Friday, May 24, 2013

Studs and Duds: Chuck Norris and Tebow Jokes Return

Tim Tebow got the Walker Texas Ranger Bump this week.

By Jeremy Conlin and Joe Parello

Studs and Duds is a weekly feature on Suite Sports. Who had a good week? Who had a bad week?


LeBron James

I had a realization last weekend, but really it was something I'd always known. My nephew Michael and I were talking hoops and football, and the subject turned to how LeBron James was just an absurd force of nature. I then said that he was the best athlete on the planet. There were people bigger, people stronger, people that could jump higher and people faster, but nobody had the combination of those attributes like LeBron.

He then said, "But Joe, LeBron couldn't play football, what position would he play?" My answer, "whichever one he wanted."

Think about it, at 6-foot-8 and somewhere between 260-275 pounds with his quicks, hops and frame, LeBron would probably be the best player at any given NFL position if he grew up playing it. Heck, I'm convinced he'd be the league's best receiver or tight end RIGHT NOW if he chose to change sports. Let's break this down position by position.

QB: At worst, he's a bigger Colin Kaepernick or a bigger and faster Tim Tebow. At best, he's the most unstoppable force the game has ever seen.
RB: He's Eric Dickerson and Eddie George on steroids.
TE: Jimmy Graham was a crappy college basketball player, and LeBron is LeBron.
WR: He's Randy Moss, plus Plaxico Burress, plus Keyshawn Johnson... Only stronger.
OT: If he grew up playing OT and put on the bulk, he would be the best pass protector of all time.
OG/C/DT: Not his ideal positions, but I'm pretty sure he could get up over 300 pounds if necessary and be the best athlete at all of these positions.
DE/OLB: He's a taller, more athletic Jason Taylor/Simeon Rice.
MLB: Taller, more athletic Bran Urlacher.
CB: Mel Blount on steroids with his ability to bump guys and overwhelm them at the line of scrimmage.
S: His range and strength would make him the ultimate safety. He would have all the strengths of Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed. My God, you would never complete a pass beyond 10 yards, and he could play in the box and rush the passer.

So yeah, LeBron's pretty athletic. But how would he do on the PGA Tour?


Paul George

It's pretty hard to argue against Paul George's rise in stature over the last few weeks. Offensively, his production is as close to identical as you can get (17/7/4, .531 TS% Per 36 minutes in the regular season, 17/7/4, .534 TS% Per 36 minutes in the postseason), but what makes it impressive is that he's doing it while spending 43 minutes per game defending Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.

In Game 1 against Miami, he chased LeBron around for three hours, doing a pretty respectable job (don't let LeBron's stat line fool you - he put up a triple double on 50% shooting, not because George played poor defense, but because LeBron isn't a human being and isn't tied to the normal laws of the universe - never forget that), and still managed to come up huge late in the game with a ridiculous 28-foot three to send the game into overtime, then drawing a foul and calmly nailing all three free throws to give Indiana the lead with 2.2 seconds remaining. If not for, well, this, Indiana would have stolen Game 1 on the road just like Chicago did:

(Quick aside - you may notice here that George is out-of-position defending LeBron, basically giving him a straight line path to the basket unimpeded. What you don't see is LeBron creating that separation with a subtle push-off right before he flashes to the top of the key for the inbound pass. It wasn't egregious enough to get called - certainly not as egregious as Jordan's push-off on Byron Russell in the '98 Finals - it was just a great player making a great play. Cliche or not, that's really the best way to describe the play)


Tim Tebow

So what if he hasn't found an NFL job yet, Tebow just got the endorsement of Chuck Norris! Yeah, I know, it's about eight years too late for Chuck Norris being awesome jokes (Which practically inspired those "Most Interesting Man" Dos Equis commercials), but Walker Texas Ranger compared Tebow to himself, which is pretty dope.

"Tebow is a player who rises to the occasion and delivers big in critical moments," Norris writes in a column posted this week. "He reminds me of myself when I used to compete in martial arts."

He continues by saying that he has "never seen a more determined or inspiring athlete to play the game of football."

That's true, plus I hear Tim Tebow can win a game of Connect Four in three moves and slam a revolving door.



Old Guys Talking About Basketball

Now, these aren't just any old guys, mind you, but can Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen just shut up? You were all a part of the greatest team in NBA history, but we don't need your passive-aggressive judgements of other players to promote your finished careers.

We've got MJ giving a scouting report on LeBron that says, as long as you push him left, he can't do anything. Yeah, ask the Pacers how that worked out at the end of Game 1. Then we've got Scottie saying that LeBron would kill MJ, just hoping that somebody will listen to him and remember that he was a pretty darn good player too.

