In lieu of a traditional franchise-by-franchise NBA preview, we asked Tyler Parker to give us five players to watch on each team. If we want. For reasons entirely his own.
Steph Curry, Guard
There is a wooden fox. It’s a nice-looking fox, projects a certain amount of gravitas. Fade to a bunch of Odyssey brand putters, and then the paws of a bear, and then a robed Steph Curry smiles at you from a leather chair. He holds a putter. He starts saying stuff.
That’s how Holey Moley, an extreme-mini-golf-themed reality show that aired on ABC this past June, began. Curry was the host of the program and one of the show’s producers. Joe Tessitore and Rob Riggle were the announcers, because of course they were. If the producers had hired anyone else other than those two guys it would’ve been confusing. Joe T looks dynamite with a tan and a beard. I would not hesitate to say his beard is every bit as impressive as the ones you might see in a Men’s Wearhouse commercial. It is thought out and fussed over and tamed. Stunningly beautiful. Shines like he wove tinsel in there. Riggle’s firing zingers like the world’s ending. They’re both dressed in these mustard-yellow ABC blazers. Golf.com watched the program. Here’s one sentence from their review of the pilot:
Barely minutes into Holey Moley, any viewer not rendered comatose might feel inspired to start asking questions.
Or actually, you really don’t even need to get past the headline to get all the information you need. The headline:
Steph Curry–produced miniature golf show is a technicolor assault on our intellect
I guess go hard or go home. I tried watching the pilot myself and I don’t want to be mean but I did claw my eyes out of my head.
Draymond Green, Forward
One of the greatest defenders in league history and a wildly chatty dude. Used to be a Saginaw Trojan. Then he was a Spartan. Izzo loves him. Depending upon how you view time, Green either tied or almost got beat by a comedian in a 3-point shooting contest during 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend. This happened in front of much of the basketball world but is never discussed. It’s as if it never happened. It’s like we all got together as a society and were like, “Hey, we’re good, right? Like, I know this happened, but we don’t have to, you know, believe it did, right?” Then for a little while there he was the real-life embodiment of Uncle Jack, Martin Short’s character on Arrested Development. By that, I of course mean, to the nuts!
Seems like the type of guy who’d stand up at a Q&A and ask a question that was really just him stating his opinion. When he wears glasses, it looks like he’s wearing a disguise. His Instagram bio reads “You be the Judge” (and then right here is the shrugging-guy emoji). Not a big fan of Josh Duhamel, so Transformers is probably ruined for him. That’s rough. I feel for him. Missing out on some premium-tier LaBeouf. I’d like to ask him if he’s ever seen an episode of Las Vegas.
D’Angelo Russell, Guard
Threw one of my favorite passes I’ve ever seen at any level. Happened while he was a freshman at Ohio State and taking the world by storm. Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa City, Iowa. January 2015. Russell was clad in scarlet, came off a screen, and caught the ball on the right side of the floor, up just higher than the free throw line extended. With only his left hand he side-armed a bounce pass all the way across the lane, loads of English on the ball, and speed behind it. His teammate caught the pass in stride, then smoked the layup. Sometimes I’ll hear an announcer talk about quarterbacks throwing a guy open. That’s what Russell did here.
Streams of ice water, never ceasing, flowing through his veins. It’s kind of wild to me he’s been in the league only four years. Why does it feel way longer than that? I guess someday he’s going to team up with KAT and Devin Booker. Personally, I think that sounds like a pretty good time, said every offense in the league.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Center
Imagine him playing wide receiver. You don’t have to. Willie’s taken care of you.
What’s a corner supposed to do when he’s being asked to cover a tree? Lions do not concern themselves with lambs. No. 7 was putting up more parachute balls than prime Josh Fields.
I swear to you, this will be one of the dumber paragraphs I’ve ever written. The late Glenn O’Brien had a show on M2M called Tea at the Beatrice. He’d interview different luminaries over tea and macaroons. One episode saw him speaking with Chris Blackwell. Stay with me, please, I’m bad at telling stories. Blackwell’s wearing a candy-red shirt patterned with a print that almost looks like a section of a fence, three posts stabbing up and down, each of them half peach and half stone blue. I think WCS would look absolutely unbelievable in this shirt. I swore it would be dumb and I follow through on my promises.
Don’t get me wrong. It looks good on Blackwell. It does. It would just look like its destiny had been fulfilled on WCS.
Here’s the first paragraph of the Personal Life section of WCS’s Wikipedia page:
On May 1, 2015, Willie officially filed a name-change order with the Probate Division of the Fayette District Court to change his birth name. He did it to honor his mother, Marlene Stein, and her family, who raised him after his father left him at a young age. He also added “Trill” as a middle name, a nickname given to him by friends.
He might live forever.
Klay Thompson, Guard
The show goes on. Nothing stops. He actually sincerely participated in this.
Again, forgive me, but I feel the need to stress once more that the above commercial is a real thing that happened in the world you live in. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a bit. When I found out it was real it immediately became one of my favorite pieces of filmed content in the history of the art form. Kaiser Permanente knows they have a monster of an ad on their hands, too, because the commercial still shows up on people’s televisions.
The Klay approval rating is off the scales at this point. Talked Kevon Looney and Jacob Evans III into signing with Anta. Wants you to love him sexy. Wants to hit dagger after dagger after dagger. I am not here to talk about the mechanics of his jump shot. I’m here to talk about how effortless he looks when he rises up with the ball in his hands. I’m here to talk about how you could construct a pretty convincing argument that he’s the toughest perimeter player in the league.
Finally changed things up a bit in the facial hair department. It was needed. He used to be committed to the goatee, bound to it. Now he’s going with more of a straight-up beard. It’s an evolution. People can change. Sometimes I’ll just be sitting around my house and remember the time in the 2016 Western Conference finals when Klay looked at the box score after a bad loss to the Thunder and said a very simple, very pronounced, “Sheesh.” For some reason it feels like something I’m still going to remember when I’m an old, old man.
Tyler Parker is a writer from Oklahoma.