Sunday, September 9, 2007

If the world was to go Nellieball

As my beloved Warriors continue to shuffle their feet on re-signing Don Nelson, AKA the savior of Oakland basketball, I can't help but wonder what the NBA would be like if more teams embraced Nellie's philosophies.

While we could get technical about what Nellieball is, the basic tenants of Nellieball are just not giving a crap. You put your five best scorers on the floor, and watch what happens. Instead of trying to reduce the game to a series of one-on-one matchups, you just put a unit out there that will cause general havoc. It was this philosophy that led to the Redemption Of Stephen Jackson, The Revelation Of the Ellis-Baron backcourt, The Discovery of Matt Barnes, the Davis-Ellis-Richardson-Jackson-Barnes lineup, and The Upset. Anyways, here is a quick list, from 10 to 1, of 10 teams that should absolutely go Nellieball:

10. Detroit Pistons

1. Chauncey Billups
2. Rodney Stuckey
3. Rip Hamilton
4. Tayshaun Prince
5. Rasheed Wallace

Why: Billups is actually more similar to Baron "the messiah" Davis than any other point guard in the league; Tayshaun's destiny is to become Shawn Marion, from the funny shot to the freakish arms to the bizarre sense of ambivalence; Rasheed running, manning the blocks, and gunning 3s needs to happen. And we all know that Rip Hamilton loves to run and hates defense. The best part of this is that there's a good chance that Flip Saunders could finally snap and but this lineup out in crunch-time of a crucial playoff game.

9. Charlotte Bobcats

1. Brevin Knight
2. Raymond Felton
3. Matt Carroll
4. Walter Herrmann
5. Gerald Wallace

Why: Although the backcourt can't shoot, we do have a true point and a Nellie two; Matt Carroll can shoot; Walter Herrmann is all that is good. But most of all, this needs to be done for Gerald Wallace. Look at Wallace, running the floor. Shutting down centers through sheer force of will. Blocking an Andrew Bynum hook shot and running the whole way down the floor to dunk on Lamar Odom. The world must know the force that is Gerald Wallace, NBA center.

8. Cleveland Cavaliers

1. Daniel Gibson
2. Shannon Brown
3. Sasha Pavlovic
4. LeBron James
5. Anderson Varejao

Why: LeBron was not made to suffer in a slow-down offense. He was born to run. This lineup suffers because of the lack of a true point (Daniel Gibson was born to be a Nellieball two), but it has big men who can run the floor and shooters, and it would be vastly more enjoyable than the Cavaliers we have to watch now.

7. Minnesota Timberwolves

1. Sebastian Telfair
2. Randy Foye
3. Corey Brewer
4. Marko Jaric
5. Al Jefferson

Why: Nellieball will redeem Sebastian Telfair. The kid is fast as they come, loves to pass, and loves to shoot. When he is freed, it shall be a glorious day. I believe very strongly. Randy Foye was born to be a Nellie two-guard. Marko Jaric is destined to be the white Boris Diaw. Corey Brewer and Al Jefferson are actually good at basketball.

6. Memphis Grizzlies

1. Mike Conley, Jr.
2. Kyle Lowry
3. Mike Miller
4. Rudy Gay
5. Stromile Swift

Why: Stromile Swift needs Nellieball. Two point guards at the same time. Mike Miller bombing at will. Rudy Gay running, shooting, dunking. Sounds good.

5. Toronto Raptors:

1. T.J. Ford
2. Jose Calderon
3. Anthony Parker
4. Chris Bosh
5. Andrea Bargnani

Why: While the Ford trade and the hiring of the architect of the Suns gave the public the impression that the Raptors were part of the Nellieball revolution, in reality they are far too conventional. They were 8th out of the 16 playoff teams in "pace" factor, and they rarely ever play Ford and Calderon or Bosh and Bargnani together. This would be one of the best Nellieball lineups in the league: 2 true point guards, 3 dead-eye shooters, and two big men who can run the floor.

