Get Your Hustle On
Introducing SLAMonline’s scrappy blog.
by Brett Callahan
In an effort to bring diverse stories into your hoops world, Hustle Points will cover all things NBA, but focus primarily on the guys who do the dirty work. Scrappers, hustlers, gnats, and nuisances; all the players willing to do whatever it takes to win ball games.
So, what makes hustle? While statistics such as offensive rebounds, rebounds-per-48 minutes, steals, blocks, and efficiency around the hoop are all quantitative ways to judge the top hustlers in the league, it’s much more a general sense of who’s making plays when they need to be made. The player that’s coming up with every loose ball, setting solid screens, blocking out opponents 6-inches taller than him, and generally getting under the skin of every man who faces him.
A hustler knows his role: rebounder, on-ball defender, facilitator, shot blocker, etc. More importantly, the hustler goes all out on every play, all the while staying mentally in control. Plenty of guys can go “all out,” and be erratic all over the court, but hustlers make sound calculated decisions on the floor that benefit his team’s performance. In doing so, the hustler can appropriately affect the style of play, creating a culture while influencing the rest of the team to get it going when play becomes uninspired and sloppy.
Each team has one, two, sometimes even three or four players who are capable of doing this. Most aren’t as athletic or built as the cream of the crop in the league, but make a living finding their niche and building a reputation. Teams certainly could not win with just a team of hustlers, but placed around the legit elite of the league, they are sure to make their unsung impact.
Hustle Points is a tribute to the hard-nosed, sweat-drenched, and bruised and battered of the NBA. Expect monthly interviews with hustlers around the league, as well as several random ramblings.
Coming up later this week: an interview with Sacramento Kings rookie forward Jon Brockman.