Editor’s Note – Bubba has blossomed. I cried after reading this piece. Yesterday, he never wrote. And today, he writes so well.
For the purposes of this comparison there are two things which are of note. First, we have selected two players from every team. The criterion for selecting the two has been on the basis of performances. So the two most prolific performers of every team have been selected to have NBA comparisons. Secondly, the comparisons have nothing to do with how similar someone looks to another NBA player. They are based, as far as possible, on the on court behaviour of the players. So here we go, NLUD stars, NBA edition! (Do leave your views or any other comparisons for any players that come to your mind in the comments section below!)
Aditya Prakash – Dwayne Wade
As much as Adi would love being called the Mamba incarnate, I’m going to have to go with D Wade here. Primarily because Adi is still not that selfish when it comes to scoring. He tends to involve his teammates in the play and has a decent number of assists. Moreover his slashing and cutting is also reminiscent of a younger Dwayne Wade as opposed to the cold blooded shooting of the Black Mamba. He has a cool head on his shoulders and can pace his team either through scoring or creating additional looks for the rest of the team. Plus he also shares Wade’s affinity for high efficiency shots around the rim rather than settle for low percentage jump shots. One of the most creative finishers when it comes to driving to the basket, Adi can hang with the best of them.
Abhinav Lilothia – Jeff Green
Abhinav fits the mould for Jeff Green perfectly. He is a very good secondary scorer and thrives on looks inside the free throw line. A big, burly presence inside the paint, he grabs a decent number of rebounds and can defend passably as well. And just like Jeff Green he is highly inconsistent on offence. Abhinav has the potential to do two things – light up the scoreboard to the tune of 20 odd points on a highly efficient catch and shoot game around the basket. Or he can commit a ton of 3 second violations and essentially just disappear on the offensive end. He’s not a first option on scoring but can put up a bunch of points if someone is willing to lead the team and create for him. Like Jeff Green he also shows the ability to defend in the post while being quick enough to handle perimeter duties at time. All he needs is a green jersey now to go with that arm sleeve of his!
NOTHING BUT NET
Sanjeev Kumar – Ricky Rubio
With a penchant for terrorizing ball handlers on defence and dishing out dime after dime on offence, Sanjeev is our resident Spaniard Ricky Rubio. In terms of pass first point guards in the NBA, Rubio is one of the first names to come to your mind. He has phenomenal court vision and is extremely quick on the defensive end. Pretty much the same as Sanjeev. Over the last year and a half, he has improved tremendously. His defence and hustle ensure that his team gets a number of fast break opportunities. On the offensive end, apart from the passing, Sanjeev also has a nifty floater that he uses extremely well. Though not very creative at finishes, he still converts layups at a decently high rate. Primarily left handed, he has slowly developed his ability to go right while dribbling, make him harder to cover. However, his jumper is still almost as dysfunctional as Rubio’s, which lends more credence to this comparison.
Aakarsh Nashier – Rudy Gay (Raptors Version) with Dwight Howard’s Free Throw percentage
When you are dealing with a player as enigmatic as Aakarsh, obviously, one player is not enough to categorize him. So we had to take an amalgamation of the old avatar of swingman Rudy Gay and the dismal free throw shooting of Dwight Howard. One thing about Aakarsh you can’t deny is that he is athletic and really fast. That gives him the ability to drive in and contort his body in weird positions to finish plays at the basket. He also surpasses Gay in the fact that he has dunked on a rim and broken it. His athleticism also ensures he’s more than competent while defending at the perimeter. Alas, that’s where the good ends. Just like Gay at Raptors, Aakarsh is a highly ball dominating player. He needs the ball in his hands to be effective and once he gets it, he’s more loathe to part with it than Smaug was with his treasure. He will put his head down, rush into a wall of three defenders, lose the ball, jump around and howl in frustration, possibly even punch the post. But he will under no circumstances pass. His shooting also leaves a lot to be desired. He has the range to hit deep shots but the problem is he hits them at a rate lower than his points per game. Rudy Gay, a volume scorer with efficiency numbers so bad that he banned box scores from the Raptors locker room, is the perfect fit for him. Aakarsh has the dynamic ability to swing the game in a matter of minutes. For either side. From going on a blinding scoring run to suffering meltdowns like those against Suttadhari Ravans and Dunking Donuts, he is a true game changer. As for the free throws, just ask him what happened against ITM at Bhopal, at your own risk of course. If not that, just see the look on his face the next time he has to shoot free throws.
