Double Team: Allen Allen and Other Intriguing Hybrid NBA Players (Intro)

What if you could combine any two NBA players from any era?

That’s a question I’ve been pondering ever since I saw a Facebook post asking which of the following duos you would want to merge into one hybrid monster: Bird/Magic, Westbrook/Durant, MJ/Kobe, or Curry/Draymond.

Those are some uninspired suggestions to say the least (MJ + Kobe = plain redundant, for example) so I’ve made some of my own. I also asked around so there will be a few that were created by friends and/or coworkers.

It’s the type of question you can think about for hours and the sky doesn’t even begin to scrape the definition of a limit here. You can literally combine any two NBA athletes you want. Do you want to combine Reggie Miller and Hakeem Olajuwon and create a freak of nature with a historically great post game AND perimeter game?

How the fuck do you stop Reggie Olajuwon? Impossible!

Or what about Popeye Cassell (Popeye Jones + Sam Cassell), infamous for freaking out defenders and fans with his deranged eyes bulging out of his alien-esque head?

See how inherently fun this thought experiment is? Having said that, it’s a lot more fun to think of combinations that actually help each player in the equation. So yeah, it would be great to create Reggie Olajuwon, but that’s almost like cheating. It’s fun to think about, but let’s try to be a little reasonable here, okay guys?

Without further ado, let’s start with the original inspiration for this whole shebang.

ALLEN ALLEN = Allen Iverson + Ray Allen

Iverson’s Pros

The Answer was known for being a tenacious ball handling slasher who consistently penetrated into the paint for difficult layups and floaters which were made even more difficult by his height (officially 6 feet, but more like 5’11”).

He was legendary for breaking ankles and crossing his defender in spectacular fashion. At one point he did the same to MJ himself and in the footage you can hear Phil Jackson call out “Michael” when Iverson gets the ball. Didn’t matter. Although MJ didn’t completely break down, he did technically get crossed and Iverson knocked down the midrange jumper.

Although he’s also known for his infamous rant about practices, he was a fierce competitor who took one of the worst post-merger teams ever all the way to the NBA Finals where he faced a Lakers team featuring Shaq and Kobe at their physical peaks. That Lakers team was undefeated in the playoffs until Iverson took Game 1 pretty much by himself. The 76ers were swept after that point, but it was an impressive feat nonetheless.

As an athlete he was pound-for-pound one of the purest in history. He could have played any sport and succeeded at the professional level. There’s no question.

Iverson’s Cons

He was not a good shooter. His ability to finish in the paint didn’t stretch out to the perimeter and his career field goal percentage was mediocre for a shooting guard playing in the modern era (FG%: 42.5, 3PT%: 31.3, FT%: 78.0).

Despite his success given his small stature, it was ultimately detrimental as his teammates had to cover for his shortness, to be blunt. While he averaged over two steals per game in his prime – almost three during his MVP season – he was a liability on defense in the long run. I mean, he wasn’t awful, but he wasn’t locking people down either. Which is okay.

His over-reliance on his natural ability brought his career to a screeching halt immediately after averaging 26.4 PPG for Denver in the 2008-09 season. While his alleged hatred towards practice was overrated, it’s also true he was infamous for partying like fucking crazy right before a game… and then going out and dropping forty on the opposing team.

Even though he led a terrible team all the way to the NBA Finals, it’s debatable whether you could actually win a championship with him as the best player. A low-efficiency, high-usage, turnover-prone player who wasn’t even six feet tall? Yikes!

Ray Ray’s Pros

Undoubtedly the best shooter in basketball history unless Steph Curry dominates for at least five more years. Although he was never part of the elusive 50-40-90 club, his career percentages are impressive nonetheless (FG%: 45.2, 3PT%: 40.0, FT%: 89.4). Not only was he a historically great shooter, but his stroke was beautiful. It’s probably the most gorgeous jumper ever.

He was incredibly consistent, part of which he attributed to his “mild” OCD. On game days, he would arrive a reported THREE hours early for shooting practice – usually his second of the day, by the way – and it’s well-documented that his consistent training routine is a good portion of what led to his continued efficiency all the way through his last season in 2014 (he’s still a free agent, technically).

In his prime he was no slouch athletically. While he certainly wasn’t on the same level as Iverson, he could dunk with considerably more authority than most of the other shooters we consider historically great.

