A few weeks back, Mike wrote a piece for DigitalRefrain.com comparing NBA teams to bands. I dug it - especially the love for Radiohead - and figured, "Hey, I don't have any original ideas. I'm gonna piggyback off this one."
So here we are, comparing some past Sixers draft picks to TV characters from my youth. This piece is twice as long as my normal stuff, which is risky, and will most likely lead to Tommy John surgery by August.
But right now I feel great. So pour yourself a glass of wine, play your favorite Zack Attack track softly in the background, and find the Family Matters characters after the jump.
Shawn Hunter = Allen Iverson (#1 pick overall; 1996 draft)
Shawn Hunter carried around some serious baggage - baggage elegantly modeled for us by Spencer Hawes. Shawn's mother walks out on his family. His dad runs off to find his mom. Shawn lives with his best friend. He runs away. He comes back. He moves in with his English teacher. His teacher gets in a serious motorcycle accident, presumably recovers, and then vanishes without a trace. Shawn has a drinking problem. He talks to his dad in visions, etc, etc, etc.
And I didn't even mention his discovery of his affluent half-brother, Jack, and, oh yeah, Shawn briefly joined a cult called, "The Center," whose sole purpose was to not be judged.
As for Iverson, what else can be said? Warts and all, I love the guy. In my eyes, his only flaw is loving Friday's too much. And even that, I mean, better than Applebee's, ya know?
Jesse Spano = Thaddeus Young (#12 pick, First round; 2007 NBA draft)
Perhaps the most memorable episode in Saved by the Bell history involved Jesse Spano and her pill addiction. For those of you who don't know the story (and, seriously, why don't you?), Jesse turned to caffeine pills while juggling a big geometry test and her all-girl band, Hot Sundae. The tumultuous and climatic ride ended in her bedroom, when a visibly-shaken Jesse reached for her pills. "I don't have time to study! I'll never get into Stanford!" Heavy stuff. If you think about it, isn't "I'll never get into Stanford" the original hash tag? It's applicable to just about everything.
@Shawn_Bradley Fouled out again #I'llNeverGetIntoStanford
@Cliff_Lee I'm 0-3 with a 3.18 ERA #I'llNeverGetIntoStanford
@Dweebowitz Ran out of chicken broth! #I'llNeverGetIntoStanford
@Joey_Gladstone My Bullwinkle material didn't go over well at the Smash Club last night #I'llNeverGetIntoStanford
Jesse Spano was 6'8" and wore jeans up to her navel; yet, she was still attractive. Isn't that our man, Thaddeus? Awkwardly smooth. An alchemist whose repertoire consists of jump hooks, floaters, and turning garbage into precious metals? Thaddeus Young is beautiful; even if he doesn't necessarily fall under the standard definition of NBA beauty. He's unique.
Thad's our snowflake.
Eric Matthews = Samuel Dalembert (#26 pick, First round; 2001 NBA draft)
So much potential. High school Eric Matthews was a guy you wanted to be friends with. Coasted through his classes, played hoops in jeans, picked up girls, wore button-down dress shirts with rolled-up sleeves years before it became popular. Sure, Eric was a little unsure of his future when he turned 18 - weatherman, security guard - but then he applied himself. He worked hard, improved his SAT scores, and got into Penbrook. And as a proud Penbrook alum - a guy who bleeds cherry and white - I was thrilled for him.
And then he became the dumbest character west of Pinky.
College Eric was the lowest form of TV comic relief. Eric did this, and it's funny because he's stupid. And that Runs with Squirrels episode - please don't get me started. Just stop. What happened to Eric? He went to Penbrook and turned into a barely functioning adult overnight. Where were his parents? Where was Feeney? No, seriously, where in the hell was Feeney? He taught the Matthews boys from 5th grade through college graduation and nothing seemed a bit off? Call me old fashioned, but that's negligent teaching, George. Now, if there was only a Sixer who showed so much promise, but was also equally infuriating.
Oh, hi there, Sammy. I didn't see you standing there.
Samuel Dalembert wasn't crappy. He didn't "stink" or "suck." But good golly he was tough to watch sometimes. Offensively, Dalembert's sole objective was to drive the 76ers fan base bonkers. He took seventeen foot jumpers just out of spite. He leads the universe in offensive goaltending calls, followed by a dumbfounded look towards the referee, "What? Me? Who? Huh? What did I do?"
Sammy D asked to be traded forty-three times. When the Sixers finally did trade him, they received Spencer Hawes in return - the only center, nay, the only person in the history of mankind that is more exasperating.
So here I sit. Confused and perplexed. I know I don't want Dalembert back, but I want the qualities that he brought to the Sixers. I want a strong shot blocker. I want a terrific weak side defender, who also knows the difference between a direct kick and an indirect kick in soccer. I want him, but I don't. I want everything, yet I don't want anything. I'm a boy in flux.
