extremely familiar to one another. When you are getting comparisons of Magic, you honestly should be considered a point guard in my eyes. No point ‘pun-unintentional’ being compared to the GOAT of point guards when you as a player in technicality are not even discussed about as a point guard amongst the mass of NBA fans. Besides today’s game is becoming near positionless, so why bring up the small forward argument to me? We have Giannis and Ben Simmons who are SF technically but by nature are point guards, they control the offense like a point and attempt to play D out on the perimeter and defend opposition team’s guards. The only reason why LeBron is mentioned as a small forward is because of his athleticism and height. Pretty much it. That is being honest with you guys and in my opinion, when I discuss about LeBron James. He is a point guard in my eyes.


I hope you guys enjoyed ANOTHER LeBron article! 2 of my 6 posts have been about LeBron but he is the best player on Earth and most discussed athlete in american sports excluding Brady. It only makes sense to discuss about him and I love his game too much to be neglected. Be sure to like, comment, provide feedback and share with your mates!

Stay Smart, Stay Sharp and Keep Balling! 🙂

  • Aaron Parker (2/02/18)

James Harden All Time Great Passing! Greatest Play-Making Combo Guard EVER!

CONGRATULATIONS!

James Harden provided basketball fans with history in the making, I was able to witness this as I was legitimately watching this game live on my laptop. The 1st EVER 60 Point Triple Double in NBA History!!! That is an incredible accomplishment and should never be taken lightly by anyone.

LET’S TALK HARDEN…….

I LOVE HIS PASSING!

Harden can be definitively be argued to be one of the play-making two guards in NBA history, it is true….. the stats can back this up even though he played the point in 2016-17.

2016-17:

64.7 Passes Made (4th)

11.2 Assists Per Game (1st)

22.4 Potential Assists (1st)

What type of passes does he provide to the squad?

Pick ‘n’ Roll:

Left Wing:

https://3ball.io/embed/0021700706_38

Playing the pick and pop game with Anderson operating around the left wing, draw 2 defenders with the double screen off Harden’s weak-side, fearing Harden’s ability to drive to the rim and Capela’s tremendous instincts as the roll man and touch around the basket. Harden makes an nice behind the feed to Anderson for the three point jumper at the top.

Top of the key:

https://3ball.io/embed/0021700706_214

Same game, Capela provides Harden with a solid screen off his left dribble. The defender decides to go under the screen without realising the paint is left open and initially thinking this, Harden is double teamed. He throws up an excellent lob to Capela, where the big man is too late to rotate and contest the shot whilst in the process initiates contact, getting the bucket and the foul.

Right Wing:

https://3ball.io/embed/0021700689_320

Some right wing action now! Harden gets the screen from Capela, what happens again?? Defenders are going under the screen, which is going to draw the double team as there is a worry upon the ball handler getting a bucket. Harden recognises this, Capela continues to diagonally cut to the rim and catch the lob over Whiteside. Simple yet powerful offense that displays Harden’s excellence as a PnR ball handler.

Drive and Kick:

https://3ball.io/embed/0021700540_653

Harden provides the beautiful size up dribble against Randle, the defenders are in fear off finishing ability and focus eyes on the ball handler, which does not contemplate for the lack of focus off 3 shooters from three point range. Ariza recieves the drive and kick pass from the left side to give him enough space for the open catch and shoot three.

https://3ball.io/embed/0021700412_111

Super smart drive and kick pass right here. The strength of Houston’s offense is their high volume combo of 3 point shooting and pick and rolls, it worries the defense as really it is a pick your poison. Nene provides an excellent screen at the top for Harden and the defending guard is trailing Nene. Harden’s immense finishing + passing off the pick and roll and Nene cutting to the rim draws the defenders in the paint as Harden surveys for PJ Tucker for the solid catch and shoot three point shot.

Transition:

https://3ball.io/embed/0021700428_269

An incredible thread the needle pass in the middle of the key to Capela between THREE!!! Spurs defenders. That is incredible, he literally put it on the money to where only Capela could grab it and that is it.

https://3ball.io/embed/0021700366_11

Another spectacular left handed pass to Capela cutting straight to the key and Capela deserves props, he runs down the court and has a constant energy to him that most fans praise about him.


