It’s taken four months but it finally happened – we have a new #1 in the Doubting Thomas Rankings! Danilo Gallinari, who has thoroughly dominated this competition so far, finally slipped up and allowed a surging Mr. Dragic to pass him. With only one more Doubting Thomas ranking left (March and April will be combined), it couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the Italian Stallion.

But it’s not just Gallo who has slipped. Quite simply, none of our DTA  candidates look like they’re ready to bolt down the home stretch. A lot of these guys (Redick, Brewer, Belinelli) seemed to peak in January, and as teams start getting serious about the playoffs the lesser-players are having their minutes trimmed. At the other end of the scale, it seems the Doubting Thomas Award aspirations of Roko, Kwame, POB and Chris Quinn are truly over. It would take a miracle for anyone outside the top six to walk away with the award now. But make no mistake, the race is truly open amongst those six.

Oh, and this isn’t your standard monthly DTA routine. As February is the time for NBA celebration and All-Star Weekend festivities, we thought we’d run with a theme for the rankings. Each writer was asked whether they thought their DTA candidate could become a legitimate All-Star one day, and what it would take to achieve this. Read on for the insightful and amusing responses.

Check out last month’s rankings (in brackets below)

#1 (2)

Goran Dragic

Games played: 12                        Games started: 1
Minutes per game: 20.1               DNP’s: 0
Best game: 16 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds vs OKC (23/2)
Averages: 6.7ppg, 2.2rpg, 3.7apg, 0.2spg, 0.1bpg, 39.7% FG, 28.0% 3PT
Dare you Doubt?: I still have to pinch myself seeing this guy so high in the rankings. Goran, I’m sorry I ever doubted you.

Goran Dragic is no stranger to an All Star weekend, having been voted the starting point guard in the 2006 All Star team*. However, just as the ink was drying on our “Dragic Magic” banner, in what can only be described as the biggest All Star snub (Sorry Bogut, you’re gonna have to take a backseat for this one), Goran Dragic was shockingly left out of this year’s All-Starr game!

Being a backup to arguably (I had to include that for those Kidd loving people out there, looking at you Rob) the greatest point guard in the last decade, Dragic is always going to have some tough comparisons levelled at him. If only there was some way that we could put Steve Nash on ice for a game to see how Dragic would go leading the Suns… Fortunately Freddy Fate tossed Dragic a bone as M.V.Steve was out with a back injury for Phoenix’s road trip to play against the Oklahoma under 21′s.

Dragic came, Dragic saw, Dragic conquered. Registering the first double double of his career (16 points on 7-11 shooting, 10 assists, 4 rebounds.) Goran showed these young upstarts what a true backup point guard looks like. Step aside Russell Westbrook, there’s a new Slovenian sheriff in town. Dragic is now being seriously compared to 2 time MVP, 6 time All NBA and 7 time all star Steve Nash. To see what they’re talking about, check out the assist at 1:08 in the video. That is basically Nash’s signature move. Dragic has taken the best bits of Steve Nash’s game and added a little Slovenian flair. You could even say that he has a little bit of Dwayne Wade in him (Check out 0.42 to see what I mean). If you want further proof of Dragic’s transformation from a doubted nobody to a league star, feel the love from the commentators as you watch this video of the game recap

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

And that’s not a one-off play, check out these gems from this month:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrSZi0dzhLc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrhWW39P1nQ

Steve Nash finally has a successor, and his name is Goran Dragic

*the Slovenian league All Star team.

Chucko, Frustrated Suns Fan

#2 (3)

Corey Brewer

Games played: 12                Games started: 12
Minutes per game: 20.0       DNP’s: 0
Best game: 17 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals vs MEM (6/2)
Averages: 11.9ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.3apg, 1.7spg, 0.1bpg, 41.5 FG%, 40.5 3PT%
Dare you Doubt?: Numbers-wise you could argue he deserves the #1 spot. Everything else-wise he clearly doesn’t.

I shouldn’t be surprised. After a stellar January, Brewer has failed to back it up in Feb and turned in a merely above-average month. What frustrates me most, is that for a guy with this much potential on a team this woeful, it’s inexcusable that he should find himself 10th in FG% on the T-Wolves roster. How does that happen? Lucky for Corey all the other DTA candidates seemed to decline even more in February, so he slides up a spot almost by default.

Can Corey Brewer become an All-Star in this league?

