With the amazing news that Stephen Jackson had been named co-captain of the Warriors last week, amid both praise and criticism, (also, check out my homey Ty Keenan from Plissken at the Buzzer's Jackson post here)I decided to decipher who would SHOULD be the team captain (or co-captains in some cases) on each of the NBA's 30 teams.
Atlanta Hawks - Joe Johnson - Joe-Joe is undoubtedly the Hawks best player, plus he can counsel young teammates about the perils of leaving 60-win championship contenders to be the team captain on a floundering East team that entertains about 367 people a night. No offense, though.
Boston Celtics - Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce/Ray Allen - Is an explanation needed? The trio doubles as the team's top 3 players and the group for where the Celtics respect ends.
Charlotte Bobcats - Jason Richardson - J-Rich is the only notable 'Cat outside of the team president/basketball god that has won anything, save for the 2004 and 2005 NCAA Championship games.
Chicago Bulls - Ben Wallace/Kirk Hinrich - Because an overrated team should be captained by two overrated players.
Cleveland Cavaliers - LeBron James - Any guy with the balls to declare himself a diehard Yankees fan and wear a Yanks cap to the ballpark where the team from the city where he plays and grew up 45 minutes from, while that team is playing the Yanks no less, is tough in my book and should be a captain.
Dallas Mavericks - Anybody but Dirk - If you put a gun to my head, I would say Jerry Stackhouse, seeing that he was the only one who showed up against Golden State. Or Mark Cuban. Just not Dirk.
Denver Nuggets - Allen Iverson - Sorry 'Melo, but I don't think you've earned the full respect of all your teammates. And A.I. should be the captain on any team he suits up for.
Detroit Pistons - Chauncey Billups - Mr. Big Shot gets the vote here. I was going to go with Sheed, until I remembered how he quit on the team and single-handedly jump-started the Pistons' meltdown against Cleveland in Game 6.
Golden State Warriors - Stephen Jackson/Baron Davis - Who else? Jackson has to be the best teammate ever (just ask the Detroit fans). From Bomani Jones from ESPN's Page 2 in the linked article above:
The best description I've read of the Warriors came from Rodimusprime, a commenter on the message boards at SOHH.com. Rodimus says the Warriors "play like they came in the gym late and STOLE someone's next and then was like, 'We already got our five.'"
Tell me you can't see Jack stretching at the free-throw line, claiming he called next when he got out of his car, saying Monta Ellis can verify that he did -- in fact, calling next and daring someone to say he's lying. And tell me you can't see Baron Davis with them, holding the ball above the top of the key, waiting for someone to realize that his squad ain't going nowhere.
That's a team that means business, and Jack fits perfectly at the front of the pack.
How Matt Barnes got to be a captain is beyond me, but I digress.
Houston Rockets - Tracy McGrady/Steve Francis - McGrady is our best player; Francis is our tough guard (every team needs a tough guard. The Warriors have like 10 of them). Mike James could also be a candidate here, he's the best talker on the team.
Indiana Pacers - Jamaal Tinsley - It can't be Jermaine O'Neal, right? He doesn't even want to be there anymore.
L.A. Clippers - Sam Cassell - With their best player (Brand) most likely out for the year, and Mike Dunleavy trying to trade Corey Maggette for Ron Artest as I type this, the vote goes to the Brett Favre of the NBA, minus the records.
L.A. Lakers - Derek Fisher - Yeah, like I'm gonna go with the moody gunner who demanded a trade twice in one day and is engaged in a he say/he say situation with his 19-year-old center over a botched text message. No, thanks.
Memphis Grizzlies - Damon Stoudamire - Nobody on this team really screams out "leader" to me, but I'll go with Mighty Mouse, who was playing well last season before he got hurt and was already named captain of the Grizz.
Miami Heat - Shaquille O'Neal/Dwyane Wade - Both two championship superstars not at 100%; both the only chance the Heat have of contending this season.
Milwaukee Bucks - Michael Redd - I was going to go with Yi Jianlian, but I realized there will be no chairs for him to compete against in the league.
Minnesota Timberwolves - Randy Foye/Ricky Davis - With KG gone, it's Foye's team now. Davis, not much of a team leader, is a go-to scorer on possibly the league's worst team.
New Jersey Nets - Jason Kidd - Kidd is still the best point guard on the planet and that fact alone qualifies him for permanent captaincy status.
New Orleans Hornets - Chris Paul - The third best pg in the league and the preeminent young leader of men.
New York Knicks - N/A - This franchise is screwed up from the owner on down, a team captain is irrelevant at this point.
Orlando Magic - Dwight Howard/Rashard Lewis - When you're overpaid by at least $50 million, you better be a leader of some kind. You'd better bust a few shots in the air in the parking lot of a strip club ala Stephen Jax. Do something.
Philadelphia 76ers - Andre Miller/Andre Igoudala - After trading away the ultimate leader, the captain status goes to the new go-to guy and the other Andre who kept the Sixers out of the Oden/Durant sweepstakes.
Phoenix Suns - Steve Nash - The best pg in the world not named Jason Kidd keeps the team intact despite the annual bitching from his small forward.
Portland Trail Blazers - Brandon Roy - Young team with no relevant veterans, so the vote goes to the Rookie of the Year who will be counted on even more with the old-man rookie out for '08.
Sacramento Kings - Ron Artest - Since Bibby stopped caring about two seasons ago and Kevin Martin not yet ready to be a leader, the vote goes to Artest, just so I can call him Captain Ron.
San Antonio Spurs - Tim Duncan - If I have to explain, please stop reading.
Seattle Sonics - Kevin Durant - I know he's only 19. I know he's only like 200 pounds. I know he's yet to play an NBA game. But he is the franchise and undoubtedly the Sonics best player, plus he'll earn everybody's respect around the second week of the season.
Toronto Raptors - Chris Bosh/T.J. Ford - Bosh is the franchise player, of course, and every team that T.J. has been apart of has made the playoffs. Check the history.
Utah Jazz - Deron Williams - Boozer's the go-to guy, but he's not really the leader. That would be D-Will, as judged by his playoff performance and his recent emasculating of Andrei Kirilenko after he asked to be traded last week.
Washington Wizards - Caron Butler - Sure, Gilbert Arenas is one of the best, most exciting guards in the game, but he has yet to prove he can lead and inspire others. I think he'll improve upon that in '07-'08, but until then, it's Caron.