Can you argue Harden as the greatest play-making shooting guard ever?

You could, but casual fans would have a hard time believing you. Shooting guards are not meant to be elite passers, whenever a shooting guard gets 5 assists in one game. People are impressed, as the role of the shooting guard is to score points for his team and do it in various of ways.

James Harden 16-17 Season:

81 games of 5+ Assists

74 games of 8+ Assists

Assist/Turnover Ratio: 11.2/5.6= 2 Assists/Turnover

Season High= 17 Assists Five Times

Michael Jordan 88-89 Season:

66 games of 5+ Assists

44 games of 8+ Assists

Assist/Turnover Ratio: 8.0/3.6= 2.22 Assists/Turnover

Season High= 17 Assists

Kobe Bryant 12-13 Season:

51 games of 5+ Assists

23 games of 8+ Assists

Assist/Turnover Ratio: 6.0/3.7= 1.62 Assists/Turnover

Season High= 14 Assists Three Times

Dwyane Wade 08-09 Season:

62 games of 5+ Assists

40 games of 8+ Assists

Assist/Turnover Ratio= 7.5/3.4= 2.2 Assists/Turnover

Season High= 16 Assists Twice

Clyde Drexler 86-87 Season:

68 games of 5+ Assists

30 games of 8+ Assists

Assists/Turnover Ratio= 6.9/3.1= 2.2 Assists/Turnover

Season High= 14 Assists

Allen Iverson 04-05 Season:

66 games of 5+ Assists

43 games of 8+ Assists

Assist/Turnover Ratio= 7.9/4.6= 1.72 Assists/Turnover

Season High= 16 Assists Twice

In my opinion, Harden is defintely looking to be the best ever at passing the ball at the two guard position. He is uber consistent, varied in passing manner and can really operate at the point EASILY! 5 assists is elite for a shooting guard but to get 7-11 assists per game over 3 three consecutive seasons, potentially 4 this season. I reckon it would be great to see another double digit assist season from Harden to solidify this argument once and for all. I say combo guard exclusively for Harden because he does play the point guard position at times.

 

Super Saiyan Efforts by Individuals!

We have seen it in the classical anime in Dragon Ball Z, it is way to describe effort and outburst beyond limitation. In modern day sports, people as a way to describe a one of a kind effort either through a win or a loss. An effort that takes guts, when down in the dust still figuring out a way to place a sense of intimidation into the opposing team and when adversity is placed in front and are labelled as the underdogs. Super saiyan performances are displays of greatness, they are signs of character, are cornerstones upon building legacy and place everything on the line doesn’t matter about the final result. If we look back in time, some of the performances history has witnessed can be considered “super-saiyan”. There are some incredible performances that you may know or you maybe surprised about.


Stephen Curry, 2014-2017

February 27th 2016 @ Thunder: 46 Points, 12 Threes, 6 Assists and 2 Steals. Only 3 Turnovers!

February 25th 2016 @ Magic: 51 Points, 10 Threes, 7 Rebounds, 8 Assists and 1 Block.

April 5th 2017 @ Phoenix: 42 Points, 8 Threes, 11 Assists, 2 Steals and 2 Blocks.

Curry has the sharpshooting skills of a God! We are grateful to be witnessing such a marksman with a complete array of shots from deeps, the outstanding ball handling ability and superb passing out of the pick and roll and dribble penetration. When he gets going, there is no way at all a player could guard him without intentionally fouling him. Curry has had outbursts of shooting unlike anything we have ever seen! The modern era of basketball is revolutionising because of Curry’s ability to shoot the three ball, it creates seperation, unpredictability and spacing that is unrivalled in the history of the sport. What makes Curry an even more dominant threat on the offensive side is his finishing around the rim, in the 2015-16 season he averaged an astonishing 69.6% from 0-3ft which is incredible. Take a look at his shooting statistics since 2014-15 regular season and post season:

2014-15 Regular Season: 63.8% TS, 68.7 FG% From 0-3 ft, 44.3 3P% and 91.4 FT%.

