Shaquille O'Neal: Unique
Never before have we seen a player like this, on and off the court. Shaq is probably the most charismatic player in NBA history. Who could forget the brilliant cinematography in "Kazaam?"Shaq has been a marketing dream and a front court nightmare. The NBA simply did not have an answer for him for a solid decade. He was the most dominant big man, if not player, in his prime that I have ever seen. Wilt has a similar status, and Dwight Howard wishes he did
Dwight Howard: Jester
A phenomenal talent, with unmatched potential. Very charismatic, maybe too charismatic. He is Shaq without the "it," quality. We all love him, and there isn't anyone in the league who could physically take over quit like he can. But he seems content with only entertaining us. No rings now and no rings later. Sorry Dwight, clowns don't win championships.
Kevin Durant: Inevitable
2009-2010 was his coming out season. With his streak of 29 consecutive games with 25 points or more (second to Jordan himself) and leading his Thunder to a playoff birth, eyes were opened and then needed shades because of how bright Durant's star was shining. After Kobe retires in the next 3-4 years, the Western Conference will belong to the Durantula. He is an absolute scoring machine, if only he could put a little weight on..
Rasheed Wallace: Disenchanting
'Sheed did have an impressive career, on several great teams, however his career numbers simply do not match up with his talent. Portland was the closet he ever got to being a star player, and on the following teams he was more of a role player. When most people reminisce about Wallace, they only want to associate him with technical fouls and overly dramatic reactions. He was a player who had offensive capabilities that could have placed him in several MVP races. He remains an enigma with most NBA insiders, we look at him and can only think of the career that could have been. Also see Josh Smith.
Tim Duncan: Bland; also see: Vanilla Ice Cream, Missionary
An incredible talent no doubt, but he will not get the recognition he deserves once he's out of the league. Let's face it, he is boring, which is fine. Duncan along with his associations above, leave you saying "Yeah that was great, but I'm still a little unsatisfied." In his prime, it was a safe bet to lock him in for 25 and 12 every night. But I'm afraid for Mr. Duncan, that he will always be overshadowed by his gaudier peers.
Kobe Bryant: Emulator
We'll spare the accolades and get to the point. Kobe is the closest thing from MJ that we will ever see. They are physical carbon copies of one another. Kobe loves to indulge himself in comparisons to His Airness, however, not matter what, he will always come up a little short. Kobe has tried to create a signature facial expression (the under bite thing or whatever the hell it is) like Mike (tongue wag). Kobe also comes off as disingenuous in his interviews, like his responses have been manufactured at times. When Kobe is asked a question is seems as if he has to check his WWMJD band before he answers. Jordan is the better player, but not by much. They share the same competitive attitude, although MJ was slightly more sadistic. It seems like Kobe has modeled his entire career after Michael. To an extent, he has essentially achieved equivalent results. The biggest difference being that MJ was and absolute monster in the playoffs, and Kobe while great, has yet to reach that same plateau. There will never be another Michael Jordan, but Kobe Bryant will go down in history as being the next best thing.
Steve Nash: Omega
Is he really the last white superstar? Yes, we know he's Canadian, but its close enough right? Dirk, a seven foot German hybrid, is by all means, an anomaly. Is Nash's heir apparent really David Lee? Or how about Cole Aldrich or Gordon Heyward? Unlikley. It appears that Steve Nash will be the last game altering, MVP racing, dime-dishing, white superstar; at least for the next decade or so. Regardless of race, Nash has been fantastic, winning two MVP's and many hearts in Phoenix. Nash has brought a spark and an element of creativity that can hardly be rivaled by anyone in the league.
Joe Johnson: The Last Airbender, Alexander, The Sourcerer's Apprentice.
"But those are movies, NBAblogjob!" Ah, yes they are. They are movies with monstrous budgets and even bigger box-office failures. The return on investments for these flicks have the film's producers waking up and playing a game of Russian Roulette every morning. Over the 6 year course of their contracts, Joe Johnson will make $10 million more than LeBron James. Good luck earning that paycheck, Joe. The Hawks will continue to be a mid-level seed who will never get over the hump. So to the Hawk's front office; enjoy being "almost good enough," for the next 6 years.
Lebron James: Showstopper
In ESPN's Lebron Loveftest this summer how many eyebrow-raising dunks and come from behind swats did we see? Any time a NBA player can make an announcer say something like "Lebron James with no regard for human life!!!", you know you are putting on a show. Lebron loves to dazzle us, but is he more concerned with that than he is his legacy? His decision this summer bolsters that claim; if he had gone to New York and built a winner, he would have positioned himself to fulfill that enticing Jordan catch phrase of "Become Legendary." Instead, he shied away from the chance to be the lone alpha dog on a team and has buddied up with two other stars, leaving him to save his energy for those highlight reel plays and to be on both ends of many many alley-oops.
Shawn Marion: Straitjacket
That's what his jersey might as well be, the way he shoots...
Lamar Odom: Letdown
Is it a little harsh to call a key player on a two-time championship team a letdown? Maybe so, but Lamar Odom could have been, and still can be, so much more. A 6'10'' player capable of bringing the ball up the court and playing 4 positions should be a match-up nightmare, but Odom has been so inconsistent or unwilling to shine throughout his career. Anytime Odom's importance to the Lakers is brought up, his potential to have a bigger impact is almost always coupled with that. When Odom comes to play and is agressive, the Lakers are unbeatable (see the first 2 games of the 2010 Western Conference Finals). And as if he has been a letdown on the court, he has also disappointed in his personal life, settling for the least attractive of the Kardashian sisters.