Judy Winslow = The Rights to Ricky Sanchez
So a ten year old girl just disappears and no one bats an eye?
Hey, has anyone seen Judy? I haven't seen her in four years. No? Grandma Winslow? Nothing? And we're fine with that? We've all moved on. Ok then. How's school, Richie?
The Sixers didn't even draft Ricky Sanchez, but this cold case needed to be reopened.
Tori Scott = 1986 Draft Day
Saved by the Bell's Tori Scott. The biker girl with the rough exterior but gentle heart, whose femininity is trapped underneath a leather jacket and layers of insecurities like being the new girl in school and fear of earthquakes. She was the girl who made Jesse *and* Kelly expendable.
Not even Billy King would have made that swap. What's most vexing is Zack's infatuation with her. Is it the proximity - because she's just right there? It wouldn't kill Zack to stray outside his inner circle once in a while. Mix it up. I don't think Miss Bliss is seeing anyone. Stacey Carosi just bought a new blazer. There has to be some talent over at Valley.
Let's look at the 1986 Draft Day moves by the Sixers.
1) Sixers trade Moses Malone, Terry Catledge, and two first round picks for Cliff Robinson (the other Cliff Robinson) and Jeff Ruland*.
2) Sixers trade the #1 overall pick (Brad Daugherty) for forward, Roy Hinson.
Some comparisons just write themselves.
*It's worth noting that Jeff Ruland only played 29 games in his career after the draft day trade. Ruland suffered a bizarre set of injuries; the most notable coming in 1992 when he was struck by a baggage cart pushed by Boston Celtics ball boys. The mustachioed center claimed the incident was no accident, and eventually filed a lawsuit against the Celtics. Interestingly, this allegedly preordained attack was the *inspiration for the 1996 movie, The Fan, starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes.
Mark Taylor = Shawn Bradley
The only notable thing about Home Improvement's Mark Taylor was his goth turn.
Whoa, look at Mark. He's wearing all black! This is so scandalous! Is that nail polish!?
Ho hum. You may have shocked Middle America, Mark, but you don't impress me. You think I'm not hip to the goth scene? Here's a cold dose of reality: I grew up near the Neshaminy Mall. I've even been inside a Hot Topic. I knew a kid who was friends with a guy who went to a Slipknot concert. So cut the act. Do you think you're the only guy who owns a pair of black jean shorts? You obviously never met Jordan in 7th grade, or worked "Teen Night" at Sesame Place in the summer of ‘99.
Shawn Bradley was tall. Really tall. He was 7'6", but not even the tallest guy on his team. That's Shawn Bradley. He wasn't even the best at being tall. He was a gimmick player, who wasn't even a fun gimmick player. Manute shot threes. Wang Zhizhi's first name was Wang. Gheorghe Muresan appeared in My Giant (well, it's something). Bradley was just, there. He took up space, but not that much space because he weighed 130 lbs. He blocked shots, sure; but he was 7'6". Seems like blocks should be an obvious part of the job description.
Olivia Kendall = Jrue Holiday (#17 pick. First round; 2009 NBA draft)
The Cosby Show's Olivia Kendall: cute, young, and adorable.
Jrue Holiday: cute, young, and adorable.
The only discernible difference between the two involves a brief career in sporting goods.
Steve Urkel = Evan Turner (#2 pick. First round; 2010 NBA draft)
Just a little exhausting, isn't it? The glasses, the suspenders, the same mistakes over and over and over.
Did I do that?
Of course you did, Steve. You've been doing the same crap for seven years. And why don't the Winslows ever lock their doors? They live in Chicago. I don't have the city's crime rate numbers from the ‘90s in front of me, but I've seen The Fugitive. Chicago had a guy convicted of murdering his wife running around the city, yet the Winslow family couldn't even bother buying a dead bolt?
Lock all windows and doors, Carl. Has Zumoff taught you nothing?
Evan Turner. Who knows at this point. I think Mike or Jordan could write a post on this site that would consist of just Turner's name, and it would elicit over a hundred comments. The only thing that people can really agree on regarding Turner anymore is the number of exclamation points used to sarcastically write, "BUST!!!!!!!" (The answer is seven). Now, I certainly don't think Turner is a bust, but I'm definitely not convinced he's an above average starter in this league either. Turner is in Urkel purgatory - flashing glimpses of Steve (This offensive dud against Milwaukee) and breakout signs of the cool, hip Stephan Ur-kel (like this masterful performance at MSG).
More Stephan, please. For Laura, for me. For everyone.
Any comparisons I blanked on or forgot? ‘Spoon, Hughes, Thomas, Lou W, Casey Shaw?
Talk to me.