Monday, November 24, 2008

GHABBY'S Semi-Regular Macro View of the NBA: The Power Forward Caste System

This is the first of what I hope will be a series of regular columns giving my views on the NBA as a whole, if only to educate the public that there is a basketball-playing world outside of what's shown on Comcast Sports New England. As someone who may or may not be paid by and to provide analysis and coverage of the National Basketball Association, I feel that it is my obligation to inform the fine readers of Mass Hysteria of the basketball-related developments outside Route 495. We founded this site on higher principles and anti-provincial Yahdoodery, so anti-provincial Yahdoodery ye shall receive.

Also, to update a previous column - Friday's Brazilian Barbecue drunken escapades ended in a bacterial infection in my intestines and roughly 25 bouts of diarrhea in a 36-hour period. I've never wished for a quick death more than I did for the entirety of Saturday and most of Sunday. Have you ever dry-heaved out of your ass? It ain't fun.

Anyways, on with the show...

It can be said that last season was the Year of the Point Guard in the NBA. Four PGs averaged at least 10 assists per game, and eight averaged at least 15 points. Guys like Andre Miller, Deron Williams and Baron Davis had career years. Jose Calderon came off the bench to become a veritable assist machine for the Raptors, and Rajon Rondo, well, to quote Trent in Swingers, “he grownsed up and he grownsed up and he grownsed up.” Most notably, Chris Paul enjoyed an MVP-caliber season, having one of the best seasons by a point guard in decades. By the end of the year, the position was revitalized and revolutionized, with a bevy of brand-new stars.

But what position will be the Point Guard of this year? Will any spot be revolutionized like the 1 was during last year’s season?

My guess is that this year's "position du jour" will be the power forward spot. It's not just the talent at the power forward spot in this year's NBA that intrigues me, but also its diversity in play. For example, Carlos Boozer and Yi Jianlan happen to play the same position, but obviously take very different approaches. Josh Smith and Tim Duncan? Troy Murphy and Tyrus Thomas? Craig Smith and Rashard Lewis? All of these men play the same spot on the floor, but bring very different things to the table. Here are, in my opinion, the different classifications of power forward:

The Bad Motherfuckers - There's nothing pretty or graceful about these power forwards' game. They rely on brawn, muscle, and sheer intimidation to earn their points and rebounds, and many of them use the Charles Barkley model of playing well beyond their height or athletic ability. Playing against any of these bruisers will leave you with bone-deep bruises, and picking them in Pick One will guarantee you a high ratio of low-post points and rebounds, though some have to come off the bench to earn their PRA.

Among the league's Bad Motherfucker power forwards are Carlos Boozer, Leon Powe, Jason Maxiell, Craig Smith, David Lee, Jared Dudley, Troy Murphy, Antawn Jamison and Kevin Garnett.

The Athletic Freaks - These power forwards can probably all dunk on a 12-foot rim, though many of them have yet to realize their unbridled athletic potential. Shawn "the Matrix" Marion is their patron saint, as they're capable of performing literally any athletic feat on a basketball court, albeit without much consistency.

The Athletic Freaks include the aforementioned Marion, Josh Smith, Amir Johnson, Wilson Chandler, Tyrus Thomas, Brandan Wright, and rookie Darrell Arthur.

The Gunners - These players all may stand 6-9 or 6-10, but their play often resembles that of shooting guards six inches shorter. Some of them seem to have an aversion to rebounding despite their height, choosing instead to spend most of their time on the perimeter, launching threes. Aside from their leader, Dirk Nowitzki, most of these players suffer from the condition of having a gaping vagina between their legs, preventing them from playing anywhere in or near the paint area, despite being ridiculously tall.

Among the league's Gunners at the power forward spot are Rashard Lewis, Yi Jianlan, Peja Stojakovic, Dirk Nowitzki, Marvin Williams, Al Harrington and Andrea Bargnani.

The Centers in Any Other Era – If these players played in the 70’s, 80’s or even most of the 90’s, they would be plunked in the middle, left to perform veritable rape on the likes of Mark Eaton and Manute Bol. While not quite “bruisers,” they aren’t finesse types either, and rarely leave the low-post area, though a few of them have developed deadly 12-foot jumpers that keep opposing defenses honest. They tend to be highly productive, though in an old-school manner.

The league's Pseudo-Centers are Duncan, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rasheed Wallace, Luis Scola, Kenyon Martin, Chris Bosh and Marcus Camby.

So, fine readers, I pose you the question - what do you see as the breakout position of this season? Are there any power forward classifications that I missed? And how fucking ugly was Mark Eaton?

1 comment:

Gweemus said...

Yes, Mark Eaton = missing link, sure. I seem to recall however in my younger days having the impression that Paul Mokeski was potentially the ugliest man. Of all time. A google image search however has not proved fruitful. In fact, apparently some feel otherwise: