Blocked: The Competition of Basketball Skills

blocked

For everyone that loves basketball as much as food, this will be the first edition of the basketball game Blocked. Blocked is a lot like the Food Network show chopped with NBA twists. There will be four NBA players competing against each other to see who is the best of them all. There will be three rounds. In each round there will be three basketball skills and attributes. After each round, the player that is the worst overall in those three skills will not move onto the next round. There can only be one champion.

Today’s competitors are out of the elite guard category:

-Russell Westbrook

-James Harden

-Stephen Curry

-Kyrie Irving

Round 1

Basket of Skills: Ball Handling, Scoring, Defending

Ball Handling

Russell Westbrook: One of the great point guards at dribbling. Can break ankles and hit his opponents with the Shammgod. Great at getting into the paint.

James Harden: Another great guard at getting into the paint. Can cross up defenders. Especially if your name is Ricky Rubio.

Stephen Curry: One of the best players in the league at ball handling. Uses his off the dribble pump fake to his advantage. Great at behind the back crossovers and will leave everyone, including Chris Paul, on the ground.

Kyrie Irving: The King of crossovers. There is a big debate on who is the better ball handler, Steph Curry or Kyrie Irving. There is no debate. Kyrie will get around you or find his shot anyway he is able to. With his spins, crossovers and dribbling into the paint, he is the best ball handler in the league.

        Scoring

Russell Westbrook: Last year’s MVP is a scoring machine. He led the league in scoring last year and is averaging 25 points a game this year with the addition of two superstars on his team. His driving and mid range game are phenomenal. I would just like to see his three point game take a giant leap forward in this era of basketball.

James Harden: This year’s leader in points per game can score from anywhere on the court. He will beat you with his euro step in the lane, his step back mid range, his dagger three pointers and a lot at the foul line. He leads the league in scoring for a reason.

Stephen Curry: Led the league in scoring two seasons ago and might have last season and this year if Kevin Durant didn’t go to the Bay. More than the greatest three point marksman of all time, Steph can beat you in the paint and will knock down mid range field goals.

Kyrie Irving: A wizard around the rim, Kyrie will use his ball handling ability to create shots for himself. A great three point shooter, but finds most of buckets inside the arc. Shoots the ball very well.

Defense

Russell Westbrook: Second in the league in steals behind his teammate Paul George, Westbrook is athletic as they come and can guard anyone in the guard category at a high level.

James Harden: Not known for his defense and this is where it will hurt Harden. 9th in the league in steals per game but can be very lazy on defense. Not one of his strong suits on the court.

Stephen Curry: 13th in the league in steals per game, Curry is good at taking the ball away. His smaller body size makes it harder to guard the more athletic, built guards. Doesn’t help his case that Klay Thompson will defend the better of the two guards when they’re both on the court.

Kyrie Irving: Doesn’t average a lot of steals but that doesn’t make him a bad defender. Isn’t the greatest defender but isn’t the worst. He is above average and can hold his own against the best of them.

Round 1 Decision

All four of these guards are the best at what they do but unfortunately one of them has to go. I would like to see Westbrook improve his scoring to beyond the arc but does well in everything else. Stephen Curry had a solid round but I would like to see a little more in his defense, same with Kyrie.

James Harden is the one that will have to be blocked. The 2018 MVP hopeful has an incredible talent on the offensive end. The problem is his defense. He needs to play harder on the defensive end and stop letting his opponents easily step around him. This is the reason he is blocked and will not be moving onto the next round.

Round 2

Basket of Skills: Three point shooting, Rebounding, Winning

Three Point Shooting

Russell Westbrook: If Westbrook does one thing poorly then it is three point shooting. A career 31% three point shooter, there is a reason that Westbrook doesn’t heave up a bunch of shots behind the arc.

Stephen Curry: Okay, this one is obvious. The king of three pointers, Steph has led the league in threes the past five seasons. He also holds four of the top five spots in three pointers made in a single season. He will break so many three point records.

Kyrie Irving: Won’t shoot as many threes as the player above but when he does shoot, he connects at a high percentage. A very good three point shooter who even hit one over Stephen Curry to win the 2016 NBA Finals.

Rebounding

Russell Westbrook: Rebounding has become an important part of the guard’s game in this day and age. Westbrook excels at it. There is a reason he averaged a triple-double last season as he pulled down an impressive 10.7 boards per game.

Stephen Curry: Isn’t Westbrook but isn’t the worst at it. Has an average of 4.4 rebounds per game in his career.

Kyrie Irving: Don’t expect Irving to light up his stat sheets with rebounds. He has never averaged more than 3.7 rebounds per game in a season.

Winning

Russell Westbrook: Westbrook is the only one out of these players to have not earned a ring, playing in only one finals. Doesn’t mean he can’t win though. He led the Thunder to the postseason last year all by himself only to see them get knocked out in the first round by the Rockets. Has struggled this year with his new look team though with two added all stars.

Stephen Curry: Part of one of the greatest teams of all time, this baby faced assassin knows how to win. Winning two of his three finals he also led the 2016 Warriors to the single greatest regular season record in league history.

Kyrie Irving: Kyrie has won one out of his three finals but could not have even made it there without the help of Lebron James. With a change of scenery this offseason, Kyrie is leading the Celtics to the one seed in the East.

Round 2 Decision 

Stephen Curry does extremely well in this round. Not everyone can be Westbrook on the glass. Kyrie struggles on his rebounding but makes it up on his efficient three point shooting and being a key member of winning teams.

The 2017 NBA MVP is the one that is on the backboard being blocked this round. Although Westbrook rebounds like no one else his size, he falls short in three point shooting and winning. He was on very good Thunder teams who could only find their way to the finals once while even blowing a 3-1 lead against the Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference Finals.

Final Round

Basket of Skills: Passing, Finishing, Clutch Factor

Passing

Stephen Curry: Probably will never lead the league in assists but is still a grreat passer. With flips behind the back or no look dimes, Steph can find the open man at a high rate.

Kyrie Irving: Known for more of his scoring than getting assists, Kyrie is still a good passer but not the greatest.

Finishing

Stephen Curry: One of the best at finishing around the rim, Steph knows how to get to the basket and put the ball through the hoop. Very good at using both hands. Steph’s signature move is an underhand tear drop that falls perfectly in at a high percentage.

Kyrie Irving: Steph might be amazing but Kyrie is the best. Kyrie will make his way into the paint with a flurry of spins and crosses only to lay the ball in perfectly over the jumping defender. He places it perfectly every time and he is ambidextrous when it comes to finishing in the paint.

Clutch Factor

Stephen Curry: He is not shy when it comes to taking big shots. Steph has hit numerous daggers in his career to give the Warriors the W.

Kyrie Irving: When most heart rates speed up in pressure situations it’s as if Kyrie’s slows. He hits huge shots in huge moments including the nail against the Warriors in game seven of the 2016 NBA Finals over none other than Stephen Curry himself.

Final Two Recap

Stephen Curry did very well in every category in all three rounds. His weaknesses are defense and rebounding out of these skills but was above average or great in everything else.

Kyrie Irving surprised even myself making it to the final round. He showed his versatility in all the rounds. He needs to improve on his rebounding and passing which are huge parts of the game.

Blocked Champion

Stephen Curry is your blocked champion. He plays basketball at a high level and does so at so many levels of the game. He can score from anywhere, dribble through anyone and find his teammates for the easy bucket. He is a clutch player who only knows how to win.

Kyrie loses a lot on his passing ability. Kyrie is better at creating shots for himself than others. As a point guard a big role of his is to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. He plays the game very well but still has a little room for improvement to catch the great Chef Curry.

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