Finally, he was Jesus Shuttlesworth in He Got Game, an okay Spike Lee flick that featured two noteworthy sequences: Ray Ray in a threesome and his unscripted 1 v 1 game against Denzel Washington, who portrayed Jesus Shuttlesworth’s dad. A number of basketball players have been in movies, from Kareem in Airplane! to a whole bunch in Space Jam, but let the record show Ray Allen was one of the better athlete-actors out there. That counts for something!

Ray Ray’s Cons

Not much, honestly. When the 76ers reached the Finals under Iverson, one of the teams they eliminated were the Bucks. Call this revisionist history or whatever you want to call it, but there’s some rumblings that there was some tomfoolery going on and the Bucks – and Ray Ray – should have been the ones to advance.

Either way, Ray Ray may not have had as flashy of a career as Iverson, but he sure played longer and more efficiently too. He played the right way, really, and although you also couldn’t win a championship with Ray Allen as your best player, you literally could if he was one of your top three guys. Hence, his time in Boston.

He also helped save part of LeBron James’ legacy when he nailed that clutch shot in the NBA Finals a few years ago against the Spurs. It’s the greatest shot in NBA history. It’s his to own, all by himself. And Bosh, because he had the awareness to toss the offensive rebound to Allen, who somehow backpedaled a few feet without looking down until he was simultaneously behind the three-point line AND inbounds and in the same motion caught the pass and fired the ball as Tony Parker charged towards him amidst thousands of hysterical Heat fans.

Just an iconic, legendary, historical moment.

Final Analysis

Aside from instantly creating a marketable name in Allen Allen, this hypothetical player would be unstoppable. This is a relationship that undoubtedly benefits Allen Iverson more, so let’s take it from his perspective. Imagine if AI retained all his original abilities, but was suddenly the greatest shooter ever as well.

Now he can preserve his body that much longer, be significantly more efficient, and help space the floor out. Defensively, things would be mostly unchanged, although if we’re taking physical changes into account as well, it’s worth noting Ray Allen is officially listed as 6’5″.

Add in Ray Ray’s legendary work ethic and suddenly you’ve got a player who actually knows what time management and priorities are and is completely focused on bettering himself as a player.

In my opinion, a combination of Allen Iverson and Ray Allen would yield an NBA superstar whose ceiling is making the Hall of Fame as one of the top twenty players ever, if not higher. It’s the perfect combination. If Allen Allen was the best player on your team, there’s a good chance he’d lead it to a title. Is it guaranteed? Not necessarily. But it’s closer than either player got by himself – and Iverson got pretty damn close.

That was a very detailed breakdown of Allen Allen and why that hybrid works so well, but further installments of this series will feature more duos and get to the point a little more concisely. Consider this a very wordy teaser!

Madden Mobile: A New and Somewhat Improved Game

The Madden Mobile reviews are back! Click here for the beginning of last year’s saga.

As luck would have it, it was on this exact day last year that I started to write about Madden Mobile, the mobile version of the popular console football game. After playing this new version for almost half a year, I’m ready to express my thoughts once again.

Quick overview: there have been a lot of changes, but they are not necessarily the changes we truly need or even deserve.

Because this is EA, there have been a fair number of aesthetic changes (things like card design) and some other components like the leveling up process. Instead of capping it at level 50, we can now go into Prestige mode which unlocks “cool” new features like alternate jerseys, stadiums, and probably some other perks I can’t remember at the moment.

There are new Live Events as well, and some sets have different requirements than before. In many cases, the sets are actually easier than last year, which should ease the pain for those of us who don’t feel the need to use/waste real money on a mobile game.

Those are all relatively nice changes, but we play the game for the gameplay. Not the presentation. So let’s get down to business.

Pro tip: put your best receiver at WR2 so he faces CB2 on defense. Slick!

OFFENSE

Last year there was a serious problem where your wide receivers wouldn’t be able to run their routes properly because they kept colliding with the defense. That continues in this year’s game, and even a receiver in single coverage can find himself running at maybe eighty percent of his real speed because a slower defensive back is blocking the way, resulting in an overthrown ball (or an interception).

And no, this is different from Defensive Pressing. This is just lazy programming, or some kind of prolonged glitch that EA has neglected to fix.

Another problem from last year was the fact that your offensive line – no matter how good your players’ ratings were – would sometimes be far inferior to the computer’s, even if the computer’s overall was like a 79 and yours was 95.

