Archives For September 2007

Tennis Stars’ NBA Equivalents

Kurt —  September 7, 2007

Sitting watching another night of the US Open tennis tournament—seeing Andy Roddick play the best tennis he could and still get swept by Roger Federer — I started thinking about what tennis player equated to what NBA player. So, for fun I started a little list. It’s some harmless early September NBA blues fun (we’ll save discussing power struggles in the house of Buss until next week).

This is just a start, if you have suggestions put them in the comments and I’ll move the best ones up to the main post.

Roger Federer = Tim Duncan.
Well-rounded games with seemingly no weakness. Incredible consistency against the bottom feeders or the top tier. The ability to step up under pressure. And winning titles, just winning titles — all while not showing off or acting like a pampered ass. Sometimes I want to hate the guy, but I just have to respect them. (By the way, I think Payton Manning could fit in here perfectly and make it a trio.)

Several people (starting with Lakerfan, I think) have chimed in that comparing Duncan to Federer is a disservice to Fed. Maybe true. While Jordan is the best comparison, I was going with active players. But the point that Federer is an MJ, a Tiger Woods, the dominant person in the sport is a valid one.

Rafael Nadal = Dwyane Wade.
Young, fun to watch aggressive player who wins a title (or for Nadal, a few majors) but who’s style and energy put such a strain on their bodies you sometimes wonder how long they can keep it up.

Novak Djokovic = LeBron James. Loaded with talent and everyone knows it’s just a matter of time until he wins the big one. He’s beaten the big two before, but never in a major moment when it was all on the line.

Serena Williams = Shaq O’Neal. Off the court interest take focus away from the on the court game, and all that can lead to weight/training issues. But when focused and in shape nobody can stop them.

Andy Roddick = Karl Malone. Hall of Fame, unquestioned talents who (as Bill Dwyre put brilliantly in the LA Times yesterday) have one fatal flaw — being born in the same era as the greatest player in the history of the game. Said player becomes their nemesis.

UPDATE: mookiebrainlock suggests John McEnroe = Rasheed Wallace. Does this mean Rasheed has a series of clever but overplayed American Express ads in his future? Probably not.

Also, nobody seems to love the Roddick/Malone comparison, with Jeremy rightly pointing out that Roddick does have a Major under his belt. (Well, you don’t really wear belts in tennis, but you get the idea.) He suggests the better match is Scottie Pippen, “Loads of talent, just not quite as good as the rest of the superstars.” Burningjoe suggested maybe Reggie Miller is a better example (although that presents the same championship issue as Malone). Roddick is the one I had the hardest time with (save Kobe, I never found a match I liked there).

UPDATE 2: Jake Oakley throws out an interesting one: Kobe Bryant = Boris Becker.

Sounds a little odd maybe, but if you think about it … Both one three big ones early in their career, they were young superstars Becker with his Wimbledon championships at 17 and 18 and Kobe with Shaq. They had great coaches ( I can’t think of the name of Becker’s though) and both of them had a huge sex-affair. Becker’s 5 seconds with Angela Ermakowa are famous over in Germany.

And from the good people at SLAM online, Mike Miller = Maria Sharapova. I think Miller may actually fiddle with his hair more.

Chick Hearn Rap

Kurt —  September 6, 2007

Nobody scours YouTube for the best hoops stuff like J.E. Skeets, the Steve Nash of NBA bloggers. (Note the Canadian shout out there.) I don’t subscribe to many podcasts, but The Basketball Jones is one I don’t miss.

Skeets found this first and pointed it out to me, and I’m posting it here as well because I feel I must. Enjoy a Chick Hearn mashup.

Patience, Grasshopper, Patience

Kurt —  September 4, 2007

I don’t normally talk much about the space-filling “Off season report cards” that tend to come out during this dry time of year for NBA news. However, I think Sport Illustrated’s Marty Burns’ thoughts on the Lakers were a good jumping off point to talking about the overarching theme of the off-season.

Grade: D

When your superstar player rips the organization and demands a trade, it’s not a good off-season. Only Fisher falling into their lap has kept it from being a total disaster.

It’s a valid point, and one we’re all going to hear a lot of. Basically, Kobe went off and the Lakers need to make a BIG move to appease him, either making Kobe happy enough to say or trading him away.

But that’s why (if forced) I’d give the Lakers a B- for the summer. Not for what they did, but for what they avoided.

Plenty of franchises would have panicked once Kobe took to venting his frustration on the airwaves. Within a couple weeks, while their bargaining position was at its nadir, they would have made a trade just to make a trade. Maybe they trade away the farm (for example, both Bynum and Odom) to get Jermaine O’Neal, giving the Lakers two good players but nobody around them and about the same record they had last year. Or, they could have panicked and traded away Kobe and not gotten nearly enough in return. Then they could have had the fun of selling a rebuild to Lakers fans.

Instead, the Lakers stood pat, eventually (and after too long, frankly) sat down with Kobe and didn’t make a trade they would regret in a year or two. Sometimes, standing pat is the best move.

The Lakers did make a few nice little moves this summer that gives them some solid role players — resigning Luke Walton, bringing back Derek Fisher, signing Chris Mihm, and drafting Jaravis Crittenton. All that adds nice depth.

But no, the Lakers didn’t make a big splashy move. Yes, they should look for one, but not at any cost. They were smart to wait until a better offer came along. That’s a successful off-season to me.