Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
We're all human.
Ray Allen, the man with the golden shot, will clank a free throw every now and then.
James Harden, bearded wonder that he is, turns in a stinker on occasion. I think December 29th's eight-point outing against the Thunder would qualify.
Even LeBron James, a headband-wearing superhero, has his good days and bad days. Thursday against the Knicks (six turnovers in a 102-92 loss) would fall into the "bad day" category.
And sure, I have my issues as well. For starters, I'm not very good at Mario Kart. I'm also pretty useless when it comes to using chopsticks. And last but not least, I still type with two fingers. Amazing, right?
I guess what I'm trying to say is, there's always room for improvement. Even for these dudes:
Carmelo Anthony, F, New York Knicks
Maybe I'm beating a dead horse here. The Melo being a ball-hog narrative is far from original. But you can't deny its accuracy.
For years, Anthony has been the closest thing the NBA has had to Ebenezer Scrooge. Of the league's top-10 scorers this season, only Anthony and Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge are averaging fewer than three assists per game. To have the ball as much as Melo does and average only 2.9 apg is pathetic. But hey, it's Melo.
DeMarcus Cousins, C, Sacramento Kings
I know, I know. Another Boogie reference.
Enough. We get it, Cousins is a deranged lunatic who happens to be excellent at basketball. Give it a rest, Jesse.
You won't believe me, but I actually did try NOT to have Cousins in this column. But Boogie is like Peter Pan (albeit a taller and much angrier version). He never seems to grow up. His 10 technicals are easily the most in the league and so are his 4.0 fouls per game.
Character development is overrated. Never change, Boogie.
Stephen Curry, PG, Golden State Warriors
This guy's getting a lot of ink this week. Three days ago I wrote a column mostly praising Curry as well as Dave Chappelle for his riveting portrayal of Prince. James Lipton would have called it "scrumtrulescent."
But today I've come with my judgment hat on. As great as he's been in other areas, Curry has turned the ball over at an alarming rate this season. Seven giveaways against Brooklyn. Another seven against Milwaukee. Eight more against Dallas. ELEVEN versus the Clippers? Are you kidding me? I think I'm gonna be sick.
Roy Hibbert, C, Indiana Pacers
In the entire NBA, there is exactly one player taller than Hibbert. Since that player is Oklahoma City bench-warmer Hasheem Thabeet, that would make Hibbert, who is 7-foot-2, the tallest player in the league who actually gets minutes.
Despite his extreme height advantage, Hibbert's offensive totals this season have been mediocre at best. His 12.5 ppg scoring average ranks just eighth among NBA centers.
Hibbert scored 27 against the Sixers earlier this season and 22 against Toronto just a few nights ago. But why can't he do that every night? We may never know.
Kyrie Irving, PG, Cleveland Cavaliers
There's up, down, side to side, and then there's Kyrie Irving.
It's just impossible to get a read on this guy. He'll go ballistic against the Hawks one night (40 points on 17-for-33 shooting) and then a week later he'll put up 10 against Indiana. Uncle Drew has scored 30 or more points seven times this season. Unfortunately, he has the same number of games with 15 or less.
Consistency eludes the 21-year-old. But who am I to judge? I can't even play Mario Kart.
LeBron James, F, Miami Heat
Weakness: Free-throw shooting
The hairline needs work. But that's not what this is about. It's about free throw shooting.
The fact that LeBron still struggles at the line after 10 years of being awesome at literally everything else is mind-boggling to me.
Not that 74.9 percent is a hideous percentage, but it's way worse than other superstars like Kevin Durant (88.9) or James Harden (84.7). Any time Blake Griffin (70.2) is breathing down your neck in the free throw category, you have every reason to be concerned.
Dirk Nowitzki, PF, Dallas Mavericks
This has been a common complaint throughout Dirk's career, but I don't think the "you can't teach an old dog new tricks" excuse is enough to get him off the hook. Plain and simple, Nowitzki (5.9 rpg this season) is a disgrace to 7-footers. Sure he doesn't play center, but he's SEVEN FEET people!! He should be grabbing at least seven or eight boards a night.
Josh Smith, F, Detroit Pistons
Weakness: 3-point shooting
Just stop. Seriously, Josh. You can't make threes.
Your teammates know it. Your coach knows it. Even you know it. Just stay the heck inside the 3-point line for once.
Smith's 24.8 percent rate of success from deep this season is dead-last among qualified shooters. Bless his heart.
Also, I have no idea how to play chess. But don't try to teach me. I already have enough to worry about with the chopsticks.
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