Your linemen would get outflanked every time there was a blitz and every defensive end was Block Shedding like J.J. Watt. Surprise! This is a problem that has not been resolved either. Live Events are generally easy, but you’ll find your linemen having trouble there too at times. That’s when you know things aren’t programed correctly.

Fortunately there is no longer a glitch for slot receivers where they were unable to catch anything because their Awareness would inexplicably drop to zero every time they were thrown the ball.

In Season mode at least, offensive gameplay is more than adequate. Although there are frustrations to be found (your quarterback continues to lack comprehensive scrambling; he must shuffle to the line before miraculously discovering the ability to run), you can now control individual players and run their routes for them.

It seems more like a gimmick for Live Events, but sometimes it can be useful if you want to make sure your 94 Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t fuck around and get stuck behind a shitty undrafted cornerback.

Trucking, juking, and other misdirection moves have been improved as well and now you can find yourself making the defense look foolish consistently. It feels good to break tackles. Very cathartic.

One last note: Domination 99 Gronkowski is not very good. While you can argue his performance is at least more tangible to judge than last year’s 99 Richard Sherman, you’ll find Gronk constantly dropping the ball and letting the defense grind him up even though he allegedly has 80 Run Block and 80 Impact Block.

Truly disappointing. If he didn’t give +5 Strength to everyone, he would be a very forgettable 99 overall player.

Eric Berry is amazing for coming back from cancer and playing at a high level. He'll be on the roster for the entire year.

Eric Berry is amazing for coming back from cancer and playing at a high level. He’ll be on the roster for the entire year.

DEFENSE

Once again, your defensive ends and tackles are mostly negligible here. While the computer can wreak havoc at will, you’ll find even the best players on the line are kept in check all the time, whether it’s Live Events or a Season game.

It’s better to invest in your defensive backs, and I would argue it’s probably better to focus on good coverage linebackers. Look for Play Recognition and Awareness – those can make up for subpar physical attributes like 92 Luke Kuechly, who is the definition of a playmaker.

Regardless of how good your players are though, don’t expect blitzes to work often or well. You’re better off controlling a fast linebacker like 92 Derrick Brooks and running him against the line so he can get a jumpstart and accelerate past the tackle and hopefully the halfback if he’s on blocking duty.

You can call it cheating, or you can say you’re leveling the playing field.

In any case, defense is pretty much the same as last year. Executing massive hits is still fun, although it can sometimes be tough generating fumbles.

Another year where special teams don't really matter, no matter how hard you try.

Another year where special teams don’t really matter, no matter how hard you try.

OTHER BUSINESS

Although I said we’d only talk about gameplay, I think it’s important to point out how lopsided some Live Events and their respective sets are. You can play a Live Event for months and never receive the last elusive piece of a set you’re working on.

It is infuriating and doesn’t make sense in probability terms. There’s no reason why, out of ten elite collectibles, one of them requires literally hundreds of plays to finally receive. It is shady and totally uncool.

Also, there are Live Events for some legendary players and once again, completing those events unlocks the same collectible for everyone – you know, the dumb positional collectible. Those are utterly pointless and actually literally does nothing to help casual gamers unlock those sweet, sweet legends.

Sure you can do them for the coins and experience points they provide, but come on EA. Stop doing us dirty.

Hard Knocks: The Bizarre Dichotomy Between EA’s Madden Mobile and UFC Mobile

Both games are owned and controlled by EA, but you wouldn’t know it based on some key differences.

You might be jumping the gun if you’re already scoffing and saying, “Well one game is about guys kicking each other in the face and the other game is about guys trying to carry a ball up and down a field. That’s why they’re so different, dummy.”

That’s not what I mean. What I mean is UFC Mobile doesn’t have an energy/stamina bar, which pretty much every mobile game has. That means I can play an infinite number of times in a row without stopping, which also means I can make hundreds of thousands of coins per day if I really want to. On the other hand, Madden Mobile has a very stingy stamina bar, and certain Live Events (like Domination) can take half or a third of the damn bar away before you know it.

Even playing regular season games take away stamina, as does playing against your friends and peers in Head to Head gameplay. There’s been theories that because UFC Mobile is not a team-based game, there’s no reason to have stamina because there’s less building for you to do, whereas Madden Mobile is basically giving you a raw roster and giving you the challenge of upgrading every single position over the year. Part of the challenge is allegedly maintaining your stamina use for the best strategic purposes.