2014-15 Postseason: 60.7 TS%, 70.1 FG% From 0-3 ft, 42.2 3P% and 83.5 FT%

2015-16 Regular Season: 66.9 TS%, 69.6 FG% From 0-3 ft, 45.4 3P% and 90.8 FT%

2015-16 Postseason: 60.3 TS%, 54.0 FG% From 0-3 ft, 40.4 3P% and 91.6 FT%

2016-17 Regular Season: 62.4 TS%, 64.2 FG% From 0-3 ft, 41.1 3P% and 89.8 FT%

2016-17 Postseason: 65.9 TS%, 58.3 FG% From 0-3 ft, 41.9 3P% and 90.4 FT%

He is super saiyan for his insane outbursts, unlimited range, nifty ball handling and his efficiency at scoring is unparalleled for anyone at the point guard position. His three point shooting is a literal nightmare for opposing teams and coaches have to create game plans around his shooting as their need to worry about switching off screens, 1 on 1 perimeter defense and how space you give him.


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1976-77

The greatest big men ever to grace the court was underappreciated post season performer, during his Lakers prime had barely any help outside off himself but my goodness, he was incredibly dominant on both ends. Ending his career being top 3 all time in points, rebounds and blocks and one of the greatest passing big men statistically ever. He was a nightmare in the low block with his unstoppable sky hook, in combination with his 7ft 2in height, 7ft 5in wingspan at around 240lbs. There was no way anyone in the league was at his calibre in terms of the combination of physical profile and skillset. The play-style for Kareem was basic, get the ball in the low post, take 1 to 2 dribbles and either throw the skyhook or counter it with strong positioning to just catch and shoot over the defender by using his height advantage.

In 1977 at the age of 29, Abdul Jabbar was having another elite regular season by averaging 26.2 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 3.9 APG, 3.2 BPG and 1.2 SPG on 57.8 FG% and won the MVP, best record in the NBA, won the Pacific Division title and All NBA 1st Team.

1976-77 Rankings:

PPG: 3rd

RPG: 2nd

BPG: T-1st

APG: 41st

FG%: 1st

Win Shares: 17.8: 1st

Value Over Replacement Player: 9.7: 1st

Box Score +/-: 1st

Center Competition 1976-77: PPG/RPG/APG/SPG/BPG on FG%, Age

Dan Issel, Denver Nuggets: 22.3/8.8/2.2/1.2/0.4 on 51.5 FG%, 28 Years Old.

Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers: 18.6/14.4/3.8/1.0/3.2 on 52.8 FG%, 24 Years Old.

Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons: 25.3/11.6/3.3/1.1/2.0 on 53.4 FG%, 28 Years Old.

Bob McAdoo, Buffalo Clippers/New York Knicks: 25.8/12.9/2.8/1.1/1.4 on 51.2 FG%, 25 Years Old.

Artis Gilmore, Chicago Bulls: 18.6/13.0/2.4/0.5/2.5 on 52.2 FG%, 27 Years Old.

Dave Cowens, Boston Celtics: 16.4/13.0/5.0/0.9/1.0 on 43.4 FG%, 28 Years Old.

You can not tell me by any standards, these numbers are woeful. These guys were in their prime playing a minimum of 64 games during Kareem’s season here, these are excellent numbers for a center in any given era of the game and are potential all star consideration numbers.

Now let’s take a look at Kareem’s teammates statistics during this season in comparison to the runner up MVP, Bill Walton:

Kareem: 1st.

PER (Player Efficiency Rating):

Earl Tatum: 16.5. 68 Games

Kermit Washington: 16.0. 53 Games.

Lucius Allen: 15.6. 78 Games.

Cazzie Russell: 15.3. 82 Games.

 

Points Per Game/Field Goal Percentage:

Cazzie Russell: 16.4 PPG/49 FG%

Lucius Allen: 14.6 PPG/45.6 FG%

Kermit Washington: 9.7 PPG/50.3 FG%

Earl Tatum: 9.6 PPG/46.6 FG%

 

Box Score +/-:

Earl Tatum: 0.7

Kermit Washington: 0.5

Lucius Allen: 0.3

Don Chaney: 0.2

Record 53-29

 

Bill Walton: 2nd

PER (Player Efficiency Rating):

Maurice Lucas: 18.3. 79 Games.

