Every week, the International Blogtable brings together some of the best basketball minds from around the world, posing a burning question to writers and editors from the NBA's fleet of international web destinations. It's a BIG world, after all.
Mike Woodson wants J.R. Smith to be a pro. Your choice for the ultimate pro?
I'm not saying anything groundbreaking here, it has to be Chris Paul. He's just about the best leader we have in the NBA and he makes others better around him. You never hear him call out teammates or say anything negative against the brand. He's pretty good on court too, and is one of the most consistent performers in the league.
First off, let me take this opportunity to remember Cheri O'Teri's classic line on SNL and say everybody needs to SIMMER DOWN NOW! about J.R. The guy tries to mess around with some guys and untie their shoes and everybody loses their minds! It's basketball, it's all fun and games. It's ok to let the guys play a little. Jarrett Jack threw Dorrell Wright's shoe to the stands last season and nobody made a fuss about it. Now, about that ultimate pro, I would go with Shane Battier. He is always regarded as one of those glue guys, he follows the blueprint set by his coaches, great leader, doesn't complain about minutes, doesn't ask for trades, knows his role... Has to be him, in my opinion.
KG is that kind of person. 12 years in Minnesota, 20+10+5 for numerous seasons -- we've seen him do it all. He never complains, and gets himself ready for every night. He's an old-school player. I have no doubt about the (now) old saying that every coach wants Kevin Garnett on the team. You can't find another player who made all of his teammates and coaches love him so much, while making his opponents hate him the same way.
I've always been a fan of Nick Collison. He's a hard worker, never complains and always says the right things. Also he is very active in the community. He is a natural leader on and off the court.
In my mind the word "pro" goes hand-by-hand with one name, that of Ray Allen. He is the finest expression of professionalism. He works hard, takes care of his body, adapts to any kind of role, plays for the team and provides a perfect example for every young athlete. I've never seen him argue with a coach. He's just always played at the highest level of intensity and concentration. It's like watching a Bruce Lee film: he seems both calm and intense at the same time. And just remember that I haven't even taken under consideration how good of basketball player he really is.
Kevin Garnett, without a doubt. The Big Ticket is enduring the worst season of his 19-year, Hall-of-Fame career, but you cannot question his commitment even now. You can constantly see him cheering the Nets from the sidelines, high-fiving, back-slapping his teammates with the same intensity and passion as if this were his rookie season with the Timberwolves. I’d go in to battle with this guy.
Tim Duncan. The way he's taken care of his body has impressed me all throughout his career. He is still yearning to get one more championship -- all he's won is still not enough to him.
Tim Duncan is the model player for every aspiring NBA athlete, even though he is regarded as one of the best players of all time, the Big Fundamental keeps his head and ego down and works as hard as the 12th man off the bench. He willingly gave up the reigns to Tony Parker on offense and does everything Pop asks him to do and then some, a player of his caliber that gives inspiring leadership to his team is the ultimate pro for me.