It’s one of the most overused questions in the NBA and team sports in general today. “What player would you choose to build a franchise around?” Of course your choices are one of 3 maybe 5 players (LeBron, KD, Dwight, Kobe**, and DRose). Corniest question running.
As NBA 2K’s fantasy drafts have taught us it’s not about that first pick, most of the times it’s the second picks, those Pau Gasol’s and Tyson Chandler’s that bring rings and things. So our question isn’t so much about the superstar but more about the Scottie Pippen, the Shaq in Miami, the Joe Dumars, that second hand that player who may be just as indispensable as Mike, Lebron, Magic, or Shaq in LA.
Quick synopsis of the Ultimate Wingman:
Not to be confused with the 6’6″-6’9″ 200-230 pound guard-forward, the wing man we are talking about is akin to the wing man of the club/bar scene.
- First and foremost he must accept and relish his role as “not the man”, he must understand that the fans aren’t necessarily checking for him but he still has a vital role to play.
- Second he has to have the ability to get the offense started, his skill set must be unrivaled and in some cases slightly better or at least more daring than the superstar’s (starting convos with groups of women, buying drinks, dancing and spilling drinks on random drunk women)
- Third, after getting the offense started he must have the ability to fall back once the star begins to heat up, there’s only one rock (only one fine chick out of the two) so he has to dime off (keep the other friend occupied). Included in this is the ability to run the pick and roll like second nature, after diming off he must get back on defense, understanding that the star is going to “slam” the rock home, and just be proud of the set up he just pulled off.
- Finally, he has to let the star player bask in the glory that is that badder friend even if he thinks he could have gotten her. There’s only room for one ego on the court and it’s not his (pause).
- If he does all of these things to a t, then he is the Ultimate Wing Man.
- Keep in mind that the wing man may in fact get his humble 15 and 10 but if the star doesn’t drop that 30, 40, even 50, how can the team really win?
So, granted you get Lebron, Dwight, KD or an upper echelon player with your first pick, we ask who is the best complimentary player in the NBA today?
1. Joe Johnson: After years of hope, Sporting Waves and Jumpman’s the city of Atlanta finally cut ties with Joe Johnson. He was an all star year in and year out but never proved to be the go to guy, the superstar, nor the max contract player that the Hawks had hoped him to become. It’s all good because most of us could tell that Joe wasn’t and didn’t want to be the man in ATL, he’s a natural born scorer but not THAT n****. He fills in all of the other wingman qualifications better than anyone else on this list, his laid back demeanor says that he wouldn’t care if he averaged 12 or 22, he just wants Deron to get the shine.
2. Pau Gasol: Pau is a great wing man with the innate ability to be the passer out of the pick and roll as a center. He has two rings, so maybe he should be ranked ahead of Slow Mo Joe. Pau has battled through adversity time and time again in LA. With the ability to overlook the haters and still get his job done without basking in the same glory as Kobe Bean, Pau may in fact be the ultimate wing man in the A today.
3. Chris Bosh: Fresh off of a championship and questionable celebration photos, CBosh has entered the conversation as one of the best wing men in the league today. He was once thought of as a superstar in TO but once he got with an official team we saw where his true talent lied. Hustle plays, midrange jumpers, tough rebounds, good free throw shooting, solid defense. Nothing spectacular, everything steady, makes Chris a top candidate for the Ulitmate Wingman honor.
4. Josh Smith: Yes another 6’10” + player. For years he played the supporting role in ATL. He’s not a great scorer, lacks a consistent jump shot, plays good-great defense and hasn’t been to an all star game yet. The only problem with J Smooth is that I think he may actually believe that he is THE MAN. This is where he is wrong. Josh is a perfect complimentary player because his skill set is vast but again, he has no defining talent, he must master the first and foremost principle of wingmanship.
5. Rudy Gay: Can Rudy give you 20, 7, and 5 at will? Yes. Can Rudy lock up (relatively) any wing in the A? Yes. Can Rudy be on SC Top 10 every night that he takes the court? Yes. But for some reason I don’t think anyone would take Rudy top 20 maybe even top 30 in the NBA. Reason being, he has never shown any signs of having a killer instinct. That’s what can essentially turn a star into a wing man, the inability to want to take over leads Rudy to many nights where he scores 17 and not 25.
6. James Harden: He has all of the tools to be the ultimate wing man. He shoots when necessary, passes well and is a decent defender, also finishes well in traffic. But much like J Smooth I believe that deep down James doesn’t want to play third fiddle in OKC. While that’s great in theory he should be aware that had he just fallen back and played his role in the NBA Finals then maybe we’d have a different NBA Champion. OKC is one of those teams that has two stars that will get the rock (woman) before James in this case his wing man role is even more pivotal, he must realize that he won’t take big shots and get big buckets but for the betterment of the team he must accept this.
7. Andre Igoudala: Iggy, for many years the fake AI has tormented Sixers fans with his vast skills and 12 point per game average. It has been clear for some time now that Iggy would be a great wing man elsewhere in the league. As he will do whatever it takes for his team to win outside of scoring. At times I think Iggy doesn’t even want to score, just defend and crash boards. He’s a miniature version of the Junkyard Dog. Junkyard players are great wing men, Iggy’s game says that he may happily slide off with that 6 and a half and 10 points while his teammate calmly drops 30.
8. Jason Terry: See the JET is a weird kind of wingman. Because he has that ability to set the offense off with long range three’s, pullups off the right hand dribble and sweet floaters he can sometimes out score, or seemingly outscore the star. The JET would be a great complimentary player in only one case and that’s when the star is leaps and bounds a better scorer than him. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Jason make a great pass, he’s the wing man who may understand his role but will still try to steal that game winning shot away from Dirk if he’s feeling up to it. Since he has the ability to really score the rock it may be in his hands more than the average wing man. 8 times out of 10 he will let Dirk flourish, it’s those other 2 that you have to worry about.
9. Tyson Chandler: Fresh off of a D.POY Tyson gets nominated for the Ultimate Wingman award. Now Tyson is strictly a defensive wing man. The kind that like Igoudala will only shoot when necessary and will not fret at the sight of a 6. The problem with Tyson is that since he isn’t a good scorer nor can he pass, the star(s) will draw major double teams and in cases where he’s not right at the rim they’ll be helpless even in his presence.
10. Luol Deng: Again we have a great wingman, a guy with a good to great skill set, seems to do everything good on the court but still lacks the scoring punch and killer instinct of a star. What makes Lu a good wingman is that he definitely knows that he isn’t that dude and that he should just play his role. Lu doesn’t want the glory, he just wants to win.