Only hours after reports showed Washington would be the only team to use the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s Amnesty Clause on the final day to do so, Denver sent the Birdman packing. Chris Andersen joined Elton Brand (Sixers), Brendan Haywood (Mavericks), Andray Blatche (Wizards), Darko Milicic (Timberwolves), Luis Scola (Rockets) and Josh Childress (Suns) as those waived under the one-time clause in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. If all the rest of those players tended to blend in, Andersen — from the full-torso tats to the dunks — definitely didn’t. Of course, you can’t mention him without talking about the only consistent thing in his game: his defense. So let’s break his top 10 plays as a Nugget into his best five dunks, and his best five blocks.
Andersen’s a guy who got dunked on a lot, conversely, because he went after so many highlight blocks. It’s not unique to him — a lot of blockers try to challenge everything — but it meant there was more room for error. When he connected, though, it was pretty. He has a 1.6 blocks per game average in his career, and his best year was 2008-09, when he helped get the Nugs to the Western Conference Finals with his 2.5 blocks per game.
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5. Probably Andersen’s best move as a blocker is the track block, where he stalks a slasher from the backside. Shannon Brown got caught this time.
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4. Lamar Odom has been stuck by Birdman several times, but his worst was in the Western Conference Finals in 2009. Odom got one of the worst blocks you can have, which is the face-to-face rejection at its highest point.
3. Thabo Sefolosha had a lot of hubris to think he was going to sneak a one-hand layup when Birdman had been on his hip since just inside halfcourt.
2. The Trail Blazers get the top two spots. LaMarcus Aldridge is a guy who’s hard to block because of how high the arc reaches on some of his shots, and this is no exception. What seems like a safe floater is an invite to let Andersen test his vert.
1. Rudy Fernandez was the valuable guy who could snake his way to the hoop on most anybody. Once he dunked all over Dwight Howard in the 2008 Olympics, he had all the confidence in the world heading into the NBA. This time Andersen sniffed it out for the huge block.