14 Questions for 2014, Part Three.
Before I start this article, it’s been well known for weeks that Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson have both retired. Dam.
Let’s just start a step back and reminisce. Both were two of the top twenty scorers to have ever graced a basketball court at their basketball prime, Iverson was a little man that took absolute punishment game after game after game, as he just flung himself into the big men with reckless abandon, someone who sacrificed his body completely in the chase of a championship. Most importantly someone with a big heart, who looked after all his friends and family after making it big, someone who didn’t have the heart to say no to people he cared about. His MVP year in 2001 remains one of the greatest little man season (Under 6’0) of all time and one of the best statistical year altogether, 31.1 points, 4.6 assist, 2.5 steals, 42% and being the 76’ers only shot creator, only scorer and being somehow able to drag that team to the finals with game changing players such as Eric Snow, George Lynch and featuring the mind shatter, ground breaking pick and roll of Pepe Sanchez and Tyrone Hill (One of the dirtiest looking individuals, commonly mistaken for Adolf Hitler)
T-Mac was one of the most gifted scorers at his peak, he was an evolutionary George Gervin, someone who maintained the Ice Man’s touch around the basket, yet was one of the first big men to have cash money jumpshot but had a smooth cross over and could dribble. So imagine a Penny Hardaway with a better offensive game, that was T-Mac at his peak and his 2003 Orlando Magic year ranks as one of the greatest scoring displays of all time, he exploded for 32.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.5 assist whilst hitting 45.7% and having a PER of 30.3.
Both players were amazing athletes, amazing scorers that never quite blossomed into a crunch time player, McGrady in particular never got out of the first round even in the year where the Rockets ripped up a 22 game win streak. Both players were never the best leaders or team mates (We talking about PRACTICE.) and both players along with Tim Duncan, Bryant, Nowitzki, Garnett and O’Neal were the poster boy for the 2000s and both have disappeared from the game, it’s officially the era of LeBrons, Durants, Westbrooks and Roses now.
“Is LeBron James a better scorer than Carmelo Anthony?”
Oh watch out, Ryde’s finest Kevin Jiang is going to kill me after reading that I’ve insulted his sexual fantasy. I’m going to argue for King James, in my humble opinion he’s a better scorer than Carmelo Anthony (Even if Carmelo won the scoring title) and it’s my job to convince you it as well. I’m going to break my arguments into the sections which follows.
“Who is a better mid range shooter?”
This one clearly goes to Carmelo Anthony, they isn’t an enormous gap between LeBron James and Anthony when it comes to shooting, but it’s big enough where I can safely say Carmelo is more deadly with his jumper.
Anthony : 1, James : 0
“Who is a better slasher?”
Likewise this is an absolute no brainer, LeBron James maybe the greatest slasher after Air Jordan, it depends how you feel about Doctor J or even Dwyane Wade, but there’s no way Carmelo Anthony deserves to be mentioned in that group of players, LeBron James is a mix of Karl Malone and Charles Barkley when he runs his 505 special, otherwise known as the coast to coast finish. There’s no one better at finishing fast breaks in today’s game and LeBron’s finishing ability was a key foundation to why the Heat was such a scary team offensively.
Anthony : 1, James : 1.
“Who is a better three point shooter?”
Now this one is much closer than people think, the obvious answer would be Carmelo Anthony, because he has one of the purest jumpshots in the NBA, but take a closer look, James actually has a higher 3 point percentage, 40.6% compared to Anthony’s 37.9% in the regular season. Keep in mind that Anthony took a lot more three point shots, almost double what James took, (6.2 to 3.3) so obviously his efficiency would drop. So an edge to Carmelo right now.
However, then you look at their playoff average and once again LeBron James is more accurate in efficiency, shooting a career average of 32.2% from behind the arc compared to Anthony’s 32.%, just slightly correct? Then throw in the fact Carmelo Anthony shot a disgusting 29.8% what was suppose to be his best year in his career, AKA 2013. James shot a blitzing 37.5% during the playoffs against better team and managed to take the Heat to the promised land.
But basketball isn’t a sport where you can sit down, look at the statistics and come to a scientific conclusion, statistics are not a be all end all to a basketball debate and discussion. Carmelo Anthony deserves more credit for being New York’s only scoring threat since JR Smith decided to become the anti-Durant after throwing an elbow at Jason Terry’s head. (I say Terry’s headband has magical properties) Also we should note that the New York Knicks were built around three, would LeBron James work in such a system? Would LeBron James feel comfortable consistently finding his shot behind the arc? Probably not, Anthony on the other hand felt right at home. He’s a scoring machine, that loves to shoot behind the arc, that feels comfortable throwing up 25 shots a game with more than 25% of them from the 3 point land. Carmelo Anthony wins this category, JUST.
