The NBA's Biggest Ballhogs

Benjamin CruzFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2013

The NBA's Biggest Ballhogs

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    The game of basketball has evolved immensely since Dr. James Naismith decided to suspend a peach basket and told a bunch of guys to chuck a soccer ball into it.

    The game is now a little more complex and precise from that inaugural day in 1891, but the goal still remains the same: put the ball into the basket.

    There are some who enjoy setting up their teammates to score like a Chris Paul and LeBron James. There are also those who balance everything out by wanting to score all the points they can on their own.

    These players can drive their coaches and teammates crazy with bizarre shot selection and lack of a conscience, but sometimes they make for the most entertaining players to watch. It's like watching a bad movie: You know it's not going to end well, but there is a possibility that you will be amused along the way.

    So, let's get amused together and take a look at some of the biggest ball hogs in the NBA today.

Jordan Crawford, Washington Wizards

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    The third-year guard out of Xavier hasn't met a shot he hasn't liked. If he has, he's still taken the shot anyway and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    For his career, Crawford averages a robust 3.2 assists per game.

    As a 2-guard, he isn't exactly expected to distribute the ball like Steve Nash, but frankly whenever he is on the court, he becomes a somewhat of a basketball black hole. once you get the ball to him, it's never coming back.

    To his credit, he is a very capable scorer, but his career 40 percent field-goal percentage lets you know he isn't a very efficient one.

    With John Wall's return and Bradley Beal slotted at shooting guard in the starting lineup, Crawford has been relegated to the bench where his shoot-first mentality is better suited.

Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Teammate Chauncey Billups lovingly refers to him as "The Mechanic" for his ability to fix people up and create space for his offensive repertoire.

    Notice how he didn't give him a nickname that had anything to do with dishing the ball (which makes sense given his career 3.8 assists per game average).

    Crawford possesses the elite skill of putting the ball into the basket at a high rate, and he's done that very effectively for the Clippers off the bench.

    His role with the Clips is actually one of the best gigs in the league. He shoots as many times as he wants without fear of getting yanked, plays minimal defense and somehow gets mentioned for All-Star consideration.

    It's a little surprising that someone with Crawford's ability to create off the dribble doesn't look to set up his teammates more, but it looks like scoring is an addiction for the 13-year veteran.

    As a volume pick-up game shooter myself, I can't blame him.

J.R. Smith, New York Knicks

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    The New York Knicks have one of the best scorers in the league in Carmelo Anthony, yet he isn't always the one taking the team's final shot in a tightly-contested game.

    That guy is super-sub extraordinaire J.R. Smith.

    Whenever he takes the court, he genuinely thinks that he is the best player out there. It wouldn't matter if the lineup was Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and the power forward from the Monstars in Space JamJ.R. wouldn't hesitate to attempt a three in their face.

    This year, believe it or not, Smith has proven that being a ball hog can actually be a good thing. He's nailed ridiculously clutch, game-winning jumpers against the Bobcats and Suns this year, which wouldn't have been possible if he was trying to do something crazy like, you know, pass the rock.

Nick Young, Philadelphia 76ers

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    For his career, "Swaggy P" averages a robust one assist per game.

    One (although this year he's averaging a career-high in that category with 1.4. Look out CP3).

    I simply don't know how it's possible to average so few assists. You have to figure you'd luck into some here and there like the previous players mentioned, but then again, Swaggy is in a class of his own.

    Young can be deadly from beyond the arc, but equally as deadly to his team's ball movement and fluidity on offense. If he could find it somewhere within him to add distributing the ball into his game, it would make him all the more dangerous on the court.

    Until he figures that out, he'll continue to be a one-dimensional specialist in the league. While that sounds fun and all, it makes the defense's job a whole lot easier when they essentially know what you're going to do.

    So come on, Swaggy. Share the swag.