The most interesting thing about Tristan Thompson this year was his preseason holdout and coup d'état of Dan Gilbert and the Cavaliers front office. He sat down on the plush chair at the head of the table intended for the owner, Dan, (and heir-in-waiting Nick Gilbert) and took a giant dump on the desk in front of it, forcing a deal to the tune of 5 years, $82,000,000. Some say he left the room with a toothpick in his mouth and a new-found swagger not unlike WWF's Razor Ramon circa '93.
As far as placing anywhere but last on this list, Thompson had the Canadian thing going for him originally, but our Northern neighbor is producing Canadian wunderkinds faster than hash browns in a Waffle House at 2 a.m. His game is also unremarkable but solid, which is probably not the best case scenario for a 17 million dollar a year big man. But this upcoming summer is going to be like that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with the fizzy lifting drinks, everything makes zero sense and everybody is going to be out of their fucking minds.
His hairline is fantastic and he’s got a Crest smile, so he’s got that going for him -- but unfortunately, he leads us off in last place in the NBA Finals fun stock market.
Entertainment Value: His contract.
Perhaps the most positive press Kevin Love has gotten this year was through Richard Jefferson and his Li'l Kev magazine cutout that he loves to parade around in his Snapchat. The real Kevin Love is too busy putting weird products into his hair, had a curious case of disappearing/reappearing Etch-a-sketch beard in a photo shoot, and is putting up fragile numbers on a team where you think he would really excel statistically.
Love was vastly underrated as a spectacle in Minnesota, carving defenses up for 30/30 games and throwing around his toned baby fat with a purpose like Zangief or Vincent D'Onofrio as Kingpin.
Entertainment Value: The "Does LeBron James even like Kevin Love?" fiasco, Droppin’ Dimes Chorus, The Beach Boys Connection.
To Shaun Livingston’s credit, I don’t think anybody in the world thought that he would show this much impact and be relevant in the year 2016 after his grotesque 2007 knee injury, aka the prelude to Kevin Ware and Paul George destroying their legs, aka things that you only need to see once (like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but for other reasons.)
If he brought back the afro or the cornrows, he would significantly jump on this list.
Entertainment Value: The Anthony Randolph syndrome, 2004 Magic Johnson unicorn, his old hair, his old knee.
At first glance, Iguodala is quite the intriguing person. Over the course of his career, when he was in his prime, his field goal attempts per game actually lowered by year. It's as if he realized that he would never be a true number one option and decided to work towards benefiting the team rather than inflate his own numbers, a noble sacrifice indeed. Add onto that a finals MVP, and securing the rights to the @andre Twitter handle, an impressive feat in its own right.
It’s no secret that Iguodala does all of the little things that nobody sees, but fuck that. It’s boring as hell to talk about after first pointing it out. I can’t really get hyped up over Iguodala producing a 9/5/3 statline or him always hitting clutch free throws at the end of a game despite being a horrendous free throw shooter. It’s impressive, and unselfish, but I can’t pretend to enjoy it one bit. Nope, never.
I can't front though, his Twitter is a god damn goldmine.
Entertainment Value: His "breathy" speech pattern, shot hatred, his Twitter account.
His hairstyle being an ode to Johnny Bravo is dope. So is marrying Teyana Taylor and managing to start a semi-meaningful rap career while being an NBA player, something that no NBA player has succeeded at yet. It's seriously a harder record to break than Skiles' 31 assists.
While Shump is quite alluring from the outside looking in, he just doesn't grab me like the other players on this list. I’m not accusing Iman Shumpert of being “fake deep” or anything, but I'm also not saying that he doesn't seem like the type to brag about how he loves the Sex Pistols but couldn't name a song from Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols when asked.
He did go to Georgia Tech, which is the alma mater of Stephon Marbury, and was my favorite team to play with on Coach K’s College Basketball back on the Sega Genesis, so he's at this spot for those reasons alone.
Entertainment Value: Grand Theft Auto style music video, rapper, hair.
Getting pranked on YouTube by his Warrior teammates, believing that he was to be cut from the team was probably the only time I've seen Ezeli outside of his jersey this year. The most interesting thing involved with Ezeli’s current form is how much he will fetch in free agency and if he is that breakout big man in waiting (a la Biyombo) that many people assume him to be.
Truth be told, I don’t know how entertaining Festus Ezeli is as a personality, but we’re going to see just how much he enjoys the Jerome James spotlight after he's awarded a shiny new contract and is expected to expand his role past "pretty damn good bench big".
After reviewing this list, I definitely put this guy a little too low, but this is my draft and stash pick. Festus is going to deliver on many fronts in a year or two, just watch him work.
Entertainment Value: Free agency, dodging injuries.
The Australian Bill Laimbeer of point guards.
The gritty nuisance known as Matthew Dellavedova is categorized as a "hate 'em or love 'em player" like Draymond Green, Tyler Hansbrough, or Matt Barnes. I mean, most recently he got called a “pussy motherfucker” by Kyle Lowry (an honor, now that I think about it) and played the notorious villain of the 2015 NBA Finals. Him and Patrick Beverley should start aiming for a buddy cop movie franchise as a post-career gig.