Anthony : 2, James : 1.
“Who is more versatile?”
Carmelo Anthony owner of one of the better post games in the league, where he abuses his combination of size, speed and strength and even somehow managed to drug Kobe to the stage where he declares Anthony harder to guard than LeBron James. As mentioned he’s got a crazy jumpshot and once he catches fire, lord have mercy. But he’s not passing threat (In fact if anyone is the anti-Isiah Thomas of this generation it has to be Tyrus Thomas 1A and Carmelo Anthony 1B), his post game still lacks the shine of LeBron’s which was polished and honed on the biggest stage, nor can he go coast to coast. LeBron James more than Carmelo is truly an inside-outside player.
Anthony : 2, James : 2.
“Who is more effective in the post.”
LeBron James. He overwhelmed the league’s most athletic team in the 2012 finals, he treated Kevin Durant the same way a sex addict treats grade A quality pornography… In the words of the philosopher Souja Boy “Super man that hoe.” James just over powered the Thunder and Miami’s whole offense in games 2 to 5 revolved around James’ ability in the post and his super human athletic powers. Call me once Carmelo gets to the finals, much less takes the opposition down to the block for some Olajuwon reactments. “He just left him bamboozled!” (And if you haven’t, go Youtube “Olajuwon dominates Robinson” to watch a grand spanking.)
Anthony : 2, James : 3.
“Who is a better free throw shooter.”
LeBron James has shot a career 74.7% in the regular season and 74.9% in the post season.
Carmelo Anthony has shot a career 80.8% in the regular season and 82.6% in the post season.
Rest easy Ken Kenobi.
Anthony : 3, James : 3.
“Who is more efficient?”
LeBron James has shot a ridiculous 56.5% from the field and legend states if he breaks 60% whilst averaging more than 18 shots a game then Wilt Chamberlain comes back from the grave to give him a blowjob that’s literally out of this world. He turned the ball over just a little more than Carmelo Anthony (0.4 more turn overs a game) whilst averaging almost 3 times more assist. His PER is also the league’s highest at a jaw dropping 31.6. Contrast this with shoot first, shoot second and third Anthony’s field goal percentage of 44.9% and PER of 24.8. Yes Anthony does shoot a little higher from the charity strip but overall you have to give it to James.
Anthony : 3, James : 4.
“Who is more clutch?”
Do me a favour, google the three most important games Carmelo Anthony has played in. Dime Magazine ranks his top five as 41 points, 11 rebounds, 5 steals against Dallas in the Western Semi Conference…. A game which Dallas wins.. Not a good start to tick off the list. The next game ranked if also another loss, this time to the purple and gold even with Anthony going 14/20 and dropping 39 points on KB24’s ass, ladies and gentlemen do I smell the next George Gervin? Game 3 on Anthony’s top 5 and FINALLY a win, (Isn’t winning the most important thing in a game?) Next, he drops 42 points on the Utah Jazz shooting a burning 72% from the field. Ranked at second for Anthony’s greatest game, Anthony clashes with the reigning champions Miami. Everyone remembers Carmelo smoking the Heat for the only win in the 2012 series, throwing down a CRITICAL 41 points for a two point win over Miami 89-87, ball game. Anthony was an offensive master in that game taking the smaller wade in the post and most importantly understanding that settling for a three pointers and holding the ball for 20 seconds wasn’t as effective as lay ups and put backs. Finally the greatest game of Carmelo Anthony’s whole career was his 42/17/6 performance he threw up against the Celtics in 2011, where he basically did everything to Paul Pierce but fondle his genitals and once again importantly WIN. What’s with Anthony throwing up crazy games but still losing, after a while you can’t just blame his team mates, maybe his game is like Allen Iversons, “Built on flash and not fire” in the words of Mr 23.
But really none of this matters, period, these five games doesn’t come close to the impact and importance LeBron James’ game 6 against Boston or maybe he’s dropping 48 against the Pistons and scoring 29 of his team’s last 30 points in a double over time game. No? Okay try 40/18/9 against the Pacers in the 2012 playoffs? No? Not buying it… Hmm okay you’ll definitely love his triple double against the Thunder in game 5 where he drops a quiet 26, some how grabs 11 rebounds and has enough energy to chip in with 13 assist. The biggest difference between James’ games and Anthony’s? James throws up crazy statistics and still manages to pull of the W. James wins more in tougher situations, now go stick your clutch gene up your ass Skip Bayless.