4. Chicago Bulls

1. Kirk Hinrich
2. Ben Gordon
3. Chris Duhon
4. Tyrus Thomas
5. Joakim Noah

Why: Okay, so you may think that Luol Deng should be in there. He may be "good", but he's not a Nellieballer. He shoots mid-range jumpers, he can only play one position, he doesn't pass, and he's an extremely stable person. I'll be damned if I let him in my revolution. Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thomas were born to go Nellieball, as was Noah. Hinrich can shoot and run the point, and Duhon can shoot, pass, and play defense. And while the Bulls do play a lot of "small-ball", this should not be confused with Nellieball. Basically, the Bulls need to loosen up. They should get rid of Ben Wallace. They should embrace Ben Gordon and Tyrus Thomas. They should attack at all costs. And they should wear headbands.

3. New York Knicks

1. Stephon Marbury
2. Nate Robinson
3. Steve Francis
4. Jamal Crawford
5. David Lee

Why: That's not one, not two, not three, but FOUR shoot-first point guards on the floor at the same time. David Lee would be responsible for all rebounding and defense. I honestly would just want to see what would happen here. And who better to quarterback this unit than Marbury, who seems to have freed himself from all shackles? After this lineup, the Knicks should absolutely put out Balkman, Jeffries, Lee, Randolph, and Curry out at the same time. Ahh, the Knicks. So many possibilities.

2. The Sonics that could have been

1. Luke Ridnour
2. Ray Allen
3. Rashard Lewis
4. Kevin Durant
5. Chris Wilcox

Why: This is what could have happened if the Sonics management had any balls. 50 threes a game. 3 post-up threats. 4 shooters. A true point guard. A man who could one day evolve into the ultimate Nellieball player, the vastly upgraded version of what makes Stephen Jackson so wonderful. But no, it was time to rebuild. The world was not prepared for this lineup.

1. Portland Trail Blazers

1. Sergio Rodriguez
2. Steve Blake
3. Jarrett Jack
4. Brandon Roy
5. Greg Oden

Why: This would be the ultimate in Nellie ballibility. You have three true point guards, one of whom has the nickname "el chacho", and who averaged 12.2 assists per 48 minutes last year. Then you Steve Blake, who averaged 9.5 assists per 48. God only knows the passing we would see from this backcourt. Oh, and Jarrett Jack averaged 7.5 assists per 48. He's the small forward. Brandon Roy at shooting guard? Effective, but boring. Brandon Roy at Power forward? Now we're talking. And then, of course, there's Oden. He dunks with early-Shaq like authority. He can actually handle the ball. He runs the floor like a two-guard. And he's doiminant enough defensively that you can put him and four point guards in a zone defense and still own the paint. Why do we insist on making him another back-to-basket center? In this lineup, he could become a cross of Amare Stoudamire and Mutombo, as well as the key to the ulitmate expression of basketball freedom. (An alternate would be Rodriguez/Blake/Roy/Webster/Oden, as Martell could be great guarding 4s with his long arms and drilling 3s, but I just love having 3 true points and one combo guard out there.)


Amar said...

I love how you point out how Telfair would be a stud in Minnesota. People were and still are willing to rule the kid out, but in that kind of a system he would make defenders look goofy. Especially with big Al Jefferson in the post and Randy Foye on the wing. Maybe the Wolves should make an offer to Nellie. Of course, McHale and that management can never make rational decisions like that. We should know that by now.

Howard U said...

I like your Knick's lineup of four PGs. Although, you do know that Francis got traded/bought out?
I think Balkman would fit in well in his place...

I think there should be a Nellie-ball Team USA. How about Kidd, Rip, LeBron, Marion, and KG? The shooting could get ugly, but it would be ridiculously entertaining to watch.

Oh, and the best Nellie-ball player ever? It's gotta be Vince Carter. Awesome athleticism + love of own outside shot + zero interest in defense = Nellie-ball God.
Actually, the Nets--Kidd, Carter, Jefferson + any 2 scrubs--would be a pretty awesome Nellie-ball team...