Dave Twardzik: 16.3. 74 Games.

Larry Steele: 16.3. 81 Games

Bob Gross: 16.2. 82 Games.

 

Points Per Game/Field Goal Percentage:

Maurice Lucas: 20.2 PPG/46.6 FG%

Lionel Hollins: 14.7 PPG/43.2 FG%

Bob Gross: 11.4 PPG/52.9 FG%

David Twardzik: 10.3 PPG/61.2 FG%

 

Box Score +/-:

David Twardzik: 4.8

Bob Gross: 3.7

Maurice Lucas: 1.8

Larry Steele: 1.5

Record: 49-33

This was a monstrous regular season by Kareem, but the post season Kareem had was f***ing unbelievable! My God! You will be amazed on his effort and dominance that he presented. Check out the crazy stat-lines during this postseason run:

Western Conference 1st Round vs Golden State Warriors:

GM1: 27 Points/16 Rebounds/7 Assists/3 Blocks on 52 FG%

GM2: 40 Points/19 Rebounds/3 Assists/9 Blocks on 64 FG%

GM3: 28 Points/14 Rebounds/7 Assists/3 Blocks on 60 FG%

GM4: 41 Points/18 Rebounds/3 Assists/2 Blocks on 65 FG%

GM5: 45 Points/18 Rebounds/3 Assists/3 Blocks on 57 FG%

GM6: 43 Points/20 Rebounds/3 Assists/4 Blocks on 68 FG%

GM7: 36 Points/26 Rebounds/4 Assists/5 Steals/1 Block on 56 FG%

Averages: 37.1 PPG/18.7 RPG/4.3 APG/3.6 BPG on 60.7 FG% and 70 FT%.

 

Western Conference Semi Finals vs Portland Trail Blazers:

GM1: 30 Points/10 Rebounds/5 Assists/1 Steal on 58 FG%

GM2: 40 Points/17 Rebounds/1 Assist/1 Steal/1 Block on 74 FG%

GM3: 21 Points/20 Rebounds/7 Assists/8 Blocks/1 Steal on 41 FG%

GM4: 30 Points/17 Rebounds/2 Assists/2 Steals/4 Blocks on 60 FG%

Averages: 30.3 PPG/16 RPG/3.8 APG/3.8 BPG/1.3 SPG on 60.8 FG% and 77.5 FT%

In my opinion, this is one of the most dominant and efficient postseason runs by any big men of the 20th century! Losing effort should not counter the fact, he gave his all and efforts with all the help he had, which was none. Makes this 1977 season arguably one of the greatest individual seasons ever and due to the load he had to carry and the surprisingly terrible supporting cast around him, in fact one of the worst I have ever seen in my life for a record that good. This is certified as “SUPER SAIYAN”.


Michael Jordan vs Cavs: 69/18/6/4/1, March 28th 1990

HOLY MOLY!!!! Jordan Jordan and Jordan! You could fill this entire list with just MJ performances, arguably one of the most underrated stat sheet stuffers of all time. People take about his scoring arsenal, yet neglect the greatness of his passing, perimeter defense, help defense, rebounding and efficiency. In his prime, which is in my opinion around 1986-1993, he was the most unstoppable athlete the game had ever seen since Wilt Chamberlain. The consistency he displayed at the two guard position was unheard off and made a living off his all out or nothing attitude, I may have Kareem as the GOAT but damn, it is hard to not neglect Jordan. Jordan was superhuman and had games of greatness that made us all bow down to him, Jordan had the flawless career, Jordan was a real life superman. Sorry Shaq!

In this game, Jordan was the epitome of super saiyan. Jordan’s game was based around the mid range, he was fire from the 10-15 feet area off the floor in this game. One to two dribble pull up, catch and shoot jump shots off the screen on the elbow, fluid passing in semi transition, off ball movement to the catch and shoot corner jumper, aggressive offensive rebounding for the putback layup and even made some threes. So much variety in the mans scoring arsenal but once again, 18 rebounds…..6 assists……4 steals……that is arguably one of the greatest all around performances of all time! This is all coming from one man who is 6ft 6in at the two guard. That is just as impressive as Kobe Bryant’s 81 Point Game! Just saying…… He did everything, literally.


