Worst of the Best, from worst to best: A Four-Part Series Part 3
By Jamar Brown
It’s been 10 days* since the last blog was published, and if I’m being honest, that shit was lazy. I know I’m better than that. In the 10 days since, life has been going on, so I never really found the time to start on Pt. 3. Enter today, I’m sitting in the waiting room of an urgent care because I’m sick as FUCK. I’ve been miserable since Saturday (it’s Monday) and I decided that three days was enough (also, I can’t be excused from work without a doctor note, so here I am).
Instead of going brain dead listening to the waiting room TV talk about making the switch to a vegetarian lifestyle, I whipped out ole reliable (my laptop pervert) and decided to get to it. I decided awhile back (before I got my laptop, so probably in November of last year) that I wanted to write this series, and I already regret it because this shit is hard. Mama didn’t raise no bitch though, so I’m thugging it out and plan on finishing within the week. Let’s get to it.
John Wall, 2010 (Washington Wizards)
Notable Stats: SEC POTY, 5x All-Star, All Defensive Team, 1st Team All Clumsy, Ball is Life all–time great
If you’re Preston Ekdahl, you probably remember me saying some interesting things about John Wall. I’ll admit, I have no idea what I was thinking. For those of you who don’t know, I might’ve foolishly said that WHEN HEALTHY, John Wall is a top 5 point-guard in the NBA. While he isn’t top 5, he isn’t a slouch. John Wall is widely known as one of the fastest players with the ball in their hands that we’ve ever seen. The only player who can probably say the same in the past decade is fellow Kentucky alum De’Aaron Fox. He’s also one of the best all around passers in the game and can be considered the best defensive point guard seen in a while (Patrick Beverly is more of an asshole than lockdown defender).
Combine that with how fast and athletic he is, and you’ve got a dangerous player. Those abilities had him regarded as one of the best pro prospects in the country regardless of age. When he was a senior in high school, he turned 19 and many wondered if he would be eligible for the 2009 Draft, but instead of going that route, he committed to Kentucky and settled for the 2010 Draft despite being widely regarded as the best prospect in 2009. Since being in the NBA, Wall has gone from being turnover prone to injury prone with a brief four-year flash of damn near superstardom. Early in his career, despite the number of assists he had, he’d have nearly half as many turnovers in a game.
While that’s changed, Wall has more recently been dealing with leg injuries, the most recent coming from a fall at home where he tore his achilles tendon. He hasn’t played a game in 14 months and it’s showing in the Wizards record (they’re fucking awful). Hopefully next year he’ll be able to show flashes of what foolish Jamar thought was a top 5 point-guard ability.
Derrick Rose, 2008 (Chicago Bulls)
Notable Stats: MVP, 3X All-star, 2009 ROTY, Grand Master of the Shitty Knee Society
Writing about this man has been something I’ve been doing since I was a senior in high school when I had to write a weekly blog for my Composition class for five weeks and it’s been breaking my heart since then. If you look at the young up-and-coming point-guards in America, whether it be in high school, college or in the league, they play like one of two players: Steph Curry (shoot everything) or Derrick Rose (dunk everything).
Derrick Rose changed the point-guard position forever. Since 2008, you’ve seen more uber athletes at the point-guard position than ever before like the aforementioned John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and so many more young, fresh faces. They all attended the school of Rose. The Chicago native was unstoppable. If basketball was poetry, Rose was the worlds greatest slam poet. The handle, the bounce, the swagger. He represented Chicago in every aspect, so it was only right that when it was time to get drafted, the Memphis Tiger was taken first by the hometown Bulls.
People fail to realize that this was the biggest thing to happen to the city since Jordan retired (the Bears made the Super Bowl between MJ and Rose, but football is nothing compared to basketball in Chicago). Once he was drafted, they gave him the keys and that was it. He went on to becoming the youngest MVP in league history in only his second season and consistently had the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals. And then, Thibodeau happened. Why were the starters still in the game late against the Sixers with a double-digit lead in 2012? Who knows? A hop step to set up a floater was all that it took for everything to come crashing down. The final diagnosis was a torn ACL which resulted in Rose missing the entire next season.
