September 11, 2016, 7:12 pm
One Big Thing: The Coolest Class
Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming has to be one of the more compelling Hall of Fame classes around.
There’s so much to unpack there; game changing, world shaping stuff from all parties. Beyond that, from an emotional standpoint, these guys all brought a unique personality to the game and continue to add to the basketball community in their retirements.
It’s also great that Sheryl Swoopes gets to represent women’s basketball in this class; she’s an icon in the game and has definitely done her part to grow the sport.
Across the class, there’s a pervasive sense of cool. From a neutral fan perspective, Shaq, Yao and AI are all easy to root for. The things they could do on the court were unlike anything else.
Before I get too far I want to point out that there have been some bad looks from these guys at one point or another, and it’s important that we recognize the flaws in the people we honor and laud. Nobody’s perfect and the class of 2016 is no exception. My appreciation for their on-court exploits and off-court personality doesn’t excuse any warts that can be found. But I digress.
Shaq’s persona has aged well and he’ll always have a place at some analyst desk or reality TV chair. It almost belies just how much of a generational talent he was. Much like there will one day be kids who only know Michael Jordan as the crying man from the internet, there will be kids who only know Shaq as the guy who banters with Charles Barkley on TNT (who himself will be the man who can’t say most names).
Shaq might have been the most unstoppable force on the face of the earth during his prime. Truly untouchable with a penchant for charming fans and media alike, it’s hard not to appreciate everything he accomplished.
Shaq’s legacy comes with the wrinkle of forcing Laker fans to take sides. His well-chronicled beef with Kobe is the stuff of hot take dreams. Two of the biggest personalities the sport has ever seen couldn’t manage to coexist despite constant, unceasing winning. Mercifully it happened a decade before Twitter, but it’s still an odd twist to a legendary career.
AI was magic, man. Silky smooth and as big a braggadocio as the come. Vine was made for Allen Iverson- they just got their timelines crossed up.
Basketball is one of those sports where you can do everything perfectly on defense and still come up short. AI was among the best at back breakers, rising up and dropping buckets over defenders who hung with all the crosses and hesitations, only to have a perfect shot drop over a perfect contest. He made it seem like half the guys on the court were playing on ice.
His performance in taking the Sixers to the finals is the stuff of legends. The Answer had the clutch shots, the unreal handle and a heavenly ability to float through the lane and hang for acrobatic hoops. Nobody should be that quick, be able to see the court like that, fly that high and hang that long. Iverson was truly unfair.
Yao might not have the sheer highlight or sound bite material of the other two, but his significance to the game of basketball is nearly unparalleled. If you’re looking for a reason as to why basketball has become such a worldwide phenomenon, Yao’s a pretty good one.
Connecting two sides of the world with his 7’5” wingspan, his arrival signaled the NBA’s global takeover. While the on-court career doesn’t match up with Shaq’s or Iverson’s, his ability to turn people around the world into basketball fans will have an everlasting impact.
That’s not to say his career numbers are bad, either. They’re quite good. It’s just a shame that his career ended so early.
It’s also a bit of a shame that Yao didn’t fully showcase his personality during his NBA run. We got a little of it in his induction speech but he could’ve been a bona fide quote machine. My favorite comes from an old interview when Yao is asked whether he’d drop 30 points or 30 blocks after the interviewer learns he’s had 17 swats in a game before:
“I’d take the 30 blocks. If you have 30 blocks it will destroy your opponents’ morale. It will take away their heart.”
There’s just a whole lot to like about three of the newest names in the Hall. Basketball, and really life as a whole, is better with these giant personalities. Thanks, Class of 2016. Keep it real.
January 27, 2020, 2:15 pmTony SnellSG, Detroit Pistons
Tony Snell (illness) is being listed as questionable for Monday's game against the Cavs.
Snell missed the last one and, to be brutally honest, we hope he misses this one too. His main function on the court is to steal minutes away from younger, already better players like Bruce Brown or Svi Myhailiuk. Ignore him. In perpetuity.
Source: NBA Injury Report
January 27, 2020, 2:13 pmDerrick RosePG, Detroit Pistons
Derrick Rose (right knee sprain) is probable to play in Monday's game against the Cavs.
Rose played in the last one, so this tag was expected. He's one of the more viable trade candidates in the league and is currently playing like a guy who wants to be in the playoffs. His value is at its peak right now and will surely drop if he's traded to a contender, so get whatever top-80 value you can get for him in a trade right now.
