The 1st annual Slimmies
As the NBA regular season comes to it’s close, it’s time to present the subjective awards that of which nobody ever asked for: the first annual Slimmies!
Most likely to miss practice regularly
Joe Harris: Welcome back from your google search of who the hell Joe Harris is. From what my sources have told me, the Nets coaching staff is unsure of who he is too. In fact, most of the players think he’s doesn’t exist. Harris’ checks still cash though, and in the state of NY, has a few places to spend it, and I doubt he’ll ever let practice get in the way of that.
Milos Teodosic: Are we really sure how old this guy is? Allegedly, he’s 31, but he looks 50. Though he’s the NBA’s oldest rookie, he still plays like a seasoned veteran. His flashy passes are already the stuff of legend, and he’s got a wet jumper to boot. However, his year round 5 o’clock shadow is most definitely a product of his undoubtable chain smoking, so there’s no doubt he’s taking smoke breaks all throughout practice
Klay Thompson: Klay’s the type of shooter that can go from hot, to unconscious, but he’s just as liable to do so off the court. In fact, in a number of interviews with the media, Thompson has forgotten the question or his answer in the middle of his response. What’s more, Kevin Durant revealed on the Bill Simmons podcast, that Klay missed practice the same day that he dropped 60. For that alone, he’s in the no-practice HOF.
Winner: Ray Felton (Ray Fat)
Felton is a no practice legend. He’s got an elite body composition, short and thin legs down low, big sturdy chest up top, and the motor that you only see in a 45 year old YMCA hooper that “almost went to the league.” Felton’s game speaks for itself. Sag off an inch and he’s pulling from 30, you play him tight and he’s pulling from 30. Only the truly genius hoopers know that 3’s are worth 50% more than a 2, and that running from 3-point line to 3-point takes 50% less energy, and I consider Ray Felton a genius.
Hypebeast of the Year
Winner: Kelly Oubre
This is the only answer. Oubre blew the minds of clout chasers everywhere when he showed up to play the Brooklyn Nets with a Supreme/Nike collab leg sleeve. What a revolutionary. He only made it through half the game though before a trainer told him to take it off. But the guy is just as risqué off the court. Back in November, he catwalked into the Wizards locker room, parading a jacket that said “FUCK YOU.” Whether the fit he wears is a dub or not, his conviction remains tenable, as long as there’s a camera nearby, he’s happy. Even his on court semantics feel a bit fake. In a matchup against the Celtics last season, Oubre got hit on an illegal screen by Kelly Olynyk. Overcome by the beige-rage, Oubre retaliates by trying to charge into him, but instead hits the ref and continuing the “hold me back” shtick. But this year, in a matchup against the Warriors, a scrap between Bradley Beal and Draymond fell into the crowd. Oubre just started swingin’ and ended up hitting his own teammate, John Wall, in the process. To no surprise, both games were nationally televised on ESPN. All in all, Kelly Oubre Jr. truly is the Clout King.
BPOY (Beer Pong Player of the Year)
Joe Ingles: Of course there’s an Aussie on this list, their baby formulas are 26 proof. Ingles, the all around lefty, is a crafty shooter with a High IQ. Those same skills have transferred to the table, sneaking bounce shots past the defense, and hitting the right cups to get an ‘island’ to which he’s converted at a high rate. His biggest skill is that he’s never not been a drunk, so hangovers never affect him in back to backs.
JR smith: has an asterisk when it comes to this category. He’s been as deadly this season as all of our other candidates, but Smith insists on playing ‘henny pong.’ Much like his cognac, he’s very special. JR never picks up ‘elbow’ violations because he insists on shooting from further than he needs to, and unlike everyone else, he’s the most dangerous player once he’s catches fire.
Dirk Nowitzki: Arguably the best 7-foot shooter of all time, Nowitzki has started to slow down these days. Though the big German can still down beers like most others can’t, just don’t try to play him with American brew, the Germans love their stuff. Though he’s cut down on the beer to stay in shape for the NBA season, that shooting form will last a lifetime, and so should his game as well.
Winner: James Harden
The likely NBA MVP, and superstar guard might just top the list of the best player to hit the night scene regularly. Certainly a legend on the court, but he’s a legend in these streets as well. Harden’s stepped up his game by shedding his dad bod and beer belly, rarely missing a game winning cup, and sustaining his accuracy even with a few drinks in him. He’s still liable to get sauched, but he’s always got his eye on the prize.
Least improved player
Taj Gibson: Taj is the man. Every single year he comes in and does exactly what’s asked of him. But there’s no part of his game that we can say got better, and there’s no part of it that’s gotten worse. He’s just about the perfect role player for his teams because not too many others are willing to do the stuff he does every night.
Tom Thibodeau: Thibs isn’t here for the same reason as Taj. Maybe that’s why the two are a match made in hoop heaven. The big intrigue behind Thibs return to coaching was the rumors that he was a changed man. But the idea of a new Thibs was just a hoax. Minnesota's starting five have all averaged over 32 minutes(!) a game, and before his injury Jimmy Butler was averaging 37 minutes(!!!!!!) a game. The double edged sword here is that because of their play style, they need to play those minutes to compete nightly, and so it all comes back to Thibs.
Isaiah Thomas: IT was all ready for a brinks truck next summer, but little did he know he’d be getting a derailed train. Thomas was welcomed the Cavs with a trade after uninspiring play, and an inability to conform to the Cavs style of play. Unable to put his ego aside, Thomas may have had the worst season when we consider how well he played last year. While injury can be to blame, his best chance of having a good season was to stick to the team with LeBron, but that’s its own challenge.
