Mötley Crüe once sang, “Friday night and I need a fight, my motorcycle and a switch blade knife. Hand full of grease and my head feels right, but what I need to make me tight are those girls, girls, girls.”
Me, I just need me some classic NBA Jam.
I was actually kind of shocked at the piss-poor teams they had when I settled in for the first of three full games that would be played at the local barcade. Obviously, no Jordan, because Midway hadn’t secured the license to use his name, so you had Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen. Utah’s Stockton-Malone and Houston’s Dream-Kenny Smith were the tops, followed by maybe Charles Barkley and Dan Majerle.
But I didn’t feel like being any of these classic duos. Instead, I dialed up the Milwaukee Bucks and their pathetic offering of Brad Lohaus and Blue Edwards, by pure coincidence Deadspin’s worst-ranked duo in the original game.
Of course, I somehow got stuck with Lohaus as my dude. I ended up pouring in 54 points on 23-38 shooting (mostly limp reverse dunks). He got on fire twice, helping me to a 66-55 victory.
Later, I used the Washington Bullets’ duo of Tom Gugliotta and Harvey Grant, coincidentally Deadspin’s second-worst all-time, against the Clyde Drexler-Terry Porter Portland tandem, and I ended up losing by a hair, 48-46. Even though Gugs scored all 46 of my points, I just couldn’t get him past Drexler, nor could he guard either of those dudes.
At any point did I mock Lohaus or Gugliotta? No. Because being chosen for NBA Jam is quite the honor: You have become immortal – until the end of time, morons like me will walk into barcades of some kind and fire up Lohaus as a goof. In all seriousness, it is a measuring stick of your meaning to that team.
Which brings me to Zaza Pachulia. If NBA Jam came out with a 2015 version, Zaza would actually be third on the depth chart behind, say, Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams. At the least, he’d be the backup big man.
How is this possible? Well, the Mavericks seem to be the masters of keeping the career flame alive for old, mediocre big men.
For years, it was Samuel Dalembert, who somehow held down a job on some pretty dang good Dallas squads.
Now it’s Zaza, who is actually averaging a double-double as the team’s starting center.
Do we care if the team is a bleh 15-11 with Zaza as its starting center? No. Do we care if he’s 31 going on 49? No. Do we care if he hasn’t been relevant in the NBA in any way shape or form for at least a decade? Not even a little bit.
All we care about is that he’s a real solid big man to have in your fantasy lineup, and one who just doesn’t hurt you: While scoring around 10 ppg and almost 11 rpg he’s also shooting 49 percent from the field and 77 percent from the line. He came into last night’s game on a two-game double-double streak, and kept the good play going with 12 boards and three steals in a win over the Suns.
Zaza might never score 54 points in an NBA Jam game, but he’s not a bad backup center for your fantasy squad, even in 12-team leagues.
Here’s some more Boards-N-Blocks action:
Andre Drummond vs. DeAndre Jordan – Although Jordan’s Clips won the second and final meeting of these teams in an OT thriller, Round 2 of Battle of the Glass Kings went to Drummond, but not by much: He had 20 points, 15 boards, three steals but no blocks. Jordan had only seven points, but also racked up 14 rebounds and blocked three shots. Jordan and the Clips also won the first game between the two teams on Nov. 14 but, again, Drummond was the fantasy winner, with 18 points, 19 rebounds and a block.
Bismack Biyombo – He was once a staple of the B-N-B Deep League Special section. Now he’s a regular rotation boarder on a legit playoff team. In fact, he started last night against Indiana and had nine points, 13 boards and two blocks in a blowout loss. That’s more like it after two kind of stinky games against the Sixers (inexcusable) and the Bucks.
Jared Sullinger – Maybe he took my latest fat joke to heart when last week’s column ran on Dec. 7. He responded that night with 11 points and 20 boards in New Orleans, then followed that up with a 10-15-3, and then a 7-13-1, but backslided into a doodie of a game on Saturday in Charlotte in which he only managed four points and seven rebounds. Let’s test this out: Yo Sully, you so fat, you show up on radar!
Draymond Green – Two juicy 24-11 games in a row, but note that the first one, against Boston, was a win and came with five steals and five blocks. The second, Golden State’s first loss of the year in Milwaukee, didn’t have that extra relish. I expect him to be more of a multi-cat dude, and not a 20-10 guy, as long as the Warriors are humming.
Marcin Gortat – Double-doubles in five of his last six games, and we’d have to assume there would have been a seventh if he hadn’t been attending to a “personal issue.” Come on, you Marcin was probably off playing with one of his cars.
Joakim Noah – I proclaim him 100 percent back to relevancy as far as being a studly B-N-B dude after averaging 12.3 rpg and 2.6 bpg over his last three, including 15 boards and two blocks last night against the Suxers.
Jerami Grant – Speaking of the worst team in NBA history, this son of Harvey actually has a lot of talent, which I’ve been saying since Sam Tankie took him in the second round a few years back. He had five rejections against the Bulls last night, and if the rumors are true, and Nerlens Noel gets dealt, he could be in line for the starting power forward gig.
Ersan Ilysavoa – I’ve been ripping him all year, so I gotta give him props for showing he ain’t as soft as a pillow. He still can’t rebound, but dude’s had seven blocks over the last three games.
Nikola Vucevic – Been kinda bummed out by Vuc’s lack of boardage this year. Averaging less than nine per game on the campaign, and only has nine in his last two. For a center who doesn’t really block shots, that’s not so good Al.