I don’t buy those theories.

If UFC Mobile wanted a stamina bar, it could certainly have it. And perhaps it should, because it actually makes this particular game more boring without it. Madden Mobile‘s experience isn’t entirely confined to playing actual football games, however, so even if we didn’t have stamina, it would still be fun because we’re still building our teams and checking out the Auction House for cool players.

So now we might want to talk about money, and the idea that EA is absolutely thirsty for it. Well Madden Mobile is set up so you don’t have to spend real money to succeed, but good luck acquiring certain players without real money. UFC Mobile most definitely requires no real money and I think you’re a fucking moron if you spend money on a game where you can just keep playing and playing to get the coins you need.

Also, one difference between the two games is that UFC Mobile‘s Live Events are one at a time and their rewards are very specific. There’s no random pack opening crap – if it says you’re getting a Limited Edition Bruce Lee, that’s exactly what you’re getting. Madden Mobile is very finicky of course, almost on a legendary level, with most Live Events being essentially worthless right from the beginning unless they actually guarantee something.

He's gonna regret throwing that punch.

He’s gonna regret throwing that punch.

I suppose football has a bigger audience than UFC, so it makes sense EA is stingier in the more popular game because that leads to more money. But it really is strange seeing the difference between the two games, especially after we just received TWO free Bruce Lees to gleefully destroy our opponents with. I mean, that’s unheard of. It would be like EA spontaneously deciding to give all Madden Mobile players a free 94 LaDainian Tomlinson. I mean, no fucking way they do that!

Told ya!

Told ya!

All of this means something. I’m just not sure what. It could be as simple as two different EA divisions working on the games, culminating in two different experiences. Maybe it does have to do with the massive difference in popularity between UFC and the NFL. I don’t know.

What I do know is that this new season of Madden Mobile is both refreshing and extremely frustrating. I like the new user interface and I’m enjoying the new animations, especially the ones caused by our new array of juke moves. I think the increased diversity in sets and Live Events is commendable, although I also believe EA has become even stingier when it comes to us unlocking the necessary pieces in those Live Events to use in certain sets.

Consider this: I’ve been playing since day one of the new game and we have Road to the Ring sets again this year. There are Live Events for those and they are generally pretty easy. Unfortunately, pulling the required rings for those sets is “random” which means there’s a good chance some rings are just going to be tougher to pull than others.

But the fucking bullshit I’m dealing with here is ridiculous. Most of my RTTR sets are almost complete and are missing one specific ring. Assuming I pull that ring on the next attempt I make on a RTTR Live Event, that’s a success rate of literally less than one percent. Yes, I’m saying I have over a hundred rings now, the majority of them are duplicates, and NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEM IS THE LAST PIECE I NEED.

What the fuck, EA?

So we’ll see how this season goes, although from the looks of it right now, it’s the typically superficial changes EA likes to make every year. Anyway, here’s my current lineup.

A Not So Helpful Guide for Defeating (or Just Surviving) Ronda Rousey

Ten definitely serious options for your consideration should you find yourself in the position to save the world from Rousey’s terrifying reign.

I’ve come to realize she is basically the evil lady from Terminator 3 and she’s not going to stop until every single man, woman, and child has been annihilated in the Octagon by her relentless hands, elbows, knees, and feet.

Nobody expects anyone to defeat her at this point, including male UFC fighters (and it would be a lose-lose whether someone like Conor McGregor beat her or not). People are also openly calling for her to face Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who may not have experience in MMA, but is certainly no slouch when it comes to doling out the blows.

We aren’t even sure if there are any fictional characters who could best her. Surely she would choke out John Wick? And John Rambo? And John Matrix? Even John McClane, the very definition of an action hero? Could they team up and stand a chance? Nobody can say for sure.

To take Ronda Rousey down, there are a number of methods that might be utilized, although you find out soon enough that each has its own strengths and weaknesses (or just weaknesses, I guess).

1. Get a small and adorable child to hug her from behind, except the child is a robot and that robot is filled with a ton of C4.

Even though it’s just a robot, I would imagine survivors of the resulting explosion would be feeling pretty goddamn traumatized after witnessing – to them – a cute kid blowing up into a million little pieces, along with Rousey.

That kind of psychological trauma isn’t worth it, not to mention the resulting fallout thanks to such a blatant disregard for ethics. Besides, we aren’t actually trying to kill her, for Pete’s sake. We just want to show the world she’s a mortal by making her bleed, not spreading her internal organs over multiple zip codes.

