Found Objects – 7.26.11
• In today’s 5-on-5, ESPN and TrueHoop writers discuss and debate the top shooting guards in the NBA. Naturally there was a debate between Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade for the best 2-guard, Monta Ellis was labeled the most overrated at the position and Michael Jordan was unanimously named the best shooting guard (player) ever. What came as a surprise was all of the love EJ received from the five writers. One picked EJ as the most underrated SG and four picked him as the most promising. Here are their thoughts:
2. Who’s the most underrated shooting guard in the NBA?
Dan Feldman, Piston Powered: Eric Gordon. If he weren’t playing with the NBA’s breakout superstar, Blake Griffin, maybe Gordon would’ve gotten more credit. I guess averaging 22.3 points, 4.4 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game, mixed with stellar defense, isn’t enough, though. If Gordon keeps producing like this, people will eventually notice. They definitely will if he improves, which very well could happen.
4. Who’s the most promising shooting guard in the NBA?
Hayes Davenport, Celtics Hub: Eric Gordon. Maybe he’s been in the league too long to be up-and-coming, but he’s still only 22: less than three months older than Blake Griffin. Gordon’s going to be a great scorer for a long time, and his defense continues to improve. There’s also the fact that shooting guard is the weakest position for young players in the game.
Ryan DeGama, Celtics Hub: Eric Gordon. Injuries and Blake Griffin dunks overshadowed the continued improvement of Gordon, who is going to be an elite scorer in this league sooner or later. The questions are around whether the rest of his game will rise to that level.
Dan Feldman, Piston Powered: Eric Gordon. Not only is Gordon the NBA’s most underrated shooting guard, he has the potential to get much better. He’s improved each year he’s been in the league, and it’s only a matter of time until all his skills — outside shooting, penetrating, defending and passing — come together at once.
Noam Schiller, Hardwood Paroxysm: Despite my affection for 2010 draftees Evan Turner and Paul George, your man here is Eric Gordon. EG was one of many players to make huge strides after his Team USA experience last summer, and he complements his extraordinary inside-outside scoring game with an aggressive defensive mentality, solid court vision and an adorable baby face.
• ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Palmer, in similar accordance to 5-on-5’s rankings, will be ranking the top-5 players at each position all week. In today’s installment, he ranked the league’s five best shooting guards. EJ came in at #5 (behind Kobe, D-Wade, Ellis and Manu Ginobili). Here’s what Palmer had to say:
Gordon entered the league during the same season as Russell Westbrook, and despite not receiving the same level of attention as the Thunder’s star point guard, Gordon put up numbers from the 2 spot that were comparable this season in every major statistical category, except assists. Gordon has flown primarily under the radar thanks to very little national television exposure and the fact that he’s yet to make a playoff appearance in his three-year career. But make no mistake: Gordon is as skilled as any young shooting guard in the league and could be this season’s breakout player.
Gordon is a master at creating his own shot off the dribble, with his herky-jerky in-and-out dribble being one of his most reliable weapons. He loves to pull up and sling his quick release trey on the break, and he connected on 36 percent of his 3-point attempts despite being plagued by a wrist injury, which caused him to miss 26 games.
Gordon could be, pound-for-pound, the strongest player in the game under 6-foot-4. Forwards who outweigh him by 30 pounds bounce off his sturdy frame as he bullies his way to the rim. He also possesses deceptively good leaping ability. With a full, healthy season, there’s little reason Gordon shouldn’t contend for an All-Star berth at shooting guard.
• Chris Kaman will be joining Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of the men’s German team in the upcoming European Basketball Championship next month.
• Disable players, including LA Clippers wheelchair team member Felix Tapia, want a more sincere apology from Laker center Andrew Bynum for parking in handicap spaces without a placard.
• Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, in a special to ESPN, writes about the lockout, its problems and complexities, and offers some advice on how to solve the issue. Interestingly, he takes a jab at former Clipper (and #1 overall pick) Michael Olowakandi, criticizing his work ethic:
I have seen this process firsthand. When I coached for the Clippers, I had to deal with Michael Olowokandi, a player who perfectly fit the description “talented but uncoachable.” At practice, I would attempt to point out Mr. Olowokandi’s faults to him, ones he constantly repeated and resulted in lost possessions for the team or personal fouls that sent him to the bench. His reaction to my attempts to correct his bad habits was to take my input as a personal insult and embarrassment. He told me point-blank that he would not be criticized in front of the team. He stuck to his word and, as a result, had very few successful moments on the court playing the way he wanted to play. He took his place on the list of athletically gifted washouts who have been in and out of the league in the past 10 years.