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Nick: Hey readers, today we’re bringing you a special article. Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko’s Basketball) has undoubtedly been a smash hit among anime fans, even those who aren’t basketball or sports fans. With the premiere of season 3, and as a longtime basketball fan, I thought it would be cool to compare the Generation of Miracles to current and past NBA players for those interested in learning a little more about basketball thanks to this show. And to help me with this is my longtime friend Dyer. To kick things off, let’s talk about the titular character, Kuroko. Which players does he remind you of?
Dyer: First off, thanks for having me. Now Kuroko is an interesting character to have to make a comparison to, primarily due to his extreme offensive limitations. He can pass like no other, but is essentially useless with the ball otherwise for the majority of the series so far. My best comparison is Rajon Rondo.
Rondo is known for his lack of shooting ability. However, this has not hindered him from earning a spot on the All-Star team, due to his high motor, defense, and vision on the court. Having followed his career since college, I have had the opportunity to see many Kuroko-like passes come from his hands.
Nick: No problem, glad you could join me. As far as the Kuroko-Rondo comparison, I completely agree. There’s really no other current player that resembles Kuroko. Both of them can’t shoot for the life of them, but their ability to find the open man in creative ways is uncanny. On a side note, I had a really hard time suspending my disbelief over the ridiculous notion of “Kuroko’s lack of presence.” I mean, that’s incredibly unbelievable. For those of you reading, if you want a much more realistic (and superior) basketball show, watch Slam Dunk.
Back to Kuroko though, as far as Hall of Fame players like him, there are none. Simple as that. Both Kuroko and Rondo would never be in the discussion for some of the greatest players. What’s also interesting is that Rondo played alongside and “augmented” the abilities of three surefire Hall of Famers (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen) much in the way Kuroko did for the other Generation of Miracles players.
Dyer: That’s a good point. A top-notch distributor is difficult to come by, as the role requires quite a bit of selflessness to accept the low scoring numbers. I agree on the “presence” issue, the only players who can lose someone entirely on the floor probably eat rocks for breakfast. I haven’t read the manga just yet, so Nick, you’re going to have to give the readers your comparisons for Akashi. Who would you say most closely relates to him?
Nick: Ah moving straight to Akashi, the leader of the Miracles. There’s really no other comparison: Akashi is Chris Paul. Paul commands the floor in a way that sets him apart from every other point guard in the league. He’s an annual leader in PER, and he will eventually end up in the Hall of Fame when his career is said and done. Like Akashi, he also pulls off some sick ankle breakers.
As for Akashi’s Hall of Fame counterpart, I chose Isiah Thomas. People seem to forget just how good Thomas was as a player. Most remember him as one of the guys who ruined the Knicks and for being snubbed from the Dream Team because of his bad relationship with Michael Jordan. But Thomas commanded the floor in dominant manner, and he was the leader of the infamous Bad Boys. Akashi is feared and demands respect. I think leading the Bad Boys makes Thomas an apt comparison.
Dyer: Well if those comparisons are accurate, then Akashi is going to be a great addition to the series’ plot.
Nick: Indeed. Moving along, let’s talk about Midorima, the ace shooter of the Generation of Miracles. Who are your comparisons and why?
Dyer: I’m reminded of Kevin Durant for my current comparison. Midorima stands at a staggering 6’5″ in the show and is only surpassed in height by the center, Murasakibara. Midorima can hit any shot he takes while he is not guarded. He’s one of the types that when he’s alone behind the three point line, you know it’s going in. No one that size embodies that shooting ability like Durant. Durant also has a similar mentality towards the game that Midorima shows. Durant studies and makes his moves mechanical, similar to how I saw Midorima.
As for past, I have to go to Reggie Miller. He’s one of the best shooters in history, but that is where the similarities end on that one. Who do you see when you watch Midorima?
Nick: I also see Kevin Durant in Midorima. Durant is a methodical and incredibly smooth player. His shot is a beautiful thing to watch. Not many people Durant’s size can shoot 50% from the field, 40% from the 3-point line, and nearly 90% from the free throw line.
For the Hall of Fame comparison, I chose George “The Iceman” Gervin. Miller is a good comparison, but I think Gervin is a better choice. Durant is often compared to Gervin, even being called Gervin 2.0. Like Midorima and Durant, Gervin was an incredibly smooth scorer.
Nick: You’re absolutely on the money in regards to the size narrowing things down. I also took into account shooting percentages. Sure Allen and Curry are both great 3 point shooters, but they’ve never shot better than 50% from the field like Durant. Durant’s true shooting percentage is also ridiculous. But that’s enough about Midorima. Moving on to the SF position, we have Kise (my favorite character). Your players?
Dyer: Very good point, Durant truly is in a league of his own right now. As for Kise, the past player is obvious, in my opinion, and that’s Larry Bird. Arguably one of the greatest players to ever put on a jersey, Bird did it all, from scoring to playing smothering defense. Kise’s ability was the most interesting to me, being able to copy other players’ moves. I interpreted that as a “do what it takes to get the job done” ability, which led me to think of Paul Pierce in his prime. A consistant playmaker, there is a reason they call him “The Truth.” My current was a little out in left field, but I’m curious, who were your players?
