ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — In this the first season of the New Orleans Pelicans, the franchise has had some very public mascot difficulties. After introducing a pelican named Pierre a few months back, a remixed, more friendly Pelican was introduced just before the All-Star break.
And then last night the Pelicans trotted out something called King Cake Baby, which is, frankly, rather disturbing.
The King Cake, for what it’s worth, is a Mardi Gras tradition, in which a small plastic toy baby is cooked inside a cake. If you get the baby in your slice of cake, it traditionally signals good luck.
If a huge version of King Cake Baby shows up on the basketball court, however, I’m not so sure it signals luck of any kind.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When the New Orleans Hornets became the New Orleans Pelicans over the summer, they introduced a new mascot along with their name change. Pierre the Pelican was met with mixed reviews, mostly because his blood red beak was not perhaps as welcoming as it could be.
So it was either required or fortuitous when the Pelicans announced that Pierre had “injured” his face in a pick-up and had the necessary reconstructive surgery. The new-look Pierre was introduced yesterday, just in time for All-Star Weekend, with perhaps more a friendly visage…
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — After seeing LeBron‘s post-practice dunks the other day, at least one other NBA player decided to show what he could do on the post-practice dunk tip. After a New Orleans Pelicans practice in Milwaukee, Anthony Davis did his own off-the-wall dunk, with a windmill thrown in for good measure. His teammate Anthony Morrow captured it on Instagram, and added the caption, “@antdavis_23 said put my in the Dunk Contest Wassup @kingjames #gopels”
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’re into the NBA’s most devastating dunks, we’ve got you covered over at the new-and-improved Dunk HQ. But because we’re the All Ball blog and we like to look at the NBA from non-traditional angles, we will focus on the flip side of the NBA’s best dunks: What we want to know is, who got got?
So welcome to Volume Three of The All Ball Posterized Poll. We will check in from time to time and examine the worst of the best, and use a highly scientific polling method to determine which NBA player got dunked on (a.k.a. posterized) the most egregiously. And at the end of the season all of our winners will battle it out to determine who it is that most belongs on a poster.
The winner of Volume One was New Orleans’ Jeff Withey, who was placed on a poster by Lakers’ wingman Xavier Henry, his college teammate. The winner of Volume Two was Atlanta’s Al Horford, who was posterized by Victor Oladipo.
But can anyone top Withey? We have five brand new nominees. We checked in with NBA.com’s own slam dunk specialist, LeMont Calloway, for his informed perspective on the matter. “What I’ll say most about these defenders is that at least they’re trying to show help-side D,” LeMont notes. “There’s a defender or two around the league who wouldn’t even dare, let alone probably couldn’t even make the proper rotation. (Calling you out Boozer!) But, it’s like Bill Walton used to say: What are big men doing trying to take charges anyway?”
Now, to the latest nominees …
1. Terrence Ross on Kenneth Faried
LeMont’s Take: “Not only does this one have all the qualities needed to make it a great posterizer (elevating over a jumping, contesting defender, finishing tough), but the still shot of the play makes for an amazing visual. From Faried’s honest attempt at defending to Ross’ acrobatic cock-back wind-up, you have to appreciate both players’ intensity.” -
VIDEO:Ross on Faried - 2. Kevin Martin on Tayshaun Prince
LeMont’s Take: “No shots fired, but has Kevin Martin ever had a play like this in the NBA? Wanna know what sticks out to me the most about this banger? It’s the fact that Martin’s swagged-out slow walk after the dunk suggests that Kevin Martin posterizers, like a LeBron jam, for instance, are household plays. It’s like Martin is saying, ‘This is what I do.’ Love it!” -
VIDEO:Martin on Prince - 3. Taj Gibson on Bismack Biyombo
LeMont’s Take: “Bulls announcer Stacey King knows a poster when he sees it. And if there’s one Bull who has a pretty good resume of big facials, it’s Taj Gibson (ask Nikola Vucevic or a 2011 D-Wade about their Gibson experiences). Game film is key in this game, and if Bismack Biyombo was paying any attention, he’d know that Gibson usually means serious two-handed business at the rim.” -
VIDEO:Gibson on Biyombo - 4. Anthony Davis on Big Baby
LeMont’s Take: “I feel pretty confident calling it right now: Anthony Davis may turn out to be one of the best big man to utilize the pick and roll. A lot of his dunks and alley-oops this season have come in this manner, and he’s only going to keep learning and getting better at it. It just so happens that his play-cousin Glen Davis is part of the education.” -
VIDEO:Davis on Davis - 5. Lance Stephenson on referee Ed Malloy
