Featured Gallery, NBA / Nov 15, 2010 / 5:30 pm

5 NBA Players Getting By On Their Reputation

Last week, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter received his fifth career Gold Glove. Considering that a lot of observers feel Jeter is among the worst defensive shortstops in Major League Baseball, the fact that he won an award for being the best at his position caused more than a little uproar.

But to the casual fan, Jeter is totally deserving of a Gold Glove, if not several other awards. After all, he’s Derek Jeter. His reputation precedes him.

The NBA is full of Derek Jeters, players who are still getting recognition — or simply getting by, period — based on the name they have built for themselves more than what they’re currently doing on the court.

But a name doesn’t mean everything. I mean, Nate Dogg used to be a great singer to put on the hook of your song, but nobody today is blowing up his phone for a feature just because he’s Nate Dogg. Who in the NBA is living off an old reputation?

5. THEO RATLIFF, Lakers — During the prime of a career where he’s played for nine different NBA teams in 15 years, Ratliff was a shot-blocking specialist. Three times he led the League in blocks per game (’01, ’03, ’04), building a reputation as a fearless defender. He would challenge any dunker, and won enough of those mid-air battles that he also altered a lot of shots by players who were worried about getting swatted. However, with age goes shot-blocking ability, and now Ratliff has gone from hosting block parties to being the poster boy. His reputation as a shot-blocker convinced the Lakers that he was worth signing, even though he hasn’t blocked more than 1.6 shots per game since 2005.

4. SASHA VUJACIC, Lakers — Formally known as “The Machine,” he was once L.A.’s go-to three-point shooter. In ’07-08 he shot a career-high 46 percent from long range, hitting 219 threes that season. Since then, however, his minutes have decreased each year along with his role on the team. At the peak of his career, Sasha was thought be some to be one of the best shooters in the League as well as a scrappy enough defender to earn significant minutes, but times have changed. Last season he played less than nine minutes per game, hitting a mere 30 percent of his three-pointers. And if the Lakers expect Vujacic to be a factor in the hunt for a three-peat, they’ll be highly disappointed.

3. RON ARTEST, Lakers — The Lakers may need some defensive help on the perimeter, and quick. Sure, Ron Artest used to be a great defender, maybe even the best in the League, but why is he still getting labeled as a defensive force? Let’s be honest here: Who is Ron Artest really shutting down anymore? Dating back to last season and early into this season, almost all the elite wing players in the League have had their way with Artest. LeBron dropped 37 points on Ron-Ron in their last meeting, Rudy Gay lit him up for 30 earlier this month, and Carmelo Anthony gave him 32 just last week. He’s also openly admitted to Brandon Roy giving him a hard time. Lakers fans still call Artest the best defender in the League, and a lot of people were upset that Ron didn’t make the All-Defensive first or second team last year, but Kevin Durant made him look like a 40-year-old out there in the first round of the playoffs. If L.A. runs into OKC or Denver or even a healthy Portland squad in the playoffs this year, Artest’s now-overrated defense could get in the way of their three-peat chances.

2. VINCE CARTER, Magic — Don’t get me wrong, he can still play, but can he still jump? When Dime ranked the Top 25 dunkers in the world a couple weeks ago, many readers felt that Vince (#20) got snubbed. Some even said he should be in the top three. Maybe they didn’t get the concept, but the article was about the best dunkers currently, not 10 years ago. I know the guy has had some monumental jams in his heyday, however his athleticism clearly isn’t where it used to be. Vince knows that, and he’s OK with it. Therefore you don’t see him going for those reckless bangers anymore. On Saturday I went to a barbershop in Jamaica, Queens, and we started talking about the NBA dunk contest and what it used to be. I was done when people started seriously saying Vince Carter needs to be in the 2011 dunk contest. If the NBA does that, they might as well let MJ suit up again.

1. CHAUNCEY BILLUPS, Nuggets — Chauncey’s “Big Shot” days may be coming to an end. He’s still a great point guard, and controls the tempo of a game like few PG’s can, but his reputation for making clutch shots has become overblown in recent years. He doesn’t even take that many, since Carmelo is the best player on the team and one of the best in the League in crunch-time. When the Nuggets need a big shot, they go to ‘Melo before first. Chauncey can be a great decoy, and he didn’t earn the nickname “Mr. Big Shot” for no reason. But, in this case, sometimes a name is just a name.

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  • Dayinho

    “but Kevin Durant made him look like a 40-year-old out there in the first round of the playoffs.”
    Completely wrong…
    Durant struggled during this series!

  • Phileus

    You forgot “Chris Bosh” and “LeBron James.”