Matthew Dellavedova also looks like he’d enjoy eating a ham and cheese sandwich while mowing his lawn on a lazy Sunday afternoon, don't ask me why.
BREAKING NEWS: As of 40 minutes ago, Dellavedova will release his own shoe with a Chinese Shoe Apparel company which will be called the “Delly 1's”. Dream big, kids.
Entertainment Value: Being a pest, accent, a possible showdown with Draymond Green.
The mole is the best thing he has going for him branding wise. Unfortunately, The Mole was a (exceptionally underrated) TV show, but you figure that Speights can really capitalize on it if he focused all of his resources on his head. It's even in NBA 2K17, so why not bring more attention to it?
The Lord of House Buckets can play 18 minutes or six minutes for you with dissimilar results. What's not to like about that? An 18-foot jumper ain't nothing but an extended lay-up for Mo Buckets.
Entertainment Value: Long two heat checks, long twos in general, the mole, his nicknames.
Now here is a player that wouldn't be on most NBA lists a year ago. Richard Jefferson, known recently more for his strange offseason photos with Luke Walton than his pretty damn successful playing career with the New Jersey Nets comes in at number 12 on the fun list.
Thanks to his Snapchat stories and letting the world feel more connected to LeBron and fellow Cavs teammates, Jefferson has once again become relevant in NBA circles. He is also playing 16 minutes a game in the playoffs at 35 years old. What a year for the guy with the hideous "RJ" tattoo.
Dahntay Jones played during the preseason with the Brooklyn Nets, and played in exactly one regular season game for the Cavs, earning exactly 42 minutes in that game while fouling out. He's also been sprinkled odd minutes here and there during the playoffs, managed to execute a low blow and was suspended one game as a result. Jones undoubtedly played a pivotal part in the Draymond Green kerfuffle and was a cited reason as to why Draymond should be banished for a game. Just start calling him Wikipedia.
Entertainment Value: Following his career in 2016.
Harrison Barnes is like that really chill popular athlete friend you have in school that you just can’t believe is so down to earth and not a complete raging douchebag. So rare, he's like a Javan rhino.
But when I think of the world's most average basketball player, Harrison Barnes comes to mind almost immediately (as well as Wilson Chandler) -- he needs to spread his black falcon wings and soar toward the sun to really prove his worth in this league... which is sort of funny to write, considering he's been a big part of a championship team and is on another team that has broken the Bulls all-time regular season record that is chasing yet another title.
Barnes had potential to make it really low on this list. It’s okay to be hip and current, but The Black Falcon takes it a little too far in that regard. You need to be completely stupid and ignorant in one facet of your life, or else you run the risk of being a pretentious know it all that nobody wants to hang out with because you can't enjoy your shitty tastes around them.
Like, I could totally picture Harrison Barnes dancing in the back of a Roman Flügel Boiler Room set. Get a life, Harrison.
Entertainment Value: Plays saxophone, Nickname, Free Agency, Game of Thrones fan, all around cool guy.
LeBron James would be tops on this list a few years ago, but this whole making it to the Finals thing six straight times is getting real old. The conversion rate is unreal, but he also has a bit of trouble with the two point conversion, which is after the 7 points... yeah my comparison is all out of whack. The point is, LeBron gets to a lot of finals but outside of Miami, ain't winning them.
The real talking point of LeBron is which one of his seeds is going to dominate the NBA first, Bryce Maximus or LeBron Jr.? Junior has a huge legacy to look up to, and seems to be the more polished player at this stage of their lives. Bryce Maximus sounds like he duel wields machetes and kicks ass for a living. Both will be animals if they choose to go the basketball route.
Jeffrey and Marcus Jordan proved to be duds, the LeBron lineage will be studs, and the world will be a better place because of it.
Entertainment Value: Cigarette meme LeBron, Passive aggressive LeBron, being insanely good at basketball.
Ever since his trade from the Orlando Magic to the Cleveland Cavaliers, I have taken a liking to Channing Frye, something I wouldn't have said three months ago.
I am a rare Orlando Magic fan, so I have some pent up hatred toward Channing “Backpedaling Fouler” Frye -- but even I know that the Magic coaching staff didn’t put him in the best of positions on the floor. In post-game interviews, he had as impressive of an interview as any coach, and serves as a constant reminder that even if you're a seven footer, you can hang around the perimeter 100% of the game and be effective.
I will also admit that he likes to mix it up a bit and puts some stank on his dunks.
Richard Jefferson compared Frye to the new kid at school that unknowingly brings groups of people together even if they were in different cliques, and has shot lights out during this postseason. Good for you, Channing.
Entertainment Value: Random cursing in interviews, interviews, locker room shirts, random dunks.
The Big Australian doesn’t mince words, and that is my favorite thing about him -- the fact that he's like your crazy uncle at the BBQ that you have to keep an eye on so he doesn't offend all of the guests and sour the mood. It is only me favorite thing about him because I am not a Warriors fan or the owner or anybody else that could stand to lose anything from him doing A Dumb Thing.
