As we continue into the second round of the playoffs a few things happen. Fanbases see their dreams crushed. Epic games are played. Superstars prove their worth and unsung heroes come out of nowhere. The number of teams shrink from 16 to 8. The sense of urgency and intensity go up a million. And certain players start to get really annoying. Every year, the longer the playoffs go on, the more you see those players who just bug the hell out of you. And that’s what this list is about, the 8 players–one from each team remaining–who just get under your skin and make you want to curse at the screen on sight. Now notice there’s a difference between annoying and villain status. These aren’t quite the Bill Laimbeer’s of the world, but they are mighty close. Robert Horry…that was a playoff villain. Michael Jordan…playoff villain and if you don’t think so ask any New York Knick fan. For instance, since this is a Blazer site I’d probably guess Joel Przybilla gets under the skin of a lot of other teams fans. I’m sure he annoyed the hell out of Rocket fans over the past couple weeks. We love the hell out of him. Let’s take a look at my list of the 8 guys who I absolutely want to punch in the face everytime they come on my screen.
- Los Angeles: Sasha Vujacic
Come on now this is just too easy. The hair. The uber girl hair net. The nickname. The fact that everytime there is a call he complains. Every. Single. Time. His reaction when he makes a shot or when he misses a shot. The fact that he looks exactly like Rafael Nadal minus any sort of coolness to him. Even Adam Morrison wanted to fight him and Adam Morrison is nearly in ‘Boy I sure am glad I’m still in the NBA’ mode. Sasha just bothers me with all of his unnecessary dramatic tendencies. Lamar Odom is close behind because…well…he’s Lamar Odom and if you don’t know why I would find Odom annoying…YouTube ‘lamar odom blazers’ and then get back at me. Not to mention his jumping for joy during Kobe’s black-and-white commerical. Drives me up the wall everytime.
- Houston: Von Wafer
This was a tough one seeing as how the Rockets just bounced Portland from the playoffs. They definitely aren’t my favorite team right now. It was really hard not to go with Luis Scola here, but I respect his game. Von Wafer on the other hand….no, no, no. You might ask yourself…Von Wafer? What’s so annoying about that guy? What annoys me about Von Wafer is his swag. He carries himself like he’s not Von f’n Wafer. Seriously, it’s like he wakes up in the morning and doesn’t remember that he’s Von f’n Wafer. Apparently he avoids mirrors which would remind him that he’s Von Wafer. He has no conscious on the court and I guess I should applaud it but sheesh louise I can’t. It was like Ryan Hollins trying to get the ‘pump-fake, get the defender to jump in the air, jump into him’ foul and the referees nearly openly laughing at him. Von Wafer should not have swag. No, no, no. Yet I’m sure if I brought in someone who had never seen basketball and showed them how Von Wafer carried himself they would think he was the best player on the Rockets. He absolutely bothers me in every single way.
- Denver: Chris Andersen
I actually respect the Birdman. Today watching the Nuggets/Mavericks game, I could see why Denver fans love him. He plays hard, leaves it all on the floor and swats nearly everything that comes his way. But, the careening and posing after every block is a bit much. The hair, the headband and the tattoos. Annoying. I still remember when he blocked Rudy in Denver this year and ran his hand through his hair….yikes. Definitely an easy target not to like. JR Smith’s swag can get up there and Kenyon Martin’s existence, but other than that the Nuggets aren’t too bad in the annoying department.
- Dallas: Jason Terry
He makes this list only because of how talented he is. What I’ve learned about the Jet is that he is going to go off on you at some point. Generally in the 4th quarter. Seriously, he’s annoying because of the fact that in the 4th quarter you know he is making big shots. Seriously. You know the type of guy that when you watch the ball get rotated to him you just start shaking your head…and he hasn’t even put the shot up yet. That’s Jason Terry. Maybe I’m saying this because he enjoys torturing the Blazers but when he gets going I just want to scream. I’m cool with Dirk as long as he stays away from the Hasslehoff love. Ditto with Jason Kidd, although I’m a bit worried because we haven’t seen his son (or that moustache) for years.
- Boston: Big Baby Davis
There is no need for words.
- Orlando: Stan Van Gundy
Hands down it’s SVG. I know he’s not a player, but man his antics drive me up the wall. He bites his nails on the sideline during a game?!?! He looks like he’s having a panic attack all the time. Watch a Magic/Celtics game and tell me SVG doesn’t bug you. I defy you to tell me that. Come on now.
- Atlanta: Zaza Pachulia
I wanted to put in Josh Smith for his horrendous body language, but you can’t ignore Zaza. Ever since he decided to go mano y mano with KG last year I’ve just shaken my head when I see him. How can you not be irked by Zaza Pachulia? Seriously.
- Cleveland: Joe Smith
I will admit that this Cavs team is pretty likeable. Varejao is too easy of a target in this kind of list, and to be honest he doesn’t really bother me besides the flopping. Big Z has that weird Andre the Giant-type likeability about him. Delonte West is just flat out entertaining, even if at times he looks like a meth addict with herpes. So I’m going with Joe Smith, simply based on the fact he raps and his rap name is Joe Beast. Joe Smith, the most disappointing #1 pick that everyone forgets about calls himself Joe Beast. Un. Real.
And that’s my list. Thoughts? Any others I missed?