Klay Thompson 37 Point Quarter, 23rd January 2015

A part of being super saiyan is that you are going beyond the limits of the amazing. Klay Thompson is one of the greatest spot up 3 point shooters in NBA history and the best 3 and D player of all time. The combination of volume, consistency, accuracy and displays of excellence is what makes a player to be considered ‘elite’ at shooting. Hard work, focus, communication and how bad you want it is all apart of being an elite perimeter defender. A player like Klay Thompson can easily utilised in any team at all, he’s too good on both sides off the floor. One thing we never knew about Klay is his ability to heat up at an incredibly unexpected rate, I saw this game live and I really didn’t like the Warriors at this time but man, it was incredible. Transition threes, one dribble pull ups, off ball movement for the easy layup and the excitement his teammates had for him brings nothing but joy to any fan of the game. Thompson was absolutely ballistic in the 3rd quarter, 37 points is an astonishing offensive game for anyone within 4 quarters but to do it in just 12 minutes is nothing the game has ever seen.



Shaquille O’Neal 2001 NBA Finals Game 2 vs 76ers: 28/20/9/8

 

HOW TO DESTROY 1 TEAM BY YOURSELF 101:

Shaquille O’Neal NBA Finals Time

Top 3 All Time NBA Finals performances. 1st: Flu Game by MJ, 2nd: TD 2003 NBA Finals Game 6 and 3rd: Shaquille O’Neal Game 2 vs 76ers 2001.

This is Shaq at his best and just like Jordan, this entire article could all be about Shaq but I will save those for other articles in the future! What makes this performance so crazy, this is against one of the best low post defenders and shot blockers ever in Dikembe Mutumbo, who won defensive player of the year this season and that this is a 7 foot 1 inch big men deciding to play the combination of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Wilt with the size, strength, force and power to bully motherf**kers in the paint with complete ease and Bill Russell with the passing out of the low post and extraordinary efforts on help defense.

Given the circumstances as well including Lakers were down 1-0 at home, trying to break history as the best team in postseason history and going for the repeat as champions. This one game captivated and even sealed the series as a whole cause when you knew Shaq was going to perform at this type of level, there was no point of return and no mercy will felt. Some of the plays this game by Shaq were incredible! The swat down the key way on Iverson that went out of bounds, back to back blocks in the 3rd quarter on Snow and MacCulloch with a fantastic outlet pass to Bryant for the tomahawk dunk and the signature black tornado move for the poster alley oop dunk on MacCulloch.

What makes me believe this performance was certified to be super saiyan is that Shaq went everything on both ends, demolished the teams hopes in one game, performed on the biggest stage off basketball and got out of his comfort zone with the terrific plays he made that reached beyond his standard limitations!


Here you have it guys! The super saiyan performances that will leave chills in your spine and inspire yourself to reach this type of level. What type of level do you mean? OVER 9000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you guys enjoyed the article, please make sure to leave some feedback good or bad is fine with me and share the article amongst your mates.

Stay smart, stay sharp and keep balling! 🙂

-Aaron Parker (28/01/18)

 

 

The GOAT Playmaking Power Forward Debate……

Being an elite play-maker is a strong yet unteachable trait, only bestowed upon the greatest of basketball players. The willingness to make others around you better before yourself, the ball movement that fires up some of the best offensive teams in the league, the flawless display of basketball intelligence and the flashiness that makes jaws drop and ESPN go off on the daily. According to Riches, 2013, “The power forward is a more dynamic and mobile interior presence that displays traits the often ability to play perimeter defense, show a strong mid range game, play his back to the basket and become a vital role in the team’s rebounding.” Over the years though, the power forward has established a more profitable yet modernised approach to the role it plays in teams and one way is through excelling as a play-maker.