What controversial statement is going to come out of his mouth next? What tweak or small injury will he suffer in the Finals? The International Man of Mystery is here, ladies and gents.
I also like to envision Bogut as the de facto leader of a Australian zombie apocalypse annihilation party. He commands the group that has Ben Simmons, Patty Mills, Dante Exum and Joe Ingles in it. It's a ragtag unit of Aussies, but he leads and they follow*.
(*Dellavedova was off doing his own thing, perfecting his famous rat stew and wearing chain mail 24 hours of the day -- too fussy to recruit.)
Entertainment Value: His mouth, injury watch, Australia.
In a lot of ways, Curry deserves to be overshadowed by Riley and Ayesha. His utopia is the hardwood, where he's able to launch 30 footers with no remorse and frolic about after hitting three after three in your eye.
Pour some hot sauce on that ball so you can have an excuse as to why you're tearing up when it happens for the seventh straight time.
But yeah, Stephen Curry. I'm sure you're tired of reading about him -- but at least he's not 2010-2014 Miami Heat LeBron when it comes to media coverage.
Entertainment Value: Wife, Daughter, Wife's other Instagram, on court antics.
Before delivering the most talked about kick in the world for a week, Draymond Green was likable in the sense that 98% of the world didn't hate him.
Most of his entertainment comes from his mouth. He's the emotional and spiritual leader of the Warriors, and doesn't care if he wakes you up from slumber at four in the morning if he was your neighbor. -- but I also feel that he would bring you a cooked meal as an apology the next day.
He loves making o-faces and drunkenly responding to questions in victory parades, so I say forget about the hate and point to those factors alone as to why you should love Draymond Green.
Also, his nbadraft.net comparison was Luke Harangody.
Entertainment Value: Glitching the hell out, hunched three pointers, antics, mouth, personality.
Why he hasn’t earned the nickname of “The Mayor” yet is beyond me, but I guess expecting people to understand a Haggar reference is expecting way too much. Swish is good enough (which he got as a kid, because him and his friends didn’t count the basket if it hit the rim) in the meantime.
Smith has been through a lot in his NBA career, including a manslaughter charge, a marijuana suspension (luck of the draw, really), and some Knicks/Nuggets brawls that have insane replay value.
The funny thing is, a lot of people had written J.R. Smith off and he's enjoying one of his best years in the NBA this year as far as impacting a winning team. Dion Waiters should seriously look up to him and try to carve out a career like him. This is a real statement in 2016 and I will read this back in 5 years to see if it still holds weight.
Entertainment Value: Twitter DMs, Heat check J.R., career arc, shoelaces.
Kehlani, Kyrie, Kylie, PND, EPMD, C&C Music Factory. What do these all have in common? Well the latter two mean jack shit, but Kyrie found himself in the middle of an interesting triangle two months ago, and I'm not talking about whatever the Knicks attempted to run on offense.
The Puppetmaster has delighted crowds for years now, especially at the expense of Brandon Knight -- but will he ever be a winner? Well, he is a winner.. but a winner winner. Why am I even asking that? I don't give a shit.
The problem is that nobody knows if Kyrie is a pure scorer or if he can transition into a point guard with good intentions. I, for one, think we need a new age Gilbert Arenas that will mercilessly play around with his dinner on the court but not bring choppers into the locker room.
Entertainment Value: Playing style, future playing style, love life.
Coach Tyronn Lue
The Sea Scrolls of Iverson XI transcribe an old tale, one of unspoken hegemony by one named “The Answer” -- it is said he had a servant by the name of "Little Lue" who was at his beck and call every hour of the day. One passage even reads that Iverson XI used to lay Little Lue on the floor and walk over him for shits and giggles. Rotten one, that Iverson XI.
From watching his own idol Sir Blatt IV beheaded in front of him to telling King James to "shut the fuck up and listen" -- Little Lue is not so little anymore, as he sits atop the masses with a ticket to the finals and a new found confidence.
Entertainment Value: Almost hanging out with Kyle Lowry deep in a playoffs series with the Raptors, surviving the Cavs guillotine, respect, life after Iverson.
Klay Thompson is without a doubt the most interesting player to me. From his innocent gaffes, to his brother Trayce bombing away in Dodger-land, to using the wrong words in interviews like calling basketball his "scapegoat", Klay is that stoner you love to love.
Throughout the playoffs, Klay is cosplaying as a flamethrower searing opponents to a nice medium rare, as well-done will ruin any sort of meat, and Klay knows that.
Rocco factors in strongly when considering these rankings. His dog wakes up at noon, and they both like to chill on a ripped up couch while staring at the TV. I'm envious, really. This is the same dog that appeared on a Warriors bobblehead with him.
Plus, you cannot be convinced that there isn’t more to this guy. You might find him at a house party playing beer pong, or you might find him at the local Whole Foods staring at the produce section. You might even find him in a porno ten years from now, who knows?
The real question at hand is who does Klay choose in Overwatch? I choose Genji.
Entertainment Value: Himself, dog, interviews, life.