Source: NBA Injury Report
January 27, 2020, 2:10 pmKevin Porter Jr.SG-SF, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kevin Porter Jr. (left knee sprain) is surprisingly being listed as probable for Monday's game against the Pistons.
We heard rumblings about Porter's availability on Sunday, but it got drowned out by the news of the day. Porter's sudden return makes him a guy to monitor in standard leagues. Jordan Clarkson is gone, Darius Garland is slumping, the Cavs figure to be sellers at the trade deadline and Porter himself had been putting up standard-league lines before the knee sprain. Keep an eye on him.
Source: NBA Injury Report
January 27, 2020, 1:25 pmLaMarcus AldridgePF, San Antonio Spurs
LaMarcus Aldridge will not play Monday against the Bulls due to a sprained right thumb.
This is a new injury for Aldridge and may partly explain his poor performance from Sunday. Knowing coach Gregg Popovich, however, he's likely resting his veteran big man on the second night of a back-to-back. No need for Aldridge owners to worry just yet, as he's been cruising as a top-20 value in his age 24 season.
Source: Tom Orsborn on Twitter
January 27, 2020, 1:23 pmJosh JacksonSF, Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies have recalled Josh Jackson from their G League affiliate.
The former 4th overall pick from 2017 was promoted shortly after Grayson Allen was ruled out indefinitely with a hip injury. Jackson has lit up the G League, with per-game averages of 20.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and a combined 2.9 defensive stats on 44% shooting. We know he can be this dynamic in the big league as well, but with the Grizzlies in the playoff chase, they won't (and shouldn't) completely turn to the youth deep in their bench just yet.
Source: Grizzlies PR on Twitter
January 27, 2020, 1:16 pmRichaun HolmesPF, Sacramento Kings
Richaun Holmes (right shoulder strain) will miss his 9th consecutive game on Monday against the Wolves.
We haven't gotten much of an update on Holmes' condition since he came down with a shoulder sprain. We've received vague reports about his potential availability this week and that still seems like a possibility despite tonight's absence. In his stead, Dewayne Dedmon and Harry Giles will need to step up, but neither are in consideration in standard leagues.
Source: NBA Injury Report
January 27, 2020, 11:22 amGrayson AllenSG, Memphis Grizzlies
Grayson Allen (left hip soreness) has been ruled out indefinitely.
Allen has improved as a shooter this year, but has been sidelines with both ankle and hip injuries for the majority of the season. The youth movement has continued with out him. He's off the fantasy radar.
Source: Chris Herrington on Twitter
January 27, 2020, 11:20 amLauri MarkkanenPF, Chicago Bulls
Lauri Markkanen (right hip stress reaction) shared that his hip had only recently begun to bother him before being shut down for over a month.
This can be interpreted in two ways. One could understand the fact that Markkanen thought the hip problem was just "normal soreness" as positive, since it's unrelated to issues he's had with his oblique, elbow and ankle this season. On the other hand, this might just be further proof of just how brittle Markkanen has been throughout his young career, averaging about 24 missed games per season if this newest timetable holds true. Thaddeus Young has held top-30 value in his absence and is the type of pick-up that could propel you into the postseason.
Source: The Athletic
January 27, 2020, 11:13 amMalik MonkSG, Charlotte Hornets
Malik Monk expressed surprise at his name popping up in trade rumors and shared his commitment to the Hornets.
Monk was responding to a report about the Knicks being interested in trading for him. He responded with the typical, cookie-cutter non-answer. Monk has been playing his best basketball as of late, emerging as a spark plug off the bench, and the truth is that Charlotte should probably be testing the market to see what they can get for the inconsistent 21-year-old. Monk's not a stash per se, given that he's not likely to start wherever he gets traded, but he'd be a speculative add if trade rumors prove true.
Source: The Athletic
January 27, 2020, 11:08 amWillie Cauley-SteinC, Dallas Mavericks
Willie Cauley-Stein has yet to practice with the Mavericks and is uncertain to play on Monday against the Thunder, according to Rick Carlisle.
The report continues to say that Cauley-Stein may not be activated in time for Tuesday's game either. We're not sure why WCS' Mavs debut has to be delayed. In the piece, Carlisle describes him as a "rim-protector" and "rim-roller," two roles to which additional practice time would not necessarily contribute one way or the other. In any case, if you picked up the Mavs big man hoping for four games this week, you'll likely get less than a full slate of games from him.
Source: Dallas News