His next season back? He lasted 10 games before blowing out his meniscus in his other knee before missing the rest of the season yet again. He’s never had the same explosion since the surgeries, but he’s successfully developed his game to fit his new body. He now has become a much better shooter and specializes in being his teams primary 6th man. While he might be a shell of who he once was, he’s still a personal hero to plenty of young basketball players all over the country.
Ben Simmons, 2016 (Philadelphia 76ers)
Notable Stat: Worst superstar in LSU history, 2X All-Star, SEC FOTY, 33-point loss to A&M in his final collegiate game
Alright, let’s get it out there. I fucking hate Ben Simmons. My friends know this. My twitter followers know this. My family knows this. Hell, my girlfriend even knows this because anytime I do some dumb shit, she’ll “casually” drop the fact that Ben Simmons wouldn’t do that. Fuck that guy. I don’t like him for a myriad of reasons, not just because he plays for the SeventyShitters.
First of all, he went to LSU for whatever reason. He literally showed the worst effort I have ever seen from a college player. I hate the NCAA probably more than a lot of people, so I can sort of see why you wouldn’t give a fuck in your lone year of college if you know you’re going to be the 1st-pick next year. At least fucking act like you care though. LSU was TERRIBLE with Simmons there. They didn’t accept their invitation to the NIT because Simmons didn’t want to play, and he didn’t even care. Since he’s been gone, LSU has been pretty damn consistent in the SEC, even winning an SEC regular season title a few years after he left Baton Rouge.
Next, he was drafted before Brandon Ingram who in my opinion (and probably a lot of other people’s opinion) was and is the better overall prospect no matter what LeBron might think. Next, he’s a glorified power forward. I’ve been saying this since he was at LSU and I’ll keep saying it. He’s 6’10. He can handle the ball and pass it really well. That’s great, but what else can he do? Nothing, that’s what. People rave at the fact that he can get to the rim at will, but when everybody else at your position is at least 6 inches and 40 pounds lighter than you, I would hope you can get to the rim that easy. That leads me to my next point: his inability to develop a jump shot or even a right-handed layup. All these highlight plays you see from him are left-handed dunks or layups. Rarely will you see him go up with the right and it’s either a dunk or some half-assed layup that shows he doesn’t work on developing his game. He’s shown no improvement whatsoever on his jump shot (or free throws for Christ’s sake) and it honestly looks like he just doesn’t want to. The fact that that dump known ass the Wells Fargo arena erupted when he made his first career three pointer (in his third season by the way) is the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen done for a “superstar” by his home crowd ever.
Markelle Fultz literally had a nerve issue that effected his jump shot to the point that he missed nearly all of his rookie season and he still didn’t receive that treatment when he made his first jump shot. The NBA was stroking this man’s dick his entire rookie year to the point where he won the ROTY over Donovan Mitchell when he wasn’t even a rookie. Even if he was a rookie, Mitchell STILL had a much better season than Simmons. You might be asking, “Jamar, if you hate him so much, why is he so high on your list?”. I’ll tell you why; the potential is there. He can really be an issue in this league. If he just looked like he gave a fuck and actually worked on his jump shot, if he just tried to make a layup with his right hand that didn’t make me want to vomit in my mouth, then he could be a very good player in this league. It won’t be in Philly though.
The player development for the Sixers is a joke and Brett Brown is a fraud of a coach who frequently wipes his players asses for them. He needs to be with a coach that won’t put up with that “passing while I’m wide open” bullshit because he knows he can’t shoot. We’ll see when the idiots that make up the Sixer’s fanbase will finally see that it’s time to move on and forces that spineless front office to make a move. Until then, it’s fuck Ben Simmons.