  • Bill

    What is this a Lakers hate list? Ratliff and Sasha aren’t gettin by on rep, nothing is expected of them. Artest just shut down Brandon Roy last week, holding him to one field goal in a blowout win, or does that not count? And anyone who watched the first round series knows that Artest made Durant struggle, just look at the numbers:

    Reg season: 30 points, 47% shooting, 36% from 3
    First round vs. Lakers: 25 points, 45% shooting, 29% from 3

    Good job researching.

  • Bill

    sorry 35% shooting not 45% for durant in the playoffs

  • adande

    is canterbury the new bill simmons of dimemag?

  • dvs

    Wait… Where’s RIP Hamilton??
    BG has out played him all season with less minutes and less FGA and RIP’s still starting.. He should be Number 1!!

  • John

    Artest still been a good defender… Anthony can dropped 30 point against every one in the league, and Gay is doing a good job earlier this month

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Bill

    In all fairness to Roy, he was playing injured.

  • JBaller

    This list is poor, to say the least. I agree with #2, where’s Chris Bosh on this list? He got a max contract based on his reputation and now it looks like third banana is a couple of bananas too high for him.

  • Dagger

    Durant had an abysmal first playoff series. How can anyone not know this?

  • Shiptar

    i don’t agree with you on Artest and Billups.. They are both still very good at doing the stuff they have reputation for!

  • stefan

    1. totally right about Vince. you ranked current dunkers. but tell me this, why is Vince in the top 25? he is not in the top 1000 anymore! there are highschool kids doing tricks way better than what VC can do right now. I love the guy but realistically speaking, he’s days are over. call him a slam dunk legend and move forward. in 2030 watch his dunk clips and be melancholic but dont put him in top 25.
    2. u should watch some denver games of last season. billups is god damn clutch, he still owned some games down the stretch.
    3. baron davis should be on the list also, I said it when he moved to Clips. he went for the city life not else..

  • Scuba Chicken

    YEAAH!! WAY TO DISS NATE DOGG! Let’s come up with some other stroke victims who are paralyzed to insult! F-yeah, buddy!!

  • TL

    Nate Dogg had two strokes and can’t even talk now. Bad choice for reference Dime.

  • Ian

    jaime
    you should mail this article to austin. oh and many observers dont consider jeter a bad fielder, he is one of the worst theres no debate there.

  • Isaac

    Kevin Durant SUCKED in that series. It got to 6 games because kobe sucked for a couple of games too.

  • MSL

    Unfortunately Jamie, you seemed not to think this one through too much.

    Kevin Durant had a abysmal shooting series against LA and bricked up some all time back board breakers in the process. He shot almost 35% in that series.

    I’m not sure anyone thinks Sasha is that great anymore, cause if he was he wouldn’t be riding the bench. I mean wasn’t he the same guy, when DIME Readers and many others heard he was marrying Maria Sharapova, everyone was up in arms calling him a “bum”, “bench warmer”, “scrub”, “has been” etc., and not worth being engaged to her? Lol.

    Not so sure anyone thinks that Vince is that great either, unless you’re talking about Dunking.

    Chauncey Billips, you could be right on. I don’t see him on most top 5 point guard list much. But I have seen him on a few and wondered why.

  • MSL

    Unfortunately Jamie, you seemed not to think this one through too much.

    Kevin Durant had a abysmal shooting series against LA and bricked up some all time back board breakers in the process. He shot almost 35% in that series.

    I’m not sure anyone thinks Sasha is that great anymore, cause if he was he wouldn’t be riding the bench. I mean wasn’t he the same guy, when DIME Readers and many others heard he was marrying Maria Sharapova, everyone was up in arms calling him a “bum”, “bench warmer”, “scrub”, “has been” etc., and not worth being engaged to her? Lol.

    Not so sure anyone thinks that Vince is that great either, unless you’re talking about Dunking.

    Chauncey Billips, you could be right on. I don’t see him on most top 5 point guard list much. But I have seen him on a few and wondered why.

  • MSL

    And Yes. Derek Jeter sucked at short Stop and his offensive skills and little power are declining.

    He shouldn’t of won the Golden Glove.

  • MSL

    And Yes. Derek Jeter sucked at short Stop and his offensive skills and little power are declining.

    He shouldn’t of won the Golden Glove.

  • AZ

    lol…At first i thought it was an A.B. lakers hate list…Cmon 10 or so games in and season and artest is overated defender? Maybe but lets wait and see a few more games. Last year the guy did his job no doubt, ring to prove it.

  • Young Gunner

    Derek Fisher aint on the list?

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    Artest is kind of a overrated defender. He is good, but not the man he once was.

