Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The NBA's All-Hands (Raised) Team

I'm having a Deja Vu moment. I feel like I already wrote about this last year, but I can't find any record of it, so I am proceeding. In the previous post, I alluded to what has become my biggest pet peeve in this year's playoffs ... the propensity for officials to take control of an early blowout and keep a team in the game. Right on the heels of that disturbing trend is another, equally annoying phenomenon sweeping NBA Nation: the "arms raised in disbelief" complaint to the official.

Before I write another word, let me issue a few disclaimers: 1) The officials are so bad in the NBA that they deserve all of the mocking and complaining that comes their way. 2) When I played sports, I tend to be a big whiner, so this is definitely me being hypocritical. 3) I am okay with most forms of complaining. The sneer (a Billups specialty), the hands on the hips with the incredulous smile (T-Mac's forte), the hands on the ref's hips (Cassell), and fierce point, the mouthpiece throw, and the stalking-while-going-into-a-timeout are all very acceptable forms of showing one's disdain for a call. The one thing I can't handle is the outstretched arms. The look of disbelief. The near tears. The freaking stopping in the middle of the play to go beg to the ref. Seriously, what is going on? I am about to give you my All-Star team for this particular move, but in reality, half the guys in the league could make the team. I'm forced to find serial arm-raisers and guys that constantly perform the arm raise despite getting almost every call, just to separate them from the average babies. It's an epidemic. A pandemic! (I forget - what is the difference?) Anyway, here is the NBA's All-Hands (Raised) Team (only players from playoff teams are eligible):

PG - Shaun Livingston. He's young, so I expect him to get even better at this. He gets bonus points for getting up probably 5-7 ARPG (arms raised per game) despite limited minutes of the bench. Plus, he has really long arms, so it makes for an even more dramatic moment (call it the Tayshaun Factor). Livingston's backup is Steve Nash who doesn't complain all that often, but when he does, never fails to look like a third grader that got his milk money stolen as he races after the refs with his arms raised in disbelief. (In Nash's defense, he keeps playing while doing so, unlike most of the guys on this list.) Gary Payton - a former first teamer - comes in a distant third.

SG - Manu Ginobili. He's really in a three-way tie for this position with teammate Brent Barry and Detroit's Rip Hamilton. All three of these guys blow my mind with the theatrics. Hamilton gets big points for doing this EVERY time he doesn't get a call, which happens about one percent of the time. Also, there was a play against the Cavs where he and Maurice Evans each grabbed one of LeBron's arms as he split their double-team; Rip grabbed the left arm and Evans grabbed the right (dribbling) arm. Replays showed both of LeBron's arms being ripped back while he tried to go to the basket. An obvious foul was called at which point both Pistons players began hopping around in disbelief. Hamilton then - shockingly - ran to each and every ref on the floor with arms outstretched, begging for an explanation. As for Ginobili, he wins because he is able to add things like stutter-steps, double takes, and other improvisational skills to the traditional move. Also, he is another guy that gets an inordinate amount of calls yet acts like he's been wrongfully sentenced to prison for the next 25 years every time he gets whistled.

SF - Tayshaun Prince. This list is full of Spurs and Pistons which is interesting. Perhaps I so enjoy the underdog that guys from these teams just bother me more. Maybe it rubs me the wrong way that these teams get way more calls than everyone else yet still have the gall to freak out whenever they don't happen to get a call. Whatever. All I know is that Prince probably leads the league in ARPG. During Game Four against the Cavs I tabbed him for a whopping 17 in one game. I have to believe that is a record. He was raising those lanky arms on foul calls, no-calls, jump balls, teammate fouls, you name it. It got to the point where I was convinced he was simultaneously shooting a deodorant commercial during the game. Prince's backups are Richard Jefferson (he brings the laugh with the arm raise, so that is kind of special), and Corey Maggette (another guy that just gets a ton of calls, yet sprints after the refs in disbelief when he doesn't get one).

PF - Tim Duncan. Ladies and Gents, here is your team captain. I've never seen Duncan A) miss a shot or B) commit a foul and NOT raise his arms in disbelief. If he is whistled, the ref has to be wrong. If he misses a shot, then he must have been fouled. It is simply unbelievable. This is all made worse by two more facts: 1) He gets more calls than anyone I can ever remember watching, and 2) for years and years, everyone acted like he was the most polite, impassive player in the game. Only now is he finally taking some heat for being a big baby. He's a fantastic player - one of the best power forwards of all time - but nobody, I repeat NOBODY complains more than Tim Duncan. I don't even have a backup.

C - Chris Kaman. Not a lot of centers do this, so Kaman is kind of the default winner. He gets the nod over any challengers based on the fact that he always goes directly from the arm raise to the "other arm raise" (the one where you raise your hand straight up into the air, dutifully, in some kind of honorable attempt to take the blame or make it easier for the scorekeeper or something). Hey Chris, not only do you need a haircut in the worst way, but you should also know that the "I did it" hand raise loses its effect when you run after the refs in disbelief first.

Feel free to post your own members of this exclusive team.


Anonymous said...

Duncan is a class act and a great player. I think you are being too hard on him.

Anonymous said...

Brad Miller is without paralell in the department of complaining at the position of Center.