"How is this guy even in the league?" Every NBA fan has uttered or thought these words at some point while watching professional basketball.
Some guys just knew the right people. Some guys were in the perfect situation to display whatever skill they had before entering the league. Some guys play for years beyond when they should have retired.
The NBA is filled with perennial bench warmers...and I firmly believe I can take some of them in a game of one on one!
That's me sportin' No. 34. A more athletic, more in-shape version of me. The point of this article is not to brag or talk about how good I am, but I do think it's important for me to establish some kind of credibility.
I'm making a pretty crazy claim. I'm claiming that there are at least six current NBA players I could take in a game of one on one. That's bold...I know.
So, just know that I have played a little bit.
The rules for my one on one contests against these players would be this: first to 11 wins, make it-take it after three, and scoring by ones and twos.
I'll start with the man I named in the title of this article.
Erick Dampier has had one decent season in his NBA career. In the '03-04 season Damp averaged 12 points and 12 rebounds a game. He has had one other season in which he averaged double figures in points ('97-98) and no other seasons in which he averaged double figures in rebounds.
That one decent year earned Dampier a monstrous seven-year $73 million contract. This happens all the time in the NBA.
That contract was signed in the summer of '04. Fast forward six years. The Mavericks finally traded this horrible mistake to the Bobcats, who subsequently cut Dampier and the remaining $13 million they would've had to pay him.
Dampier is much, much stronger than me. He also has about four inches on me. Even though he has no touch to speak of, he'd probably dominate me down low. For that reason, I'd do whatever I could to keep the game around the perimeter. I'd beat him with speed and jumpshots.
FINAL SCORE: Dampier 7 - Andrew 11
Cardinal boasts staggering career averages of 5.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Yet somehow he's made no less than $4.9 million a year for the last six seasons. What?!?
Similar to Dampier, Brian Cardinal's best season immediately preceded the signing of a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract. Surely Memphis doesn't regret locking that down...right?
What I would have to worry about most in my game of one on one with Brian is his ability to knock down the long range shot. He's a career 37% shooter from three point range, which means he'll probably make at least six or seven out of ten in a game of one on one.
I'd have to stay in his face and deny that long two-pointer because a game to 11 can be over real quick if one guy is hitting from long range. I'll take my chances forcing Cardinal to the rim.
As was the case with Dampier, my advantage in this contest will be speed.
FINAL SCORE: Cardinal 8 - Andrew 11
Scals is perhaps the most notable bench-warmer in the league right now. I can't help but love this guy and I'm sure many of you feel the same way.
He's never been able to cash in the way Cardinal or Dampier have, but all told his salaries have added up to more than $17 million. Not bad at all with career averages of 3.3 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 13.8 minutes per game.
My game plan against Scalabrine would be roughly the same as the one I would use against Brian Cardinal.
FINAL SCORE: Scalabrine 6 - Andrew 11
Another player on the list with one good season to his name. The difference with Sasha is that he's faster and quicker than me. I'm not too worried about the skill that he's most known for. I'm not sure if I've seen Vujacic hit a jumper since he broke out in the 2008 playoffs.
Once I got over the frantic slapping and bouncing around that comes with Sasha's defense I would take him down low.
At 6'7 we're the same height, but I outweigh him by twenty pounds. With no referee in the gym to call a charge on me when Sasha flops, I'll be able to power my way to the bucket over and over.
FINAL SCORE: Vujacic 9 - Andrew 11
This is the toughest matchup on the list for me. Balkman is about the same build and height as me but he's definitely more athletic. Plus, I'm likely to catch a mouthful of those dreads which will definitely throw me off for a bit.
So what advantage do I have in this one? Balkman seemingly has no basketball skills to speak of. He's most famous for laughing and cheering on the Nuggets bench when J.R. Smith or Carmelo Anthony dunk on someone.
I'd look to get hot from the outside against Balkman. It would be all about the step back deuce for me in this one.
FINAL SCORE: Balkman 8 - Andrew 11
I'm not even sure if Bowen is still in the NBA, but I just had to put him on this list. I used to argue with my best friend in High School about this. He thought it was impossible to beat anyone in the NBA one on one. I countered with Ryan Bowen...the prosecution rests.
FINAL SCORE: Bowen 2 - Andrew 11
Ok. Obviously Lebron would absolutely crush me. But I'd still like to give it a shot. And it would be cool to meet him.
FINAL SCORE: James 11 - Andrew 1?
To: Erick Dampier, Brian Cardinal, Brian Scalabrine, Sasha Vujacic, Renaldo Balkman, Ryan Bowen, and Lebron James.
Please don't hate me. I know this is a lot of talk and no walk. But if any of you guys are willing to fly me to wherever you're at and let me film our epic battle so I can subsequently upload it to YouTube, I'm more than willing to try to back this up.
P.S. Check that follow through.