Anthony : 3, James : 5.
I conclude, in my opinion LeBron James is a better scorer than Carmelo Anthony, but it’s close just remember despite the fact both are excellent scorers, if Anthony is having an off shooting day then he’s basically useless, LeBron James can still impact the game through passing and defence. Right now in terms of scoring, Kevin Durant ranks at 1, James at 2, Anthony at 3, Bryant (healthy) at 4 and Harden/Curry at 5. Fuck you Ken Kenobi!
“Who makes it to Chingy’s annual All-NBA-Dirty team?”
There is no basketball player like a dirty basketball player. Yeah, just let that sink in. As in every sport there’s an abundance of meat heads, gimps and other homeless looking participants in the sport, but every year only five can make it to the sacred list. Who will win my Kurt Rambis award for being a visual cancer and crippling the eyesight of home audiences with their grotesque appearance? Let’s find out children!
Point Guard : Russell Westbrook
To tell you the truth, there aren’t that many “ugly” Point Guards in the NBA, there just isn’t, the smaller players look more human and less like a cave troll, but I had to take marks off Westbrook for looking like a teenage mutant ninja turtle wrapped in up urban vernacular and with one of the ugliest most horrendous wardrobes ever unleashed. His also got one of the fattest pairs of lips I’ve ever seen resembling an NFL football on a good day and a facial infection on a bad day.
Shooting Guard : Delonte West
Yes I’m going to cheat a little, West didn’t play in the 2013 season, he has been unsigned since his stunt with Dallas in 2012 and yes if I picked him then I might have been justified to pick Sam Cassell at Point, but meh, my list my rules. D West (Take that Dwyane Wade!) looks like a ghetto elf, he’s got Voldermort looking skin and a small pubescent face to go with that. Should I say it? Who’s going to crack the first LeBron James’ mother joke? No good sir, I insist you take that one.
Small Forward : Reggie Evans
Despite what player I pick, none of them can ever rival the immortal Tyrone Hill who’s taken home the Kurt Rambis award 4 times in his career, second only behind Sam Cassell. But Reggie Evans REALLY gives Mr Hill a run for his money. My first impression of Reggie Evans was “Good lord almighty did James Harden and Kimbo Slice have a love baby?” With a short pubic hair beard and a diamond shaped head, Reggie Evans is a sure pick at the forward position for the All-NBA-Dirty team until his retirement, God bless you Reggie, God bless.
Power Forward : Luis Scola
Known affectionately as the Argentinian STD to my family, Scola’s face has been a detriment to my health ever since his entry into the NBA. For some reason Scola’s hair always looks greasy and oily, always, the Severus Snape looks was trending in the early 20th century but take looks should of died in the 60s never to be brought back. This season the Pacers are looking at Scola to provide a much needed post presence off the bench, but he’ll always be present on the All-NBA-Dirty team.
Centre : Chris Kaman
Chris “Feces” Kaman looks like a drug addict. He’s the modern hipster equivalent of Kurt Rambis with long whispy hair instead of Rambis’ magnificent mullet and a beer belly instead of black knee pads. It doesn’t help that Kaman is a tad chubby and overweight which inspires questions like “How can one be a healthy looking drug addict?” and “Why does he look like a sexually abused Thor?” One thing is for sure, he’s forever welcome in Chingy’s All-NBA-Dirty team
“Will be the Bulls perform in the 2014 season.”
I’ve rarely seen as fan base support and turn on an athlete like the Chicago loyal did on their man Rose during the end of the 2013 season. Personally I didn’t understand the hatred Rose was generating, if one of the most basketball obsessed players says he’s not ready… Then he’s not ready. Sports is more than just physical, mentally he was rustier than Eddy Curry three weeks before pre-season. The Bulls also had no chance of defeating the Heat, yes we did our best Bad Boys impression we fouled hard, we played physical and I’m god dam proud of my boys for not backing an INCH against the reigning champions. But spirit can’t overcome injures and with an injured Noah and Deng in hospital for the flu, there was no chance we could match the fire power of the Akron Hammer (The coolest LeBron James nickname ever) I mean Thibudea needed to play Nate Robinson an average of THIRTY THREE MINUTES in the post season, uh uh not going to to cut it.
