Speak, Internal Polling Data: 2008

"I really can not understand being really really really into the NBA and yet not rooting for any particular team. If you work for the league and have to be politic, OK. And I have carved out a special exception for Chris Sheridan, who pulls it off. But in general? What is the point of sports without cheering?"Henry Abbott

1. Amare Stoudemire
2. Gilbert Arenas
3. Chris Paul
4. Josh Smith
5. Gerald Wallace
6. Kobe Bryant
7. Monta Ellis
8. Kevin Durant
9. Baron Davis
10. Amir Johnson
11. Rodney Stuckey
12. J.R. Smith
13. Michael Beasley
14. Rudy Gay
15. Josh Howard
16. Carmelo Anthony
17. Stephen Jackson
18. Lamar Odom
19. LeBron James
20. Paul Pierce
21. Caron Butler
22. Tracy McGrady
23. Deron Williams
24. Leandro Barbosa
25. Tyrus Thomas

26. Chris Bosh
27. Kevin Garnett
28. Steve Nash
29. Anthony Randolph
30. Jerryd Bayless
31. Allen Iverson
32. Antawn Jamison
33. Joe Johnson
34. Julian Wright
35. Al Horford
36. Andre Iguodala
37. Greg Oden
38. Andray Blatche
39. Rajon Rondo
40. Tyson Chandler
41. Al Jefferson
42. Daniel Gibson
43. Andrei Kirilenko
44. Dwight Howard
45. O.J. Mayo
46. Kevin Martin
47. Dwyane Wade
48. Hakim Warrick
49. Brandon Roy
50. Thaddeus Young

Notes: Ron Artest is beyond rankings at this point. We put this together by means of secret ballot and very rudimentary math. A more sophisticated operation would've factored in 2006's list. Be sure to check out other lists of players by Ziller and SLAM.

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At 9/12/2008 9:16 PM, Blogger J.E. said...

You did not just leave Julius Hodge off that list ...

At 9/12/2008 9:34 PM, Blogger TheGreatPumpkin said...

Why Amaré at #1? He doesn't seem to top the list in any of (i) quirky personality, (ii) style nonpareil, or (iii) untapped potential.

The thing with his mom and his family story gives him FD points, but I wouldn't put him in the top 10. I think you're giving him too much credit for 2004-05.

At 9/12/2008 10:02 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Sooooooo happy to see a list once again from y'all's brilliant minds! Only beef is that I wasn't consulted! For what it's worth, Amare is the right #1 selection, but Tyrus Thomas is waaaaay too low. And Kobe's only that high because of Shoals' love affair. (And this is coming from a die-hard Laker fan and a FD-convert of zealot proportions.) T-Mac should be higher just cuz of the tragedy, although his FD stock looks like it might suffer this year. I can't believe LBJ even made the list. The Answer shouldn't be on there at all, but AI part 2 (Iggy baby!) should be higher. Greg Oden at 37 = stroke of genius. He has the potential to be the most FD player of all time, but only if circumstances work out in a way that I don't even want to mention, for fear of being the one who curses him. Great list overall.

Only one (real) complaint: y'all are only recusing yourself of Artest because you're not sure if this move to the Rockets will up his FD-ness or not. And ya know what? That's not a bad call.

At 9/12/2008 11:13 PM, Blogger TheGreatPumpkin said...

Kirilenko should be much higher. Consider: (1) crying during 2007 playoffs; (2) hot wife and his get-out-of-jail "agreement" with her; (3) NYE 2008 party photos; (4) his Gerald Wallace-like multiplicity of skills and his obvious untapped potential in the current Jazz incarnation.

Bosh should be higher for the used-car video.

Oden should be higher for the college party pics, his eerily wizened visage, his self-effacing Youtube appearances, and his yet-unseen potential to be Mourning, Mutombo, and Robinson put together.

At 9/13/2008 12:13 AM, Blogger Carlos Detrroyo said...

Sure, Amare doesn't have the most FD personality, but the quote refers to "what makes you cheer." With the recent word of his regained fierceness, no player in the league will play in "supernova" mode constantly.

At 9/13/2008 12:43 AM, Blogger thope said...

I may be a homer, but Lou Williams will be on this list in two years.

At 9/13/2008 1:39 AM, Blogger SSSS said...

Amare: Arrogance with out debauched arrogance.
Sierra Leone without the irony of Kanye's "Diamonds are Forever" video.
He plays with "A God Named" Boris Diaw.

At 9/13/2008 2:55 AM, Blogger Joey said...

hmm, i see Smush Parker didnt quite make the cut in 08......story of his life

At 9/13/2008 3:14 AM, Blogger goathair said...

Once again, Adam Morrison is left crying.

At 9/13/2008 3:36 AM, Blogger Ghost Deini said...

The concept of FDness remains ever mysterious: 3 Celtics starters on that top 50 list, yet the Celts remain in FD purgatory. MAKE UP YO DAMN MINDS. i love this list. it's macrophenomenal.

At 9/13/2008 10:07 AM, Blogger wondahbap said...