Wangdi Bhutia – Anthony Davis
Admittedly, he doesn’t have the unibrow, but Wangdi does everything that the young stud from New Orleans is capable of doing. A two way presence to be reckoned with, Wang provides a heady dose of efficiency and creativity. Wang is a very good rebounder, thanks to his athleticism. It is this very athleticism which makes both him and Anthony Davis such unique players. Even though he has the game and role of a front court player, Wang handles the ball like a guard. He is quick and crafty in his drives while also having the ability to shoot the ball from all over the floor. He is also comfortable in the post and can consistently get his shot over defenders after creating space. This dual offensive ability makes him really hard to defend. That and the fact that his elbows and shoulders hurt a lot! On the defensive end, he is not as prolific a shot blocker as the Brow, but he is still a good defensive player. He is just prone to fouling a little too much, a trait which was sought to be exploited by many teams in the league. A little more discipline on defence and Wang will be even more dangerous than now.
Sagar BM – Nick Young
There is no other player in college who hoists up shots with as much gay abandon as Sagar. Whether they are falling or not is not his concern. He will shoot if he sees as much a sliver of opportunity to do so. That’s our Swaggy P for you. Just like Young, Sagar is a high risk-high reward offensive weapon. On good days he just refuses to miss (like the 4th quarter 12 point outburst against Dunking Donuts). On bad days, he is capable of totally misfiring (like drawing a blank in the next game). Inconsistency aside, Sagar is a delight to watch at times, with range which extends to the 3 point line and quickness which enables him to cut in and hit layups. He also has the ability to drive in, though his rail thin frame makes him vulnerable against physical defending. That is not to say he takes this lying down. Negi found this out the hard way when she cleverly tried to pseudo punch/slap him on the nose and was shell shocked at his loud outburst. However his bulk or the lack thereof, is an actual problem while defending as people tend to post him up, with the end being a battered Sagar clutching his chest. Our version of Swaggy P is comparable to him in talent. I just hope he has an awesome moment like this before he leaves college.
Parag Chahal – Dwight Howard
Ability to dominate scoring inside the paint? Check. Grabbing all rebounds that come his way? Check. Devastating a player with insanely big blocks? Double check. That’s Parag in a nutshell for you. Just like Dwight Howard in his prime, Parag is a nightmare for the opposite team inside the paint on both ends of the floor. His ability to impact the game is unique in the way that he can change a game simply by rebounding. That’s because most of his rebounds result in easy buckets for himself. However, his game is not limited to just going in and bulldozing people in the post. Parag is also a threat on breakaway plays. He can dribble the ball quickly up the court and his terrifying momentum makes taking a charge the stupidest decision of all times. He is also a capable passer which makes his team offensively more versatile. However his biggest passing strength lies in delivering really fast, really accurate outlet passes to start a break. For a great comparison as to how deadly those passes are, take a look at Kevin Love’s outlet passes (the old school people may remember Wes Unseld).with his ability to stop the other team on one end and kick-start the offence for his side with amazing passes or simply bulldozing his way to the basket, Parag is our very own Superman.
Anurag Goswami – Gordon Hayward
Just like the young swingman from Utah Jazz, Anurag has the ability to do everything competently. He runs on offence, can pass, defends decently well and can shoot. He does nothing spectacularly well, but all these little things add up to a lot together. That makes him, just like Hayward, one of the best glue guys in a team. Asking him to shoulder the load of leading a team might not be the best option. But pair him with another good player, like The Rebounders did with Parag, and you have a potent 1-2 punch. On offence, he has one of the quickest releases I have seen in the college, enabling him to punish the defence instantaneously if they leave him open even for a second. He is also a pesky on ball defender and his ability to run tirelessly also makes him a good off ball defender. However, his shortcomings are also similar to Hayward. Primarily, it’s his decision making. When under pressure, he is prone to committing turnovers, mostly through bad passes. Also he is not the most efficient scorer out there and can at times jack up unnecessary shots. However, these problems can be overcome and do not for a moment overshadow his great potential and skills.
Maanas Vibhu – Paul Pierce
The grand old man of NLUD hoops is just like one of the savvy NBA veterans in Paul Pierce. Like the Truth, Maanas has been around since forever and has been performing at a high level throughout. They also share the same role in a team – that of a veteran leader and the player around who plays are designed. “Uncle” is one of the most versatile offensive weapons in the college. He can do it all on that end of the floor. With his dribble drive lay ups, pull up jump shots, catch and shoot, the fancy between the legs layup and his inexplicable one handed three pointers, there’s no denying the fact that Maanas presents handful to the opposing defence. Like Pierce, he has made a living out of hitting big shots, especially around the perimeter. When he’s knocking them down, seemingly nothing can stop him (ask those who saw our college play against Fergusson at Spiritus ’12). Age and weight have slowed him down a bit recently but you cannot ignore him on the court. Doing so is just an invitation to get burned. Because Maanas still gets buckets as easily as he cleans up a plate of south Indian food from Sarvottam.
