Non-(MSG)Garden Variety — 2/25/10 Edition


Today we once again leave our insular Knick world to check in on some comings, goings, and idlings around the league:

–To Be Filed Under “And You Thought Jordan Hill Was A Bad Draft Pick”

When Brandon Jennings, the #10 pick in this last year’s draft, started showing he’s fo’ real, everyone bitched about the Knicks not snagging him with their #8 pick.  ‘Course that means 9 other teams passed on him too, so it’s not like NYC was the only one who misjudged him.  And with #1 pick Blake Griffin injured and unable to play a single minute this season, really the only two higher picks who’ve been clearly better are Tyreke Evans and Stephen Curry.  Others like James Harden and Jonny Flynn have been solid, and word is that Minnesota Timberwolves’ pick Ricky Rubio has been phenomenal  …playing over in Europe.  Everyone thought the draft would only produce one stud (Griffin) and the other players would be mediocre.  Instead, they’ve done wildly better than anyone would’ve guessed.  Which only makes it sting more for the Memphis Grizzlies who just sent their #2 pick, Hasheem Thabeet, to the D-League.  While his name is pretty darn fun to say (or even to sing, particularly when you replace the chorus of the Go-Go Girls’ “We Got The Beat” with his name), he will be the highest draft pick EVER sent to the D-League.  The dude is so bad that the Grizz decided to replace him at backup center with Iranian, Hamed Haddadi, who thinks he’s playing something called “net ball.”

–The Last Straw

Newly acquired Dallas Maverick, Caron Butler, has been banned by the NBA league office.  Banned from chewing on straws during games.  Really?  We’ve become so overly concerned about appearances that we’re cracking down on straw chewing?  And for those of you who think “straw chewing” is a euphemism or slang for something, no, it’s literally what it sounds like: Caron likes to sit on the bench and chew on McDonald’s straws.  Since Butler used to play for the Wizards, the Washington Post once did a hard-hitting news piece on this insidious habit:

–Kevin Garnett Is The Touchiest Player In The NBA

No, I don’t mean he gets offended easily.  He is the player who literally physically touches other players the most.  And the New York Times had an article about a study observing every hug, high-five, chest-bump, butt slap, and tongue kiss between NBA players during games.  Okay, there were no tongue kisses — just wanted to see if y’all were paying attention.  Apparently, touching is good.  So good, players & teams who touch more, win more.  So next time you find yourself losing in pickup ball at the local YMCA, rather than yell at your teammates to step it up, just run a finger through their hair.

–NBA Players Actually Do Read Books In Their Free Time!

Okay, mostly just the foreign-born players according to this Wall Street Journal article, but still it’s nice to hear that team flights aren’t completely about poker, dvds and video games.  The Hornets’ Emeka Okafor read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko reads Tolstoy (whadaya expect, he’s a Ruskie), The Lakers’ Pau Gasol reads Carlos Bolano’s mammoth “2066” (given to him by the Zen Master/Reading Guru himself, Phil Jackson), and Cleveland’s soon-to-be-returning center Zydrynas Ilgauskas likes to read books on military history.  As if he wasn’t intimidating enough just being a 7’3″ Lithuanian.  Oh, but the most fascinating tidbit is about an American.  Dwayne Wade’s favorite book is Jane Austen’s “Pride & Prejudice.”  And no, not the recent version with the Zombies.  Also, interestingly the NBA’s Player Union sends out a quarterly list of reading suggestions.  Maybe the world ain’t in such bad shape after all.

–What To Do When It Snows And You Want To Play Basketball

Sometimes ya wanna play bball, and sometimes ya wanna go snowboarding.  What’s a person to do?  Both.