Why Machine no on the list? Machine no like. Kobe says Machine belong on list. Machine shoot 3's. Make Top 10 next time.


At 9/13/2008 12:45 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

re: ghostdeini,

the team concept of the celtics was exactly what makes THE CELTICS not FD. in fact, it gave all three guys a considerable hit to their FD cred. ray-ray, kg, and pierce on their own though are straight warriors.

At 9/13/2008 1:10 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I would've put Allen on mine before this season, too.

There's a misperception that we don't approve of team ball, which is stupid. No one likes totally fractured one-on-one play, at least not for hours on end. So it's not that weird that, while multiple teams have multiple players on here, they're not necessarily the most "FD" teams.

That is, it is possible to be FD en masse and yet not constitute an FD unit.

At 9/13/2008 1:59 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

There can absolutely be FD teams, the 1999-2000 Sacramento Kings and the 2004-2005 Phoenix Suns being two recent examples.

Also, you guys are crazy if you think Amare doesn't have personality, style, or untapped potential.

At 9/13/2008 2:00 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

Also, Lou Williams was either on my ballot or just failed to make the cut. I can't remember exactly. Give it a year.

At 9/13/2008 2:02 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

I can't believe no one has noticed the huge development that Dwyane Wade made this list.

At 9/13/2008 2:09 PM, Blogger Business or Leisure? said...

Here's my question: why can Jordan hang out with Kev Bacon casually, but ignores the, albeit feeble, attempts at cool of Chaz Sheen? Sheen is the epitome of cool comparatively. Maybe Mike is settling here, but I gotta say, Mike, the company you keep and all that, brother.

Apologies if this has been broached already.

At 9/13/2008 2:51 PM, Blogger Austin said...

finally people understand Andray Blatche like I do. No one ever understood when i would say he was my favorite player

At 9/13/2008 2:53 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Then you should be pissed. . . we had Blatche at #27 two years ago.

At 9/13/2008 2:56 PM, Blogger Austin said...

that makes me happy to hear but i wasnt reading the site then

At 9/13/2008 2:58 PM, Blogger Johnny said...

The exclusion of Brandon Bass surprises me a little, but leaving Sean Williams on the outside flat out shocks me. Given their respective background stories of personal strife going viral on their professional projections, along with their propensity to jump out of the gym, dunk on everyone, and Bass' somewhat comical pairing of a Malone-esque torso on a body that is otherwise Darius Miles, I thought these two would be in for sure.

Not to call out pieces of the list, as you guys definitely have a better handle on FD'ness than I do, but leaving those two out and including emotionally predictable and aesthetically unspectacular players like Kevin Martin, and guys who have used all their tricks and hit their peak like Tyson Chandler (seeing him catch alley-oops from CP3 has become akin to seeing Tony Parker blow the doors off Steve Nash. Yeah, it used to be impressive and take me by surprise, but now it's like if he doesn't drop at least 30 on the Suns I am taken aback more than I would be if he dropped 50+), just seems kind of un-FD to me?

At 9/13/2008 3:05 PM, Blogger FunWithLogic said...

It would be interesting to see an FD-coach ranking and FD-team ranking, because my guess is that FD-player and not FD-coach on one team severely affects general team placing.

(On a related note, is it the team or the coach that really affects the Boston 3's placing?)

At 9/13/2008 3:09 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...

Would you agree that LeBron might be an FD player, but a completely NON-FD personality?

He might be the biggest front-runner ever. Bulls, Cowboys, and Yankees fan? Betcha he checks to see if the Red Wings win. Oh, and a Jay-Z (Rap's #1 front-runner) protege.

At 9/13/2008 3:38 PM, Blogger Louie Bones said...

I miss Marquis Daniels. I have said it here before, but there is NO player in the league who slithers like he does with the ball. It looks like he's traveling on a sine wave wherever he goes. Think how Richard Hamilton moves without the ball... Marquis moves like that with it. He doesn't even look like he's moving fast, or that he could break your ankles. He and Josh Howard battled each other in practices, and mocked each others handles. The way they carry the ball is fascinating.

Also, not toooo surprised to see Dirk fall out of favor... but what precisely makes him less FD now?

At 9/13/2008 3:42 PM, Blogger Louie Bones said...

Paul Coro from AZCentral.com, found via Truehoop:

"Amare Stoudemire never stops with pushing the Web site. He told me -- jokingly, mind you -- that he is following Chad Johnson/Ocho Cinco's lead and changing his name to amarestoudemire.com. Try getting that on the back of a jersey. Actually, his site's STAT TV is supposed to be posting some video of his Sierra Leone trip that might be worth a peek. "It's something the world has never seen before," he said."

At 9/13/2008 4:17 PM, Blogger guntalk said...

al jefferson? his game has the dynamism of porridge.

At 9/13/2008 4:41 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

just wanted to say: dwyane wade was not on my list and probably will never be.

At 9/13/2008 5:28 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

If you guys really want, we can post our individual lists.

Also, I have to confess: Thaddeus Young and Marquis Daniels were tied for #50 and I went with Young. Mostly because I am still embarrassed for drafting Daniels in the 20's of the FD fantasy draft after he'd signed that contract. But yeah, there's no one I'd rather see re-assert himself.

