Let’s return for a while to posts about the NBA, before we get the Swimming World Championships in Kazan next week. Yes, I know it’s the Aquatics World Championships, thank you very much. However, I don’t really care about water polo and synchronized swimming. Swimming is life. Anyway, when the time comes I hope to post daily posts summarizing everything that happens in Kazan (and stays in Kazan?), like I did with the European Athletics Championships last year. But now is not the time for that. Now is the time for write some more about the NBA All-Star game.
I would like to talk (talk? Surely you mean write!) about the greatest all-around players in the history of the All-Star game. I mean, we looked at all those leaders (here) in the various categories, and recently I became interested in the question of who has achieved major success in all of them? And by success I mean achieving double-digit stats in all the major five statistical categories – points, rebounds, assists, steals and flops blocks. Why 10? Because it’s a nice number. And because it turned out to be a pretty damn good criterion. You know how many players entered this exclusive list? Go on, have a guess without peeping in the BBR website.
Allright, I’ll tell you. 4 Players. Yes, only 4 players! Damn, is this club highly exclusive or what! And of those four only one is still active. And it’s not who you think it is. Although now you might have changed your guess because of this clue. But I still think you’ll have a hard time guessing all four. Bear in mind that one must have many years at the top in order to be selected to many all-star games, because those stats – especially the steals and the blocks, are not easy to accumulate, and it became even harder to accumulate them since the games entirely lost their defensive orientation in these past several seasons.
With that information in mind, try to guess. I’m waiting.
Ok, fuck it. I have a post to write. Let’s just see who made it.
Kevin Garnett (14 All-Star games)
158 points, 88 rebounds, 40 assists, 16 steals, 11 blocks
I am as shocked as you are. I was sure that if any active player would make the list, it’ll be LeBron. But LeBron’s blocking is what left him out. Believe it or not, but LeBron only managed to accumulate 2 blocks in the 11 All-Star games he played in. And they both came in the same game. 2 blocks!!! Fuck. Thankfully, Garnett saves the day for the active players with his versatility. As to who might take the baton from him when he retires – who can be the fifth player to enter the club – we will get to that in the end.
Julius Erving (11 All-Star games)
221 points, 70 rebounds, 35 assists, 18 steals, 11 blocks
Dr J is awesome, there is no other way to describe him. He was selected to the All-Star game in each of his 16 seasons as a pro baller (ABA and NBA combined), and was such an all-around beast that he has the fewest amount of games of all the members of our newly established but already exclusive “All 10’s Club” – 11 (only NBA All-Star games are counted).
Shaquille O’Neal (12 All-Star games)
202 points, 97 rebounds, 17 assists, 13 steals, 19 blocks
Shaq was a bit of a surprise, too. Frankly, I didn’t think he would have enough steals. But hey, way to go big fella! I don’t really have anything else to say. So withiut Freddy Adu let’s move on to our fourth member…
Hakeem Olajuwon (12 All-Star games)
117 points, 94 rebounds, 17 assists, 15 steals, 23 blocks
Hakeem was one name I was sure would be a member of the list. You know, quadruple-doubles and all that shit. However, he not only made the list but also made it in the most impressive way, having the highest minimum stat of all four members – he has accumulated not 10, but 15 in all the 5 major stats! He is the only member of the non-existent but impossibly-exclusive “All 15’s Club”. Hakeem – you are the real MVP.
So, only four players, huh? And with only one of them still active (and not for long). Who is it among the present-day players that might one day seek admission to the exclusivest of clubs? Who is it that is both bold enough and beastly enough on the stats sheet? Is there such a hero among present-day players?
We have already seen that the most obvious candidate – LeBron, is not such a player. Shame on you LeBron, shame on you and your blocks. In fact, blocks are what prevents modern-day players from achieving all-around greatness in the All-Star game, since players hardly block at all. Therefore, if we wish to seek a candidate – it must be a center or a power-forward, i.e. someone who at least has a chance of actually grabbing the few blocks available at the start of an All-Star game. In addition, it must also be some star player, whose prime lasts at least a decade, because you can’t accumulate those stats in a single-digit amount of games. As we’ve just seen, the minimum is Dr. J’s 11.
