Who Walks Out?: Shooting Guards
Hi all, and welcome to another exciting, bold, and courageous edition of “Who Walks Out?”
In this series, we take a look at what will happen if players are put into a room with one door that doesn’t unlock until there’s one person remaining.
No doubt you’ve thought of this on your own, but in case you haven’t, this is not a simple assertion of physical dominance. Fighting skill, fighting style, heart, personality, special abilities, and intangibles will factor heavily into the subsequent analysis.
This doesn’t need to be too realistic and practical, but we do need to set parameters.
- No weapons. Players cannot use weapons.
- Yes, there are other shooting guards in the NBA. For ease of data gathering, we’re using the projected starters from the 2017-2018 season.
Okay. Let’s run the simulation, and I’ll let you know what I’m positive will happen.
Who’s for sure automatically out of the running:
In today’s age, people want answers. I’m leaning into this cultural phenomenon and saving your time. I think we can all agree that a few of these fellas aren’t going to make it.
Seth Curry - When I make a ranking of the most boring players in the league, there’s a 50% chance he’s mention in the article’s lede. Feel bad for him already, but I’ve got to keep journalistic integrity here.
Austin Rivers - No doubt some of you are screaming and crying from your hyper ergonomic Swedish office chair “But why?!? Austin Rivers has an attitude! He could beat up LOTS of other players!” You’re insane, but also Austin Rivers’ bad attitude is that totally transparent fake attitude. He’s like that kid in 8th grade who’s too tall and pushes people around, but really lives his life in constant fear of being exposed. I’m not buying the charade anymore. Rivers gets the tar trampled out of him.
Denzel Valentine - I’m going to be honest, he’s here because he’s forgettable.
Buddy Hield - Ahh man, I really love Buddy Hield. I hate to put him here. Unfortunately, the role of a scientist is to avoid the pitfalls and traps of rampant subjectivity, and thus, I cannot allow anyone with that sort of smile and name to progress into the further stages of this tourney. I am so sorry, Buddy.
Victor Oladipo - It’s not a hot take, it’s theory based on observation. Does Victor Oladipo have the physical tools to be the champion of the tourney? Absolutely, let’s not kid ourselves. Does Victor Oladipo have the fight, the bite, the chase, the desire, the fire, the will that goes down to the wire? Grab and hand and say it with me: “No.” Also I don't this sensitive lover boy is going to be surviving a Roman-style gauntlet anytime soon:
James Harden - Watch that gif.
Klay Thompson - He just doesn’t care enough.
Andrew Wiggins - Here’s a sneaky indicator if someone has the fire in their bones to take a challenge one on one. To face the odds. To go after what the want and not back down.
Do they play defense? Wiggins let’s people own him every game. He ain’t advancing far in this.
Devin Booker - Sweet bby boy
D’Angelo Russell - I think D-Russ is a solid NBA combo guard, but anyone who did what he did in LA has it out for him. He was called a coward, and I understand how harsh that is. I also understand that what he did was very cowardly.
It’s not that he can’t defend himself, it’s that in this specific scenario, no player has a bigger target on their back. He’ll get cornered. It’s just math.
Jrue Holiday - Jrue is such a good guy, and that’s the problem. I think Jrue Holiday is just too nice to truly have a chance to win something like this. Jrue is one of the nicest guys in the league, and that’s not something you want to have on your scouting report going into this event.
Tim Hardaway Jr. - The NBA equivalent of a trust fund baby.
You know, everyone has what the sports folk call a “puncher’s chance.” Everyone has a shot in round of fisticuffs. Here’s the field.
Rodney Hood - You know how some dudes who are great friends can fight–like really fight–each other and then afterward, they’re all good. It’s because they’re comfortable with who they are in that relationship. It’s almost as if they’re such good friends that they know their friendship will remain even if they physically assault each other. I don’t think Rodney Hood needs that. He’s got the physical tools to win, and he also just did this to a fan one time (Look at the photo above you've already seen).
I think it really takes a special mindset to care so little as to knock a fan’s smartphone out of their hand, keep walking, and not look back. That’s ice cold.
Gary Harris - In 2016, Gary Harris gave an interview to The Guardian. In it, The Guardian’s Max Whittle asks him “Who is your favorite American?” Harris replies with “Myself. I love myself.” That’s hard as hell, and I think that translates to a heightened sense of self-preservation. Also, this dude went from starting 6 games and being one of the worst rookies in NBA history to raking in an $84M deal in his 3rd year. The man’s got dedication to this craft, he never stops, I’m thinking he’s going to do well in this competition.
Andre Roberson - This dude head butted Kevin Durant, so I think that’s an automatic promotion into this category. There’s obviously some sort of fire in him.
Wayne Selden - I think playing for Memphis and being infused with the Grit N’ Grind doctrine is good enough to be a threat.
Danny Green - I don’t like Danny Green, so his placement here is another exhibit in objectivity. Danny Green is an elite 3 and D player, and he looks like a pirate. Pirates were very, very feared during the Pirate Heydey. This man knows the secrets of the San Antonio culture. I just can’t write him off.
Jaylen Brown - Youth, intelligence, athleticism, boundless energy.