At 9/13/2008 5:32 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

About LeBron: I was kind of surprised at how low he ended up. But at this point, he's not so much ungodly potential as he is someone who's holding out. It's almost Shaq-like. I mean, I acknowledge that he's great, but how often do you feel like you're watching greatness—or seeing half the player he could become with the right orientation?

At 9/13/2008 6:02 PM, Blogger RyanP said...

Walter Sharpe will be on that list come a couple of years.

Sleeper pick.

At 9/13/2008 6:19 PM, Blogger FunWithLogic said...

That LeBron assessment seems totally right-on. Maybe he just needs to grow up before he solidifies whatever that other half is.

My take on the LeBron thing is that unlike the people ahead of him on that list, his ego does not seem to be directly linked-up with his court-expression. In their own way, each player uses their skill of basketball as a means to an end, be it materially or psychologically. LeBron too often (but not always) has something akin to popularity or marketability, etc. between his will to be a good player/basketball champion and satiating his ego. (Which explains why he likes generic but successful sports organizations and musicians.) Other players have a more direct connection between their success on the court and their ego, so their court expression is more pure and beautiful.

At 9/13/2008 8:18 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/13/2008 8:20 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...

I agree. He has no post game, no up fakes, no fadeaway, and iffy footwork, but still he's an awesome player. A physical specimen.

I'm not so sure he will work on those things unless he suffers an injury. Think Amare. His injury helped his game overall.

Not to sound like a homer, but Kobe was adding something new to his game every year. Except for trying to prove he can shoot from the outside, I haven't seen new things from LeBron yet. Which is scary.

At 9/13/2008 8:49 PM, Blogger Graydon said...

I think it is anti-FD to not include a player just because they are on a certain team. I think the fact that Ginobili didn't make the list is kind of disappointing.

I know the Spurs are the most anti-FD squad in the league, but Manu is tornado out there. He is wild and dynamic and were he not donning the silver and black I feel like you guys would be all over him. Does being surrounded by boring ball legitimately undermine his electricity?

Shoals, I think during the playoffs you even noted that because of Manu and Parker you find the Spurs surprisingly watchable.

At 9/13/2008 8:54 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...


Maybe it's the flopping.

At 9/13/2008 10:31 PM, Blogger Graydon said...


obviously the flopping is an issue, and although a huge Spurs fan I find it as frustrating/distasteful as anyone. But honestly look at that list and tell me it isn't packed with guys who flop. I mean, just to start with, Chris Paul is a massive flopper. I love Paul, but he is just as egregious as anyone.

Flopping is an epidemic which extends far beyond San Antonio.

At 9/13/2008 10:58 PM, Blogger Chaz said...

"aesthetically unspectacular players like Kevin Martin", I have to disagree with this. Martin's game is bizarrely beautiful, nobody has a better collection of fake-out moves.

At 9/14/2008 12:22 AM, Blogger wondahbap said...


Good point. CP3 is a flopper, but he's American and 6'0. So that automatically disqualifies him from being viewed as a flopper.

In the spirit of reclaiming the Gold, it seems they are ignoring the foreign born players. Steve Nash doesn't really count does he? Leaving Leandro and Kirilenko as the only players on the list.

At 9/14/2008 12:36 AM, Blogger Jesse said...

A world where Shawn Marion is not FD frightens and confuses me.

At 9/14/2008 4:18 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I have no idea why Marion's not on here. Maybe his identity is so based on the team's that, with the Heat up in the air, we just don't know what to make of him. That and his exit from the Suns/salary expectations were kind of obnoxious.

At 9/14/2008 2:41 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Marion's FD-ness took a huge hit with the way he mishandled the Suns/Heat situation. FD is definitely about looking for yours, but how he could think he'd end up looking better not on the receiving end of Steve's passes belies a stupidity that is over the thin-lined edge of FD-ness. All this IMO, of course. Shoals himself says he doesn't know. But this is my interpretation. I wasn't surprised to see him not on this list.

At 9/14/2008 3:02 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

With all due respect, I cited all the reasons you provided. They just came after "I have no idea."

At 9/15/2008 12:16 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Word, word, word. No disrespect meant or taken. I was just trying to summarize/extend what you'd said as well.

At 9/15/2008 1:03 PM, Blogger avery said...

if amir is that high, then there's no reason A. Randolph is so low.

At 9/16/2008 6:08 AM, Blogger Queso said...

i have an indefinite amount of love for sheed

At 9/16/2008 5:33 PM, Blogger WCase said...

RyanP makes a bright call with the Walter Sharpe projection. Perhaps a core of Stuckey, Amir, Sharpe and Maxiell will cause a paradigm shift in the perception of Pistons basketball as 'boring'...

yes, I am homer. Doh!

maybe the absolutely single-minded desire to win without regard to style or backstory is in some ways FD? (or is that anti-FD by definition?)

Isn't genuine substance the most stylish thing available?

maybe the team psycology that grows from going into battle year after year after year with the same crew is somehow FD-ish? (not fetish, but really hardcore.)


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