Nick: I’m just going to say I like the Bird comparison. Kise, like Bird, is a do-it-all kind of player. He’s flexible and can be asked to do a lot of things on the court. I don’t really see Pierce though in Kise. I see more of Paul George. George is a late bloomer much like Kise. I also look at it from the perspective that George is competing with LeBron James, much in the way Kise competes with Aomine. George showed this past season why he can be one of the top 10 players in the NBA. (But unfortunately, he’s injured now.) He, like his boss Larry Legend (coincidence that I picked Bird and George), can do it all. Especially defend.
Dyer: I think Kise is also an easy one to find comparisons for. I came down to Pierce and Carmelo Anthony, as they have repeatedly proven their ability for several seasons. Let’s move on to Aomine, who I’d have to say was my favorite from the series. Your Players?
Nick: For many–scratch that–one obvious reason, this was the easiest player to draw comparisons. Aomine is the most gifted and best player of his generation. So the answer is really simple. LeBron James for current, Michael Jordan for the Hall of Fame player. What’s more to say than that? Oh and as far as the Melo comparison you made earlier, you can’t be serious right? Kise plays D. Melo…not so much.
Dyer: There’s not much to say past that, except to mention his ability, the formless shot. The second I saw his circus shot, the only person who comes to mind is the King. And yeah as far as Melo goes, he can play defense when he wants to, it just seems like he hasn’t wanted to for years. Also, I felt more of a rivalry for Aomine with Taiga than with Kise. Their relationship came off as more of a mentor than a rival.
Nick: True. I guess it’s time to talk about Murasakibara. I think this one is kinda easy too.
Dyer: It definitely is for the current, but the past comparison offers many more choices. We’ll go ahead and put down Dwight Howard for Murasakibara as the carbon copy for everything from their towering height to lackluster attitude and effort.
As for the past player, I’m going with Dikembe Mutombo (or as most people in this generation know him, they guy from the Geico ad). One of two players to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors four times, Mutombo also had just enough offensive ability, averaging at least 10 points per game til he was 35. I imagine we’re on the same page for current, but which former player comes to mind for you?
Nick: Yup Dwight is my current player. For the former player, the great Shaqtus. I remember Mutombo more for his defensive prowess than his offensive game. Shaq was a physical monster. Just an overwhelming force like no one had seen before. I mean, Aomine’s teammate even references Shaq in the show. Murasakibara is constantly chalked up to be this monstrous naturally gifted physical force, much like Shaq. And Shaq always had an attitude and effort problem, like Dwight (which is why they’re so similar, although Shaq was still the better player). If Shaq had Kobe Bryant’s work ethic, he might have been the greatest center of all time. Instead, he always is that guy that we say “what if…” And the last person to mention, is the “newest” Generation of Miracles, Taiga.
Dyer: Shaq is a good one, I’m just taken back to watching Murasakibara block every single shot taken during the Winter Cup which led me to Mutombo. Taiga was the one I couldn’t quite put a finger on. His offensive slashing attack bring some current players to mind, but his defensive versatility is astounding. He guards everyone from Midorima to Murasakibara, something not very common in the NBA.
Nick: Well, it’s more because he’s Seirin’s best player, so he’s forced to go up against the opposing team’s best player. I thought about Scottie Pippen but realized Pippen is probably more comparable to Kise. I think for me it came down to his offensive game and the way he plays. High flying and reckless abandon. That reminds me of Dominique Wilkins. For current players, I think of Blake Griffin. Not so much reckless abandon but high flying and physical. All 3 of those guys are also dunk machines.
Dyer: Blake Griffin’s game seems to be a bit more one sided that Taiga’s, but their temperaments are eerily similar. Taiga runs hot early on in the series. Griffin has gotten into his share of flare ups, one with Zach Randolph coming to mind. The only person I have seen jump like Taiga is Andrew Wiggins. I got hooked on watching summer league games, and they both climb the ladder. And I mean one sided in terms of range. I’m not sure I’ve seen hit many jumpers until this past season. Nonetheless, I think you’re right in that Griffin is the best pick. I’m unsure about the past player though, so I won’t pick one.
Nick: Griffin made tremendous strides this past season (and he’s still tearing it up this season). He was one of the league leaders in PER (23.98 to Chris Paul’s 25.98), and he shot 38% from mid range, his best ever. Taiga doesn’t have an advanced offensive game either, but he’s growing much like Griffin. I’d say the two are very comparable. But anyways, that about wraps things up. Anything you want to say?
Dyer: Just thanks again for inviting me to do this post. Hope to do another one in the future!
TL;DR version (current, past):
Kuroko: Rajon Rondo, N/A
Akashi: Chris Paul, Isiah Thomas
Midorima: Kevin Durant, George Gervin
Kise: Paul George, Larry Bird
Aomine: LeBron James, Michael Jordan
Murasakibara: Dwight Howard, Shaquille O’Neal
Taiga: Blake Griffin, Dominique Wilkins
Kuroko: Rajon Rondo, N/A
Akashi: no picks
Midorima: Kevin Durant, Reggie Miller
Kise: Paul Pierce, Larry Bird
Aomine: LeBron James, Michael Jordan
Murasakibara: Dwight Howard, Dikembe Mutombo
Taiga: Blake Griffin, N/A
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