2. Hire ex-military mercenaries to fly a drone over the Octagon and fire a missile.

Once again, I see a lot of problems, with the main one being the lethality of it. I did say we’re not trying to kill her, right? And how do you expect to survive the missile if you are also in the Octagon with her? This is real life – you have to take into account things like the force of the explosion!

3. Catch a shark, transport it to her house, and leave it in her swimming pool so it can ambush her.

Wow, what a ridiculously heinous plot that wouldn’t work pretty much from the start. Besides, Rousey would punch the shit out of that stupid shark and she’s too busy planning world domination to do regular things like swim in a pool.

*saves it for Donald Trump in case he becomes president*

4. Get someone really chill like Paul Rudd or Amy Poehler to lower Rousey’s guard before kicking her into a deep hole like 300.

That’s actually pretty funny to think about just because it’s so bizarre. Unless that deep hole has some serious padding at the bottom, I’m not digging this one either.

Also, maybe I should clarify: I meant defeat her in the Octagon. Like, officially put a loss in a her record.

5. Get into the ring with her and just avoid her like a boss until time runs out.

This is a very popular hypothetical idea that works well in a vacuum. But if there’s one thing I know about Ronda Rousey (other than us being together forever and ever and ever and ever), it’s that she’s really quite aggressive.

She’s definitely not the type to wait for you to engage first – she’s coming for you. Like, right da fuck now. And if she realizes you’re actively trying to avoid even touching her, I can guarantee she’ll either trap you in a corner or pin you against the fence and pummel you until your head looks like a tomato.

I would certainly be impressed if you actually succeeded with this option, but it’s definitely harder than you think when you consider not only her aggressiveness and skill, but the relatively confined dimensions of the Octagon.

6. Find the woman (or man) of your dreams, make a baby through passionate lovemaking, train the baby before it’s even born to be a fighting machine, continue to train it when it’s born, never stop training it, keep going, almost there… and now the baby is an adult and ready to fight Ronda Rousey.

This is definitely the movie version, but I guess it could also work. My only concern would be the time factor. By the time the baby is grown up, Rousey will probably be pretty old and she’ll also be the Solar System Representative of the Milky Way Galaxy Senate or some shit.

She’ll be a formidable opponent by herself, but she’ll also have hordes of bodyguards and cyborgs as cannon fodder.

Can your baby handle the heat? CAN IT!?!?!?!?

That’s what I thought.

7. Train YOURSELF to be a formidable fighting machine and, through a series of improbable events, find yourself facing off against her.

I hate to break it to ya, but this is a very unrealistic scenario. If you’re even reading this, you’re probably at least sixteen years old, if not older, which means you are far behind in terms of training. Could you catch up, or at least turn into a good fighter?

Sure, it’s possible.

But it won’t be enough. You need another plan.

8. Offer her a bribe to lose on purpose, all the while making sure she at least gives a convincing performance (as in, she looks like she’s trying to win).

I’m not exactly sure what Rousey’s net worth is (when I type her name into Bing it says on the side it’s approximately $5 million), but she is one of UFC’s most well-known fighters and she’s definitely the most famous female fighter right now. Plus, she’s already been in three movies: The Expendables 3, Furious 7, and Entourage, all of which must bring in some kind of money, right?

If you offer her a bribe, it better not be in person because she’ll probably give you a flurry of jabs right in the face until you can’t feel, well, your dang face anymore.

9. Hold one of her family members hostage and blackmail her into losing against you.

Yeah, because you want to turn Ronda Rousey into Liam Neeson’s Taken character. Good luck with that, pal.

10. Realize there’s no stopping her and fully embrace her inevitable rise to power – like Scarface but even better.

ALL HAIL OUR OVERLORD RONDA ROUSEY! ALL HAIL OUR OVERLORD RONDA ROUSEY! ALL HAIL OUR OVERLORD RONDA ROUSEY!

Center Stage: Why an All-Time Lakers Team Beats an All-Time Bulls Team

 

Bulls’ strategy: fire away from the perimeter (and give MJ the damn ball). Lakers’ strategy: feed the big men (and sometimes Kobe so he doesn’t cry).

