Just three and a half weeks into the NBA season and there is already so much to talk about. My cousin Gianni Zambito called in and joined me in The Captain’s Corner to discuss the struggling Knicks and Nets, the consistently fantastic San Antonio Spurs, the biggest surprises of the season, and make some predictions for what’s to come. Check it out!
In case you hadn’t heard, the NBA season officially starts tomorrow night. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited. In fact, I was so excited I invited my cousin Gianni Zambito to join me in a two part NBA Preview Podcast. In Part One we previewed the Eastern Conference and in Part Two we previewed the Western Conference and made our NBA Finals predictions. If you love the NBA, take a listen.
After a three month writing sabbatical, I’m happy to say that I’m back on the grind and ready to unleash a several thousand word, 50 plus day countdown of the best players in the NBA today. Conventional 21 years olds spend their summer vacations hanging out with their girlfriend, working out, drinking too much, spending a whole bunch of time in the sun and enjoying their four months of freedom before the rigors of a their senior year of college. I dabbled in all of those activities, but in my spare time I crammed in several hours of research, re-watching highlights and taped playoff games, and re-reading box scores and articles just so I could confidently put together an NBA anthology that will in all likelihood be critiqued and ripped to shreds by everyone who reads my next 50 or so posts over at Saving The Skyhook. Before I get a receive a whole bunch of mean comments, just remember a few things:
A. In no way, shape, or form have I ever claimed to be an expert. I’m just a fan who cares way too much about the NBA for my own good. Evidence of this is I spent several hundred hours constructing a Top 50 players list which will put exactly $0 into my bank account.
B. Everyone has an opinion, and that’s all this list is… my opinion. Remember, if there weren’t differing opinions about sports it wouldn’t be nearly as fun to discuss. I’m not trying to tell you my opinion is better than yours. I’m just expressing my opinion while also trying to encompass as much of the previous NBA season as I can. If this countdown proves anything it’s just that I’m a complete and total NBA nerd. I have an irrational love for the NBA and the game of basketball in general. In a roundabout way, that makes me very similar to a lot of you readers.
C. Just so there isn’t any confusion to how I came to my rankings, I will gladly show you the exact criteria I used during this process. I know it is my opinion, but still it wouldn’t be fair to you if you didn’t know what logic went into my decisions for the upcoming list. Think of it like the Declaration of Independence. That written document legitimized our Founding Fathers beliefs that the 13 colonies should be an independent country of their own, completely separate from Great Britain. I wasn’t there, but when King George III received the Declaration, I imagine this was his reaction: “I don’t like this, but I totally feel where these patriots are coming from. I appreciate them explaining this to me in a written format. I’m thirsty, I want some tea… Someone get me some tea damn it!!!” Something like that. Think of this as my Declaration of Independence, that way you don’t think I am disrespectfully forcing my rankings upon you. Feel free to enjoy some tea while reading my criteria.
1. Individual Statistics/Accolades/Talent
-What was the players’ averages in the major statistical categories? (NOTE: Any career best or player career best notices are for players with who have played 5 NBA seasons or have 3 postseason appearances). Did they win any individual awards? Did they make an All-NBA team, All-Defensive Team, or any teams that I made up on my own but seemed relevant? And put simply, how good of a basketball player is he?
-What is the players’ role on the team? How significant is the role? How well do they play their role? A non-NBA example: In 2009 Heath Ledger won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards for his performance as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Ledger gave the performance of a lifetime; one that was indescribably better than Christian Bale, lead actor in The Dark Knight. That movie isn’t the same without Ledger. My point is this: A transcendent role player could very easily be ranked ahead of an good but not great player who shoulders a larger burden on a nightly basis than said role player.
3. Team Success
-What was the players’ regular season and postseason record? How much of an impact does that player have on the win/loss record of his team?
4. Late Game Chops
-How good are they in the clutch? Do they play better in big games or tend to disappear? Do they look confident in the playoffs or more like a deer in the headlights?
-How good of a teammate is the player? Is he a good teammate or is he despised? Does he do little things that make the team better or is he out for himself? Is he known as a hard worker and leader, or someone who doesn’t give a crap? Does he lack a killer instinct, sell out coaches, handle his free agency so comically that it has been dubiously nicknamed “The Indecision”, and care so much about the public’s opinion of him that he inadvertently destroys his image?
6. How Do They Stand Out
-Does he have any memorable games? Is there something unique about his game? Do you absolutely have to watch him play on NBA League Pass? Would you pay money to see him play in person?
Be sure to check out Saving The Skyhook for a whole bunch of NBA content over the next fifty days!
My cousin Gianni Zambito joined me in The Captain’s Corner to recap last weeks NBA Draft, and also to speculate on what is to come during the NBA’s Free Agency period.
Podcast newcomer Gianni Zambito returns to The Captain’s Corner to recap an incredible NBA Finals series, preview the NBA Draft, and take an early look at the upcoming free agents.