If you’re attempting to explain just how wacky and out of sorts the 2013-14 NBA season has been, look no further than the highest single-game performances of the year. Sure, Kevin Durant has scored 40+ points 13 times, but you know who else has eclipsed the 40-mark? Terrance Ross, Corey Brewer, Kyrie Irving, Aaron Afflalo, Jodie Meeks, Michael Thornton, Rudy Gay, Kyrie Irving for a second time, Gerald Green, Trevor Ariza, Nick Young, DeMar DeRozan, and did I mention Kyrie Irving?
So with that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that not a single candidate from last season returned to the Hot Coals Class of 2013-14. In fact, outside of Kyle Korver (who fell short due to injury), each inductee simply lost their prominent roles; Carlos Delfino was out for the year, Ryan Anderson failed to bounce back from an early injury, Steve Novak lost minutes, and Matt Bonner split time with Pattis Milliaw.
(If the last paragraph flew right over your head, you should probably start here. Of course, I realize a majority of you won’t click that, so I’ll include the criterion below.)
When the Mavs traded for Devean George some time ago, one particular part of his game stood out immediately. “Does he ever shoot near the paint?,” my buddy Corey asked one night, stone-faced. What seemed like a dumb question at the time actually made total sense. “It’s like he thinks anything inside the arc is on fire,” Corey continued, thus giving birth to the Hot Coals guys.
And in actuality, being named to the All-Hot-Coals team requires the same amount of effort (or lack thereof) it took to create in the first place.
- No shot from deep can shock you. Senior-Year Jimmer, we’re looking at you.
- Even if the stats fail to back him up, it must, at the least, seem as if 98% of said player’s shots are from 3-point range.
- Whether he’s 13-13 or 1-11 from the field, a true Hot Coals guy will undoubtedly shoot during his next open look. In fact, the committee grades higher when a nominee is pretty much awful (keep being you, Mullens!).
- Candidates cannot be considered elite or even above-average (with sincere apologies to Curry and Lilliard.) (Because of this nagging qualification, the committee has been reviewing Antoine Walker’s resume for years.)
- A large volume of attempts from directly under the basket does not effect the candidate either way. As the committee once intelligently decided: “It’s like they’re running on a bed of coals, dunking a ball, and running out the other side.”
And with that, here are your 2013-14 Hot Coals inductees.
Resume: First among all starters with a 58% eFG, 56.7% of all FGA came from 3P, 45.2% 3P
Every offensive juggernaut hinges on an efficient leader under helm and that’s exactly what Calderon has brought to Dallas. Rarely settling for mid-range jumpers, the PNR messiah has made a living setting up from the corner or kicking-out after picks in order to shoot from the key. Having said that, it’s no surprise the Mavs have been outscored by 184 points when Calderon sits this season, per NBA.com. Sure, he plays little to no defense, but he clearly opens the floor for others.
Most importantly, however, is his outside shooting, which single-handedly landed him a spot on this year’s All-Hot-Coals team.
Or maybe it was his Spanish meat farm. Whatever.
Resume: DON’T GIVE A FUCK
As the captain of the 2013-14 Hot Coals squad, J-Smoove pieced together the perfect season (according to the committee’s standards, anyways.) He reluctantly launched from 27-feet with every given opportunity, shot an atrocious 26.4% from beyond the arc, averaged only 1.2 PPG from pull-up shots, and dazzled in his fair share of moments spent directly underneath the basket. Furthermore, when put next to Monroe and Drummond, he became the complete opposite of what any coach would want on defense. He went from a coveted free agent to the most overpriced Irrationally Confident shooter in the league in the most spectacular of ways and for that, Smith, we thank you.
Resume: 65% of total FGA came from beyond the arc, AVG 6.1 3PA in April
Though considered a late bloomer, the Bosnian Bird (it needs to catch on) did all the right things. He basically perfected the corner-three attempt, firing just over 60% of his 3-pointers from either the left or right key. Plus, Wang Zhi-zhi needs a foreign successor.
Resume: A lost season didn’t force him to lose a beat, Might be a zombie
Having missed the entire 2012-13 season due to an irregular heartbeat, Frye responded in the most fiery of ways. Not only did he already surpass his previous career-high of games played, he need only 19 more 3PA to smash that withstanding-record (439) as well. Capped off with his 55% 3PA ratio, Frye’s resume for the All-Hot-Coals team is serviceable, if not solid.
Oh, and did I mention he was dead?? No, really. The committee even elected him into the Shrine of Our Fallen Brothers (the Hot Coals HOF) last season. He was basically one hoodie and mic away from shouting, “DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK.”
Since this is the first instance of a player being forced to retire only to suddenly rehabilitee himself into playing form, I’m not sure what to do. For now, I guess, we’ll gladly dub him a Hot Coals guy, all the while cautiously forcing Michael Redd to wait until 2014-15 for his HOF nomination.
Resume: Prospered in an advantageous situation, 6.1 3PA per game is currently ranked 13th in the league
The final spot was admittedly a toss-up between Gerald Green and Foye. Upon further review, however, Green was disqualified for doing stuff. I mean, he was getting serious considerations as sixth-man of the year for nearly half a season until the Bledsoe injury vaulted him into the Suns starting lineup. Foye, on the other hand, had never reached that point prior to the Lawson injury. In fact, the Denver guard managed to average 5.3 3PA per game even before his trusty point guard went down.
Still not convinced on the Foye selection? Well, when that ankle got the best of Lawson, Foye spent the next month averaging 7.8 3PA per game, good for first in the league during that span.
Like everything else this season, that should come as no surprise.