Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rating the NBA?

ESPN lived up to their title as King Resident Douchebag Network today with their rankings on the best players in the NBA. They listed a top 5 of LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Dirk Nowitski. Combined titles in that group:  2.  Coming in at Number 8 was Derrick Rose. I think we all realize how ridiculous that is.

Look, I realize the NBA is in the midst of a lockout and ESPN needs to give its (horrible) analysts something to do. But did we not learn anything from the 2011 NBA Finals? LeBron is terrible in the clutch (unlike someone else we know). Someone who put up 17 PPG, 7 APG, and 7 RPG (well below his average) and generally looked disinterested should not be considered the best player in the NBA. Everyone loves watching him jump out of the gym in a random December game against someone like Charlotte, but in June when it counts he disappears. Not to mention the guy can be pompous and ridiculously cocky.

It's really sad that Derrick Rose can win the MVP and almost single-handedly take his team to the most wins in the Eastern Conference and to the Conference Finals, and yet still not be recognized as one of the best in the game. Sure, being the 8th best player in any sport would be an amazing achievement, but Derrick Rose was recognized as the Most Valuable Player in the entire league last year. Without a doubt, he is one of the Top 5 players in basketball.

Moreover, I think Wade and James are amazing players, but if you have two of the top 5 players in basketball, how do you not win the title?? It's still amazing to think that they didn't win the title with their version of Two and Half Men. I even think that they both belong in the Top 5. But I would even put Wade in front of James, for it was Wade who carried the Heat in the finals to even make it competitive, while James was surely worrying about his next endorsement deal or trying to remember the words to Rick Ross' latest.

The real Top 5 should include the following players, in some kind of order:  Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Dirk Nowitski. Yes, I left out Dwight Howard, who is just a modern version (albeit much more athletically gifted, if that's even possible) of David Robinson. Howard doesn't have the toughness nor attitude (like Shaquille O'Neal in his prime) to succeed when it counts. That doesn't mean that he doesn't dominate in the regular season (which he definitely does at times), but the playoffs are the only thing that matters. At least, that's what Michael Jordan taught me. It shocked me to begin with that Durant was left out, much like D Rose. Those 5 I just listed are the best players in the league, but ESPN tends to glorify athletes who make a lot of noise or sell a lot of tickets. And to that I say, whatever - all you do is give someone like Derrick Rose, who doesn't need it and is confident in his own ridiculous skills, more motivation than ever to dominate. Now all we need is our season back!