I think it's pretty clear that Utah Jazz fans love Trevor Booker. He's as strong as an ox. As fast as, uh, a fast ox. And he going to have a big season for the Jazz, showing the NBA that he was more than just than the energy guy he was with the Washington Wizards. In Friday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers he showed us once again how they are a collection of some of the best "Fake Tough Guys" in the NBA.
Really, you gotta get your whole squad to come in after a dude tries to wrap your arms up on a layup? OOooh, you badd. They dunk a lot, and talk all game long, but these are some real tough guys.
DeAndre Jordan devastated Brandon Knight a few seasons ago, but at least kid was playing help defense. But we're a generation removed from guys like Karl Malone, Shawn Kemp, and even guards like Kevin Johnson and John Starks doing that kind of thing AGAINST CENTERS. Jordan is best known for dunking on an out of position rookie point guard. Oooh, you bad.
Let's not forget that this is a team that's brought back Matt Barnes -- the crown prince of carefully manufactured badd-ness. Remember that fake inbounds throw in at Kobe Bryant's face back when he was with the Magic? Or the "I got beat off the dribble by Mehmet Okur" hatchet job he did in the playoffs after his "We Believe" Dubs figured out that their slogan should have been "We Gone Fishing"? So sad.
Not as sad as Chris Paul -- the Napoelon Complex is large with this guy, who is always there to make fights a little more crowded with presence. He doesn't actually do any fighting, but he's Mr. Toughguy when one of his bigmen are involved. Also, wear a cup around him. Like, even in elevators. You never know when he needs to assert his toughness with a move straight out of the WWE's script book.
And speaking of scripts, this brings us to Blake Griffin. Dude. I get it. People foul you. You play inside, it has been happening in the paint for over half a century of professional basketball now. You don't think that Wilt Chamberlain was fouled? The thing is Wilt was consistent. He didn't stare down a guy he dunked on, and then on the very next play pretend like he was shot at close range by a sniper riffle on defense if a guard goes through a pick Griffin just set. After a while of dunking on guys you develop a rep. Most people will get out of your way, few will remain to challenge you.
In those cases you gotta either be stronger, or just work on your free throws. Karl Malone did it. People started to head hunt him in the playoffs because of his rare combination of strength and athleticism. But he wasn't a Fake Tough guy. (If anything, he was an equal opportunity tough guy as he injured people he defended as much as he injured people who were defending him).
Having a hissy fit over a poorly timed wrap around foul on a layup -- in the preseason -- makes you look like a spoiled only child who didn't get a toy when invited to someone else's birthday party. But who better to represent the LA Clippers, the "Fake Tough Guy" team of 2014-2015?
Even a second year Deron Williams could take his team to the Western Conference Finals. Let's see how far Chris, Blake, and the rest of them can go this year.