Arshu John – Paul Millsap
Just like his NBA counterpart Paul Millsap, Arshu provides a steady dose of athletic plays and a lot of good ‘ol rebounds. He is just one of those players who at sight seem to be built to play inside the paint and dominate the interior proceedings. I have already mentioned the rebounding. Arshu is also perhaps one of the best finishers around the basket in college after taking contact. This ability lets him draw loads of fouls while going in for layups. It’s a pity that he doesn’t shoot a higher percentage of his free throws. Like Millsap, his offensive game does not extend much beyond the mid range. He is capable of shooting threes but does so at a low percentage and not very often. He is the type of player who thrives on back door cuts to the basket or simply driving in and finishing through contact. On defence, while not really a rim protector, he has the capability to alter shots due to his unnaturally long arms and jumping ability. However, he is a bit prone to fouling, especially early in the game. Like Millsap, he is one of the under-appreciated players in our college capable of both putting up points in bunches as well preventing them. Now, if only he can do that off the backboard thing without missing them often.
CHIN CHIN CHU
Shrutanjaya Bhardwaj – Kevin Durant
No. This has nothing to do with the fact that Sattu has a Durant jersey/t-shirt which he wears to class instead of the court. It has more to do with the fact that like the Durantula, he is an unstoppable scoring machine. He can score from anywhere, anytime and over anyone. It’s an exercise in futility trying to defend him (as the Dunking Donuts found out in the finals) when he is on a roll. Plus he’s done something that KD has not managed to do until now – drop 76 points in a match. That feat also ensured that unlike Durant, Sattu has a championship to his name. Now that may not have been true if Sattu was only good offensively. But he tends to be above par at defence as well. I think a lot of it has to do with a drive to succeed and dominate rather than pure natural talent. In my short time of playing, I have only ever seen Sattu run at full sprint from half court to stop a fast break layup, even if he knows he’ll never reach in time. Sometimes he does, leading to LeBron James-esque chase down blocks (yeah, I suffered one in the finals). I think it’s this intensity that ensures that he dominates the court whenever he steps on it. This intensity is shared by KD, though I think it reminds me of Kevin Garnett more (fitting, considering Sattu loves the Celtics). The only possible thing you could accuse him of is being selfish at times. But as long as he keeps on scoring, no one complains anyway. And finally, just like Durant, even though it was never declared officially, I think Sattu was the league MVP.
Somil Kumar – Thabo Sefolosha
Amazingly, this was the comparison behind which I had to put the most amount of thought. Because of Somil’s unique and limited skill set, a true comparison is hard to find. I thought of Anthony Morrow, but that would never be enough. I switched to Danny Green, but let’s not even start on how ludicrous that is. So after a long time running over rosters I settled for the OKC shooting guard. There are a lot of similarities between the two, starting mostly at the defensive end. Despite being on the heavier side, Somil has shown surprising aptitude for defence. He moves well with the player and unless they’re really speedy, he’s quick to smother them on the perimeter. Sefolosha is also a former all defensive 2nd team selection and has kept up decent levels of defence. On the offensive end, both are extremely limited. Though they fancy taking outside shots, neither of them shoots the ball particularly well. Somil has developed a nice little floater which he uses from time to time but it is still some time away from being effective. For all their limitations at the offensive end, they still provide value to the team by being constant threats at the 3 point line. In Chin Chin Chu, despite his consistent inconsistency (:p) Somil was the most productive player outside of Sattu. He may not be the best second option there is, but he can thrive on easy looks and some smart defending.
Editor’s Note – While he did not do it, I think its only fair that I add his own name to this list and see who he is similar to – Since, I am nowhere near as knowledgeable as Bubba on the subject, I will shamelessly copy from Bleacher Report.
Just sub the word Bubba for Blatche. There is no denying Blatche’s sheer talent; he is a very capable scorer and rebounder when he wants to be thanks to his solid jump shot and polished skill set, in 2010-11, he averaged an impressive 16.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. However, Blatche has never maximized his physical abilities, often taking poor, low-quality shots and not looking to attack the basket. In addition, despite being a passable shot-blocker, Blatche puts forth little to no effort on the defensive end of the court. Beyond his actual performance on the court, Blatche often struggled to stay in shape during the regular season. For a player of his talents to not fully commit to the game physically is incredibly disappointing, as he has all the skill necessary to be a dominant player (unless playing Parag or Sattu) but seems incapable of putting the pieces together himself.
Thompson had about 16% of his shots blocked. Bubba, er, gets blocked a lot. This is like saying that ISIS are a minor setback to Iraqi democracy. But Bubba does have the tendency to light up some games and his free throws efficiency is the best in the league. If only he could be a little less lazy.