By Justin Cherot
THE NBA IS BAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!!!!
And, you know, we here at Pick and Pop try to keep it as fresh and quirky as possible. So, my plan for the next 32 (or some odd) days is to not break down how a team will do. That’s for sportswriters with degrees and such, although I guess a night before the season tips off Colin and I will do something like that.
Instead, I’m giving every single player in the league, even some guys that won’t even make the roster, a little ink. Because not all players are created (and adored) equally by yours truly, some will have much longer anecdotes/analysis or what have you than others. Case and point: would it be fair to give Dirk Nowitzki and Adam Morrison the same amount of space? I haven’t gotten that far yet, but I’m willing to bet I won’t do that.
I guess to make sure the pecking order of the NBA isn’t completely ruined, I’m going to go in ascending order in terms of how I predict the teams will finish. We stay in the NBA’s lower echelon (wondering if things will eventually stop looking so putrid) with the Milwaukee Bucks.
It’s amazing what you can do with a little hardwork and dedication. Sure, Redd was a horse in college, but while NBA scouts saw him as someone who could fill it up, they questioned, of all things, his ability to consistently hit jumpers. That seems really funny almost ten years later, doesn’t it? Not only has he learned to hit jumpers “consistently”, he’s become arguably the best jump shooter in the NBA. If he comes back healthy this season, especially with the Bucks in a talent recession with the loss of Richard Jefferson and Ramon Sessions, Redd may lead the NBA in scoring… and, despite his strong ties to Christianity, on-court curse words. I can see it now: “Damnit, Brandon! Look at me when you’re passing the ball!!!”
The Other Starters
Bogut really earned my respect as a basketball player during the 2006 FIBA tournament. I felt lukewarm about his potential as a pro prior to his overmatched Aussie team going against the U.S., but I literally watched this man play every single position on the floor from one to five. It’s like he would win the tip, and the “point guard” would give it right back to him to run the offense. Even if it was in Milwaukee, he averaged about the quietest double-double in the NBA last season. He’s got good touch around the basket, good floor vision, and, most importantly when it comes to NBA big men, he’s not soft. I like him for about 16 and 11 this year.
PROP BET ALERT! PROP BET ALERT! Over/under on 40 games before Brandon Jennings becomes the starting point guard. I’ll gladly take the under. Jokes aside, Ridnour may be inconsistent from the perimeter and a horrible defender, but that boy can move the rock. One of these days he’ll be a good back-up point guard for a good team.
I shall officially annoint thee “Black Najera”… more athleticism, far less range. Again, this is a guy you want coming off the bench in spurts, not a guy you’re forced to play 30 minutes a game.
Instead of talking about Warrick’s tweener-trumping athleticism, it’s time for a short rant. I just want to let ESPN.com that on Milwaukee’s depth chart Warrick apparently still plays for no one and Amir Johnson is their starting four man… which would be nice except Johnson was traded to the Raptors A MONTH AGO!!! ESPN needs to get on their game if they want our link business. One more strike, ESPN. Just one more…
The Bench (at least according to ESPN.com assuming I can trust that these guys are still alive)
As much as I love Stephen Curry, I really felt like Jennings would have been a better fit for the Warriors. Instead of getting a pure (albeit very raw) point guard, they get more of a hybrid guy, and while the Warriors want him to come in and play, we all know what happens to hybrid guys. While I pray that Steph-Cur is the exception to the rule, I’ll be keeping a close eye on Jennings. We’ll see if his little European excursion turned him into a better player. If it did, then the Bucks got a steal at number ten. If not, well at least he has a passport.
Funny how he ended up being a solid role player in the NBA and his running mate, former lottery pick teammate Mateen Cleaves ended up being a world traveler. Bell has been surprisingly efficient offensively, and if I was creating an ideal basketball team Bell would probably have a place on it.
He’s one of the only basketball players I can ever think of who let people pronounce his name completely wrong for several years before finally correcting them. I still have that problem with “Cherot”, but I’m such a nice guy that I feel bad for correcting people. Maybe I should take the Gadzuric approach.
I can’t find the video, but my favorite moment of the Kobe Doin’ Work documentary was when Kobe caught an inbounds pass and, in the same motion, managed to release the shot just as Thomas was coming over to swat it… and had time to say, “Gotcha!” as he watched the ball slice through the net. It was funnier each of the three times they replayed the moment, too.
Even though Delfino has been a staple in Argentina’s strong showings in international competition and despite a solid season last year, I keep waiting for him to be better. Maybe I shouldn’t hold my breath.
I don’t know about Alexander. While it’s true that he was a rookie last year and behind Jefferson, you’d figure he would at least crack the rotation, especially on a team that’s not so great. I won’t use the “B” word quite yet, particularly because he’s athletic and he has some touch, but if he doesn’t play at least 20 minutes a game this season, I might start spelling it out.
I do these previews not because I’m trying to gain fans, not because I’m trying to get my name out there, not because I’m trying to get someone from ESPN.com to notice me and facilitate me getting my career started… but because I love learning new things. And, I just learned the Bucks will be the only team in the NBA this season with two back-up centers from the Netherlands. Awesome factoid!
If Meeks had stayed in school, the Kentucky Wildcats would have definitely won a national championship that would inevitably get stricken from the record books because of shady recruiting practices five years later. It may still happen, but only time will tell.
I pride myself on having an opinion on every NBA player, but I have to admit I haven’t seen Ukic play, and if I haven’t chances are you haven’t. So, let’s learn together.
One minute into that video and I already like him better than Ridnour. If you were like me and watched the entire thing, is there anything funnier than CDR from the Nets tripping like that? It’s official: I’m hopping on the Ukic bandwagon!
Ilyasova has a tough act to follow on YouTube… watching…watching…(asleep)…zzzzzzz…. okay, enough of that. I’m going to go out on the limb and say, based on the video, that he could end up eventually starting for a bad team one day because of his shooting ability and length. You heard it first.
Good luck to you, kind sir. Hope you didn’t buy a home in Wisconsin.
NBA Preview Archives
32. Sacramento Kings
31. New Jersey Nets