ugg boots sale uk Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kay Felder and the rise of the NBA’s little men
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio Kay Felder, like those who preceded him and couldn’t reach 6 feet on a tape measure without standing on tiptoe, is a little big man.
Dustin Hoffman survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn in the movie of that name. A 5 9, 175 pounder like Felder surviving in the NBA is seemingly a triumph against only slightly shorter odds.
Occasionally, such players become big stars, even in the NBA, in which coaches often jovially say, “You can’t teach height,” and in which such lumbering hulks as 7 4 Mark Eaton and 7 7 Gheorghe Muresan were gainfully employed.
Nate “Tiny” Archibald at 6 1 is the only player ever to lead the NBA in both assists and scoring in one season.
Isiah Thomas, 5 9, a current Boston Celtics player, scored 52 points the other day. But he is four inches shorter than the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons.
Usually, the mighty mites are more like Cleveland Central Catholic’s Earl Boykins, a 5 5 journeyman who had two tours with the Cavaliers and played for a decade with several teams in the NBA as a change of pace player.
Five foot three Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues was the shortest player ever to play in the NBA. Although Bogues once stripped the ball from 7 foot Patrick Ewing as Ewing went up to shoot and was credited with a blocked shot, it was unclear whom Bogues, in tribute to his nickname, could mug.
Possible victims include the “Brownie” mascot of the allegedly professional tackle football team in Cleveland, or maybe Will Ferrell in the movie “Elf.”
Bogues supposedly dunked in warmups a few times, although it is undocumented.
It is part of the mystique of Felder, who played in the Horizon League for Oakland University in suburban Detroit, that he has a 44 inch vertical leap and ran the three quarters court sprint in a time somewhere between a hand clapped to forehead in dismay and the time keeper saying, “There must be something wrong with this watch.”
Felder’s recent success as a Cavaliers’ rookie is yet another effect of basketball’s 3 Point Revolution.
“The game has changed so much now to where teams don’t concentrate on posting guys like Kay up a lot,” said Cavs TV analyst and distinguished former player Austin Carr before Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls. “Back in my day we’d start the game out posting them up right away.”
When Felder is in the game, as the backup point guard to Kyrie Irving, opponents who distort their offense by trying to victimize him in the paint lose fluidity and ball movement.
The emphasis on a quick tempo is as high in the NBA as it is in the spread offenses of college football. The idea is to get a good shot before the defense is organized. This is perfect for waterbugs like Felder,
The threat of the 3 pointer lures the defense away from the rim and opens the driving lanes.
For his part, Irving is the best finisher for a player who does not often dunk that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen players in person in the NBA since 1974.
In common slang, a “layup” is a synonym for something easy. “Always take the layup” is, like water taking the path of least resistance, usually a good game plan.
It is easier said than done at 6 2 for a player like Irving, whose craftiness is excelled by no one. It’s even tougher among the trees at Felder’s 5 9.
“Kay gets into you, making contact, and then he can use his jumping ability,” said Carr.
An unintended consequence of being quick enough to fool the giants who contest layups is the return of the often neglected mid range jump shot of 15 18 feet.
Defenders are so concerned about the quickness of Irving or Felder that just the threat of their penetration on the pick and roll often gets defenders back on their heels and leaves them vulnerable to the pull up jumper.
“Michael Jordan when he came back (from his first retirement) won three championships with the mid range game,” said Carr, who himself was a master of it.