But he’s back, farewell sleepless nights, farewell thoughts of suicide and farewell sad drunken nights, Chicago’s hero has returned and according to the coldest scorer in the NBA Mr. Durant, “A lot of people criticized him for it and really were upset about him not playing, but it was the best thing for him. I can tell because he looks better.”
So…. Do I smell a championship?
Hmm.. This year is definitely a lot harder to predict, I guaranteed that LeBron James would win another ring after his monster year in 2012. He had his first taste and he was hungry for more and he was at the peak of his basketball career he was Tony Montana after a mountain of cocaine, he was Simba after becoming king, he was Stanley Ching after going 100% from the three point line in the 2011 season. No longer did he pay attention to the critics and he FINALLY realised that being 6’8 and a pure locomotive would make you unstoppable in the post. There was just NO way the Heat wasn’t winning, especially since Wade’s powers hadn’t completely fallen off and Bosh still knew how to rebound. This year? It’s a lot different. It is going to be the second time since the merger that a team has the potential to reach the finals four times in a row, the only other team the Celtics of the 80s, and a shout out to the 94 Bulls for being one horrible call away from also repeating the feat. You know what team means? Fatigue, more fatigue with a small serving of fatigue, the players are going to be exhausted, combined with the fact the emotional leader of the group; Wade begins to look more and more like an over paid Nick Young with zero jumpshot and even less lift in his knees. Will Bosh who pulled one of the greatest rebounding disappearing acts be able to still contribute? Most importantly will the passion still be there? Will Norris Cole and Haslem still care after a few rings under their belt? Will LeBron James get up at 4:30 to do a trillion push ups even after the critics have been quieted? This season is different, it just is and I no longer have the Heat as clear favourites in the east. My hint to Spolestra? Go easy on your perimeter players, relies less upon the small ball tactics which will run LeBron James into the ground and more upon the Odens, Haslems and Norris Coles of the team.
So will the Bulls pick up from their 2012 regular season? Ranked at number one in the eastern conference finals? I don’t think so, the Pacers have improved exponentially, the one two punch of Roy Hibbert and David West at the 4 and 5 is serious. Both are great defenders and both provide enough of a scoring threat around the block as well. Throw in legitimate perimeter players such as Paul George who is one of the best defenders of LeBron James and one of the most versatile players in the league. Inject a healthy Danny Granger who isn’t afraid to hit big shots and has a solid perimeter game with the league’s best defence and lord have mercy, the Pacers Bulls games are going to be a dog fight with scores just peaking around the 60s.
Do I think the Bulls are a better team then Pacers? Sigh… No. On paper the Pacers have one of the best teams and have a chance to be one of the best defensive teams of the 21st centuries, they’re stacked in every position except Point Guard and the twin towers they have are going to wreck havoc in a league that’s fallen in love with small ball. The only thing I can hang my hat upon is that fact my Bulls have a better fan base which knows how to affect games at home, secondly the Bulls don’t give up, you can cut off their hands (Noah) their legs (Rose) or arms (Deng) and we’ll still try to stand up for round 2. I was so proud of my Bulls for pulling through against Brooklyn in game 7 and winning game 1 against the Heat. I don’t think the Pacers have they sort of aggression or fire yet, they’re a franchise which lacks legacy of a Michael Jordan or a Pippen and they haven’t impacted enough of an impact in the post season as an unit. Nor do they have a basketball drug addict like Rose or a Thibodeau to grab the wheel and direct them back on course.
As I wrote in my last article, Brooklyn looks good on paper but how much faith can you put into a team that hasn’t played a single game together and has a bunch of older players as key clogs in the system? 2013 Lakers anyone? But I guess the difference between the two teams is the fact Garnett bleeds basketball and still masturbates over his 2008 ring, Dwight Howard on the other hand smiles and grins when his team gets blown out by 30 points. Garnett is a culture changer for sure and past team mates all have sworn on how Garnett can alter how a franchise operates by sheer desire of will. But I can’t get the Brooklyn collapse out of my head in game 7 against my Bulls in last year’s playoffs. Sure Joe Johnson might be better than Jimmy Butler (Debatable, could Johnson guarded James like Butler did? Hell no.) but defensively they’re not in the same area code, call me a fan boy call me a hater I still have the mighty Bulls in front of the Nets.
I’m not even going to focus on the rest of the league, yes the Pistons deserve some attention but I’m surprised the team hasn’t been engaged in an all out brawl, at the very least Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and Charlie Villanueva should of at least thrown a few punches at each other already.
“Will there Houston implode if James Harden shaves his beard?”