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Listen, let's not bury the lead here. The suddenly, slightly arrogant Steph Curry is wrong. He either is trying to pump up his teammate, or just flat out hasn't ever played NBA Jam before. You need a rim protector. That's non-negotiable. It's why Starks and Ewing were such a dynamic Jam combo.

How wrong is he? Well let's take a deep dive into it. Here are the definitive power rankings (from worst to first). And before you argue, let me tell you that I've played a TON of NBA Jam and also went undefeated against my friend Billy in the ripoff arcade game NBA showtime (268 and 0), so I'm pretty much an expert:

The Bottom Feeders

  • Minnesota Timberwolves (Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio)
  • Orlando Magic (Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (Kobe Bryant and Julian Randle)
  • Brooklyn Nets (Deron Williams and Joe Johnson)
  • Boston Celtics (Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green)
  • Phoenix Suns (Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe
  • Toronto Raptors (Kyle Lowry and Terrance Ross)
Let's get it out of the way. Ya, I picked Jeff Green. And that might surprise some of you, but I've got news for you, some of you are kind of dumb. It's called NBA Jam, gang. Got to have somebody who can throw it down. What am I supposed to do, pick Avery Bradley and sit on the edge of my seat hoping the endless amount of finger rolls don't get blocked?! My stomach can't take that. Green also spaces the floor, and his defense is OK.

Also, Terrance Ross is the man, so I picked him instead of Demar Derozan. Deal with it, pal. 

Pretty Bad
  • Milwaukee Bucks (Jabari Parker and LARRY SANDERS)
  • New York Knicks (Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith)
  • Charlotte Hornets (Al Jefferson and Lance Stevenson)
  • Sacramento Kings (Demarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay)
Admittedly, was pretty tough to leave the Greek Freak off my roster (I don't do substitutions), but you've got to have somebody who can shoot and finish. If you get down, and the computers basically letting you get back in it, you want the guy who's definitely going to be able to knock down those 3's. 

Perfectly Average
  • Atlanta Hawks (Jeff Teague and Al Horford)
  • Memphis Grizzlies (Marc Gasol and Mike Conley)
  • Golden State Warriors (Steph Curry and Klay Thompson)
  • Denver Nuggets (Ty Lawson and Keneth Faried)
Oh what's up, Steph Curry? Do you see that?! Your 'best NBA Jam team in the league' is actually just perfectly average.  2 guys who can't dunk and can't block shots. Guess what? You're Scott Skiles & Nick Anderson 2.0. And in the history of the world, no one has ever won a single game of NBA Jam with Scott Skiles and Nick Anderson. You wanna know why? Can't dunk, can't block shots, can't win, you're dunzo.  

Really kills me to keep Marc in the average spot, but Conley isn't great from downtown and can't dunk. Plus, feel like he wouldn't be able to take a shove very well. 

Above Average
  • Washington Wizards (John Wall and Marcin Gortat)
  • Detroit Pistons (Josh Smith and Andre Drummond)
  • Dallas Mavericks (Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki)
We've officially hit the 'I feel like NBA Jam would make some of these players better than they are' tier, with a double dose out in Detroit. 

The Contenders
  • Miami Heat (Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade)
  • Portland Trailblazers (Damian Lillard and Lamarcus Aldridge)
  • Los Angeles Clippers (Chris Paul and Blake Griffin)
  • San Antonio Spurs (Tim Duncan and Tony Parker)
All very good teams, but kind of flawed. Take a look at the Clippers, who I'm sure a lot of you would rank higher. Paul is a very good point guard, but he can't jam. Griffin a great power forward, but not the best shot blocker. I know we're nit-picking at this point, but that's what separates the elite jammers from the very good jammers. 

Sneaky-fringe-elite
  • New Orleans Pelicans (Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis)
  • Indiana Pacers (Paul George and Roy Hibbert)
Exact opposite of what I just said; these are guys whose games are tailored for NBA Jam. Holiday can shoot 3's and finish, Davis protects the rim very well. And for as poor as Roy Hibbert is offensively, guess what? He can dunk and he can block shots. Like a more athletic Ronny Seikaly. 

Really torn on ranking Pacers ahead of the Pecans, but I think you take the edge at the ball handler position. 

The Elite
  • Chicago Bulls (Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (Lebron James and Kyrie Irving)
  • Houston Rockets (James Harden and Dwight Howard)
Listen, I've looked at this at every angle. Done my homework, and then some. Really gave this some thought. And as much as I don't like them, I can't see how Harden and Howard aren't the best NBA Jam team in the league. Elite shot blocking, great ball handling, ability to finish and knock down 3's. The perfect package. 


Matt Richissin 8/20/2014 10:05:00 AM Edit
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