Some of you young boys born in the 90's might not know anything about Craig Hodges other than along with Larry Bird, he is only one of two players to win three consecutive Three Point Contests at the NBA All-Star Game. Us old folks recognize the sheer greatness of Craig Hodges 3-point shooting ability, especially back in 1993 when he'd been blackballed in the league (due to his criticism of The Jordan, breaking bad at the White House to G.W. Bush and wearing the dashiki, etc.) yet came out in a t-shirt and still almost won the three-point contest.
Craig Hodges couldn't get out of his own way. He couldn't get in the way of anyone either, because he played NO defense at all whatsoever. Plus he had no real position, a 6'2" shooting guard? No bueno.
Here are five players that continually piss me off to no end, but I have a love-hate relationship with. Why? Because they all remind me of Rasheed Wallace and "Can't Get Right" from Life. They're all phenomenal players (IMO) but they always find ways to piss me off...but you want them on your team.
Zach Randolph - I just want you to take in a few statistical metrics about Zach Randolph this season...
20.3 points/game (19th in NBA)
13.0 rebounds/game (3rd in NBA)
45 double-doubles (4th in NBA)
Let me say this right now, everyone praises Blake Griffin and Kevin Love for averaging 20 and 10 and peeling off double-doubles left and right...Z-Bo's been doing this for years! Z-Bo's already got five 20 and 10 seasons in the last eight years and the man gets nary a peep of respect. However, we all know the reason why he gets no respect...because Z-Bo's bleeping crazy.
Fighting. Being out of shape. Talking crazy. You name it, Z-Bo did it, just like 'Sheed did. Hell, his name is Z-Bo! You only get a nickname like that if you're crazy. Plus, Z-Bo has as much desire to play defense as little boys want to eat their vegetables. He's maddening to watch, yet you know he's as talented a big man as ANY big in the league. Continually reminds me of Rasheed...hope he gets off of that bum Memphis team and can help someone win in the long run.
Eddie House - The modern-day Craig Hodges in the flesh, he has all the prerequisite characteristics of a Craig Hodges. Let's see...
- A player (6'1") without a position...check.
- An insane ability to make threes at will...check.
- He plays NO defense whatever...check.
- He's been an integral part of a championship team...check.
Plus, he wears an egregious number (#55), just like 'Sheed did (#36), which looks crazy to me every time I see that silly number on the court, but I love it. Its been interesting how much Miami HAS NOT been able to get Eddie House on the court, partially because he can't defend anyone and he can't bring the ball up for real. Every championship contender wants an Eddie House on the squad, yet as soon as the offensive possession is finished you want to pull him off the court.
Channing Frye - Please just read "The 6'10" shooting guard conundrum" article, as the sequel will be written by soft as one-ply, soft as baby poo, soft as hot Velveeta, soft as fairies' wishes Channing Thomas Frye. Yes, the man can shoot like 'Sheed and is the same height as 'Sheed...but that's where the comparisons begin and end.
J.R. Smith - Probably the most maddening player in the NBA for years now, and as Kenny so eloquently wrote a couple of weeks ago, there's nothing that J.R. Smith aka Earl Smith III, can't do on the court...like 'Sheed.
Of course, Earl wouldn't be Earl if he wasn't doing J.R.-type craziness...
"When you look at the man, you can’t help but pay attention; the theatrics, the gazillion accessories he wears on the court, and the endless supply of tattoos contribute to his appearance. He looks no different than some cats I hang with on a regular basis, and some of my boys from back home. However, what is seen at surface level pales in comparison to what this man is capable of being on the court."
Its that last line with Earl Smith III that's made everyone fed up with him. There isn't a man who doesn't want a player "like" Earl Smith III on their team. Yet, no one and I mean NO ONE wants a player "like" J.R. Smith on the squad.
Stephen Jackson - We first wrote about the virtues of "Cap'n Jack" way back in 2009. I'm one of the biggest Stephen Jackson Stan's out here.
"The man can shoot, score, handle, and will go play D as well. If people are willing to look past what’s easy to criticize, they’ll see this man is a LEGIT basketball player and a leader on his team. Plus, to keep his own teammates from being in a potentially horrible situation at the strip club, dude breaks up a fight/melee by pulling out the heat and shooting in the air. That is the kind of take charge attitude we all need on our basketball team."
The fact that the man was willing to "pull out the heat" to save his teammates from the fracas in a strip-club parking lot is problematic yet glorious simultaneously. Plus, like Sheed, he's got this insane tendency to get technical fouls at bad times in the game. However, like Sheed, the man has ice veins and will hit game-winners, defend and lock down, and be an unquestioned leader of your team.
If you put this starting five on the court, you might score 120 points a game. However, you might give up 150 points a game and cause four to five fights to breakout and folks to randomly sip Henny on the bench...
...but give me all five of those players on my team any day of the week, and hopefully 'Sheed's on the bench to break the fight up.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!