Winner: Russell Westbrook
Don’t let Westbrooks stats fool you (again,) he’s the same player as last year, but there isn’t a narrative pushing his MVP candidacy this year. The Thunder are on pace to have the exact same record as last year, but with much higher expectations all season. We can also look back at their offseason moves and there’s an argument to be made that they got worse from it. While Paul George was the big name on the trade market, Westbrook had marginalized Victor Oladipo so much last season that trading him and Sabonis at the time was largely perceived as a fleecing. In hindsight, it may have been the wrong decision. Victor Oladipo’s contract is locked in, unlike PG13, but he’s also a lock for most improved player, and should probably make an All-NBA team too. These problems all stem back to Westbrooks attitude and style of play, which are also the biggest reasons that the Thunder haven’t ever been able to truly reach their peak, and why they could even see a scenario where they don’t even make the playoffs this season and which may just scare the second best SF they’ve had out of town.
Worst Hair/Facial Hair
Kevin Durant: KD’s reaching the part of his career where he may need to look in the mirror and make a decision. LeBron did this a few years ago when he punted his headband to bring life back to his hairline, but Durant doesn’t any accessories to furlough. It’s past the point where brushing could recover it because the bald spots are kicking in. He does benefit from being a 7-footer though, so not too many people are really within range to catch a look, but when we do get glimpses on broadcasts, is not a pretty sight.
James Harden: I’m soooo tired of Harden’s look, and I get that the beard is a large part of his brand, but it’s a tired shtick. We really just need to see is his face without the beard once just to get an idea of what we’re missing. What’s really grinding my gears with Harden though is his cut. He’s had the same mohawk fade every single season, and I don’t think he gets enough shit for it. I thought mohawks were a thing like, 8 years ago.
Kelly Olynyk: Some players can pull off the long hair/beard combo, but Kelly Olynyk is not one of them. Steven Adams is the shining example of this, combining function with fashion, but Olynyk just looks like an old Amish mother. He also suffers from maybe the worst beard in the NBA. It might not even be appropriate to call that thing a beard, it’s as if his chin is a functional Chia pet. Let’s all pray the carpet doesn’t match the drapes.
Winner: Elfrid Payton
I have to admit that I was a fan of Payton’s hair when he was a rookie. There’s not another cut like it in the league, and the curvature resembled that of an abstract sculpture. The story behind it is that his high school team made a pact to keep growing their hair until they won their state championship, but since they never won he’s kept it. A problem in this logic is that he has shaped up the sides of his head, evidenced by a google search, so he has in fact cut his hair, thus violating the treaty, so he might as well do what the Weeknd did. But more importantly, the hair has gotten so long and protruding that it’s affected his shots, no doubt playing a part in his shooting motion. In a game against the Nets this season, he airballs a 5 foot floater and the replay shows his hair completely blocking his line of sight.
SMVP (Social-Media MVP)
Enes Kanter: He is just the consummate troll. His target all year, LeBron James. When the Cavs came to Madison Square in November, Kanter and James got into a scuffle and a shouting match. When asked about it in postgame Kanter said, “ I don’t care who you are, what you call yourself, King, Queen, Princess…” Throughout the year he’s tweeted shots at LBJ, but it hasn’t only been jokes for Kanter. He spoke out against the corrupt leader of Turkey, his country of origin, and in response the Turkish Government canceled his passport. Through social media, he let everyone know what was basically unruly imprisonment, and was returned back to the US promptly. When you can use twitter to save your life, that’s certainly SMVP worthy.
Kyle Kuzma: The second round stud has been a huge surprise for the Lakers this year. He’s got a vast array of skills and shots which combined with his youth, athleticism and size make for a scary prospect. But what’s really intriguing is his attitude. He’s a shit talking specialist, and has the confidence that most rookies don’t have, he did play 4-years of college ball. What’s made for such great following on social is he’s got a guy younger guy like Lonzo to clown on his IG story. The best part of Kuz is that while he’s still a rookie, he carries himself like he’s the man on the team, and that extends to his social media too.
Lou Williams: Sweet Lou is one of the easiest dudes to root for in the league. His game is tough, and he’s never been fake about himself. When a fan asked if he was still dating two women, something he’s been very open about, he responded “4.” But at 31, in his 12th season, he’s maybe played his best, dragging a ragtag clippers team into a possible playoff spot, and with the recent success he nearly cemented an All-star over his social media ‘campaign.’ After every great game he had, he’d tweet out without subtlety about his candidacy. When it was reported that All-star Jimmy Butler would sit the game to rest for the season, Williams tweeted at him “you serious bruh?” Butler then challenged Williams to a game of ones for $100,000 to settle things. Whether or not it’ll ever come to that, it’s this lively debate between players that we just love to see.
Winner: Joel “The Process” Embiid
Things just come easy to Embiid. Ever since he was drafted, he had the exact mix of humor and carelessness to create a strong fan base, especially over social media. In instagram posts, he’ll often put an obscure name for a location that undermine those in the photo, or enhance the caption he’s written. He’ll call out opponents and even his teammates, but there’s always a complex level of humor when he makes these engagements. When Joel let his shot at Rihanna fly it soon after became known she’d consider a date once Embiid became an All-star. After doing just that this season, he was asked about it in a postgame interview on TNT, responding perfectly. As his career starts to take off it’ll be a pleasure to watch his game get better and to see the fire content that comes with it.