I'm sure he's sick of hearing how LeBron put himself on a super-team, since Scottie was one of the NBA's most complete players in his Bulls days. "Come on guys, MJ didn't do it alone, I was pretty good too!"

Then you've got Phil, who just released another book and is finally breaking down MJ vs Kobe. As we all already knew, Jordan was better, but then he uses his tour to appear on the Daily Show and talk about managing the Kobe-Shaq relationship as if they were children, and now he's saying he would take Bill Russell over Jordan if he had to build a team from scratch.

These are three of the best to ever do it, and I'm sure they've forgotten more about basketball than most of us will ever know (especially Phil), but my God, at this point you just like to hear yourselves talk. Shut up.


Fox Sports Kansas City Graphics Producers

Graphics producers really don't get enough credit. They're the guys behind the scenes that put together all the player intro packages, cool stats and, of course, football playing robots.

But every now and then, you come across a graphics department that totally sucks. Case in point, this beauty from Fox Sports Kansas City during Thursday's Royals-Angels game.

As chronicled by Awful Announcing, there are at least six things wrong with this photo, not counting the numerous grammatical errors Deadspin found ("…start a franchise with?" is a sentence ending in a preposition)

1. "Bryce Hunter" should be Bryce Harper, and
2. He plays for the Nationals, not the Tigers as the graphic in the upper-right corner of his box indicated. Come on, he's wearing a freaking Nationals hat!
3. Matt Jones was the coked out former Arkansas quarterback/Jaguars receiver, this was meant to be Matt Harvey.
4. Oh yeah, Harvey plays for the Mets, not the Orioles. Guys, just look at the hats they're wearing, they're good clues.
5. Manny Machado is a real MLB player, but he plays for the Orioles and not the White Sox, as his hat tells us.
6. Finally, Mike Trout plays for the Angels, and probably won't sign with the Yankees for another 2-3 years. Solid projection though.


All-NBA Team Voters

(Hold on to your hats, we're going for a ride)

The All-NBA teams were announced Thursday, and, as usual, the voters screwed up.

Appearing on the All-NBA Third Team was David Lee and Dwight Howard. Appearing on none of the teams was Chris Bosh. When you compare Lee, Howard, and Bosh, Bosh had the best offensive season (highest PER, highest ORtg, highest TS%, lowest TOV%, Most Offensive Win Shares), and Bosh is also a strong defensive player, while Howard was limited on defense due to his injuries, and Lee was limited on defense due to being the worst defensive forward in the entire league.

The reason I include both Howard and Lee is because you can quibble about what position Bosh actually plays. He's a "natural power forward" but spends a lot of the time lined up at center. If you classify him as a forward, he's a no-brainer selection over Lee. It's not even remotely close. If you classify him at center, he's probably a better choice than Howard (more up for debate).

Here's the best part - if you look at the first two teams, the forwards listed are LeBron, Durant, Carmelo, and Blake Griffin. The other forward on the 3rd team is Paul George. This means that the voters think David Lee was the 2nd-best power forward in the league this year. Better than Zach Randolph, David West, LaMarcus Aldridge, Josh Smith, Al Horford (if you call him a forward), Kevin Garnett (if you call him a forward), etc, etc. Given how abjectly terrible David Lee is on defense (no defensive player surrenders a higher FG% around the basket than Lee does), calling him the 2nd-best power forward in the league (or the 5th- or 6th-best forward overall) is absolutely laughable.

One argument I heard in Lee's favor is that he led the league in double-doubles while playing for a playoff team (and playoff teams should be represented on the All-NBA teams.... for some reason). There are two problems with this - first of all, for all the rebounds he grabs, he actually doesn't influence his team's ability to rebound. In fact, the Warriors rebounded marginally better when he was on the bench this season. Secondly, Denver isn't represented at all, and they won 10 more games than Golden State did.

Every argument in support of David Lee making the All-NBA team has shotgun-sized holes in it.

Here's the happy solution - classify Tim Duncan as a forward (you know, the position he lines up at every night), put Marc Gasol on the 1st Team Center line, bump Blake Griffin to the 3rd Team, bump David Lee to the curb, and give the now-open center spot to Chris Bosh. Like this:

1st Team:
G: Paul
G: Bryant
C: Gasol
F: Durant
F: LeBron

2nd Team:
G: Westbrook
G: Parker
C: Howard
F: Anthony
F: Duncan

3rd Team:
G: Harden
G: Wade
C: Bosh
F: George
F: Griffin

Oh, by the way, the alignment of the guards is all kinds of bullcrap (they got the right six guys, just nowhere close to the right order), but that's a story for another time.