Tao Of The Passing Big Man

What I found most compelling about 80’s Celtics vs Lakers were the incredible passes on both ends of the court by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. I became more enamored with making flashy passes than I was with scoring the basketball (or just as much). I find more joy in setting someone up for a bucket than to get one on my own. It wasn’t until I started playing religiously that I realized how much players enjoyed playing with teammates who liked to share the ball. I could always find someone to pick me up for a run because they knew I’d give up the ball and didn’t care if I scored a single point. The following is a list of all my favorite passing big men to play the game, past and present. We’ll start out with the honorable mention and move on to my favorites.


Brad Miller and Vlade Divac both benefitted from Rick Adelman’s offensive system in Sacramento. Vlade with his excellent post passing and Brad Miller 6’10 made him great passer out of the high post.

Julian Wright was one of the best passing big man I’ve ever seen in the college game. He could make the dazzling play, but turn around a make a simple play into a turnover. His highlights include Kansas-Florida in 2006 and any game where he faced Texas. It was a shame he couldn’t last in the NBA, because he was an entertaining player–incredible dunker and athletic, his passes had heat on them.

These two Knicks legends, Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason, were so known for their bruising defense that most fans overlooked that they were incredibly deft passers in a system that was not very sophisticated.

Arvydas Sabonis‘ NBA numbers don’t reflect how great of a passer he was. He came to the league late into his career and played before the age of social media and the explosion of the internet. You had to be there. Seeing him play changed how I imagined the game could be played. He had incredible touch on his entry passes and his large hands hid the ball as he whipped passes into the interior or behind his head.


Chris Webber (C-Webb) 4.2 Assists Career avg. Career high 5.5 Assists (2004-2005)

Known more for his high flying dunks and scintillating post play, C-Webb’s passed with the flair of a flashy point guard; dishing out assists with pizazz. His great big paws made it easy for Webber to perform wizardry with the ball. Webber threw countless beautiful behind the back, no look passes. He was equally as great at finding the open man from along the perimeter, as he was passing from the high post and in the post. His best assist numbers came during his years as a Sacramento King, playing in Rick Adelman’s motion offense. Running the high-low with Vlade Divac, and a dearth of perimeter shooters on the floor at all times, the early 2000’s Kings were often considered the height of beautiful and fun basketball.

Bill Walton (Big Red) 3.4 assists Career avg. Career high 5.0 (1977-1978)

Many think Walton is one of the best passing big men of all time. Highlights of his peak years are grainy, but he had some gorgeous passes from the high post and perfected the touch pass as a way of catching defenders off guard.

Tim Duncan

(Big Fundamental, Timmy Time Machine, Old Man Riverwalk) Career avg. 3.0 assists Career high 3.9 (2002-2003)

There is a reason why Tim Duncan was called the Big Fundamental. There was not one aspect of the game that he did not excel at. His outlet passes were a thing of beauty–they always were the perfect spin or speed for the occasion. Blessed with superb court vision, Duncan threw passes to where a player was going to be–like a quarterback leading a wide receiver. In his early years, he perfected passing out of the high post to other big men including Hall of Famer David Robinson. Near the end of his career, he was throwing alley oops to future Clipper great Kawhi Leonard. There are even clips of Duncan running the fast break and embarrassing young players who doubted his handles (shout out to a young Lebron James).

Larry Bird (Larry Legend, Hick from French Lick) 6.3 career assists, Career high 7.6 (1986-1987)

Watching Larry Bird is where I learned to perfect the no look, over the head, post pass. Bird was also a master of the touch pass off a rebound carom. Larry’s game was pure spectacle and his passes were highlight worthy. You could get lost watching old footage just by typing the words, Larry Bird, passing clinic.

Joakim Noah (Jo) 2.8 assists Career avg. 5.4 career high (2013-2014)

It is hard to believe Noah played 13 seasons in the league. It felt like his career reached a grinding halt after playing for known hard ass Tom Thibodeau. At his zenith, he was the best passing big man in the league– in addition to being a defensive player of the year candidate, year in and out. In 2013 -2014 when he averaged his most assists for a season, it seemed like he was on Sportscenter every other night with a highlight worthy pass.