LeMont’s Take: “No man is safe from getting dunked on. Not kids on Nerf hoops, not unsuspecting rookies, not even referees. How many people can say they dunked on an official and got away with it? Lance Stephenson can, and he’s probably the envy of many a player in the NBA. (I’m sure there are plenty of guys who’d love to dunk one on Joey Crawford.) The Pacers’ spark plug may be ticked off that he didn’t make the All-Star team, but hopefully he was able to unleash some of that anger here, even if it was at the expense of a ref.” -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — With a beard as singular and iconic as the one James Harden sports, I’m guessing it isn’t easy to ever slip into a disguise. (Unless, as we saw earlier today, you disguise a bunch of other people as you.) But in this latest ad from Foot Locker, Harden decides that in order to shop in peace, he needs to go as someone with a lower profile, so he selects New Orleans big man Anthony Davis. Then again, I’m not so sure a seven-foot-tall dude with a unibrow is the most incognito costume one could come up with. -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis is only in his second NBA season, but he’s been terrific thus far, leading the Pelicans in points and rebounds per game, and leading the entire NBA in blocked shots, at 3.3 per game. And in this new ad for Kids Foot Locker, we see that Davis is not only a nightmare for NBA opponents, but he might even show up to ruin your driveway dream scenarios… -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — When presented with the opportunity to dance during a timeout, coupled with the chance that perhaps your dancing will earn you a few moments of fame on the scoreboard, many fans at NBA games take advantage of the opportunity by showcasing their very best moves. We all know that the bar has been set pretty high, but this gentleman at a recent New Orleans Pelicans game did his best to rise to that level. Catch your breath, sir, you deserve it.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — This may not be the most scientific data available, but it’s pretty interesting. Today Google released their lists of the most-searched for NBA players and teams in 2013, compiling data from 72 countries. Some of the results are not that surprising (hey LeBron!), but some of the others? Can’t say I saw them coming (fly high, New Orleans Pelicans!)… -
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — If you’re into the NBA’s most devastating dunks, we’ve got you covered over at the new and improved Dunk HQ. But because we’re the All Ball blog and we like to look at the NBA from nontraditional angles, we will focus on the flip side of the NBA’s best dunks: Who got got?
So welcome to volume one of The All Ball Posterized Poll. We will check in from time to time and examine the worst of the best, and use a highly scientific polling method to determine which NBA player got dunked on (a.k.a. posterized) the most egregiously. And at the end of the season we will determine who it is that most belongs on a poster.
To start us off, we have four nominees from the first few weeks of the season, and we checked in with NBA.com’s own slam dunk specialist, LeMont Calloway, for his informed perspective on the matter. “What I’ll say most about these defenders is that at least they’re trying to show help-side D,” LeMont notes. “There’s a defender or two around the league who wouldn’t even dare, let alone probably couldn’t even make the proper rotation. (Calling you out Boozer!) But, it’s like Bill Walton used to say: What are big men doing trying to take charges anyway?”
1. Marvin Williams (as nominated by JJ Hickson) LeMont’s Take: “Personally, if you ask me, is this the one? This is the one! The way Marvin falls reminds me of a video game animation. Hands down, one of the nastiest falls after getting dunked on that I’ve seen in a while.” -
3. Jeff Withey (as nominated by Xavier Henry) LeMont’s Take: “I’m always going to be a fan of any dunk where the ball is cocked back. Like LeBron’s go-to dunk from his Cavs days. Whether with one or two hands, it doesn’t matter. Those dunks always signify bad intentions to me. Especially with a defender in the way. But what sets Xavier’s apart from the rest is he’s a lefty. It just gives it that added unusual flair and bang to it.” -
No matter how well a rookie plays in his first season, there invariably comes a moment where he gets somewhat humbled on the court by an NBA veteran. Here at All Ball, we’ll do our best all season to keep track of these moments, which we’re calling “Welcome to the NBA” …
By Jeff Case
This might be our best (or, if you’re the victim, worst) one yet.
A quick look at the Draft bio for center Jeff Withey tells you all you need to know about his days at Kansas. As a senior, he racked up second-team All-American and NABC Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors, broke his own Big 12 and school record for blocks (146) and led the league and was No. 2 in the nation in blocks.
Basically, the man knows where to be in the paint on defense.
Such was the case last night at Staples Center for Withey, who is a backup center for the New Orleans Pelicans. Nick Young drives the paint and looks to dish to Chris Kaman, but Withey cuts off Young and forces a pass that Kaman nearly loses out of bounds. Kaman kicks the ball out to Shawne Williams, who then dishes to Xavier Henry at the top of the key.
All the while, Withey is sticking close to Kaman while monitoring the paint. He sees Henry fake a pass to Jordan Farmar on the right wing and start his drive. Withey tries to get set outside the charge circle (his heels are on the line, though), readies for impact, and then … yikes … posterized by Henry!
Perhaps even worse for Withey is this was all done to him by a fellow Jayhawks alum in Henry. In fact, the two were teammates during the 2009-10 season at KU. Who knows, maybe this happened at practice or at countless pickup/alumni classic games at Allen Fieldhouse. But now, surely to Withey’s dismay, it’s been saved for all the world to see over and over again.