Khris Middleton - Patrick Rothfuss told us "There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” This passage really becomes manifest after watching just 2 or 3 Khris Middleton postgame interviews. Middleton’s “chill”, “lit”, and “true” demeanor are indicative of a darker chaos within him.
Terrence Ross - Terrence Ross is really into comic books. He also turns the ball over a whole lot. He scored 51 points in a game once. He’s sort of unpredictable, isn’t he? That’s scary.
The players who probably won’t win, but if the cards fall just right -– watch out.
Nicholas Batum - There are 2 active players in the NBA who have landed a 5x5, meaning at least 5 rebounds, steals, blocks, points, and assists. Who are they? You’re correct, Draymond Green is one. But who is the other? Exactly, it’s frenchman Nicholas Batum of the Charlotte Hornets. You can’t rack up a 5x5 on accident, and I would contend it requires an astonishingly high BBIQ. He’s French and he’s working on another mental level. He’s crafty. He’s hard to trust.
JJ Redick - You ever look at someone and just know they’re crazy? JJ Redick is the most famous NBA smart man, and we all know every smart person is a few dissenting opinions away from losing their mind. JJ Redick looks like one of your neighbors who for sure somehow knows how to make a pipe bomb just IF he wanted. I think he’s great.
Dwyane Wade - Outside of not knowing how to spell his name, Dwyane Wade is the NBA’s greatest example of dad strength.
In the Running
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Here are the guys who have a great shot. We’re getting into the territory where you can start to take Vegas odds seriously.
C. J McCollum - McCollum got fined by the league for leaving the bench during a fight on the court. Every player and hardcore fans know this is an automatic fine. Here’s what this tells me: McCollum wants to fight. Some may write this off as a simple demonstration of loyalty and camaraderie. Maybe it was. But maybe it was actually the desire to fight.
Kent Bazemore - “What? Kent Bazemore? In the Running? What are you thinking?” I can hear your incredulous cries, and I think they’re bogus. Sure, Bazemore cried in that press conference when he got signed. Have you thought about the power of a man who has come to terms with himself. A man who knows his capabilities, knows what he can do, then executes? He’s in it.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - KCP went to jail this season.
Bradley Beal - This season, Matthew “Outback Jesus” Dellevedova clotheslined Bradley Beal. Look at what Beal said about this, via the Washington Post:
“I mean, he put his hands on me,” Beal said. “So my reaction was: ‘no, why are you pushing me?’ Like, I’m not about to punch him. I’m not about to push him. I just want to know why [Dellavedova] did what he did. And granted, I don’t fault [Scott] for it. He’s doing his job. But at the end of the day, I feel like he still could’ve grabbed [Dellavedova] and pulled him back versus kind of nudging me back. I wasn’t trying to hit him or choke him or push him or anything. It was kind of a reaction.”
Do you have any idea how frightening that is? A deep, hostile reactionary mechanism lies dormant inside Bradley Beal. And it seems like he isn’t in tune with it. Like it got triggered, he doesn’t know what he’s capable of. High, high value in the gauntlet. I doubt he even remembers this event. He wasn't even in his body.
DeMar DeRozan - Firstly, DeMar DeRozan is from Compton. Secondly, he behaves like a cat in the sense that he behaves as if he is truly better than people around them. This superiority doesn’t turn into malicious behavior, it turns into aloofness. He’s got that inner “don’t have time for you” demeanor. He’s in control. You’re not. I think that matters.
Avery Bradley - He doesn’t talk much, but he’s a really physical defender. I think he might be crazy.
Dion Waiters - Dion Waiters wrote an article intended for widespread viewing entitled “The NBA is Lucky I’m Home Doing Damn Articles.” Lucky. Lucky. They’re lucky. They’re fortunate. Because if he wasn’t, they’d be tormented by him. I don’t believe this, but that doesn’t matter. What’s important is that Dion believes it so much. Here’s some quotes from that article:
“So I just willed myself to be a legend on the Philly playgrounds. By 12 years old … Man, the streets knew who Dion Waiters was.”
“My rival was this dude named Rhamik. They called him “Little Giant” because he was small but he played like a big. One day, he showed up on my playground with his little squad, and he challenged me and my little squad. They beat us, and they were talking so much trash afterwards. Oh my God.
I was queasy. I was sick.
I wasn’t gonna let my name get tarnished like that, you know?
So we walked over to his playground and challenged them to a rematch the very next day. Man, I was on some Game 7 NBA Finals shit, for real. I wasn’t gonna lose.
We killed ’em.
Next day, Rhamik and his boys showed back up at our playground.
And I’m like, Damn, is there about to be a problem? In South Philly, you never know. So I walk up to Rhamik, and he’s just like, “Good game, bro.”
After that, we hung out together every day. We did everything together. Everything. I slept at his house, or he slept at my house. Everybody in our hood loved Rhamik. He was just a legendary kid. The thing people knew him for, other than ball, was skating.”
“You know, it’s hilarious to me. I’m not a big Internet guy, but I see things. I see what people say about me. I see the GIFs and all that.
They say, ‘He never seen a shot he don’t like.’
‘He’s got irrational confidence.’
‘He thinks he’s the best player in the NBA.’
Hell yeah I do.”
Waiters. Waiters beats the tar out of the weak field. Dion Waiters walks out.