Let’s think about it logically. He’s still very young (24) and has demonstrated clear improvement in each of his three seasons (despite missing time due to injury). He’s already an above-average defender and that part of the game typically takes kids a while longer to learn. His shot is streaky, but when it’s on, it’s really on (as evident by his 45% three-point shooting for the entire month of January). He’s long and athletic, can hurt you on the perimeter, but also has a developing post-up game. You add that all up and it’s a hell of an enticing picture, right? Then you consider the fact that he’s playing on a team with two very talented inside players in Jefferson and Love, whom together could form a very solid nucleus for a long time. With team success generally comes individual recognition, and subsequently All-Star recognition. Let me get to the point here… I don’t think it’s out of the question that one day Corey Brewer could become an All-Star in this league. He’s at a similar stage to where Danny Granger was after his second season – someone with potential who could sky-rocket, or plateau off as an average starter in this league. CB could go either way, we just don’t know yet.

Rob D, NBAMate

#3 (1)

Danilo Gallinari

Games played (through February): 12   Games started: 12
Minutes per game: 33.5.0                      DNP’s: 0
Best game: 15 points, 9 rebounds, 4-5 threes (vs WAS 3/2)
Averages: 10.1ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.6apg, 0.8spg, 0.9bpg, 41.4% FG, 31.1% 3PT
Dare you Doubt?: Easily the worst month of the season for Gallo. Seems like The Cock came a little premature this season.

Dear Danilo,

This month you have let me down. You have let New York down. But most of all, you have let all DTA fans down. Your game has gone from decent to Darko. Your jump shot has gone from sweet to Sweetney. Your instinct has gone from killer to Kwame. I dunno, but it just does not seem like you care about being the 1# rank on NBAMate’s Doubting Thomas Award. And that upsets me. In past months I have dedicated time to supporting your cause, but since T-Mac and his contract arrived you’ve deferred even more. So today, I am deferring to my fellow DTA writers. You sir, do not deserve my time. You had 4 blocks today you say? So what, that Dragon kid for Phoenix got 10 dimes for goodness sake! Corey Brewer has led his team to 14 wins for goodness sake! Chris Quinn, well, ok. Moving on!

I think the little trip to Dallas for All-Star weekend may have excited him, and I assure you it excited me. So what does he do in return for all of our hard work watching his stats online during work or important meetings? Puts up a whopping 5pts in the Rook/Soph game, managed 15 threes in the shootout comp (his 15 were much sleeker than Channing Frye’s) and then helps Nate win the dunk comp against Shannon Brown’s boring twin and a half-asleep Gerald Wallace. Way to go guys.

Danilo I love you, but please, go drink some Sprite or something. You are no All-Star in the making with your last month’s play.

Tizzle, NBAMate

#4 (4)

J.J Redick

Games played: 12                    Games started: 0
Minutes per game: 18.6           DNP’s: 0
Best game: 15 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists vs MIL (2/2)
Averages: 7.8ppg, 1.6apg, 2.2rpg, 0.2spg, 0.0bpg. 42.4% FG, 30.3% 3PT
Dare you Doubt?: Another victim of the February Flop. The Magic are looking stronger, but it sure as hell ain’t because of JJ.

Redick to become a All Star? He’s had all the opportunity in the world this year and proven to be who he is. A great shooter who has made himself into a reasonable facsimile of an all-around player. No chance for him to be an All-Star, unless the following happens:

- Acts in a movie named “Blue (Devil) Chips”
- Learns to dance with the Jabberwockeez
- Steals the nickname Superman (it’s been done already?)
- Plans to release a rap album (it’s been done already?)
-  Joins the cast of Gossip Girl (it’s been done already?)

As for on court performance, J.J. has had a down month with his minutes disappearing with V.C. finally being more aggressive. My high hopes for Redick at the start of the season are fading for his on court performances, but his Hollywood and Rap careers are peaking!

Ryan, Two Sides of the Hoop

#5 (6)

Channing Frye

Games played: 12                 Games started: 0
Minutes per game: 19.5        DNP’s: 0
Best game: 20 points, 6 rebounds vs NOR (1/2)
Averages: 9.8ppg, 3.7rpg, 1.0apg, 0.6spg, 0.6bpg, 42.4% FG, 35.9% 3PT
Dare you Doubt?: Amazing to watch that scoring average drop every single month. Talk about choking away the DTA Award.

What would it take for Channing Frye to be an All-Star? Well, considering he has single-handedly destroyed his chances of winning the Doubting Thomas Award in February, I guess the next step will be to make it to the mid-season madness that is LA’s All Star Weekend in 2011.

Frye’s three-point percentage was 25% in February and his minutes were just as pedestrian at 19.5 per game. It seems Channing has either tried to hook up with the Coach’s wife or maybe left the toilet seat down in the locker room too many times of late. The worst thing about this month for Channing Frye has been the fact that his Phoenix Suns are now 9-2 for February using this “anti-Frye” lineup strategy.

But back to the point, how can Frye burst into the Western Conference’s All Star Line-up? I’ve been thinking about this and it dawned on me…

Chinese citizenship.