Today’s definition of a power forward is a dynamic versatile athlete who establishes himself as a perimeter shooter that stretches the floor who can facilitate on offense and defensively, can potentially guard the 1-5 at a solid rate and consistency. Power forwards are rarely discussed to being play-makers or great passers, as this challenges the standards behind the position, how it is played and it is unusual to talk about passing greats within just one position as casual fans don’t really pay attention to the minor touching points behind what makes a great play-maker and who doesn’t. It is coming to a point within the sport where being a point guard can be achieved at any height or any size for example Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ben Simmons, LeBron James, Magic Johnson and even Joakim Noah during the 2013-14 Bulls season. Not technically point guards by position but play like point guards and are paving the way for what is possible in terms being a viable play-making option with your position and versatility on both ends off the court. Let’s point out the trends into what makes for an elite play-maker at the power forward position.


Trends:

  • Outstanding decision making with minimal dribbling involved in the play.
  • Moving off the ball to create more space in order to make more space to the receiver of the pass.
  • Does not require the need for over complicated passing or plays to get some open.
  • Accuracy and timing of passes
  • Versatile positioning off his passing: back to the basket, face up, three point range, transition and pick and roll man.
  • Patience with the ball and focuses on the off ball play by his teammates.
  • Statistically over 3 assists per game, which is where I believe the elite standards begin for power forwards and centers.
  • Has developed into a secondary or even primary play-maker for the team

#4: Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol is one of the most skilled 7 foot players in NBA history and the best passing 7 footer ever! He could do anything with his passes and handling from playing the low post and finding the easy cut to the rim, getting the ball ahead in transition and throwing the bounce pass to the players cutting from the wings or even alley oop pass and finally, developed an exceptional ability to play in the high post. Mark Travis, 2010 discussed the variants of plays on how Gasol was utilised in the Lakers offense. One of them was high post action for Gasol that allowed for incorrect communication on the defensive end, which lead for Kobe Bryant to being left open for the easy cut to the basket using Gasol as a screen.

The transition game for Gasol is fun to watch as you see a 7 footer be able put the ball on the floor and find his teammates at will is incredible and rare to find. This clip we have Gasol channelling his inner Magic Johnson as he does a between the legs, no look pass and the degree of difficulty this is a 7 foot power forward is immeasurable.

Finally, the ability to move off the ball but make the right pass and have incredible accuracy behind it. As this did not convert to a field goal but it displays his intelligence as he understood Bynum before the play was even occurred to the viewer’s eyes.

THE ARGUMENT:

  • Gasol was one of the greatest high post passers of all time! Exceptional timing and decision making on passes, showed flashes of point guard skills and IQ and won titles because of his adaptability as a secondary play-maker and mastery of the high post to the Lakers.
  • Statistically, Gasol are excellent for his career averaging 3.2 APG/2.2 TOPG, 16.6 AST%, 11 seasons of 3+ assists per game,  8 seasons of 41+ games of 3+ assists, 12 games with 10+ assists, 14 assists as a career high and 30 games of 5+ assists with 0 turnovers.
  • Gasol handled less off the ball because playing alongside Kobe Bryant and was an elite play-maker under Tex Winter’s Triangle Offense, which made to an even stronger passer in the high post as a triangle was always arranged on offense that constantly involved Gasol. This accredits Gasol for his adaptability as a play maker, the ability to make plays occur not mattering the situation at hand is. Throughout his career, he has excelled in multiple systems of offense from the basics in Memphis to the complex in the Lakers.

#3: Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett is the most tenacious player to ever play the game. The heart, hustle and passion on the court is an asset that even the biggest Garnett haters completely respect about the man. Off the court, the mindset never changed as he was a trash talking and arrogant perfectionist yet players loved him as a teammate. He takes the game seriously than most and is willing to do anything for his teammate even though there were stories of psychopathic behaviour about Garnett. People forget how dominant he was in his prime! Let me show you something:

1999-2000 to 2005-06 Regular Season Breakdown:

Basic Statistics:

Duncan: 22.2 PPG, 12.1 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.8 SPG, 2.5 BPG, 49.9 FG%, 68.7 FT%, 2.8 TOPG

Garnett: 22.6 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.7 BPG, 49.2 FG%, 78.1 FT%, 2.8 TOPG

Advanced Statistics:

Duncan: 54.8 TS%, 50.1 eFG%, 28.7 USG%, 95.7 WS, 42.7 VORP

Garnett: 55.2 TS%, 49.8 eFG%, 27.0 USG%, 101.1 WS, 55.1 VORP

Okay, NO! I am not saying Garnett is the better power forward than Duncan but you can definetely make an argument for KG being the superior impact to his team and statistically, had the better in the peak period of play. Duncan wins the argument for titles, postseason success, longevity and revolutionising the power forward alongside Garnett in the early 2000s.

