Melo, Melo, Melo ... his name will make an appearance in this article, but I'm also going to do something that I've heard I'm pretty decent at: change the subject! Growing up I spent a lot of time with a joystick in my hands and my eyes glued to the television playing videogames. The game I probably logged the most hours on? NBA JAM for the Sega Genesis. Let's take a look at how the two-man rosters would look with today's teams.
Before we get into this ... I have a good source (you're not the only one with sources Ric Bucher) that tells me there is a car wash in Hollywood, California that still has an original NBA JAM arcade game in it ... that's impressive. And not to fear, my source is not a Lakers fan - she's more of a Bengals and Phillies fan, but that's another story. Has anyone else seen NBA JAM arcade games around or does anyone still play the videogame or is this a NBA 2K and LIVE world now?
I've heard that my older sister still has my copy of the original NBA JAM for Sega. I must get this back ... I need it in my life again. I still recall the two sets of initials I used to save my games, depending on my mood, of either AIR or TNT because I was dynamite. I was an unstoppable force with the Charlotte Hornets or the Denver Nuggets. The Hornets featured Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning while the Nuggets ran out the duo of LaPhonso Ellis and Dikembe Mutombo. The Nuggets team didn't have the clutch three-point shooting that the Hornets possessed, but you were in for a long day if you decided to pick up a controller against me.
I still recall a weekend where my cousin Alex and I must have played over 1,000 games. My eyes were fried, but my game was strong and improved (like Ty Lawson's three-point shooting is going to be). I remember playing my friend Erick numerous times and embarrassing him often. He would get so upset that he would lunge at the Genesis and reach with desperation at the reset button. Hitting the reset button is like filling Kenyon Martin's vehicle with popcorn, you know you shouldn't do it and you're going to make a crazy man very upset.
I still remember a time when I BOOM-SHAKALAKAED Erick's team so bad that he left the room, snuck up behind me with his crazy black cat, and tossed the thing on my head (which caused the cat to scratch the shit out of me in an attempt to flee the scene). I remember a few times being up by two points against the computer with just seconds remaining ... I would typically try to do my vintage three-quarters length shot block, but sometimes the ball would sneak past my defender, and when it did it would usually SWISH for the win and cause me to look at the TV like I just saw Anthony Carter rattle home a dunk ... unreal.
I would also play some games using different teams than my usual Hornets or Nuggets. One such game I was using the Bulls and going for a very big win (not sure why, but it was a big game...they all were). I was down one with just seconds on the clock and I got a shot off with Scottie Pippen and it hit nothing but net. The jubilation I felt after that game was as good as watching Chauncey Billups sink three-pointer after three-pointer against the Lakers in a 126-113 win in Los Angeles while at Choppers with a bunch of Stiffs ... Denver Stiffs.
It's funny how something as simple as a videogame can have an impact on your life. Well, I have since sold off all my videogame systems as my need to read keeps growing. I don't even know if they still make NBA JAM and I refuse to Yahoo! it. Ok, I lied, I did Yahoo! it and they did make NBA JAM 2010, but screw it ... if I were making that game today these are the players I would choose ...
- Only two players per team ... I never played any other version of NBA JAM besides the original and I think adding more players is change and I hate change (stay in Denver Melo!).
- I will note a player that just missed the cut (and since this is a Nuggets blog, I'll note a few of the hometown guys).
The Western Conference
Denver Nuggets: Carmelo Anthony and Nene
Notable players who missed the cut: Chauncey Billups, Ty Lawson, Chris Andersen, and Kenyon Martin.
I picked Melo for obvious reasons ... he's the star and the face of the franchise. Nene made the cut because he'd give the duo a defensive presense and knowing the game he'd be able to knock down some crucial three-pointers (totally unrealistic). This team would be the most like the Hornets team of L.J. and Mourning that I just dominated with and it'd be fun to wipe the floor with the rest of the league with this pairing.
It was tough not to include Billups, but I'd hate to lean on Melo for all the rebounds. Lawson would probably be one of those annoying smaller characters because of his height and I always hated those players. Birdman and K-Mart are made for this game and could definitely have some rim shaking dunks and their tattoos would be fun to see in animation ... I'm guessing with the old graphics that Bird would look like he just got done at a paintball tournament where he forgot to wear proper clothing.
Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd.
Notable player left off: Shawn Marion.
Dirk would be the same force he is now, but it'd also be fun to see the seven-footer doing front flips on the way to the rim from just inside the three-point line. Kidd is about as old as the game's technology, but he still has that pep in step and age is obviously glossed over in videogame land.
I was considering putting Marion aka the Matrix on the team instead of Kidd, but I just feel like the old guy's shooting would be too hard to pass up. And who could possibly mimic Marion's horrific shot to put into the game? Is his ugly shot reflected in games now? Yikes if so ... and sort of cool I guess.
Houston Rockets: Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin
Notable player left off: Yao Ming
Brooks would be that little annoying guy who keeps trying to steal the ball and buries shots that makes you want to throw your joystick through a wall. Martin would light things up, but this team would have trouble rebounding and would get eaten alive by teams like the Nuggets. Two guards can be fun though and you need those teams in these fake tournaments.
Yao was left off because I don't think I ever witnessed an injury in NBA JAM and I'm not going to start now.