One such active player, who almost made the cut, is none other than my favorite player – Tim Duncan. In 15 All-Star games, Timmy has accumulated 140 points, 136 rebounds, 31 assists, 13 steals… but alas, only 8 blocks. God damn it, 2 blocks!!! Incidentally, 2 blocks were also the thing that was missing Timmy from achieving a quadruple-double in the title-clinching game 6 of the 2003 NBA finals and achieving statistical immortality. Timmy played in this year’s All-Star game, but I reckon it’s highly unlikely he will get to play in another one. And even if he is – his last block in the All-Star games came waaay back in 2009… So no, Timmy will not become the fifth member of the “All 10’s Club”.
Kobe Bryant was also a potential candidate I thought about. He is perhaps not famous for his shot-blocking stats, but with something like 39 All-Star games under his belt, perhaps he has achieved a hefty amount of them? Well, as it turns out, in 14 All-Star games Kobe accumulated 280 points, 69 rebounds, 63 assists, 37 steals and 6 blocks. Damn, again those blocks! It is possible that has Kobe not missed 3 All-Star games due to injury, and played only 3 minutes in another one – he might have edged a bit closer to the magical number 10. But he didn’t. He will probably get selected to the All-Star game next year, and if he continues to play in the 2016-17 season then perhaps he’ll get selected to that one too, but I can’t really imagine him collecting 4 more blocks in two games (which is the best-case scenario). He’s a fucking guard, eh? So sorry Kobe, you’re not the droid we’re looking for.
Two more names I want to drop before I get to our best hope are Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki. Both have 10’s in all the categories except blocks (fuck you, blocks!), of which they both have 5. Nowitzki played in the last All-Star game, but his situation is not unsimilar (it’s a legit word, I’m telling ya) to Timmy’s – this year’s game was most likely his last. Wade’s stats are a bit disappointing. Averaging 0.92 blocks per game throughout his career, this perhaps-best-shot-blocking-guard-evar has only 5 blocks in 10 All-Star games. Damn it! I reckon he still has a couple of games under his belt, and he might get to 8 blocks, but I wouldn’t bet my money on that. So he still has a chance, albeit a very slim one…
Ok, so who is it that has the best chance among the currently sexually active players??? Well my friends, the answer is Dwight Howard. Dwight, who seems to have it all. He’s the complete package. The greatest center since Shaq. And yet he’s still not performing to his fullest potential.
So far Dwight played in 8 All-Star games, accumulating 97 points, 70 rebounds, 12 assists, 5 steals and 9 blocks. So here we have a bit of a different story. Although still coming short in 2 of the 5 categories, the toughest category – blocks, is not the issue here. 9 blocks is great. Steals appear to be the main concern, as he only has 5 of those.
Now, I know Dwight was absent from this year’s All-Star game, but he’s still only 29 years old and I reckon he still has about 5 games to possibly play in. It all depends on him staying healthy (we saw in the playoffs that he is still awesome when it counts). Er, which he wasn’t last year, yes? His blocks situation is the greatest thing, since he only needs one more and I’m sure it’s only a matter of a game or two – Dwight is one of those few selected players who can still grab the available 3 blocks that the All-Star game allows. Steals? Well, Dwight averages 0.99 steals per game throughout his career, which is very good. True, he should have had more than 5 steals already, but if you’re asking me – it’s definitely doable. After all, he had 3 steals in the 2008 game. I reckon that if he plays in 5 more All-Star games, which is a reasonable gamble – he has a decent chance of entering the “All 10’s Club”. 4 more games? Shit just got real and the situation has just got more difficult, but I think it’s still doable. Anyway, he’s the best hope we have, at least until Anthony Davis plays some 10 years in the league.
So for now, Dwight Howard – you are our best hope of becoming the 5th member of the ultra prestigious “All 10’s Club”. The fate of the world lies on your shoulders. Make it happen, mate!