Andy G and I are doing a series on players you’ll be watching for one reason or another this season on League Pass. Check out the first four entries below.
1. All-League Pass Rookie 1st Team, or “Rookies You Want to Watch”:
2. All-League Pass Rookie 2nd Team, or “Rookies You (Might) Want to Watch”:
3. All-League Pass 1st Team, Eastern Conference:
4. League Pass Alert, Vol. 4: When Bad Teams Happen to Good Players, and the East’s New Stopper:
5. League Pass Alert, Vol. 5: Western Conference League Pass Team:
This one is about players who aren’t great but have unique or otherwise interesting qualities Andy G and I like to watch for one reason or another. Usually these qualities involve style and not substance, not all of which is ON THE COURT (see Blatche, Andray).
Let’s get on with the show.
PG: Bassy Telfair, Phoenix Suns – Telfair is a solid backup point, but that’s it: he’ll never be a starting-caliber guard, he’ll never be able to knock down 16-foot jump shots, and he’ll never be able to finish at the rim. But his handles are sick, he’s Stephon Marbury’s cousin, and a documentary was made about him before he even got out of high school. Bassy was one of my favorite Wolves when he was here; I’ll always follow his career wherever he ends up.
SG: Nick Young, Philadelphia 76ers – (Shaddy McCants would be here if he were still in the League.) It’s not that Young’s so bad, it’s that he plays so dumb. He puts on blinders the instant he touches the ball, and then starts the impossibly difficult one-on-one Isos. He’s actually pretty ridiculously good at them, better than Shad was at his best. (Yes, that’s a compliment.) In fact, Young maybe be among the top 10 one-on-one players in the League, but still cringle if he ends up on your team. (Sorry 76ers fans!) Young gives volume scorers a bad name, taking bad shots because he wants to, not because his team needs him to. Yes, his antics ended up improbably winning a first-round playoff game last season, but he shoots his team out of far more wins than he shoots them into. And he runs like a crackhead. Still, he’s a fairly unique player who’s a guilty pleasure to watch/poke fun at, and there’s certainly a Nick Young drinking game in here somewhere.
SF: John Salmons, Sacramento Kings –Young runs like a crackhead; Salmons flat-out looks like one. Seriously, John, really? Have you looked in the mirror lately? Is this what you’re after? I mean, I think I can smell your beard from here. I saw moths flying out of it once when Salmons was checking in by the scorer’s table. But it isn’t just Salmons’ poor-man’s John Shaft look that qualifies him for this team. He’s actually a fairly talented offensive player. He’s tough, can get his own shot, draw fouls, and finish around the rim. Not great by any means, but Salmons is the kind of oddity who occasionally gets me flipping over to SAC games during commercial breaks to see if he’s in.
PF: Andray Blatche, Free Agent – Having reportedly captured David Kahn & co.’s attention, Blatche merits special attention.
(The other player mentioned in Wolfson’s article, Hassan Whiteside, would be on this list if he ever actually, you know, played. Andy G and I took a look at Whitesideearlier this week.) [PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTION: Can a player make an All-League Pass team if he isn't on the court enough to be seen on League Pass?].)
He falls into that category of “so selfish you’re amazed his teammates don’t kill him.” (Eds. note—Gilbert Arenas *did*, evidently, defecate in Blatche’s shoe during the 2005-06 season, and Blatche *did* get shot but not by a teammate.) He plays like Antoine Walker at ‘Toine’s most selfish. Every night. Given Blatche’s behavior, I’m amazed he survived the Arenas – Crittendon arms depotthat was located right in the ‘Zards’ locker room.
Lap Dance Tuesdays might’ve been Blatche’s way of saying “I’m sorry” and “you’re welcome.”
Minnesota fans, Party All Dray could be coming to a strip club near you.
C: Byron Mullens, Charlotte Bobcats – B.J. has actually gotten a lot better, but he always looked so goofy that I wondered where the talent that made him the top-ranked high school prospect in 2008 could have possibly went. From the first time I saw him rockin’ the unibrow and deer-in-headlights look at Ohio State, I knew B.J.’s exploits would be worth following. (Btw, is Mullens’ ‘brow the inspiration for Ant Davis’ uni? Does anyone know? Does anyone know that it wasn’t? Mucho swag if any readers can produce evidence of a connection.) Anyway, I’m glad Byron got out of OKC, where 1st-round pick centers like he and Minnesotan Cole Aldrich go to die. I end up flipping over Bobcats games more often than I care to admit because of Mullens’ goofiness & ability to knock down 17-footers (even if he has his struggles on D), which go well with Kemba Walker’s ridiculous crossovers. Plus, Byron plays pickup ball in prison in Ohio and has a clothing line, Mullens Mafia, with an *awesome* logo. If you ever see a tall guy at Target Center wearing that shirt, it’s probably me.