Memphis Grizzlies: O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay
Notable player left off: Zach Randolph
Like the Rockets team this duo would be exciting and could out-quick guys all day and out-quick is definitely a real phrase ... trust me. This could be one of the better teams and these guys should be making a real name for themselves in Memphis and maybe it'd help get them some notoriety.
Randolph is a lefty and I've never totally trusted lefties ... disregard the fact that I'm a lefty. Well, maybe don't since I shoot right handed.
New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul and David West
Notable player left off: Emeka Okafor
Paul and West are still the Hornets that carry that team and their pick-and-pop game might get through some NBA games, but in JAM they'd be dead meat. Paul would also need some build in flopping and whining to the refs to make things more realistic. And perhaps I should have used K-Mart so that he could look at West and throw him off his game.
Okafor didn't make the cut, but some hope he gets cut or uh traded to Denver ... there is still time.
San Antonio Spurs: Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan
Notable player left off: Tony Parker
I'm ashamed to admit that I did root for Ginobili in the playoffs ... I don't know what happened to me and I didn't allow myself any chocolate milk for a week after the Spurs lost and I realized what I was doing, if you know me then you know this was a big punishment because at breakfast on Sunday morning at Steuben's I ordered a bathtub full of the stuff (apparently they were out of bathtubs). Duncan gets the nod as the face of the Spurs and for the fact that he still gets it done ... the game would need to be in high-definition so that we could see those eye flairs of Duncan's after he thought he was fouled.
Parker didn't make the cut as the two other guys are just too good. Yes, I've heard the rumors of Parker to New York and I find it funny that the Knicks want to lose games 121-115 ... they'd be exciting, but they'd still be losing.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Kevin Love and Martell Webster
Notable player left off: Jonny Flynn
I actually like how David Kahn obtained Webster as the kid proved he can play a little defense and get nasty against Carmelo Anthony (he didn't stop Melo, but he got under his skin a bit) and he can shoot lights out. Love would be a hell of a passer, rebounder, and would also have that range you need. Can Denver get some Love?
Flynn gets left off and would be another of those annoying little guys, the former Syracuse star has yet to be rumored to wanting to play for the Knicks.
Portland Trail Blazers: Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge
Notable player left off: Greg Oden
Roy and Aldridge fell off the map last season as their team was supposed to be on the rise, but injuries killed Roy while Aldridge showed he needs help to be a special player. The duo still has time on their side and should get back to relavance this season with an entire offseason with their new teammates.
Oden did not make it. Is Kevin Pritchard to blame for the Blazers taking Oden over Durant? I don't know, but part of his job is to talk his owner out of bad decisions like taking a sure fire scoring star before you take a mediocre guy that has size and little offensive game. Maybe Denver needs a guy who will get Stan Kroenke to do what is best for the team.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook
Notable player left off: Jeff Green
Durant and Westbrook have some high expectations this season and they should pay close attention to what happened in Portland. Injuries helped derail the Blazers and I hope that doesn't happen for Oklahoma City, but this Thunder team is started to get a little overrated and it's not even September.
Green is part of those trios that take a team from a good one to a great one, but along the way sometimes three is a crowd and the spotlight starts to fade. Have we seen the best of Green or can he bounce back and keep up his game with his famous teammates?
Utah Jazz: Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko
Notable player left off: Al Jefferson
Williams and AK47 give the Jazz a quick team with shooting range. AK can defend, rebound, and outrun any big guy he'd face. Williams will be a free agent in 2012 and I bet the rumors start pretty quick that he'd like to leave basketball and get into the maple syrup business of his home state of West Virginia.
Jefferson, wish he would have wound up a Nugget, didn't make the cut as we'll need to see what type of chemistry he can mesh with Williams and Company before we can slide him into the best videogame of all-time.
Golden State Warriors: Stephen Curry and David Lee
Notable player left off: Monta Ellis
Curry can handle the point guard duties and his shooting would be lights out. The latest addition to the team would make this cut, unlike Jefferson, because the good fans in Golden State need something to cheer about.
Ellis ... shoots too much, 'nuff said.
Los Angeles Clippers: Eric Gordon and Blake Griffin
Notable palyer left off: Baron Davis
Gordon was making a name for himself at the Team USA tryouts and I expect he'll have a great season. The kid can shoot and about now is the time that a young guard really starts to make an impact in the NBA (year three) and I'd need him on my game. Griffin suffered an unfortunate injury and making the game would be good Karma and hopefully he can show why he was the #1 pick last season.
Davis' ride as an elite guard might be over. He shoots too much and his low percentages kill his team.
Phoenix Suns: Steve Nash and Jason Richardson
Notable player left off: Hedo Turkoglu
Nash and Richardson work great together. They'd be undersized, but Nash's playmaking and Richardson's athleticism would be a force. Just don't ask Richarson to box out Ron Artest on the biggest play of the season ...
Turkoglu has to prove he's still the player he was in Orlando before he makes any cuts around here.
Sacramento Kings: Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins
Notable player left off: Omri Casspi
Evans and Cousins would be the youngest team on the game and perhaps one of the most exciting. And don't worry, the pass button isn't broken ... Evans' likeness just doens't come with that option.
Casspi proved to be a steal as a rookie last season and him not making the cut is a shame, but the people want to see what Cousins can do.
Los Angeles Lakers: Didn't make my game.
Notable guy who wont buy this game: My buddy Dax.
Sorry Dax, but after listening to all your ridiculous Lakers talk this week and this entire offseason ... you don't get a team on my game.
Coming next time ... the Eastern Conference.