Before we start, let’s establish what Shaq defined as each team’s all-time lineup (click the link for more background information on this interesting thought exercise – and for the hilarious online feud between Shaq and Scottie Pippen):

BULLS

PG Derrick Rose

SG Michael Jordan

SF Scottie Pippen

PF Dennis Rodman

C Horace Grant

LAKERS

PG Magic Johnson

SG Kobe Bryant

SF Elgin Baylor

PF Shaquille O’Neal

C Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Great. There are two things I notice right away and both things favor the Lakers at first glance. First, I have no idea how Derrick Rose expects to defend Magic Johnson. While Rose is undoubtedly faster, Magic was the ideal height for a freaking small forward, which means his most important skill – passing the rock with his exceptional court vision – would be largely unimpeded.

Of course, Magic might have the easiest job in the world because he gets to play with both Shaq and Kareem at the same time, which leads me to my second point: how in the world do the Bulls expect to defend those two?

While Dennis Rodman and Horace Grant were certainly no slouches, Shaq and Kareem were two of the most unstoppable forces in the paint. The Bulls would have to really pound Kareem and make him want the ball less, giving Shaq more responsibility… which means the Lakers would then take the power route over the finesse route.

Pick your poison, Bulls.

All in all, the only real “advantage” I see here for the Bulls are MJ and Scottie. I think they would do more than enough to at least slow Kobe and Elgin down – I don’t think Elgin faced anybody like Scottie in his career – and we all know Kobe would probably take a couple of really shitty shots because he feels like he’s got something to prove.

So close. Yet so far.

So close. Yet so far.

In the meantime, you could easily see MJ playing at an unprecedented level, especially if fools say stupid things like, “Oh, MJ and Kobe will cancel each other out.”

The last time someone said that, MJ destroyed Clyde Drexler’s career (pretty literally, too). But we have to remember two things: one, MJ is not God or even lowercase god, like the one your wacky Appalachian uncle believes in. Second, the dirty little secret with MJ’s success lies in the fact that he never really faced a ton of truly quality centers on his road to six NBA championships.

When he did face them, he had a lot of trouble because he never played with any notable centers – they would get manhandled by the likes of, you guessed it, Shaq during his Orlando days. Even here, you could say he faces the same problem. Really, the only way the Lakers would have more of an advantage in that regard is if Shaq or Kareem were replaced by someone like Hakeem Olajuwon or Tim Duncan – and that’s debatable.

So even though MJ, Scottie, and Dennis would pound Kobe and Elgin and even Magic, they would have no answer for Shaq and Kareem. Horace Grant would probably end up getting injured or something, poor guy.

Conversely, the Bulls would have to rely on an inordinate amount of perimeter shots. I’m not sure even MJ would be foolish enough to charge into the paint when Shaq and Kareem are waiting… right?

Also, while Rose would definitely get the best of Magic, his fate after getting past that first line of defense would probably be a blocked shot, hasty floater, or a drawn foul. Messy. Magic’s terrible defense was covered up by his excellent frontcourt in the 1980s (just like Tony Parker’s entire career and the exact opposite of Steve Nash’s), so you could expect the same effect here.

Rose also isn’t a very consistent shooter and that was true even during his MVP season. Jordan in his prime actually probably had a less accurate three than later on when his athleticism started to slowly slip (which is why a more in-depth analysis would also ask which year you’re taking each player from). Scottie was also known more for his defense and “jack of all trades” ability than anything he brought offensively.

I don’t know if I trust those three to bang home enough shots, and that’s without factoring what Kobe and Elgin bring defensively. Even though Kobe’s defensive prowess has long been overstated, if we’re conceding everyone is in their prime, then Kobe was definitely a worthy defender. He would give MJ everything he has and you can’t tell me Kobe in his prime facing his biggest adversary wouldn’t bring the same things to the table defensively as guys like Gary Payton and John Starks did when they were tasked with defending Jordan.

As for Elgin, I can’t say I know a lot about him, but I do know he had a reputation for being incredibly strong for his size and being an excellent shooter, rebounder, and passer. If he’s matched up with Scottie, I think he would also do enough to slow Scottie down (because again, it’s not like Scottie was a prolific scorer to begin with).

Of course, the whole argument I’m supporting is that it’s all about the centers, which makes the backcourts almost entirely irrelevant. The Lakers have a clear advantage both offensively and defensively at the frontcourt – hell, I didn’t even talk about how Rodman and Grant (to a lesser extent) would be such a liability on offense – which means the Lakers win in the end.