  • itsakademiks

    “On Saturday I went to a barbershop in Jamaica, Queens….”
    nice southside shoutout

  • Dave

    Jamal Magloire is still getting by on his lone all-star appearance.

    Shaq, although still capable, is getting by on his name.

    Darko is still getting by on the “Larry Brown didn’t play him, if we develop him he’ll be awesome” reputation.

    Jerry Stackhouse is still in the league cauz he’s jerry stackhouse.

    Dunno if this dude is still in the league, but the ultimate MVP of this squad is Tyronne Lue! He carved an entire career on one NBA finals appearance..

  • crimewave

    Canterbury is outta his f*cking mind…

    Artest had Durant hemmed up all series last year (as everyone else has already pointed out), and Gary Payton just praised Artest for the job he did on Pierce in the finals…

    Sasha and Ratliff don’t even stand on a reputation; neither gets any real burn off the bench, and neither is relied on by their team for production…so how are they living off their “reputation”??

    Canterbury…get the f*ck outta here with this bullish*t article

  • crimewave

    And another thing…leave Nate Dogg alone. The man had a stroke and has been bedridden for nuff time…

    F*ck a Canterbury…

  • Promoman

    As far as Vince & dunking goes, it’s due to him expanding his game more than age. That dunk list had Nate Robinson over Vince and his in game dunk resume is shorter than he is. Vince has more dunks this season than Nate had last season and right now already.

  • hooper5013

    Ron Artest is head and shoulders better than every perimeter defender in the L (Kobe is a close 2nd when he pulls his shorts up) you’re tripping the longest way. As a matter of fact I have never seen anyone sustain the hangcuffs on Kevin Durant for such an extended period of time. He was fantastic all series defensively against the thunder. Durant didn’t get to middle of the floor at all. And every shot he took was from a ridiculous angle. Ron Artest is still a damn good defender. Carmelo is unguardable when he is working that mid range. And Ron gives him more hell than anyone in his career. When the heat and Laker’s play and Ron is on Lebron all game you will see what Bron is made of…Wow…Ron is a problem defensively 2nd best perimeter defender to ever play in the L!

  • big mo

    what?Peja stojakovic ain’t on this list??thats number one on this list all day!!!

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    @hooper

    People like you are the prime example of why Artest is on the list.

  • KB8toSG8

    This guy is bone headed. Artest?! Have you been living under a rock?!

    Everyone knows Sasha sucks. He’s got no rep right now and the Lakers just want to get his contract off the books. He’s not actually living off it.

    Theo…..seriously? He being paid just about right for his services.

    Guys getting on with their reputation: Vince, T-Mac, Shaq and co.

  • Hemo03

    I would say KG should be on this list

  • derik

    VC can still dunk, it’s just he doesn’t want to anymore, he can still easily pulled off and windmill or a 360 with no effort, of course he isn’t what he used to be, but he is still better then most of the people in the dunk contest recently.

    ps. to Andrew Macaluso, thank got ur not writing for dime anymore

  • egypt

    @the idiot that wrote lebron james…. you know nothing about basketball if you think that man is getting by on his reputation…. absolutely nothing… way to base your opinion of a basketball player’s skills on the jersey he sweats in…. like that??

    artest has lost a few steps out there on the perimeter thats for sure… still strong down low though

    sasha has a reptuation?? dude has always been garbage, except with the ladies apparently… even though he looks like a fruitcake with hair ties

  • NugNutz

    Nate Dogg used to be a great singer but nobodys blowin up his phone just because hes Nate Dogg…It hurt me deeply to see my friend in such a state and I told him ‘There are many people who don’t know where you are or what condition you’re in,'” Young wrote referring to his weekend visit. “I asked his mom and him if he had heard music in a long time. Nate’s way of communicating is to look up if it’s a ‘Yes’ and to the side if it’s a ‘No.’ He looked at me with saddened eyes and looked to the side. I took him, in his wheelchair, to a computer and played him all the songs we’ve done together. He is steps away from speaking again and when I asked him in our classic inside-joke kinda way, ‘let’s make a deal …’ I said ‘I’ll bring you your catalogue, headphones and a CD player if you just try to talk again.’ He looked up and signaled ‘Yes!’ I go back in two weeks and I hope that his listening to his music helps bring him back from whatever space he’s in. God knows, in my darkest times, HE was the one who pulled ME out.” Nicely researched article MORON!

  • superfreak

    @hooper5013

    i’ll give u that artest is still one of the best perimeter defenders in the L, but there are a handful of perimeter defenders better than kob at this time… battier, sefo, tony allen, brewer, tay…

  • Clemo

    hahahaaa… the lakers got ratliff because they thought he can block shots… a million dollar franchise chooses a player, because they think he’s a good shot blocker… hahaha

    and why would LA need vujacic… they have blake, barnes and Mr. Brown!!!

