Yeah, the offseason is slow and to top it all off we don’t have a pick in the draft. I don’t care how many Jose Calderon trade rumours are out there, he’s not going anywhere. So naturally the only thought that comes to mind is to wonder who the best white players in the league really are. Usually this list consisted of Toni Kukoc and Arvydas Sabonis but thanks to the continued injection of European players and the development of basketball in rural neighborhoods like Orange County, the list has grown. So here’s some of the top white guys in the NBA:
Dirk Nowitzki: Follows the prototypical white guy forumula: tall and white. Most white guys prolong their NBA careers by a) being a banger or b) being a great shooter. Dirk’s obviously the latter but he can also take it to the rim with force and can use his size to his advantage, something fellow whitey centers (like Shawn Bradley) could never do. That high arching jumper of his is damn near impossible to stop because you end up touching his elbow or it looks like you’ve touched his elbow and whistle-happy Steve Javie is not going to miss it. No sir he’s not.
Manu Ginobili: Argentine import that looks like you could guard him but blows by you at will and can pull up for deep threes and leave you wondering what the hell to do to guard him? The answer: force him to go right. There are stretches in the game where he’s unstoppable to the point where the coach will use up all his timeouts just to give his defender a breather. Arguably the best foreign player to play in the NBA after Nowtizki, if he figures out how to drive to his right, he’ll be an MVP candidate. But then again, he plays with Tim Duncan so the last time he saw a double-team was in South America.
Steve Nash: Most white guys make up for their lack of talents by height, not Steven Nash, he’s NBA short and still manages to dominate games through meticulous fast-break runs, perfect pick ‘n rolls and a deadly jumper. It’s abnormal how good he’s become over the last five years. Canadians used to roll their eyes at him when local media used to showcase him as one of the few Canuck NBA players (along with Rick Fox) on Sunday afternoon halftime shows. It must be said that the the man is highly erratic at times and a horrible defender. But despite that he managed to win (steal?) 2 MVPs. As cousin Shahid once said, you can’t hand out the MVP award to a player who is below average in 50% of the game.
Andrei Kirilenko: Yes, I know the guy cried after Game 2 but in physical speak, he is one of the most gifted athletes (white or any other color) to play in the NBA. AK47 was reduced to a Super Soaker in the playoffs but still remains a man that can take over any given game with his slashing ability and dominating defensive play. It’s too bad Jerry Sloan isn’t trading the guy to the Raptors; if/when he gets his head sewed on straight, he’ll realize that unleashing that DPOY kind of talent isn’t that difficult. He also needs a barber so that he stops looking like the villain from Die Hard movies. This is not related but his wife lets him cheat on her once a year.
Kirk Hinrich: As you can see the list starts to get pretty thin once we classify it by race, but take nothing away from Hinrich. He’s a good shooter of the ball, very good defensive player (long arms) and is competitive and tenacious. The Kansas product is a fundamentally sound point guard that will never become a superstar but does have what it takes to have a long career while playing at a high level. I think any team would gladly have him on board and he’s one of the main reasons of the Bulls’ resurgence. He’s got Mark Price written all over him.
Mehmet Okur: Damn, I don’t believe its already come down to Okur. Mehmet is starting to look like a real NBA player and not the guy that bags your groceries. It all started to happen for the Turk when he got traded to the confines of Jerry Sloan’s structured offense and out of the thuggish atmosphere that is Motown. The Jazz offense is more structured than a Detroit correctional facility and Okur has found in it his niche as a bruiser and as an outside shooter, the latter when coming out of a set-piece is damn near lethal. If he learns a few more lost-post moves, he might be one of those guys that hinges on the outskirts of the All-Star ballot.
At this point I’m searching for names like Mike Miller, Luke Ridnour, Andres Nocioni, Adam Morrison and Andrew Bogut, who are all decent players but nothing to write an entire paragraph about. I’d say Andrea Bargnani might make it to the top three over the next few years and if those Nowitzki comparisons hold true, might even make it to top spot.