HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #8 Tim Duncan

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #8 Tim Duncan

  It’s official, in the eyes of this panel at least, Tim Duncan is the greatest player of the 2000’s. Edging out Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant for the post-Jordan honours. The Big Fundamental has it all, the longevity, the team success, and the individual recognition. You’ll never here a ‘what if’ in regards to solely Tim Duncan. No hypothetical’s are necessary, he accomplished it all. Blessed with a healthy career, and the best ran franchise in pro sports, Duncan checked all the boxes. The Spurs have not needed MVP numbers from Tim Duncan in close to a decade. You can attribute that to the franchise surrounding him with talent or Gregg Popovich being the GOAT coach, but let’s not forget Duncan is one of only 14 players to win two MVP awards. Duncan’s numbers at times may seem pedestrian, especially over the past half decade. However, from 1999 through to 2005, few were feared more than Timmy D. From 1998 (His rookie season) all the way to 2005 Duncan was top five on each and every MVP ballot. Let’s not forget, Bryant isn’t the only one chasing the elusive number 23. The Spurs have reloaded and Duncan could be on his way to title number six. Duncan currently sits 8th all time in rebounding, 6th all time in blocks, and 14th all time in scoring. The Resume: First Overall Pick 1997 – San Antonio Spurs 15x All-Star 15x All-NBA 15x All-Defense Rookie of the Year All-Star MVP 3x Finals MVP 2x MVP 5x Champion How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: Justin Salkin (3). The Barn Burner: Matt...
HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #9 Kobe Bryant

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #9 Kobe Bryant

  Kobe Bryant is as polarizing as they come, a player made for the spotlight, a player that created a cult like following fan base. The percentages can be analyzed a million times and people will still draw completely different conclusions. The fans love the big numbers he put up, the five Championships he helped bring home, and the true alpha dog personality so rarely found in any sport. For myself, the Mamba’s greatest qualities will always be his work ethic, his will to win, his fearlessness with the game on the line. Some people believe Bryant doesn’t deserve the one MVP award he owns, some believe that he deserves two or three more. We can debate that on twitter, but the fact is he won one, and was in the top five voting on 11 other occasions. His longevity is stifling. His resume, track record, and ferocious personality kept him in the league’s elite class for a ridiculously long time. Bryant is currently third all time in scoring, chasing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone for the top honour. Bryant despite often being criticized as a selfish player also sits 30th all time in assists. The 2015-16 season may be the last hurrah of the Mamba; love him or hate him, we all know he has your attention. The Resume: 17x All-Star 15x All-NBA 12x All-NBA Defense 4x All-Star MVP 2x Finals MVP MVP 5x Champion How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: Shane Young (4). The Barn Burner: Jacob Noble (14). How did the other guys rank Bryant: Robert Littal (6), Marc Griffin (6), Will...
HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #10 Shaquille O’Neal

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #10 Shaquille O’Neal

  Shaquille O’Neal comes under dominant in the dictionary. He had his flaws, most noticeably free throw shooting. That being said, he has a real case for the best Finals performer of all time. In Shaq Daddy’s first four runs to the NBA Finals (95, 00, 01, and 02) he averaged an inhumane 34.2 PPG, 14.6 RPG, 4.1 APG, 2.8 BPG, all while shooting 60%. Those numbers don’t even exist in the modern game. There isn’t a single NBA junky who believes the one MVP awarded to Shaq during his career sums up his impact. Proof of such assumptions; he was voted top five in MVP voting on seven other occasions. While Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant have their own chalk full camps, many would argue Shaq-fu was the best player post-Jordan and pre-LeBron. Shaq finished his career 8th in points, 15th in rebounds, and 9th in blocks. We will wonder for eternity what could’ve been accomplished had Shaq and Kobe put differences aside, and stayed together. The Resume: First Overall Pick 1992 – Orlando Magic 15x All-Star 14x All-NBA 3x All-NBA Defense Rookie of the Year 3x All-Star MVP 3x Finals MVP MVP 4x Champion How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: Josh Eberley and Justin Salkin (6). The Barn Burner: Adi Joseph (15). How did the other guys rank O’Neal: Justin Rowan (8), Will Reeve (8), Robert Littal (8), Marc Griffin (9), Matt Drappel (10), Shane Young (10), Jacob Noble (11), Brian Geltzeiler (11), Lang Greene (13), James Holas (14), and Justin Termine (14). Average vote: 10.2     #9 Tuesday, September 29th.   Don’t like...
HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #11 Oscar Robertson

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #11 Oscar Robertson

  1960’s Russell Westbrook was a freak, his numbers are astounding, astonishing even. The only man to average a triple-double. Inflated or not it’s flat out incredible. If those numbers had led to playoff success earlier we could very easily be talking about Oscar Robertson in the GOAT debate. Unfortunately, the Big O’s only ring came as the sidekick to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1971. However, his sole title coming as the number two guy didn’t seem to hurt his stock any on this list, he even drew a top five vote from the bizarre James Holas. In his days as a Cincinnati Royal he had seven top five MVP voting seasons, eight in total. Big O sits 13th in points, 6th in assists, and would likely sit on the steals leader board had the stat been tracked during his years. The Resume: First Overall Pick 1960 – Cincinnati Royals 12x All-Star 11x All-NBA Rookie of the Year 3x All-Star MVP MVP Champion Hall of Fame How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: James Holas (5). The Barn Burner: Adi Joseph (14). How did the other guys rank Robertson: Lang Greene (6), Matt Drappel (7), Marc Griffin (10), Justin Rowan (11), Robert Littal (11), Josh Eberley (12), Shane Young (12), Justin Termine (12), Justin Salkin (12), Brian Geltzeiler (12), Jacob Noble (13), and Will Reeve (13). Average vote: 10.7     #10 Monday, September 28th.   Don’t like it? Think we got it wrong? Maybe, just maybe we got it right? Let us know using the #HCHot50 hash-tag. Or give the contributors hell, contact info below. Any tweets with...
HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #12 Hakeem Olajuwon