Nikola Jokic (the Joker) 6.0 Career assists, 8.3 Career high (2020-2021)

Two words: Basketball savant. Plays with the pizazz of a mixtape player on the playground. Not only can make a pass from anywhere on the court, but also great handles for any player–especially a big man. He reminds me of Arvydas Sabonis, but with handles. His doughy frames only adds to his likeability, as he reminds me of a guy you happen to pick up during a run and you realize he’s the most fun player you’ve ever played with; pointing to each other after every assist while you win game after game, after game.

Boris Diaw (French Magician, Bobo, The Big Croissant) 3.5 career assists, 6.2 career high (2005-2006)

Boris’ big frame, incredibly high basketball I.Q. and great court vision made him an excellent player. Diaw was one of the best skilled big men of his era and one of the best French players of all time. Playing at the 3 and the 4, Diaw had decent handles and made excellent entry passes. He could pass from the perimeter, the high post and the interior. His passing was the difference maker in the 2014 NBA Finals for the San Antonio Spurs providing another ball handler and shot creator that the opposing Miami Heat had to worry about. Legend has it that Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player growing up, and that Diaw’s mother taught Boris that being a good passer would entice older players to let him join their pickup games.

  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found social distancing. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com


Some thoughts on the first round before we advance to the conference semi-finals:

  1. Even though the Jazz have a game 7 in L.A. this afternoon, I think this series ended Friday night when Utah couldn’t take game 6 at home. I partly blame Quinn Snyder for that loss. I don’t know what the man has against Boris Diaw, but he has not played him very much this round. Diaw has performed fairly well despite his diminished role. Friday night he logged 14 minutes scoring 5 points, grabbing 2 boards, 1 assist, and plus 13 +/- ratio. His passes were crisp, his screens were solid, and he was constantly moving without the ball–always in the right place at the right time. Quinn Snyder insisted on playing the inexperienced Brazilian guard Roger Neto, who took a series of bad shots during crunch time that contributed to the 11 point deficit that the Jazz faced down the stretch (his +/- ratio was a negative 10). Shelvin Mack never saw the court, and neither did Dante Exum. The Jazz lost by 5 last night. I’m putting it on wax now: when they look back to see why they lost the series, you can point to Quinn Snyder’s weird substitute patterns. Oh well, I’m looking forward to a Clippers-Warriors 2nd round because there will be a lot of shit talking as the Clippers get beat in five. It could been you Utah fans, losing in maybe six.
  2. There is still a little room to jump on the Mike Conley bandwagon, but we don’t know how long there will be seats available. He had a hell of a series, and after all the think pieces that have been and will be written, we can finally say that Mike Conley is no longer underrated.
  3. Tony Parker is still washed, but he may have enough juice to get the Spurs to the Western Conference Finals. That game 6 performance in Memphis was vintage Tony. Much respect to the OG Frenchman.


Thoughts on the Second Round

  • Don’t get caught up in the hype of the Lebron vs. Drake subplot in the Cavaliers-Raptors series. That one is going to be a snoozer. Toronto will be lucky to win one game next round. I am actually rooting for a Cleveland sweep simply because it means less screen time for Wheelchair Jimmy— at least until the Warriors make the Finals, and of course he’ll be all up in the mix like he was there from day one. #nonewfriends
  • We might actually see some fisticuffs with the Celtics-Wizards series. John Wall has already shown the world what he is capable of this playoffs. The problem is that no one could sit through and entire game of an Atlanta Hawks game without thinking “people still play basketball this way?” This series will be much better for basketball purists as the highlight matchup of John Wall/Bradley Beal vs Isaiah Thomas/Avery Bradley will be scintillating at times. The biggest question for the clash of backcourts is “who is Isaiah Thomas going to guard?” #mouseinthehouse Thomas may get 20-30 points, but he may also give up 50 too. Celtics have a slight advantage with their overall depth, and I think this will make the difference as they beat the Wiz in 6 games, although I’d almost talked myself into Wizards in 7.
  • There is a hint of 1995 in the air with this Rockets-Spurs series. Just like in ’95, both teams have legitimate MVP candidates, but unfortunately, no one will know who won the award until late June. Spurs can breath of sigh of relief after surviving the Grizzlebies, but the Rockets provide a different kind of challenge. The Rockets’ style of play creates a ton of possessions, so expect a lot of substitutions and a lot of fouls. The Rockets aren’t known for their defensive prowess, but they do have a couple of good defenders on the team (Trevor Ariza and Pat Beverley), and they have some good rebounding forwards in Nene and Clint Capela. I think this is the perfect kind of series for Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, and David Lee to shine. You know Kawhi is going to get his, but the role players on the Spurs will have an easier time scoring on this Rockets unit than last series. Also, I’m not sure James Harden’s ankle is completely healthy. I’m taking San Antonio in six out of respect, although my gut says it will only take five games.

