Thursday, August 19, 2010
RTS Debates: Hasheem Thabeet vs. Chris
So I have a friend that’s doing some graduate studies over in Africa. Who does he happen to run into over there? Hasheem Thabeet. My friend sent me a picture of him and Thabeet. I forwarded it to Graham and he responded that it looked like my friend could take him in a game of one of one. What ensued was one of the most heated email debates in RTS history.
From the sad but true department: I truly think I could beat Thabeet in a game of 1 on 1. And really, I'm not sure if it's sad because I'm delusional or sad because it's true. Either way is pretty damn depressing.
You could not beat Thabeet one-on-one. When he has the ball, he'd just back you down and drop in an easy one from two feet. When you have the ball, he'd just stand back and dare you to shoot. You'd never beat him.
Concepts I have working for me.
1. I'm not that bad a shooter so if I got the ball first, I could, in theory, go on a run. I assume the game is make-it, take-it. I could give myself a lead if I'm shooting well.
2. I completely understand that he could post me up and score all day. However, in one-on-one, he'd have to start at the 3-point line. Can he really dribble all the way down to the post? Maybe a few times, but every time. I doubt it.
3. He would not take the game serious unless I got close to winning, so he's probably just jack up 3s until I got to 6 or 7 points. So really, I'd just have to make sure to not give him the ball back when he started trying.
4. Thabeet really, really sucks. I mean, if I had to pick 1 player in the NBA to try to beat for a million dollars, he'd be on my list. I'm not joking about that.
He doesn't have to dribble from the three-point line to the post. He just has to turn around, stick his ass in your face and back you down. We're not talking about AI crossovers here. You would not be able to defend that. No chance. And as much as Thabeet sucks in the NBA, remember, he was good enough in college to be a consensus top-10 pick (if not #2). That means he was at least relatively effective against guys who are 6-8, 250 lbs.
If we're really talking about beating an NBA player, it won't be someone who's 7-3, 300 lbs. It can't be any player who can just turn around and back you down easily. It would have to be a smallish wing player who can't shoot worth shit. Maybe then you'd have a chance. Maybe.
By the way, it reminds me of this story. Before the NBA Draft settled into MSG every year, they used to take it to different cities. In 1998 they were in Vancouver, and I volunteered with the Grizz (how I got my foot in the door- no one ran quotes at the draft like me). There was a fan fest thing where Antawn Jamison, Vince Carter, Mike Bibby and 1 or 2 other guys played one-on-one against kids, and I swear to God this happened:
The kids were about 10 years old, and the hoops were only about 5 feet high so they could at least shoot and have a reasonable chance of going in. The players were all screwing around, and the kids were just happy to be on the same court. Except there was kid in Vince Carter's line who was better than all the rest and was taking it seriously. The first time he took on Vince, he took a shot and Vince swatted the ball to the other end of the court. The kid was pissed. He went back in line and waited his turn, didn't talk to anyone, didn't smile. He wanted revenge.
So he comes up again and Vince comes out to about halfway between the free throw line and three-point line to defend him, not really taking it seriously. The kid takes a few dribbles to his left, gets Vince to lean, and blows by him on the right. Now Vince is fucked, and he knows it. He tries to chase the kid down from behind but was a step behind, and the kid dunked it on the 5-foot hoop. The entire place exploded and Vince couldn't believe it. Antawn Jamison came over laughing his ass off and just tore Vince apart. And the kid didn't say a word, didn't smile. Just put his head down and got back in line.
One of the single most badass things I've ever seen.
The kid dunking on Vince Carter is awesome. You should track him down for an exclusive RTS interview...where are they now version.
And I'm not going to let the Thabeet thing die this easily, cause mainly, I'm an idiot.
First, the “good college player” theory I'm not buying. I realize he's a better player than me in the context of college basketball, team basketball, etc. One on one is different, so the fact that he scored a whopping 13 points a game in college isn't really amazing me.
Second, Thabeet could back me down from the 3-point line, but if he's going to play like that, I'm going to push and shove and what not. He can call the foul if he wants. Hell, he's listed at 267 lbs on NBA.com. I'm at about 235. I'm not giving up as much as you think, especially if he's having to dribble while I can just get better leverage.
Lastly, I'm thinking I could beat Thabeet maybe 1 or 2 times out of 10. Not good odds. But better odds than just about any other NBA player. You said I should go against a wing player that can't shoot. I'm going to give you a heads up. Uh, every wing player in the NBA is quicker, stronger and faster than me. I wouldn't stand a chance. It would be a dunk contest. They'd get to the rim easier than Thabeet's backing down technique. I'd rather play Thabeet than DeMarre Carroll. I suppose that's all I'm saying. But I do realize that Thabeet, overall, is a better player than DeMarre. I just like my one-on-one matchup better.
For crying out loud.
OK, let's say you camp out at the three-point line and try to hit bombs all day. If he sits back and you miss, he's getting the rebound. You'd have to shoot 75% from three-point range. No chance. And let's say he decides to play up on you and challenge you - there's no way you have the speed to blow by him and get to the rim untouched. At the very least he could recover and challenge the shot. How many contested layups are you making against a 7-3 shotblocker? He's not some lumbering 350-pound oaf. He's lean and has some modicum of athleticism, enough at least to chase down a 235-pound rec league player.
You say you could beat him 1 or 2 times out of 10. You'd be lucky to beat him 1 or 2 times out of 100.
The fact that you think I can't blow by Thabeet if he plays up on me really just shows you how underrated I am. I mean, have you seen this picture? Thabeet's got nothing on this!
And really, saying that Thabeet has a modicum of athleticism is really stretching it. I mean, he has a hard time even catching a damn ball.
Something else you haven't taken into account. I can score on Thabeet in the post. I've got Kevin McHale level post moves. Just subtract about 8 inches and add some serious love handles. Other than that, we're twins.
Lastly, 1 or 2 times out of 100? Are you kidding? I'm not playing 100 1 on 1 games. I'd die after about 15.
I think now you're just trying to annoy me. Mission accomplished. Listen mini-McHale - your post moves would be useless. He wouldn't bite on one of them because you can't shoot over him. All he has to do is stand there and swat them away.
I completely agree with everything you said about what should happen when I play Thabeet.
I just think you give Thabeet too much credit. I guess the fact that I've seen him play 75 times or so makes me realize that he won't back me down (even though he should), he will bite on my post moves (even though he shouldn't) and he won't give a crap and I will (which sounds about right).
Me 1, You 0
So you win an argument because you could coach Thabeet to victory over me? This isn't a video game where you get to control him. Just because Thabeet has the raw ability to dominate me 1 million times over, doesn't mean he would. He's an idiot. A goofy, uncoordinated idiot. I stand by my theory that I could beat him 1 out of 10 times. I stand by your theory that I shouldn't beat him 1 time out of 100.