Garnett was a prototype of a power forward we have never ever seen in the NBA before. A player who could operate offense as PF! Spread the floor for the mid range jump-shot, outstanding shimmy fake to the turnaround fadeaway, able to defend the 2-5 very comfortably, intercept the passing lanes and being an elite weakside defender. All of this made Garnett the starting blocks of how the position was going to progress in the NBA, passing was a massively underrated aspect about his game, which I love as well. It was extremely special for a power forward to have his type of basketball IQ and dominance.

Garnett was a phenomenal passer out of the low post, usually an oustanding counter to his elite scoring based around the turnaround fadeaway. He throw no look passes, behind the back, would go to the basket and throw a no look to the player in the paint when he was doubled. It was considered his speciality and became a legit passing threat due to his ability to read the entire defense better than any power forward has with their passing. In my opinion, Garnett was a power guard and the originator of the concept sorry Magic, puts the ball on the floor and plays like point guard but has the finesse, ferocity and two way impact of a power forward/center. With this ability to become a point guard in a power forward body alongside the increased frequency of his reliance to be this type of player in comparison to Gasol, it is fair the gap is astronomical! I’m sorry Lakers fans 😛

THE ARGUMENT:

  • Garnett was the better passer out of the low post in comparison to Pau Gasol, and more duties that was based around his play-making skills with Timberwolves. Adjusted to the secondary play-maker with the Boston Celtics, which presents KG’s ability to sacrifice ball and accustom to new position yet still continue to present an elite standard with his passing.
  • Garnett revolutionised the role of the power forward more than Pau with ball handling duties and how much significance the position plays in ball movement and initiating plays through low post offense. Potential nitpicking?? Sure but still plays important part in discovering superiority in this argument.
  • Statistically, Garnett does kick Gasol’s ass! Although stats should not tell the whole story. 3.7 APG/2.2 TOPG, 12 seasons of 3+ assists per game, 11 seasons of 41+ games of 3+ assists, 17 games of 10+ assists, 12 assists as a career high and 43 games of 5+ assists and 0 turnovers. 5 seasons of 70+ games with 3+ assists!!! That is INSANE!

#2: Tim Duncan

The greatest power forward ever! The Big Fundamental is at Number 2!?!? Aaron what the hell, look guys Duncan is a phenomenal passer and I want to show you guys why he is higher than Garnett on this list. Duncan has championship degree, Duncan plays as apart of a team, success far greater than any power forward but one thing people neglect about his arsenal is his passing! He was an incredible passer, I have even quoted Duncan being the ‘Steve Nash of Power Forwards’ due to his vision being through the roofs. From outlet passes, passing quickly as the pick and roll big men, perfect kickout passes to the open three point shooter to his low post passing to the inside man.

He is a very underrated passer in the high post, able to face up and lob it over defenders to the inside scorer for the easy bucket and the man is able to throw alley oops. All this without having to take a single dribble. Duncan’s decision making on the spot is far greater than Garnett and Gasol, his variety is greater and his limitations off ball handling make his passing look even better. His hand offs are phenomenal and and underappreciated skill relating power fowards and their passing. Duncan has also won more titles due to the unselfish nature off the team and his commitment to that trait makes plays much smoother and comfortable, and that reason is why he is also higher than Gasol and Garnett on the list.

Phenomenal display of Duncan’s simplicity yet incredibly effective passing from the high post to the cutting player, making the extra passes which displays unselfish agenda and decision making and even some dribble penetration beginning in the low post.

Duncan’s 21/20/10/8 Game 6 2003 NBA Finals is an all time great performance and the passing is all time greatness! Phenomenal passing from the low post, high post and just everywhere here! Incredible.

