Thursday, December 27, 2012

NBA PICKUP GAME 2012: Point Guards (you don't want on your team)

Felipe M

I conducted a small poll asking the simple question, "Which five NBA players would you not want to have on your pickup team?"  Needless to say, I ended up getting very different answers so I decided to split this into a 5 part series based on NBA positions.  What follows is the list of players followed by the reasoning behind the selection. 

  1. Rajon Rondo--Why Rondo gets so much hate among NBA fans is a perplexity to me.  Obviously, getting into a fight with Kris Humphries earlier this year, probably didn't endear himself to many fans.  In my opinion, Rondo would be great as playground point guard because all he would do is pass you the ball, non-stop!  However, Rondo shows up among many NBA fans' most disliked players all over the Internet. 
    • Why? He does come off pretty weird, as a guy who dances to the rhythm of his own beat--maybe a bit arrogant for many NBA fans. Also, many people think he's overrated because he looks to be too afraid to shoot and score and has yet to develop a long range shot.  I like him, but many fans don't.
  2. Ray Felton--Felton has been one of the more productive point guards since he entered the league with the Bobcats, but a reputation of selfishness and poor dieting has followed him throughout his career. His weight would be magnified as he arrived in Portland, unprepared for a shortened-NBA-lockout-induced-season and out-of-shape, flushing the Blazers' chances to make the playoffs and Felton and his weight were deemed the scapegoats.  
    • This season however, he's been playing like a man on a mission with the New York Knicks, playing admirably for the club and being the main scorer sometimes on a team full of injured players. However, as one pollster explained his reasoning in selecting Felton, "too many donuts in his system. I don't like subbing in the playground, but you know this spare tire would be out of air after only eight minutes of outdoor summer heat." Despite his valiant effort this season, Felton proves that a bad reputation is harder to shed than a few pounds.
  3. Jeremy Lin--The reason why Felton is playing so hard this season is because he's trying to make sure people know that he is a million times better than Lin. Lin is better paid and gets more publicity, but this season, Lin's inconsistent play is making NBA fans screaming out "FLUKE!" As one fan noted, "he took the money and ran...Can we please kill 'Linsanity' once and for all?"  Another fan stated that he's "one of the worst starting point guards in the NBA...the only thing this untalented PG does better is sell jerseys in Taiwan."
    • Both his FG% and 3-point% are down from last year, but he was never a deep-threat to begin with, though the Rockets are asking him to shoot more from beyond the arc. Because of his poor shooting (and playing alongside teammate James Harden) his scoring is down as well, but playing against a Knicks' Defense earlier this month, showed that he can flourish if he is asked to dribble penetrate more often during games.  The fact that his turnovers per game are down either shows smarter decisions by Lin or a decrease in handling the ball for the Rockets. Besides that, Lin provides a decent, all-around game for a player at his position, but in the playground game, if you're not scoring and hitting your shots, you're not getting the ball, period.
  4. Jameer Nelson--The reason I can't stand Nelson is because during the 2004 NBA draft, Nelson was the last player still in attendance who was yet to be picked and he looked devastated. Then Dick Vitale was interviewed during the draft's telecast and pleaded with all NBA teams to select the Senior out of St. Josephs's because he did things the right way and stayed in school and blah, blah, blah!  So by association, I've never really liked Nelson.  However, since Nelson has been the main scoring threat on the Magic this year, he has seen steady increases in production, although his 3-point% is down from last year (not so easy to hit those 3-point shots without teams double-teaming the post, huh?). However, Nelson can be inconsistent as well, scoring 28 points and dropping 10 dimes one night only to score 8 points and 5 assists in the next game. 
    • Nevertheless, I can picture myself being on Nelson's team and experiencing a guy who can dribble his way to the paint with ease, but then inexplicably dish the ball to someone and would give dirty looks each time he thought his teammates were not cutting the right way or not rotating properly. Basically, he would glare at you, as if to blame you for his shortcomings.
  5. Jerryd Bayless--Back when I covered the 2008 NBA Draft, I remember Bayless being described as an explosive guard who can one day give opposing teams trouble with his speed and raw scoring talent.  Unfortunately, Bayless has not met expectations and had one fan saying, "I spent a season watching him play and he consistently made stupid a$$ decisions."
    • Since being drafted in 2008, Bayless has already played for four different teams.  "NBA journeyman" was not part of the scouting report on him.

Goran Dragic, Steve Nash, and Ty Lawson were inserted by me because even though they are pretty good point guards, the fact of the matter is that I can see them push the ball and running up-and-down the court constantly. In the playground game, that running up-and-down the court and trying to constantly score on transition can be beneficial as the opposing team might not see it coming and lazy, transition defense is the norm in the street game.  But for a guy like me, I'm not very interested in running up-and-down the court for a whole game.  I'll take Rondo and his half-court game any day.  

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