I like Slam dunks take me to the hoop. My favorite play is the alley oop. I like the pick-and-roll, I like the give-and-go. Cause it’s basketball, uh, Mister Kurtis Blow. -Kurtis Blow
Ace may be the place with the helpful hardware but this is the place with the NBA hardware. The place with the NBA midseason hardware. The hardware that’s fun to wear. More fun than a barrel of monkeys. More fun than a clown on fire. More fun than a sack of dead kittens. More fun than all of that. Like my main man the Big Fundamental always says: “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” Who’s good? Who’s better? Who’s best? After the jump, take a look for yourself. Do it.
The Dominique Wilkins Most Underrated Player Award
The Human Highlight Film was somehow left off the original Dream Team. The Human Highlight Film was somehow left off the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players list. Like Rodney Dangerfield, no respect. Wanna know who else gets no respect. Huh? Do ya? I’ll tell you who. I’ll tell you it’s Paul Pierce. He’s come a long way baby! A long way from being the best player on the worst team. A long way from ripping off his shirt against the Indiana Pacers. A long way from missing those two free throws against the New Jersey Nets. For too long, Pierce had been underrated. For too long Pierce has gone unadulated. For too long his legacy as a Celtic has been debated. The time is now. This season, when his team needed him the most, Paul Pierce delivered. He ran the offense in the absence of Rajon Rondo. He hit the glass in the absence of Kevin Garnett . Save for Ray Allen, the Celtics have struggled to stay healthy, but Pierce has played all 41 games, remaining the constant he’s been for this team since his selection in the 1998 draft. He’s paid his dues. Time after time. He’s done his sentence, but committed no crime. Bad mistakes. He’s made a few. He’s had his share of sand kicked in his face. But he’s come through. And that’s the double Truth, Ruth!
The Kevin Mchale Best Player On His Team And Doesn’t Get The Credit For It Award
Where I come from, the name for this award is blasphemy. So be it, but know this: In 1987, Kevin McHale was the Boston Celtics bread and butter. In 1987, Kevin McHale was named to the All-NBA First Team as well as being named the NBA’s best defensive player. Sure Bird got his, but in 1987, game in and game out, the Boston Celtics made sure to feed the rock down low into the “Torture Chamber.” Game in and game out, the Boston Celtics made sure to feed the rock down low into Kevin McHale. Towards the end of that season, Mchale broke his foot. Continued to play on said broken foot into the Finals. He never recovered. I’ll believe this until the day I day: No McHale Broken foot, no Lakers Championship in ’87. I believe this too: No McHale broken foot, no Bad Boys in Detroit. Ever.
I’m sorry, I digress. Back to the matter at hand. Back to Russell Westbrook. I know Bill Simmons loves Kevin Durant. I know Bill Simmons says, “A 6-foot-10 forward who can shoot over everyone, make 3s like they’re free throws, post up smaller players, run the floor and play multiple positions. That’s Durant.” Maybe it is, but right now, Russell Westbrook is the straw that stirs the Thunder’s drink. Fresh off his third Western Conference Player of the Week Award, Westbrook’s game has taken a giant step forward. One small step for man; one giant leap for mankind. Leaping to the top of the list among the best point guards in the NBA. Leaping and becoming the only player in the league in the top seven in both scoring and assists. They don’t call him the Freak for nothin’. Don’t believe me? Ask Kevin Durant himself: “He’s playing like an MVP this year.” Yes he is Kevin, yes he is.
The Bernard King Perseverance Award
In 1984, Larry Bird said Bernard King is “the best scorer I’ve ever seen or played against.” Then, in 1985, with the Knicks, he tore up his knee during a play and his career appeared finished. Au contraire mon frere. King went on to have a very successful comeback with the Washington Bullets, improving his scoring average each year, and returned to the All-Star Game one last time in 1991. How about that?
How about this: Grant Hill was NBA Rookie the Year. He made All-Star team after All Star team. All-NBA first team. Led the NBA in triple-doubles. Twice. Get the papers, get the papers. First player since Larry Legend to average 20 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists in a season. Nobody’s done it since. Nobody. Then the ankle. Yickkkk. The ankle. Never really the same since. Maybe not the same but, Grant Hill continues to put his 38-year-old body in harm’s way on a nightly basis. Just a coupla nights ago he lit up the box score with 27 points and 12 rebounds in 41 minutes of stellar play. Earlier this month, he became one of 15 active players to have surpassed the 16,000-point mark when he knocked down a mid-range jumper with 4:47 remaining in the third quarter for two of his 21 points in the Suns 115-111 victory over the Blazers. Hill: “”It feels good, especially just to be able to continue to play after a lot of injuries and still be out there. You know, sometimes I get depressed, I think I could have had more.” He certainly could have.
The Rick Barry I Never Met A Shot I Didn’t Like Award
When I was a kid, I used to frequent Ye Olde Boston Garden quite a bit. When I was a kid, Ye Olde Boston Garden faithful had tradition whenever the Houston Rockets came into town. When I was a kid, whenever Rick Barry came into town, and whenever Rick Barry touched the rock, Ye Olde Boston Garden faithful would scream, “Shoot!” Every time he touched the ball. Every time. In this season’s version of the NBA, there’s a guy with penchant for shooting like good ol’ Rick Barry himself. That guy is Golden State’s Monta Ellis. He shoots early. He shoots often. A gunner like that will shoot his team out of games a lot of nights. He’s a cat who plays a lot of minutes on a fast-paced team, so he ends up with gaudy per-game averages even though he’s not advancing his team’s cause much. That said, when the defense is tentative and his shot is falling, Monta Ellis does like the evil android on Lost in Space. When the defense is tentative and his shot is falling, Monta Ellis will kill, crush and destroy you.