Blake Griffin, 2009 (Los Angeles Clippers)
Notable Stats: 6x All-Star, Consensus NPOTY at Oklahoma, Slam Dunk Champ, biracial angel
This is a tough one. I kind of love Blake Griffin but I don’t know if that’s because I genuinely love him as a player or if I have no reason to hate him. I genuinely can’t think of anything bad to say about him, so I won’t try. Griffin was the first major first overall pick to miss his rookie season due to an injury (I say major because Greg Oden sucks) after fracturing his kneecap after a dunk in his final preseason game. In his first healthy season, he took the league by storm by not only winning ROTY but making the All-Star game as a rookie.
That wasn’t even the most impressive part of his rookie season though. During All-Star Weekend, this bright-eyed rookie thought about doing something that had never been done before. During the slam dunk competition, he took home the crown by dunking over a fucking Kia Optima. Now, he only jumped over the hood of the car, but you try jumping over the tire of a car and let me know how that goes. That dunk started a long and successful relationship with Kia Motors that saw the ginger haired Sooner see his face on literally EVERY commercial in the early to mid-2010s. Griffin was a superstar, and with the arrival of Chris Paul to LA, lob city was born. You couldn’t turn on Sports center without seeing one of Griffin or Deandre Jordan’s victims. Everybody was getting bodied…. Except for teams that met the Clippers in the playoffs because holy shit did they suck when it mattered most. They had one of the most talented rosters in the league and couldn’t make it out of the second round EVER.
Along with criticisms that Griffin just couldn’t win the big game, his health started to go on him for a little bit. Playing so above the rim every night did a number on his knees and he had to make a change before he ended up getting Rose’d (I made it a verb). Griffin went from being one of the top rebounders in the game to being considered one of the best passing big men in the game while handling the ball surprisingly well and essentiallyturning into a stretch four. He’ll occasionally turn back the clock and put somebody in the rim, but now, his game is all about finesse. Now he’s currently playing for the worst team in the Midwest, (yeah, even worse than Cleveland, they at least have water) playing in a city that probably won’t see above the poverty line for a long very time. Hey, that’s life
Karl Anthony-Towns, 2015 (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Notable Stats: National Title at Kentucky, 2X Time All-Star, 1st team All-Crybaby, Jamar Lookalike?
My biggest gripe with Big KAT is that people say I look like him and I don’t know how to feel about it. Aside from that, (and being drafted ahead of Jahlil Okafor who’s my second favorite Blue Devil of all time) I’m a fan. I still find it hilarious how he was the sixth man for his Kentucky squad, but good old John (Calipari) knew what he was doing and rode that half Dominican monster to a National Title in 2015. He was drafted ahead of Okafor for the exact reason Andrew Wiggins was drafted before Jabari the year before, potential. KAT’s potential was INSANE and it shows. He’s a mammoth of a man at 6’11, 250 and he plays like a guard (minus the handles, and that’s because he’s not bad there either). He’s developed a jump shot and is officially a three-level scorer. He’s also one of the stronger rebounders in the league.
Unfortunately, he suffered from what we like to call “punk-ass bitch syndrome” or “PAB”. Once Jimmy Butler and Tibs got to Minnesota, KAT was emasculated and exposed, not only by his TEAMMATE Jimmy Butler, but by that fuck ass broken foot bastard known as Joel Embiid. This had many people doubting whether or not KAT was that guy after all. I’m here to tell you, he is.
This year, he whooped Embiid’s ass and showed that he found the vaccine for PAB which was so simple: stop fucking with white women. He’s also having another GREAT season which is solidifying his case for being the best Center in the league. The only reason he was snubbed was because he’s playing in Minnesota and can’t play defense to save his life if he isn’t pushed into doing so. The biggest thing stopping Karl from earning the respect of everyone in the league (aside from the name Karl (fucking nerd)) is unlocking that dog mentality that earned him the National Title at Kentucky. Maybe a change of scenery will do just that. Only time will tell.
With the publication of this article, we are just one part away from being done with my first blog series. In the next and final blog, we’ll talk about my favorite player in the league, the most suspect player in the league, the most influential international player ever and two teammates who will finish their careers as all-time greats at their respective positions (yes Spurs fans, you know what that means).
*I started writing this on the 17th and it’s now 3 in the morning on the 20th. I did my best.