If you have nothing to do tomorrow night, and you’re a fan of the NBA and its more spectacular players, I would suggest trying to get a ticket to the game against the Magic.
Everyone is well aware of the highlight-explosiveness of guys like Kobe, LeBron, Carmelo and D-Wade. Everyone is aware of the highlight-inspiring team play of the Phoenix Suns and the visually arousing play when someone like Jason Kidd is allowed to run an offense. Those guys are definitely must watches (as is KG), but, again, everyone knows about them.
What I want to do is single out the three guys who you may or may not know that are 100x more impressive to watch in person than on TV. The first guy is here tomorrow night and, if you don’t know him, you will. The other two guys you probably know, one for the wrong reason, and the other for being boring. I wanted to single these guys out because if you take away their media personas and come watch them in person, you gain a different perspective into how good and entertaining they are.
Since he’s here tomorrow night, my first must watch is DWIGHT HOWARD.
Please hit the "Read more" link to go after the jump and hear about why you should check these guys out.
Below are the three guys, other than the obvious superstars, that I think you should check out.
Dwight Howard is amazing to watch in person. Physically, he’s a behemoth. He’s got the height, the build, and the vertical leap to do pretty much anything he wants down in the low post on offense and defense. He runs the floor like a small foward and, if he gets it in the lane in stride, the backboard has a chance of being broken. Last year, I watched him bully Mark Blount around like he was the third-grader who got held back a year that wanted Blount’s milk money. He took Blount for 21 points and 22 rebounds and he did it in a manner that probably had Blount curled up in the fetal position after the game. If you had the treat of watching him in the Olympic qualifier with Jason Kidd, you will have noticed that he dunked the ball almost everytime he touched it. His footwork is good and getting better, he adds something to his game almost every season, and he seems like a genuinely hard-working guy. Once he fully learns passing out of double teams, there’s no doubt that he’s going to make his teams contenders every year. Howard is also a highlight reel waiting to happen and he’s going to be here tomorrow night. If you haven’t seen the guy, you should come check him out.
Everyone knows about Artest’s attitude, on- and off-court troubles, and general craziness. What some people don’t acknowledge is why a guy who acts like this keeps getting a shot. Last year was the first year I saw Artest live. The Wolves opened the season at home against Sacramento. The next morning, after the Wolves win, I got an email from my buddy Benny Gunz asking, "Did Ricky have an off-game or is Artest that good?" My response was the latter. If Artest was playing on the high school team that Dennis Hopper drew the picket fence up against, the Hickory player wouldn’t have gotten the shot off. What I saw that day was Ricky Davis running around the court off of multiple picks per 24-second shot clock trying to shake Artest. It takes about 2 picks and an illegal screen to shake the guy. When he wants to, he can be the best offensive and defensive player on any given night. He rebounds, has a consistent outside shot, posts up well, and absolutely sticks on defense in a non-cheap way (unlike Bowen). The difference between watching this guy in person and on TV is like the difference between playing a video game on XBox 360 v. playing a game on the original Nintendo. It’s the second most noticeable in-person v. on TV contrast in the NBA next to….
Tim Duncan is the best basketball player I’ve ever seen live, and that’s coming from someone who ranks KG as his favorite player. KG is fun to watch on TV and in person. His personality markets well. Tim Duncan, and the Spurs in general, are considered boring. If you attend a Spurs game, that’s not the case. Like Artest, I saw Duncan live for the first time last year. Like Artest, I was amazed at how much more impressed I was after watching in person. His footwork on defense is insane. Whether someone is trying to drive on him, take a jumper over him, or bully him, he sticks them and is able to contest every shot. On offense, his moves aren’t nearly as boring as they are on TV. Also, in person, you don’t have to see the camera zoom on that face he makes when a foul is called on him. The Spurs as a team are very entertaining in person and they really should be the team that coaches emulate, not the Suns. Take away all their boring media-personas and add in Eva Longoria sightings, and you won’t be disappointed if you buy a ticket.
AND, as a bonus, my final added must watch:
THE 2007-2008 MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES
This team is a few mistakes away from being 2-0. The free throw disparity is out of control, the missed open jumpers are frustrating, and the turnovers need help (I don’t recall a team being called for more travelling calls than the Wolves were yesterday), BUT overall this team is very entertaining to watch and they seem to enjoy playing together, unlike the three previous Timberwolves versions. Even though I preferred, "Get To Know ‘Em," I have to agree that you should come "See What They Can Do."