With the Great Wall of Yao on ice for another year and New Jersey sucking more than any team in NBA history, the Asian market for All Star votes is at it’s most vulnerable ever! The Chinese need a new legitimate hero…

My advice to Channing Frye is to leave the US and pursue any citizenship opportunity he can. He may need to ride a bike through Shanghai with a family of seven on his back but these are the hours of training players have to put themselves through to succeed.

Once he gains the trust of the Chinese people, Frye can then set about the popularity contest that is the All-Star Ballot. Let’s face it, if Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson and Yi Jianlian can flirt with a starting lineup spot, Channing Frye has definitely got some sort of a chance.

Channing Frye, the choice of a new re-Generation

The final piece to the puzzle will be to orchestrate a trade to the Houston Rockets. Let’s face it, ever since Yao came on the scene their uniforms have looked a lot more like the Chinese National Team. I say get Channing in their as quick as you can and capitalize on his popularity.

All in all, a pipeline of actions to get Channing Frye to the All Star Game as more than just first round Three Point Shootout cannon fodder. Both Frye and “the Cock” put up a fairly average 15′s and sat and watched the rest of the show (note: It makes me sick that Pierce won this event… just sick).

Finally, it’s all there for my DTA candidate in March and April. If Frye is able to put forth an improved effort over the final stretch of the season, he could still win his first and the first Doubting Thomas Award. It’s like when you play golf, you struggle around the course unable to hit anything well and then you hit a perfect drive off the 18th tee. It keeps you coming back and leaves a nicer taste in the mouth about the sport.

Hold on to your hats… Here comes Channing Frye!

ps – I hope.

Paul, Two Sides of the Hoop

#6 (5)

Marco Belinelli

Games played: 6                  Games started: 1
Minutes per game: 18.6       DNP’s: 4
Best game: 21 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists vs IND (2/2)
Averages: 6.3ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.2apg, 0.5spg, 0.2bpg, 36.7%FG, 41.7% 3PT
Dare you Doubt?: A big drop from January has pretty much sealed Beli’s fate. But this guy is so up and down… you just can’t rule him out.

Following the exploits of Marco Belinelli as an NBA player can be a frustrating business. On one hand, you have the evidence of his career per-minute average which show alarming consistency. Across Beli’s three part-NBA seasons his numbers per 36 minutes show that he will give you approximately 15ppg, 3rpg, 3apg, 1.5spg and 38% from long range. Those numbers have held solid for almost his entire, short career. On the other hand, you have the total inconsistency of his playing time.

In Belinelli’s case, it’s hard to say whether it’s a chicken-and-the-egg scenario. His shooting percentages can plummet at times and look entirely awful, to the extent that you question his future in the NBA. However, when you consider the sporadic time he is afforded on court, you have to question whether that is the key factor disrupting his confidence and shooting ability. Or is his poor shooting forcing his coaches to bench him? That is the chicken-and-the-egg question here.

February has been one of those months that really leaves you scratching your head about Beli. He had his best performance of the season on 2 February, scoring 21 points (7/13 FG, 3/4 3PT, 4/5 FT) to go along with five rebounds in his only start of the season (at small forward), in 33 minutes of court time. Two games later, he had a DNP-CD. He had two more DNPs, interrupted by 7-10 minute games the rest of the way through the month. Of course, his impact on the box scores was minimal and its questionable as to how Rocky can establish his NBA game under these circumstances.

I think he has proven himself as a capable sixth-seventh man in the NBA.

Can he be an all-star?
Unfortunately I think the short answer is no. The ceiling for Beli’s game appears to be in the range of Flip Murray through to Manu Ginobili — a great scorer off the bench, who provides impact in the second unit and changes the game. He does have a fine ability to handle the ball and his court awareness is above-average for a shooting guard, in the same style as Rudy Fernandez, but he has his limitations too. He is not an exceptional defender, he does not boast above-average athleticism and as yet he has not proven a consistent shooting percentage on a nightly-basis.

Given the right situation, such as an unfortunate run of injuries to teammates, we might see a breakout from Beli which cements his place as an NBA starter. In the meantime, we’ll have to watch those Rocky/Rambo movies he keeps releasing.

Mookie, A Stern Warning

#7 (7)

Chris Quinn

Games played: 4                     Games started: 0
Minutes per game: 10.5          DNP’s: 8
Best game: 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist vs TOR (3/2)
Averages: 2.8ppg, 0.5rpg, 1.0apg, 0.8spg, 0.0bpg, 43FG%, 50 3PT%
Dare you Doubt? The only DTA candidate who can categorically say his 2nd half of the season was better than his 1st.

It’s been a pretty craptastic February for the Q-Tip, only playing 4 games on what could end up being the worst team in the NBA of all time. He’s played 4 times, in 4 losses. In fairness to him, he has been injured with a mild ankle sprain, and the Nets have gone 1-6. When playing, he is averaging around 10 minutes and with a stat line of 3.75 ppg, 0.5 rpg, 1 aspg. But he has a assist to turnover ratio of 1; so it’s not all doom and gloom for Quinntastic.