  • bigdoggchad

    Kobe Bryant on NBA All-Defense first team is based on reputation. He is still a good defender but not 1st or 2nd team good. Totally agree with Chauncey he has been killing the Nuggets in crunch time. Taking dumb shots, making dumb passes, and not getting the ball to one of best clutch time shot makers.

  • KB8toSG8

    @bigdoggchad

    Maybe that’s the reason players voted Kobe, Battier and Artest last year as the toughest player they have to score against right? When motivated….WHEN MOTIVATED, Kobe is atleast top 5 in the L at defense.

  • http://gourmetkickz.com GourmetBennyB.

    What about Tracy McGrady…he’s f***in garbage now and has a roster spot

  • rainman

    100% on the Chauncey bit. Overrated clutch player.

  • Shaqfor3

    “but Kevin Durant made him look like a 40-year-old out there in the first round of the playoffs.”

    were you watching the same playoff series as everyone else? Durant 35% from the field.

    and Sasha must be really riding that reputation of his these days by getting so much minutes from Phil and so much attention in the media for his magnificent shooting since 2008/ability to foul players in the backcourt.

  • barons beard

    fuck who ever wrote this, Nate Dogg is a legend. If he didnt have a stroke he’d still be crooning like no other. Like to see how well you do your job after multiple strokes…

    And Artest took Durrant’s lunch money in the playoffs, done a great jon on Pierce in the fianls, shut down Brandon Roy few weeks ago and thats just off the top of my head. If I researched it, I could find other example of Artest’s remaining defensive capabilities

  • S.A.C.

    @Hoopster513 @ Stunnaboy

    Agreed!

    I think you went a little far with Ron Artest and Kobe. Neither one of them or long term (the course of a season) A1 defensive stoppers anymore (if Kobe ever was).

    Nonetheless Artest was good enough in the playoffs (and the article mentioned how well Durant did) to not warrant him on this list.

  • S.A.C.

    To the writer.

    No one thinks Theo Ratcliff and Sasha V are good players. If that’s the case why are they riding the bench like its a wooden Donkey?

    Sasha is a unmitigated scrub and every one knew/said that much when he got engaged!! Remember?

    Like I said and every one said above. Didn’t Durant shoot 35% and take some god awful shots in that LA series? Whether that was because of Artest or not; Durant didn’t play well.

    Chauncey you could be right about though. Lol.

    Who care’s about Vince or his dunking after that disappearance in the Eastern Conference Finals?

    @itsakademiks

    Just cause the writer said Jamaica Queens, it doesn’t mean it was on the southside. Jamaica is a big are and also a Poastal District encompassing many neighborhoods.

    I’m not saying it isn’t and I’m not saying it is/was.

    Just representing the non-southside of Jamaica, Lol.

  • S.A.C.

    Oh Yeah. Pierce sucked in the finals to against LA!

    Vince is still a good player. But he’s certainly not overrated, cause no one things he’s great anymore.

    If anything he’s underrated. And who cares about him Dunking? He’s been too good at that and played way too long for that to be the utmost importance of his career now.

  • http://yourboychise.blogspot.com Chise

    I’m guessin people weren’t feeling this article…

  • Lequang242

    Wait…WHAT? Sasha have a reputation? Sheeat.

  • egypt

    @chise…. its the internet, no one likes anything… but there were lakers on this list so even moreso haha

  • Bigdoggchad

    @ KB8 to SG8 where did you read that?

  • STFU

    What a ridiculous article. Everyone knows that Vujacic sucks (and Lakers fans hate him) and that Theo Ratliff is washed up at this point.

    That entire write-up on Ron Artest was completely stupid and flat out wrong.

    How in the world does someone so out of touch with reality get a job writing for Dime Magazine? I guess they let anyone post crap these days.

    Keep up the terrible work.

  • JJ

    Sorry but when you said Durant embarrassed Ron Artest in last years playoffs, i knew that you were a garbage article writer. GTFO with this dumb bullshit

  • http://www.lozzz.com LozZz

    a huge WTF at the Nate Dogg reference!!

    as stated above THE REASON HE’S NOT SINGING IS BECAUSE HE CAN’T EVEN TALK AFTER HAVING 2 STROKES.

  • Darius Pearson

    Your an idiot, Ron Artest shut down Kevin Durant and Paul Perice in the playoffs. Who cares about games in the regular season, playoff defense is what counts. And you obviously are a Laker hater