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Kicker: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
What's the job of a kicker?
He's supposed to score a lot, and he typically scores from really far away. Kinda sounds like what Stephen Curry does for the Golden State Warriors, right?
Few players in the NBA are better at putting up points, and Curry does the majority of his work a long way away from the basket. If any player has the chops for looking at the uprights, seeing how far away they are and then drilling the attempt, it's the baby-faced assassin.
But a kicker also has to be able to thrive under pressure.
That's not a problem for Curry. This is the same shooter who told ESPN The Magazine's Sam Alipour that only Michael Jordan was a better choice to take a shot with the game on the line: "Jordan's No. 1. I'm No. 2. Then you go Ray, then Reggie, then Kobe. Three-pointer or not, same answer."
I think he has confidence.
Punter: Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
Take a look at the worst turnover percentages among qualified NBA players:
- Kendrick Perkins, 28.7
- Gerald Wallace, 28.4
- Ryan Hollins, 24.3
- Ricky Rubio, 24.0
- Jeff Ayres, 22.9
- Phil Pressey, 22.2
- Garrett Temple, 22.2
- Steven Adams, 21.7
- Kent Bazemore, 21.7
- Nazr Mohammed, 21.0
Rubio is the only player on that list I would even dream of calling a star. Sorry, Kendrick Perkins.
So, why does that make him a punter?
The job of this position is to give the ball to the opponent. No star in the NBA is better at that than the Spanish floor general currently playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Kick Returner: John Wall, Washington Wizards
Of the remaining players, I'll take John Wall to run the coast-to-coast fast break over everyone else in the pool.
The Washington Wizards point guard is lightning-quick with the ball in his hands, and his straight-line acceleration is absolutely unbelievable. Even though defenders know he's going to make a dash for the rim, they still can't stop him from getting into the paint.
Hopefully the same thing applies when Wall's target is the end zone.
Punt Returner: Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets
Ty Lawson is another speed demon, but he brings one more necessary element to the table.
In the past, he was unable to thrive with the Denver Nuggets because he only worked in a straight line. He was good, but not great. Even when he used a good screen, he had trouble changing direction and throwing a defender off guard.
However, that's no longer the case.
The speedy and diminutive floor general can stop and turn on a dime, and that'll aid him greatly as he attempts to dash past the other team's gunners.