The regular season in the Association is over and first games of the playoffs were just played. The awards and the respective All-NBA teams are usually announced in the playoffs, so I wanted to start the process with introducing the world to the first ever…DRUM ROLL PLZ….THE ALL SHOCK TEAM. This was definitely the year of the underdog in the league because all over players with little to no pedigree came in to the Jay and Ye type “Zone,” to garner respect.
I chose to make the All Shock Team because that’s EXACTLY what these players did. To say that they “surprised” us would be an understatement because NO ONE saw this coming.
As Juwan Howard said:
These players came to flip the whole league and the way it scouts players upside down. It just shows the tremendous amount of talent that exists in and around the league, when given a chance, can flourish under the perfect conditions. The perfect conditions happened to be a shortened and packed regular season where injuries allowed for players to contribute when otherwise probably would not have happened. So without further ado, lets get to the team.
1) Jeremy Lin PG/G: The Captain of the All Shock team. Came after being cut by Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, IN THE SAME SEASON, to the New York Knicks. He made undrafted player history and transcended the game beyond the hard-court, in a short but amazing season. He was averaging 14 PPG, 6.2 APG and PER of 19.97 before tearing meniscus in his knee. His play on the court even pushed the critics to say that New York should trade Carmelo Anthony. That’s how absurd and ridiculous the hype was during the Jeremy Lin run. I am so tired of hearing and listening about Jeremy Lin that this is all I’m writing about him and it is to NO fault of Jeremy. Good player and a great individual. So moving on…
2) John Lucas III PG: It’s not easy having to grow up in your father’s (John Lucas II) shadow especially someone who was a number one overall pick back in 1976 and played in the Association for 14 years. JLIII went undrafted in 2005 and had been ALL OVER the world before finally finding a home in Chicago, this year. His diminutive size at 5’11 and 165 lbs has always been his crutch because he’s not blessed with Nate Robinson or Isaiah Thomas type of hops and quickness but he’s finally able to run an offense effectively. The shortened season and injuries to Derrick Rose gave him a chance and JLIII responded with great games. He averaged 14 minutes for the year but the month of March and April he was at 18 minutes a game while putting up 10 PPG and 3 APG. He shot 40% from the three this year, which was the biggest reason to his four 20+ point games this year of which two were 25+. His PER is 16.41, which made him one of the most productive backups in the league. That PER is ahead of Eastern Conference guards Jameer Nelson, Darren Collison, Jrue Holliday, Jeff Teague and Mario Chalmers, ALL starters.
3) Gerald Green SG: This is probably not going to be the norm in the All Shock team because he is a first round pick and was touted very highly coming out of high school back in 2005. What makes this an intriguing story is for someone that was dubbed “selfish” and who had a “terrible work ethic,” he worked his ass off in the D League and got back in to the Association with the New Jersey Nets. He was the prototypical-spoiled athlete that thought the world was going to be handed to him when he was first drafted. He went from everything that is wrong with drafting a kid out of high school, to everything that is right with realizing the potential and working incredibly hard to FINALLY earn a spot in the Association. Gerald has been a highlight reel for the Nets this year and has put up 13 PPG with 48% FG percentage. The Nets were a sorry team but this D-league call-up made a name for himself and has earned a full-time job next year. Look for him to be a Sportscenter Top-10 regular.
4) Ivan Johnson PF: I still remember when he came out of nowhere against the Miami Heat during a TNT game in early January and put up 13 points on hustle plays and hard drives to the basket. That was his coming out party and he impressed Barkley enough that day to call him the best player on the court. He is the ultimate garbage man with ACTUAL playing ability…if that makes sense. Let me put it this way; I believe that he can be a BETTER Reggie Evans. Now to a casual fan that means nothing but to a coach that means a lot because every team needs a player like that. I have seen him shoot the 15 footer and block shots at the rim. He finishes very strong and rebounds well. His minutes went up every single month of the season and were one of the keys for Atlanta to stay competitive especially with Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia missing huge chunks of time. His numbers look very pedestrian at 6.4 PPG and 4 RPG but they have increased every month with more playing time and by April he was putting up 11 PPG and 6 RPG with 24 minutes a game to go along with 58% shooting and 1.5 SPG. He was undrafted, went to a very small college in San Bernardino and played all over the world before getting his opportunity with the Atlanta Hawks. He has become a great rotational and role player. I see him being in the Association for a very long time now.
5) Greg Stiemsma C: This undrafted center for the Boston Celtics is one of the main reasons the Celtics were able to turn around their horrendous start at the beginning of the season. In March and April he averaged 18+ minutes a game and was the anchor on defense along with Kevin Garnett. The Celtics were 17-18 before deciding to give Greg some serious playing time and it paid immediate dividends they went 17-5 in the month of March with him averaging 2.3 blocks per game which was good for second in the league behind Serge Ibaka. He was given the Defensive Player of the Year in the D-League in 2010 and seems to have transferred those skills in to the pros. He fits the Celtics system perfectly and will be a long-term player in the league because of this year.
SO I present you the 2012 first ever ALL SHOCK TEAM. These guys were NEVER on ANYONE’s radar but given the right opportunity they were able to produce at a VERY high level. With the exception of Gerald Green, the other four players are making a HUGE impact on playoff teams. I am open to debate on any other player that belongs on this list so feel free to shoot me suggestions and opinions.
mE – Sunny Saini