So I was asked by our blog boss Rob if we could evaluate what our player needed to do to become an All Star. Well, I think that being an All Star is out of the question. Completely. When you are a scrub on THE Worst Team of all time, you would have to assume your chances of becoming anything major in the NBA is highly unlikely. But it does allow me to explore some cool new ideas to get Quinnarama to the All Star Weekend.

Have a game between the 1972-73 Sixers and the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets. It could be like the curtain raiser for the Celebrity game – as that’s probably what both teams deserve on pure playing abilities. Outside of that, I think Chris Quinn will have to settle for fan passes to the event. The last idea was this;  lets get Chris Quinn and three others who aren’t known to dunk, at all, ever. Then put two minutes on the clock and see if they can get up and actually make it. That surely would entertain me a hell of a lot more than this years dunk contest did!

Jobba, NBAMate

#8 (9)

Patrick O’Bryant

Games played: 2              Games started: 0
Minutes per game: 4.5     DNP’s: 8
Best game: 3 points (entire month’s total), 1 rebound vs OKC (28/2)
Averages: 1.5ppg, 0.5rpg, 0.0apg, 0.5spg, 0.0bpg
Dare you Doubt?: His month scoring-high was bigger than Kwame’s so he jumps him. This is like comparing turds.

Not much to report here… surprise surprise! POB put up a whopping 3:27 seconds against MIL on 1/22. POB chalked about 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 turnover, and 1 foul. On 2/2 against the Pacers, POB played 1:25 and posted donuts across the board. Yikes: not something to share with proud mom.

So what would it take for POB to become an All-Star? How about the following ideas:

  • Alex Rodriguez’s steroid regiment
  • On top of Mark McGuire’s steroid regiment
  • Then Sammy Sosa’s steroid regiment
  • All 14 other teams in the East to have fatal plane crashes, or at least every other PF/C in the East to be inflicted with polio, H1N1, or herpes on the hands
  • To have computers at sports bars that only allow people to vote for POB when they’re pissed drunk
  • Bill Gates to offer up $1 billion to people willing to vote for POB into the starting lineup
  • China’s population to vote for POB because every other player is filtered/censored through Google
  • The NBA to just end

Never. Going. To. Happen.

Loscy, Loscy Celtics Blog

#9 (8)

Kwame Brown

Games played: 3                 Games started: 0
Minutes per game: 6.2        DNP’s: 9
Best game: 2 points, 2 steals, 2 rebounds vs MIN (16/2)
Averages: 0.7ppg, 1.7rpg, 0.0apg, 1.0spg, 0.3bpg, 100%FG
Dare you Doubt?: I now doubt Kwame more than I did at the start of the season. And I did not think that would be humanly possible.

Have you seen that movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger where he gives birth to a baby? Did you ever wonder whether that was at all humanly possible? I know it’s only a movie. But like, did you ever find yourself thinking specifically about how it might work? Physiologically? How through some freak of nature a foetus could somehow form itself inside a male body, and then nine months later find an exit strategy that didn’t violate all human decency? Because I have. Every time I see that movie on TV I ponder the plausibility of it all. And you know the conclusion I have come to? There is absolutely more chance of that happening in real life than Kwame Brown becoming an All-Star. Absolutely. You cannot prove me wrong on this.

Rob D, NBAMate

#CQP

Roko Ukic

Games played: 0 (Deported)        Games started: N/A
Minutes per game: N/A                 DNP’s: N/A
Best game: N/A – but still better than any game by Kwame or POB
Averages: N/A
Dare you Doubt? I’m still left wondering whether the DTA put a curse on Roko resulting in his departure from the league… I feel bad.

The Lows: Well, he’s not back in the NBA and he can’t prove those NBA doubters wrong….but who cares!  Roko has bigger fish to fry in the Turkish league!

The Highs: The highlight of the past month has definitely been the fact that Roko’s team, the Fenerbahçe Ulker, defeated Mersin Büyüksehir Belediyesi 72-68 in the highly-touted Turkish Crown Cup (actually, I have no idea if it’s highly-touted or not).  Roko had 11 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists, ending a 43 year Turkish Cup drought for the team.  Another former NBA baller, Gordan Giricek also plays with Roko on the Turkish team, he finished with 9 points and 2 rebounds.

So the move has proved to be beneficial for Roko, playing on a European team and helping the squad win the league championship.  So is Roko NBA All-Star material? Not a chance.  But is he smiling more now that he’s playing on a successful Euro team as opposed to being buried on a bench in Milwaukee?  Hell yeah!

Show me that smile Roko, show me that smile!

Romy, Hip Hoop Junkies


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