You see them weekly, during a standard NBA-themed google-machine internet session: Power-Rankings. And while most websites use journalists and experts to make their selections with helpful tools like “statistics,” “analytics” and “actual performance during the basketball games,” I prefer to rank players based on a different metric: storylines. The Association is littered with unique personalities that are on full display for the entire world to see on a nightly basis. And, as such, here’s who won my heart this past week or so and why.
#5: Kris Humphries/J.R. Smith — The Brooklyn/New York rivalry is becoming one of the better things in sports right now. Maybe not the best thing since sliced bread (which speaks more to the awesomeness of sliced bread than anything else), but it’s up there. So when K. Hump tweeted about how quiet MSG was after the Nets won last night, I was tickled. But when J.R. responded with a Kanye quip, the situation elevated itself to legendary status. I’m not suggesting that the NBA has a history of rigging stuff (draft lottery anyone? Burned ya, Stern!), but if there’s any way a seven-game series between these two teams could be arranged it would make my decade.
#4: John Wall — Like every other red-blooded American who’s been taking in Association matches this season, I’ve felt like there’s been a gaping hole in my heart for some reason. It’s been as if something really, really, really important has been missing… and that something is the joy and pleasure one gets from knowing that on any given night, John Wall could blare into a living room and barrel around a basketball court like the absolute tasmanian devil that he is. Welcome back, Mr. Wall! Never leave us again.
#3: Steph Curry — Steph Curry is the man, and he’s having one of the best seasons of all-time (if you don’t believe me, then you better ask somebody — or look it up yourself, Dr. Albert Einstein). So, when he recently sliced up the Clippers defense with one of the sickest bounce passes ever recorded in the annals of human history, it wasn’t all that surprising. It was, however, epic. Seriously, this pass is Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Dinner, and a Halloween Candy cache all mixed into one delicious Friday night, booze-fueled Cinco De Mayo fiesta.
#2: Lebron James — Dropped his 20,000th point and became the youngest player ever to do so. Such an accomplishment leads me to write the most serious thing I’ve ever written. No humor here, this guy is the best basketball player of all-time (yes, I’ve heard of Michael Jeffrey Jordan, thank you). And in an age when many of our sports stars have become nothing but literal jokes, it’s refreshing and important to have such a phenomenal human dominating like he is. Long live King James!
#1: Austin Rivers — Rivers is having a disappointing rookie campaign. Actually, having no reason to mince words, I’m just going to say it — he’s sucked. However, in the most anticipated game of his 2012-2013 season, the Duke alumnus was able to put his poor play aside and stick it to his father’s team, the Celtics of Boston, by dropping eight efficient points off the bench in an impressive Pelican victory. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Austin, though, as rumors out of New Orleans reported that his dad took away his Playstation 3 privileges and grounded him for two weeks immediately after the game.