Enjoy the semi-finals.



 profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

Big Monday

Happy New Year!

It was good to be back in the home state, getting my hoop fix with the homies.

I had the pleasure of going to see the Timberwolves with a couple of friends from Austin. We drove down to San Antonio and ate at this downtown spot, Josephine Street.  It had everything you would want in a restaurant: good food, cool atmosphere, an attractive waitstaff, and a Spurs superbus for patrons who don’t want to drive to the game (and yes they do in fact, chant “Go Spurs Go!”).

It is a great deal for people not wanting to deal with the parking headache at AT&T, or for those who wanna get trashed on $10.00 beers.

Although a bit out of the way from everything else in San Antonio, the arena itself is a state of the art facility. There isn’t a bad seat in the house, and everything inside serves its function.


For a ho hum “tap that vein” kind of Monday, with no Tim Duncan, the evening was very entertaining.

For starters, the National Anthem was sung by a man and woman duo of Arab descent, wearing their full garb and Keffiyeh. I thought it was a really beautiful gesture by the Spurs organization to fly in the face of the disturbing anti-Islam stances going on in this country.

We had to eject some University of Oregon football players from our seats, who then continued to seat hop for the duration of the 1st quarter, before finally settling into the nose bleed “comp” seats they were given for playing in the Alamo Bowl.

Speaking of ejections, Popovich, got ejected in the 2nd quarter. We didn’t figure out why until later. He was pretty irate. I’m not sure why, but for some reason the league is not calling defensive 3 seconds. It doesn’t seem like such a stretch for someone like “Pops”, a man who doesn’t care much for the 3 pointer, to lose his shit over a ref blatantly ignoring a rule.

The second half provided some much needed theatre with the highlight of the game being a run led by Boban Marjanovic. The crowd went nuts as he took over down in the post. Every rebound and basket by him, led to an eruption of cheers from the crowd. It started to actually feel like a Spurs game.

The three things I came away with from watching this game were that

1) the Spurs are stacked. This is the deepest Spurs squad that I can remember–especially in the front court with David West, Boris Diaw, Kyle Anderson, and Boban. Their backcourt is pretty nasty too. I’m convinced that Patty Mills and Jonathan Simmons could start for half the teams in the NBA. You put these two on the Bucks and they are suddenly in the playoff hunt again.


2)The Silver Dancers are the best basketball dancers in the league. The only set of NBA dancers that give them a run for their money are of course the Hornets’ own squad. Normally the in game timeouts are a chance to crack jokes and make small talk, but our row was quiet. I silently watched this dazzling display of curvy bodies weaving in and out of synchronized lines, and had no qualms about showing my pleasure for what I witnessed. #standingovation


3) I’m not a fan of Zach Lavine. We watched this guy shoot six straight crunch time jump shots (four of them missing badly). He never tried to pass once during winning time. He chucked it up soon as he got the ball. He plays like a really poor man’s Russell Westbrook, you know, if Westbrook played like a buster. I’ve got no problem with volume scorers at the point guard position, but if you have Karl Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins, maybe it would be a good idea to get them some touches.


This Week’s Slate of Good Ass Games:



Big Monday



I don’t care if the east is winning more games than the west. I hate watching teams from the east play ball.

Sacramento-Oklahoma City

No Durant tonight, but Rondo vs. Westbrook sounds good to me.


This is another one with “Good Ass Game” potential. with two pretty decent backcourts going at it.

Charlotte-Golden State

Man. Its not quite as fluid without Steph in there is it?


Another good one. Spurs will probably blow them out, but it’ll still be worth watching.

Oklahoma-Kansas (Good Ass Game of the Week)

I know I made the NCAA/”Skinemax” analogy a few weeks ago, but its #1 vs. #2, in Allen Fieldhouse on a Monday night. I think it’ll be hype.


“Tap that Vein”  Tuesday


New York -Atlanta

KP got the “Rookie of the Month” in the Eastern Conference. Big ups to that guy. This will be worth a peep though.





Memphis-Oklahoma City

This could be a more even matchup if Durant isn’t back yet from his sprained toe.


Gonna be a scrappy affair.