Having said that, if this is one game – winner takes all the glory – I wouldn’t give up on MJ. He’s not a god, but he’s fucking MJ.

On the other hand, if this is like a series (five games, seven games, whatever), then I think the Lakers win in the end. MJ might steal a couple of games on his own, but Shaq and Kareem would just be too much.

Finally, Shaq said an all-time Lakers team would win by fifty points. We all know that part’s just stupid. Last grievances include his actual definition of each team’s all-time lineups. I initially thought Joakim Noah was designated as Chicago’s center, but apparently Horace Grant has more of Shaq’s attention.

That’s too bad, because I would easily take someone with a higher defensive ceiling in exchange for sacrificing some offense based on the context of the lineups.

As for the Lakers, they have had so many great players play for them, so I suppose it’s understandable why someone like Wilt Chamberlain would be off the lineup. I’m sure he’d come off the bench. Maybe.

When I was talking to my buddy Keyon, he initially thought I was high on crack when I said an all-time Lakers team would win. Then he thought about it for literally half a second then flipped. He brought up Magic’s advantage over Rose then said the dreaded line “MJ and Kobe would cancel each other out.”

I accidentally said Joakim Noah was Chicago’s center and Keyon said something interesting: what if the Bulls had Tyson Chandler instead? Hmm… if we include players who played for the Bulls and the Lakers even when they weren’t in their primes, guys like Gary Payton, Karl Malone, Dwight Howard, and Ben Wallace come into the picture.

It’s an interesting idea, and this is where I leave you to ponder. Also there might be a second part. Maybe.

Madden NFL Mobile: Saying Farewell and Some Lasting Lessons

I’m finally irrevocably bored with the game. Maybe I’ll tune in next season, but in the meantime…

NOTE: THIS IS LAST YEAR’S GAME. FOR THIS YEAR’S (2015-2016), CLICK HERE.

Last time I talked about the game, I was unsure whether I could make more improvements to a team that was already loaded as heck. As it turns out, I did make some moves, and you can see the lineup here.

If you’ve been following my progress, you’ll notice the pictures you can see without clicking on any links seem to indicate an inferior team than even the one from my last post. Where’s Bruce Smith? Where are all the Positional Heroes?

Well, I got so bored, I destroyed that team and actually built a Falcons team and then the one you see now. That was fun for a little bit, especially combining Anthony Davis with Bruce Miller to create a formidable blocking duo for Faulk.

And the deep ball was never more fun to throw, as Megatron and Vincent Jackson went up and got it almost every single time.

But the game has gotten boring once again so I’m deleting it from my tablet. Maybe I’ll revisit next season. Maybe not (okay, I definitely will). Meanwhile, I have some final lessons I’ve learned through the process of suddenly playing with “weaker” teams after my peak team.

The Middle Linebacker

Both in real life and in the game, the MLB is one of the most important players on the field. Playing with shitty guys (who shall remain unnamed) was so awful, I ended up rebuying 99 Jack Lambert who has excellent play recognition.

A truly great middle linebacker will be a master controller, wreaking havoc against halfbacks and cleaning up any leaks on outside runs. While Lambert is slow and his coverage stats are poor, that play recognition is insanely important.

In the words of many players, “He always seems to be at the right place at the right time.”

His AH value is low right now too after the release of 99 MM Jack Lambert, so be sure to pick him up if you’ve got the coins to spare – he’ll absolutely be worth it.

Numbers CAN Lie

Speaking of stats, let’s talk about 99 Lawrence Taylor (standard, not MM). This is another player whose skills transcend what his stats imply, and the problem is that we don’t get to see all the stats in-game. You would have to go to a website like Muthead (linked above for my peak lineup), which shows complete stats.

And Lawrence Taylor is another beast. Blitzing is a finicky creature on the mobile game, and honestly it never seems to have the impact it should. But Taylor is a beast who slices through and around the offensive line at will and makes tackles very consistently. He is also inexplicably good at covering wide receivers and has gotten me a nice number of interceptions.

But deceptive stats are probably the most frustrating at the wide receiver positions. As it turns out, height is a huge factor (which I was skeptical of before), and a guy like Vincent Jackson is actually better than higher rated players for deep lobs. CIT (catch in traffic) is also very important, since most passes will be, well, in relatively tight coverage.

That means a guy like Andre Johnson is really good, especially for the slot position.

