I love the NBA Playoffs. There’s nothing like the eight best teams of each conference battling each other for global supremacy. Not surprisingly, many of these teams feature some of the best players in the league. However, watching these first few games I noticed a lot of these teams feature many of the NBA’s best ‘YMCA’ players.
What is a ‘YMCA’ player you ask? It’s someone’s whose game is straight out of open rec. Kobe Bryant is built like a professional basketball player and is one of the most fundamentally sound players in the league. His defensive stance is perfect and he has a pure jump shot. He makes a lot of fancy and spectacular plays, but at the end of the day if you marvel at anything it’s his superior ability.
Steve Nash? He looks and plays like that dude that drives you crazy at the gym. He’s the guy who makes the craziest, luckiest shots in the gym and makes a ton of ‘there’s no way in hell he knew that guy was going to be there’ passes. But just like that guy in the gym, Nash does it so consistently that you realize that it’s not luck; over the years dude just developed some super natural abilities to subsidize his lack of typical basketball skills.
This isn’t a team of all Steve Nashes though. There are a ton of archetypical pickup ball players that seem to pop up every place I play. The ballhog that’s good enough to carry a team, but never passes. Ever. There’s the hustlers, the hackers, the shooters and the guys that are better than you think. Without further ado, here’s the 09-10 1st and 2nd YMCA team.
C – David Lee, New York Knicks – David Lee is the guy you love to have on your team. He isn’t going to ask for the ball at all. He’s going to exploit any mismatch and fight for every rebound like his life depended on it. Fundamentally sound with sneaky athleticism, if you get a D. Lee on your squad you’ll probably end up winning most of your games.
PF – Antwan Jamison, Cleveland Cavaliers – ‘Twan ‘Twan is the guy who’s painfully frustrating to play against, but you love to have on your team. Dude has an array of garbage hooks and ugly scoop shots that always seem to go in. He can pass, defend and shoot the outside shot.
SF – Kyle Korver, Utah Jazz – He’s the shooter. He’s the guy that makes everybody cuss every time he swishes another three like “Gotdamn who’s checking this dude,” or “Ish, this Motherlover don’t miss!” You can’t leave him open under any circumstances. Ever, from any distance.
SG – Jamal Crawford, Atlanta Hawks – He’s the dude that’s nice but ultimately probably more fun to play against. He’s never passing, ever. Coincidentally, he’s always demanding the ball, always. He always thinks he’s open and/or that he can take the 2-4 guys checking him off the dribble every time. He’s so bad to play with that you can win two or three in a row with him and say ‘screw this, I’m going to go lift weights.’
PG – Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns – Now this is a dude you love to play with. He plays hard as hell and will always find you if you’re open. He sees you sometimes when you don’t even realize you’re open. He can shoot, but he’s not a ballhog, and his trick shot bag is insane.
C – Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cleveland Cavaliers – He’s the old guy that can’t jump or run, but is somehow still effective. He’s going to foul the crap out of any and everyone he defends and will make the game painfully slow, but he’ll grab boards, hit open shots and find the cutter.
PF – Chris Anderson, Denver Nuggets – He’s the big man that doesn’t really have any basketball skills, but he flies around like a mad man and gets a ton of boards and blocks. He’s the guy that will get an offensive rebound 3 feet away from the basket and pass it out. He’s also the guy that will still be playing hard if his team’s down 15-4.
SF – Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs – He’s the balding dude that’s a hell of a lot better and more athletic than he looks. You might think he’s a joke when he walks on the court, but after he scores his teams first 4 points and sends your shot in to the crowd you’ll probably respect his game.
SG – Tracy McGrady, New York Knicks – He’s another guy I love to hate. He’s the dude with all the ‘such-and-such state’ gear, who is always talking about his experiences playing minor league ball in Italy or somewhere like that. He has every brace known to man and is a pain in the ass to play with (due to him serving as the player/coach) or against (because he’s going to call every bs call in the book). Plus, he’s a lot more washed up than he realizes.
PG – Aaron Brooks, Houston Rockets – Brooks is a guy you hate to play against because he’s better than everyone realizes. He’s the dude that will light a guy up for three in a row, prompting someone to say ‘I got him yo,’ only to get his ass lit up too.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers – He’s the nastiest guy in your local gym. He’s the guy that will win four games in a row and will have everybody walking off the court midway through the fifth game like ‘eff it.’ He’s the guy that will have you fist pumping to yourself when you end up on his team. He’s also the guy that punts the basketball after each loss, because they only happen about once every two months.