The Darryl Dawkins Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Teeth-Shaking, Glass-Breaking, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Wham-Bam, Glass-Breaker-I-Am-Jam Award
From the Planet Lovetron, Darryl Dawkins is the only player in the NBA to break two backboards in one month in one season. Just so you know, as a direct result of those two broken backboards in one month in one season, the NBA adopted the breakaway rim. With the advent and advancement of said breakaway rim, shattered backboards have become a thing of the past. Look at me, I’m in tatters! I’m a shattered. With all due respect to Mick Jagger, if anybody’s gonna do any shattering around here, that guy’s gonna be Blake Griffin.
One of the great pleasures of this season has been watching Blake Griffin terrorize opposing big men with his jaw-dropping dunks. Slam dunk da funk, put it up, if you got that feeling. Slam dunk da funk, put it up. We love it. We need it. We gotta have it. Can’t get enough. That ever loving stuff. Oh, that Marshmallow Fluff. I loved the dunkadelic relic Dr. J, even if he did start mess with Larry Legend. I loved the Human Highlight Reel and his reverse sidewinder slama-mama-jama. Who didn’t love His Airness? Who didn’t have that poster? Coast-to-coaster? Kenny Sky Walker. Vee Dot Carter. He tried harder. The competition was nada. Dee Brown straight up blind pumpin’. J-Schmoove out of the gym jumin’. Superman Dwight. Little man Spud. Walking tall. I loved them all. I love Blake Griffin.
The Moses Malone Best Offensive Rebounder Award
“The bigger they are, the more I be a greyhound,” Malone once poeticized. “Pressure’s on them to stop me.” And stop him, they could not, especially around the offensive glass. There is little or no argument that Moses Malone is the most potent offensive rebounder of all time. Moses had quickness. Moses had timing. Moses had all the things you would expect from an efficient rebounder. But the main thing Moses had was his tenacity. His notify the next of kinacity. Over and over againacity. There’s a guy like that in the NBA today.
There’s nothing he can do that can’t be done. Nothing he can sing that can’t be sung. C’mon, you know who I’m talking about. That’s right. Love, Love, Love. All you need is Love. All you need is Kevin Love. Well, apparently the T-Wolves need a little bit more than that but not on the offensive boards. Heck, not on any boards, but if I did this for just straight up rebounding, I’d have to call the award the Bill Russell something or other award and I already have one named after a Celtic… But still. But still, Kevin Love does lead the league in offensive rebounding. Kevin Love is unlike Moses in that he is not one of the most athletic players in the game. With Love, it’s all about the angles. With Love, it’s all about the instincts. With Love, it’s all about the positioning. It’s all ball bearings now. And no one is doing it better than Kevin Love.
The Chris Dudley Big White Stiff Award
There has never been a man who set foot on an NBA basketball court with less talent than Chris Dudley. Worse than Shawn Bradley. Worse than Gerg Kite. Worse than Chuck Nevitt. Worse than them all. Dudley also may have been the absolute worst foul shooter in the game’s history. The man had no redeeming qualities. None. None at all. Not at his peak. Not ever. Now, while Brian Scalabrine does have some redeeming qualities, he still wins this award. Some say he’s red, some say he’s pasty, some just call him VEAL. I call him God-awful.
The Oliver Miller Fattest Player Award
You heard of the Big-O? Oliver Miller was the Fat-O. Oliver Miller was so fat that the SkyDome mop boy used to scrape up his sweat using a gravy boat. Oliver Miller was so fat that when Darryl Walker told him to haul his ass down the court, he would need to take two trips. Oliver Miller was so fat that he had more Chins than a Yao Ming charity game. You get the drift. You also know the answer to this question. Eddy “Meatloaf” Curry. Eddy Curry is so fat that he once sat on the giant blue physio-ball during practice and the ball exploded. No, really. It’s true. In the continuing depressing saga of Eddy Curry, this season, he once again he showed up to training camp overweight and by the third day had injured himself. Eddy Curry ladies and gentlemen. Eddy Curry.
The Michael Jordan You Can’t Stop Him, You Can Only Hope To Contain Him And Probably Can’t Do That Either Award
What can I say about Michael Jordan that hasn’t been said before? If you saw Michael Jordan play, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, just go to Youtube and you will learn. I know somebody you have seen play. I know you’ve seen LeBron James play. I don’t care about “the Decision.” I don’t care what a PR nightmare this summer proved to be. All I know is what LeBron James does. What he does night in and night out. Night in and night out, LeBron James wrecks shop. Yes, like Run DMC, he wrecks shop. You know he wrecks shop. You know, you know, you know, he wrecks shop. You also know he’s still the King. The King is dead. Long live the King! Like another famous king, King Lear, once said, “Come not between the dragon and his wrath.” LeBron James still strikes down with great vengeance and furious anger. We know his name is the King as he lay down his vengeance upon the rest of the league.
Peace out homies. Six two and even!
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