THE ARGUMENT:

  • Duncan display greater sense of unselfishness, the variety, hand off passing, better decision making on the spot and finally, CHAMPIONSHIP and his on court demeanour out classes both Gasol and Garnett!
  • His high post passing is on par with Pau Gasol, both display incredible vision and patience and it is hard to indicate who really the better passer in this area.
  • Statistically, Duncan is great as well. 3 APG/2.4 TOPG, 11 seasons of 3+ assists per game, 11 seasons of 41+ games of 3+ assists, 4 games of 10+ assists, 11 assists as a career high and 23 games of 5+ assists with 0 turnovers.

#1: Draymond Green

NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Donkey from Shrek! You kidding me?!?! Sssshhhhh. No subjectivity here guys, we do not base our opinions on emotions but objective and unbiased facts. Draymond Green is the greatest playmaking power forward to ever grace the court. I can understand the confusion but I got you! Is there anything Green can not do? Seriously, the ultimate swiss army knife, the motor behind the dominance of the Golden State Warriors, a defensive player of the year, undersized center and oversized point guard. 5 by 5, triple double with no points, incredible 32/15/9/2 with only 2 turnovers in a Game 7 NBA Finals and quietly revolutionising the power forward position forever. How is he changing it? Because there has never been a power forward who can literally excel at all 5 positions on the court and present this both offense and defense. It has raised the bar to encourage versatility as it has been like evidence based practice. Get an undersized power forward to dominate both ends, who is mobile, athletic and can hit a three. The limitations for Green are non-existent, he can do it all! A position that is not to be assumed as a ball handling threat who can create plays for others with ease that no one has in the position.

This is why Green is number #1 and the argument is irrelevant as most people can agree with me here. Aaron, what about his career though? He has not played long enough to be at number 1, okay so Curry does not belong at number 1 in terms of three point shooting by that type of logic cause his career has not finished. Green has definitely proved enough in my eyes and persuaded through the research on his passing. Draymond is the only player on this list to have 15 assists in one game, oh hang on he did it twice! Draymond has already won 2 NBA titles at the age of 27 years old, Draymond has better patience with the ball in his hands, Draymond like Duncan is a phenomenal decision maker on the spot and Draymond has got the more superior assist to turnover ratio over the other 3 guys on this list. Did I forget to say he is doing all this crazy passing on a average of 32.8 minutes per game? Draymond as well is THE primary playmaker at the power forward/center position and of course, Draymond has been incredible at passing at the 1-5. Something none of these guys have officially done. Draymond has already averaged 7 assists per game in multiple seasons and here is my hot take will finish off with at least 8 assists per game as an average this season. Gutsy right?? This is how good Green as a passer though! Let me provide multiple examples of his passing:

Example #1:

Amazing patience! Does not rush, does not pancic, minimal dribbling as well, allows for the offense to initiate off the ball, flashes of “Point Draymond” with his dictation, confidence and trust in his teammates. A lot of off ball movement allows for Green set up in the right place, outlets passing is spetacular here by Green and the flashiness off a pass does not mean they are a greater passer. When you are talking about ‘PLAY’-maker, Green does the best job at initiating plays, trusting the team as a whole and finally, passing in rhythm of the movement.

Example #2:

Green starting at center in the 2015 NBA Finals Game 4 here. Phenomenal passing effort once again, he is able to create the extra pass from being the pick and roll man, set up fastbreak opportunities and once again, the patience enables for him to wait for his teammates be in the right place. The adjustment to his approach to his passing cause of his position change really displays his thinking on the move again and his diversity.

So here you have it guys! One of the most controversial articles I will make on this page but this is what I love about writing. I am able to explore my juicy takes and be gutsy with approach. I hope everyone enjoys this incredibly yet difficult article to write and explain. Be sure to share with all your mates and if there is anyone in need off anything, be sure to message myself.

References:

  1. https://functionalbasketballcoaching.com/basketball-player-positions-explained-power-forward/
  2. http://butthegameison.com/blog/24570/a-look-at-pau-gasol-and-the-art-of-passing/

Stay Smart, Stay Sharp and Keep Balling! 🙂

Aaron Parker