Greg Oden: Agonizing
Rewind to June 2007. The Blazers are struggling between taking the potential franchise center in Oden (when they already had an above-average big man in Aldridge) or the flashy Durant, who had captivated us all in his freshman year at Texas. As a 15 year old at the time, even I knew this pick was a no-brainer: you take the unstoppable scorer over the injury-prone center who looks 55. Three years later, Durant is destined for stardom and Oden is struggling to stay on the court. While I'm sure couplig Oden with Aldridge was quite tempting, how good do Roy and Durant together sound in the backcourt? Unless Oden is suffering from Benjamin Button syndrome, Blazers fans will be suffering unbearbly when Oden gets hurt again and Durant's star shines brighter and brighter. Adding to the pain of Blazers fans is that Oden's most prominent contribution so far in his career has been the nude picture he took of himself that found its way to the internet.
Darko Milicic: The Challenger
The Challenger, as in the space ship that blew up. Poor Darko had to go pro the same year as Lebron James and the superstars the Pistons picked him over...Melo, Bosh, and D Wade in case anyone has forgotten. However, our sympathy for Darko is limited, as he just signed a $20 million contract, so he has been well-paid fodder for jokes on the Pistons 2003 draft and draft busts everywhere.
Ron Artest: Maverick
As we were all reminded in the 2008 elections, John McCain is a maverick, but the maverick of the NBA is unquestionably Mr. Artest. Would anyone else in the history of the NBA have dared to go in the stands and hit a fan (limited sympathy for the fan who provoked him; we are on Ron-Ron's side) besides Artest? But that was years ago, and during this past year, Artest has continued to be independent in his thoughts and actions, from having "defense" cut into his hair in 3 different languages or having Craig Sager shout "Queensbridge!" during his post-game interview. And of course there is his his interview after winning the NBA championship, in which he as to be the only player ever that has thanked both his 'hood and psychiatrist in the same breath.
Derrick Rose: Pioneer
That word may seem a little strong at the moment, but just wait a few years and we will be further validated. Rose is the first of the new NBA point guards and new brand of superstars; he is big, quick, athletic, and coached by John Calipari. It was Rose in '08, Tyreke Evans in '09, and John Wall in '10; all fit that category, 2 out of the 3 were number one overall picks, and all signs point to the three of them being stars for a long, long time. The apparent heirs to these three are already in place: Brandon Knight in '11 Marquis Teague in '12, so we are proud to say our home state is the birth of this blog and the next generation of NBA superstars.
Derek Fisher: Professional
No flashy skills or highlight reels, D-Fish is just solid. As he played college ball at Arkansas-Little Rock and has been overshadowed by his more talented Laker teammates, Fisher has not gotten the spotlight he has deserved, although I'm sure the Magic are completely aware of Derek Fisher's presence. Throughout his career, Fisher has been a solid role player, a clutch shot (especially in the playoffs), and just a good, classy person. So, Drek, ESPN may not give you the love you deserve, but NBA Blog Job has your back. Hats off to Mr. Derek Fisher. See also: Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince
Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol: Endangered
As in endangered species, as they alone of their make have had a successful NBA career. It seems every year in the NBA draft, scouts are drooling over skilled European big men. Remember how much hype surrounded such names as Danilo Galinari, Andrea Bargani, and one Darko Milcic? They were the numbers 6th, 1st, and 2nd overall picks, respectively, and none of them has lived up to their expectations. And only a die-hard NBA fan would remember Nikoloz Tskitishvili, the Nuggets 5th overall pick in 2002, selecting him over Amare, Caron Butler, and Tayshaun Prince. Nikoloz averaged a whopping 3 ppg and 1.8 rpg for his career and Bill Simmons labeled him as the “worst-case scenario for any foreign pick.” So let this be a lesson for you NBA GM’s: almost always take the athletic star college player over the European big man whose supposedly wide skill set does not translate across the seas very well.
The Miami Heat: The Expendables
Yes, the soon to be released meat-head movie that is guaranteed to be mediocre. This cast is full of former action heros looking for one shot of glory. Bruce Willis, Stallone, Governor Arnold, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Terry Crews, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Randy Coture, and thank God, Ivan Drago. This movie is appealing only to Americans who have limited brain function. It is hard not to parallel this movie to what has been going on in South Beach. Wade: "Hey guys as of now, this team is painfully bad. How about you guys come here and we can build a super team?" Sly Stallone: "Hey yo fellas, I'm the only out-of-my-prime action star on this cast, how about you's guys come join me? And yeah, Stone Cold is already on board." The comparison is too easy, and we couldn't leave it alone. The Heat will have more success (I hope, because an "Expendables," box office hit, would be a microcosm to how moronic the American public has become) considering they have 3 of the top 10 players in their prime.
Dwyane Wade: Neglected
D-Wade is a well known superstar in the NBA, but we feel like he is under appreciated. He was overshadowed in his draft class by guys like LBJ, Melo from a national championship winning Syracuse, and even the next international sensation in Darko. Critics want to water down his championship ring because he was coupled with Shaq. He was teamed with an aging Shaq, and if you really watched that Mavs/Heat series, Wade single handedly won that ring. Look at the recent years. Wade has been on a miserable Heat team, but has somehow managed to keep them playoff relevant. To put him into perspective, the 2010 Heat took the 2010 Eastern Conference champs (Celtics) to 6 games. "Yeah, but they still lost." Yes, they did. But that series had no business going 6 games. The fact that D-Wade took 2 from Boston is only a testament to his greatness. It is disheartening to know that we will never see the same D-Wade again. Now he has LBJ and Bosh to share the load, and his days of being a playoff behemoth (at least statistically) are done. Wade may win several more rings but the media and fans will always say, "Good work, but you had Lebron." Please don't compare Wade/Lebron to Jordan/Pippen and try to justify Pippen's superstardom. LeBrade is a couplet like we have never witnessed.