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.
*** *** ***
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.
Subscribe to UPROXX
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.
What you might remember most about Andersen’s dunking was that he barely could when the lights were on. That 2005 Dunk Contest during his Hornet days, where he took numerous tries to put home a half-court toss attempt, was brutal. It’s one of the worst performances for good reason. Still, he’s one of the best dunking big men since 2000, and I’m limiting this to in-game dunks when he didn’t have to worry about artistry, just power.
*** *** ***
5. For not getting much of a run, Andersen could slam on dudes from outside the charge circle, as Nenad Krstic discovered here. Seriously, that’s damn impressive off just a pick-and-roll and two steps, tops.
4. Andris Biedrins gets hung out to dry after the dump-off pass finds Andersen going baseline.
3. Andersen had/has crazy bounce, and he’d catch guys napping on putbacks. This time, it was the Kings.
2. Have you ever seen a big man dribble from half court at full speed? Nine times out of 10, it’s not pretty. This is the one exception, coming against Boston. I don’t fully believe Boston’s D thought he’d go through with going through their chests for the dunk.
1. The Kings get served up by another Andersen dunk, which is his best by my money because of the seemingly impromptu reverse. Not that Andersen seemed like the player who thought out much of what he was about to do, but this one seemed purely off the cuff.
Should he have been given the amnesty treatment by Denver?
Follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGreif.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.