Remember that triple OT game back in the day????






Teen Wolves are just good enough to stay in games, but not good enough to pull them out in the clutch. Refer again to the above reference about Zach Lavine.


I have been wanting to go watch a Mavericks game all year, and had January 2nd circled on my calendar. Unfortunately the Pelicans have been garbage, so I wasn’t feeling it (in fact they won’t make a Good Ass Game feature until they get my boy “Brow Wow” some help). It turns out the Mavericks played weakkkkkkkkkkkkkk. Only thing worse than the actual playing was the officiating.

New York- San Antonio

Maybe not the “Good Ass Game of the Week”, but I’m excited at the prospect of a Boban vs. Kristaps Porzingis stand off  in the paint for a possession or two.

Golden State- Portland

I’m not sure if Steph will be back, but the potential backcourt matchup has me salivating. By the way, C is for C.J.





Jimmy “Buckets!!!!”

Charlotte vs. Los Angeles Clippers

I agree with Rick Fox when he says, “The Clippers are winning again, but they aren’t scaring anybody.”





This will be competitive and a fun game.

Milwaukee-New York

I hope the Bucks players can behave themselves in the city that never sleeps. Speaking of strip clubs, if someone were to ask me what location would be provide the best chance for an NBA player and his girlfriend to get robbed while leaving in their Uber, I would have responded with Queens. Frankly, I had no idea there were strip clubs in Queens. I would think they only existed as drug fronts. While I’m at it, big ups to his chick for being a “Ride or Die” kind of gal. Any gal who would accompany their boyfriend to a strip club in Queens, New York, definitely deserves to be the main chick (Iceberg Slim coined a different term for this kind of loyalty in a woman).

Oklahoma City-Portland 

Westbrook vs. the Trailblazers backcourt is going to be fun to watch.


Be on the lookout for the newest episode of the Full Sass Podcast We got a chance to get some recording while I was in Texas, it was so much fun that I can’t wait until the next session. Enjoy the games this week, and stay away from sketchy night clubs.




#thisagoodassgame # fullsass








Not a Fluke

Man I tried to told ya’ll.

The Heat have the best player, but the Spurs have the best team from top to bottom.
If the Heat didn’t have Lebron, they would be the Raptors, a good but not great team with mediocre subs. Ray allen has played well considering his age, and Wade got off to a good start in the series. But really, besides Lebron (who is still getting his numbers and deserves none of the blame for the way this is going) there is no one to be afraid of on this team. This might as well be 2007 when Lebron played with Cleveland.

IF you want to know why the last two games have been such a shift in dynamics, then look no further than Kawhi Leonard’s stats in games 3 and 4. Leonard had 20 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 3 blocks last night. In game 3 he shot 10-13 with 29 points (3-6 from downtown).

I also like to point out my man Boris “Le Grand Croissant” Diaw, who racked up 9 assists in game 4. He is a tough match up, because he can handle the rock, can back you down, and he is an exquisite passer. The Spurs are in another gear with him in the game.

The Heat did manage to get more bench production from their group, but its almost too little too late. Game 5 in San Antonio will be closer than you think, but that arena is going to be rocking. After what happened to the Spurs last year, you know they are out for blood. You could tell the players were mad that they even lost game 2. This should have been a sweep.

OFF Season Noise

How about that Derik Fisher signing? 25 million for 5 years to a first year coach. Wow. I think if there were any situation that could be more perfect to fall into for a first year coaching gig this is it. Forget the fact that this is better than any contract the “Fish” got as a player. He gets to have Phil as a coaching mentor, and boss. The on the job training he will get will be tremendous. It will be a tough couple of years. The Knicks have a few bad contracts on the books still and no draft picks for a while. But who knows who will sign with them after 2016. I’ll be keeping tabs on that situation.

Someone told me that an old Mizzou coach just moved to Salt Lake City.

As much as I bag on Cleveland, Mark Jackson would be a great hire for a franchise that has shown that it has no plan whatsoever. Then again, why would a coach want to work for a franchise like that?

Carmelo the “ballstopper” to the Heat? Yeah good luck with that. Call me when they sign some decent bench players on the cheap. So much for the Greg Oden and Michael Beasley contributions. Honestly I’m tired of watching basketball this year. I want to spend the next months playing it instead of streaming it on my computer. Put them away Spurs. I don’t need any distractions. It’ll be tough enough to find a way to watch the World Cup.