So remember: height and CIT are just as important as the regular catch rating, the jump rating, and things like speed and awareness.

Primary Secondary

It turns out your secondary might be more important than you ever realized. If you have a solid MLB and everybody else is decent, your front is pretty much fine. It’s your final line of defense – your cornerbacks and safeties – that have a bigger impact.

If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. After all, how many times do you give up long rushing touchdowns? With passing, all bets are off, and that’s why you need good cornerbacks and especially good safeties.

So yep, you guessed it: PH Harrison Smith and MM Ronnie Lott are two of the best bangs you can get for your buck, which is why I bought them again as well. Smith is an interception machine sent from the future to terrify today’s quarterbacks. Lott doesn’t get as many, although he’s a ferocious hitter and an excellent pursuit monster.

My cornerbacks aren’t the best, obviously, but I always wanted to try out Deangelo Hall (remember, I’m a Falcons fan). He gives up way more passes than his stats would imply – disappointing. I think picking good cornerbacks is both harder and easier than you think. Sometimes you just go with the “best” players like PH Vontae Davis and even PH Patrick Peterson.

But then you’ll see them give up yards on gimmick plays and question your choices. Just remember: even the best players make mistakes sometimes. You know, like MJ disappearing for three years of his prime to suck dick at baseball. That kind of thing.

Defensive Ends and Defensive Tackles: Meh

As I said above, your frontline is good if they’re consistent. I cannot emphasize this enough. I ended up with Honors JJ Watt and TOTY Mario Williams. They performed at a higher level than MM Bruce Smith and PH JPP. I can’t explain why – it just happened. Ditto for my defensive tackles… even the gold player, who always held on and made a number of big plays in the opponent’s backfield.

I suppose it’s important to point out once again that I don’t play H2H. But still, the discrepancy in performance between my peak lineup and my final lineup was negligible at best. So save your coins and focus on what’s important!

That’s That

So yeah, people. I’m done with the game. And yes, if I think of something else, I’ll update this post. Have fun playing and remember this absolute truth: GET JACK LAMBERT NOW!

Madden NFL Mobile: The Final Roster Update?

With a roster like this, I’m not sure I have the resources to get the players even better than the ones I already have.

NOTE: THIS IS LAST YEAR’S GAME. FOR THIS YEAR’S (2015-2016), CLICK HERE.

So here we are. It’s been a month since the last update and how things have changed. In early March, I was bemoaning the lack of opportunities to improve my already decent roster without using real money. It’s the middle of April now and I’m almost on the verge of having 99 problems like my friend, Jay-Z.

I’ve already done the job of replacing 99 Aaron Rodgers because his deep ball was oddly flat, often resulting in unnecessary interceptions or incompletions. So far, 99 Tom Brady has been doing well, and Rodgers’ physical superiority over Brady has been largely irrelevant thanks to the game’s continued lack of a scrambling option for quarterbacks (which is also why 99 Michael Vick ain’t so hot anymore).

My offensive line is trash. But the best linemen are super expensive. Damn!

This is going to be a pretty short post, unless I decide to update it later. I’ve already talked about a lot of problems with the game in my previous two pieces about Madden NFL Mobile. It’s just a shame everything is going to be erased sometime during the summer when the game inevitably resets itself for the upcoming new season.

My general blasé attitude is precisely because of that fact: Madden NFL Mobile is not forever. It will, at some point, reset and everybody will have to start over again. Is that the best idea? Maybe not. Does it make sense? Only on a superficial level.

Honestly, the only positive is that it keeps the game interesting. If EA allowed people to keep their players year after year, not only would there be too many super teams, but the ceiling on a team would become very reachable.

The best we can hope for is improvements – improvements that may never come because EA is EA. But we can hope. Because hope is a good thing.

I hope special teams actually matters in the next game.

I hope special teams actually matters in the next game.

For viable upgrades to my team, I can see myself getting another 99 CB and maybe a better 99 QB – the Positional Heroes, as they’re called. I already have, what, seven Positional Heroes? What’s two more?

This is sort of irrelevant, but I’ve been thinking about the insanity that would occur if a team quietly went into the offseason and free agency, didn’t make much news, then started the preseason with an absolutely ridiculous team.

I mean, can you imagine if the Atlanta Falcons actually had a team like this? People’s minds would be blown! They might not even have to filter artificial crowd noise throughout the stadium!

It’s just funny, I guess.

Here’s a June 2015 update.