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #12 Hakeem Olajuwon

  He went over Michael Jordan in the draft, he swept possibly the greatest Finals performer of all time in the Finals (Shaquille O’Neal), and he didn’t make our top 10. Hakeem Olajuwon might be the best two way player to ever play the game. One, of only two players to win MVP, Finals MVP, and the DPOY. (The other is Jordan). A lesser known, ‘what if,’ for everybody. What if the 96-97 Rockets beat the Jazz in the Conference Finals, forcing a date with the Bulls in the NBA Finals? That Rockets team featured Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and Clyde Drexler all on their last legs. They also went 1-1 against the Bulls in the regular season that year. Would’ve been something. Luckily, the Dream made it so we don’t have to fantasize. Winning back-to-back in 1994 and 1995. Olajuwon finished in the top five for MVP voting on five separate occasions. He sits 14th all time in rebounds, 12th in points, and 1st in blocks. His 3,830 career blocks is over 800 more than the closest active candidate by the way (Tim Duncan). The Resume: First Overall Pick 1984 – Houston Rockets 12x All-Star 12x All-NBA 9x All-Defense 2x DPOY MVP 2x Finals MVP 2x Champion Hall of Fame How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: Josh Eberley, Adi Joseph, Jacob Noble, Robert Littal, Brian Geltzeiler, and Will Reeve (9). The Barn Burner: Marc Griffin (28). How did the other guys rank Olajuwon: Justin Rowan (10), James Holas (10), Matt Drappel (11), Shane Young (11), Justin Termine (11), Justin Salkin (11), and Lang Greene (12). Average...
HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #14 Julius Erving

HoopsCritic Hot 50 – #14 Julius Erving

  Dr. J’s resume is solid, a two way monster. Julius Erving was the face of the ABA, was one of the coolest cats in the NBA, won multiple MVP’s, and multiple Championships across both leagues. Oh, and he was an All-Star every year he stepped on the court. What career box didn’t he check? The most common knock on the Doctor’s game was that he spent the best years of his career in the ABA. However, can’t really knock a guy for putting up better numbers in his more athletic years. If we include the ABA buckets, Dr. J sits sixth on the all time scoring leader board. When I think of the Doctor, I think of a near Michael Jordan level impact on the court, and an Allen Iverson level impact off the court. That combination of elite play meshed with basketball style is unmatched. The Resume: 16x All-Star 5x All-ABA All-NBA Defense 7x All-NBA  3x ABA MVP MVP 2x All-Star MVP 2x ABA Champion Champion Hall of Fame   How did the guys rank him? The Flag Bearer: Robert Littal (13). The Barn Burner: Jacob Noble (27). How did the other guys rank Erving: Matt Drappel (15), Justin Rowan (15), Justin Salkin (15), Adi Joseph (16), James Holas (16), Marc Griffin (16), Shane Young (17), Lang Greene (17), Justin Termine (18), Brian Geltzeiler (18), Josh Eberley (21), and Will Reeve (23). Average vote: 17.6.     #13 Friday, September 25th.   Don’t like it? Think we got it wrong? Maybe, just maybe we got it right? Let us know using the #HCHot50 hash-tag. Or give the...
Top 10 Best Contracts Signed in the NBA Off Season- An Ode to the Spurs

Top 10 Best Contracts Signed in the NBA Off Season- An Ode to the Spurs

  With the new television money one year in the NBA, there’s been plenty of money spent this past offseason.  Finding bargains can actually be tougher because of how quickly salary inflation can outpace the cap expansion.  This year, more than ever, organizational stature mattered bigger than any other factor, including money.  Show a free agent the ability to be a consistently winning franchise, and money in some cases became incidental.  Plus, being the San Antonio Spurs didn’t hurt much either.  In reverse order, Letterman style, here’s the top 10 best contracts signed this offseason. 10)  Mo Williams (Cleveland) 2 years at $4.3 million.  For all the roster moves the Cavaliers made during last season, they never addressed the glaring need of having a backup lead guard behind the often injured Kyrie Irving.  This bit the Cavs in the backside in the NBA finals where the entire offensive burden was on Lebron James from initiating the offense to setting other guys up to scoring himself.  Williams helps in each of those areas.  He made a good contribution last season as a bench player for both Minnesota and Charlotte.  Plus, he has a successful track record playing with James.  Even though Cleveland’s Prokhorovian luxury tax bill will make this more expensive, getting Williams for this cheap price makes guaranteeing the 2nd year more than worth it.  Like many other guys on this list, Williams is putting a premium on competing for a title. 9)  Bismack Biyombo (Toronto) 2 years at $5.7 million.  The Raptors have put a lot of stock in starting center Jonas Valanciunas’ ability to defend.  Valanciunas has...