“Seinfeld” is a rite of passage. If you care about the minutiae, the subliminal daily events that subconsciously alter your mood, you care about Seinfeld. It teaches you that you’re not alone. It teaches you that big salads are clutch and marine biology is a risky, but beneficial pretend-profession. It comforts you knowing that everyone has a Lloyd Braun, the friend who was always better. If George Costanza can bring together his passion for food, TV and sex into a misguided amalgamation of pleasure, then so can I.
Except my weapons of choice are “Seinfeld” and the NBA Draft. The show has taught me many things. Most importantly, there’s one incontrovertible and fundamental principle: “Seinfeld” applies to every aspect of life. And when I say every, I mean it.
To that end, I looked to Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld’s brainchild to help untangle the mess that is the 2011 NBA Draft. After careful research, here are the episodes that most precisely illustrate the attitudes, games and perceptions of this year’s prospects.
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Kyrie Irving â€“ “The Tape” (Season 3): The relatively unquestioned No. 1 prospect in this year’s class is shrouded in a veil of mystery. Kind of like the sex recording Elaine secretly made for Jerry during this episode. When George finds out that the tape was Elaine’s sexual creation, he cannot control his attraction to her. Even though he’s only heard a brief preview of her sexual powers, he’s nonetheless uncontrollably enamored.
This is our relationship with Kyrie Irving. His freshman season at Duke provided a mere glimpse into the breadth of his talents, but we’re hooked. We’re gaga over his potential despite his limited exposure. Maybe Elaine could rock George’s world in bed, and maybe Kyrie Irving could take the NBA by storm. We just don’t know. But we’re willing to dream, even if those dreams may border on inappropriate.
Derrick Williams â€“ “The Foundation” (Season 8): Williams came onto the scene this year with a bang â€“ a deep NCAA tourney run, a revamped three-point shot and an improving offensive and defensive arsenal. A man among boys, if you will. Kind of like Kramer dominating kids in Karate and convincing Elaine that it was a good idea to put the “urban sombrero” on the cover of J. Peterman’s magazine.
Williams may have been able to master collegiate competition, but an improved opponent may spell his demise. Kramer’s karate conquests eventually got beat him up in an alley by kids and Elaine’s urban sombrero failed miserably. If Williams isn’t careful, he could suffer the same fate.
Brandon Knight â€“ “The Pledge Drive” (Season 6): Although Knight broke out in the tourney, our draft experts put it well: he “has barely scratched the surface of his ceiling.” Same with Jerry’s grandma’s birthday checks. When Kramer convinces Jerry to cash years of $10 birthday checks, Jerry reluctantly agrees. The money would be beneficial, and it would be living up to his grandmother’s expectations.
Of course Jerry’s grandma goes missing and the checks bounce, but that’s besides the point. If the team that drafts Knight has a full bank account and is ready to harness his potential, then Knight’s checks won’t bounce and he’ll live up to his team’s expectations. If not, he’ll go missing like Jerry’s grandma and may never reappear in the NBA.
Enes Kanter â€“ “The Implant” (Season 4): Despite his dominating Nike Hoops Summit performance, Kanter is a relative unknown. In short, it’s hard to know if the package is for real. Elaine has the same doubts about Jerry’s girlfriends breasts, which she claims are implants.
Of all the prospects in this draft, Kanter is the biggest boom or bust out there because the truth is no one really knows if the packaging matches the goods. He’s physically gorgeous and well-rounded. To Jerry’s surprise and frustration, his former girlfriend is for real in every way. Whoever takes Kanter can only hope that it works out just as well.
Kemba Walker â€“ “The Mango” (Season 5): He’s the consummate winner, the ultimate performer in the clutch, and the kind of kid who’s going to bring the right attitude to your franchise. For teams toiling in the realm of constant losing, Walker may just be that missing piece to jump start everything. That’s what George is missing in his relationship with his girlfriend Karen.
It started out well â€“ great dinners, conversation, and of course, sex. But then something happened, and George was stuck in an irreversible state of confidence loss. This ultimately led to erectile dysfunction and the need for a quick solution. It turns out that a mango from Joe’s fruit store was that cure. That, in short, is Kemba Walker. He’s a spark plug. He’s someone that will reverse the fortunes of your franchise simply by nibbling on the fruits of his labor. While he may not bring an NBA title, he’s sure to guide you in the right direction.
Jan Vesely â€“ “The Beard” (Season 6): Without a doubt he’s a freakish athlete with loads of potential. The kind of guy with whom a long-term relationship can prove extremely fruitful. Elaine wants to date such a man; Unfortunately, he’s gay. But Elaine is not deterred, and hatches a plan to get him to “switch teams.” In a shocking turn of events, Elaine fulfills her wishes and experiences the full benefits of converting her mark (sex and shopping). But the success is short-lived because the boyfriend isn’t totally comfortable in his new role.
If the team that drafts Vesely tries to turn him into something he’s not, they may have initial success. But the key to his development will be allowing him to thrive in what he does best â€“ running the floor, finishing strong and defending multiple positions. So stay away from conversion and let destiny run its course.
Kawhi Leonard â€“ “The Bizzaro Jerry” (Season 8): On the physical level, he’s an ideal prospect. But while’s he’s a talented player, nothing in particular stands out about his game…just that he’s quality prospect with freakishly large hands. And that’s probably how Jerry would describe his date, Jillian. In fact, that’s exactly how he describes her: “man hands.” There’s no doubt that she’s attractive â€“ George even uses a picture of her to gain entry to a secret club, pretending that she’s his ex-wife Susan â€“ but she’s not outstanding in any particular way. Well, excluding her gigantic and absurdly strong hands. Good thing that’s a positive in the NBA.
Bismack Biyombo â€“ “The Bottle Deposit” (Season 7): His workouts are pretty terrible. His skills are well below par. Yet when push comes to shove and five players are pitted against five on the hardwood, Biyombo gets the job done. And ultimately, that’s all that matters. Workouts, scouting reports and previous stats only tell part of the story.
When Mr. Wilhelm at the Yankees assigns George a project, George doesn’t quite hear what the assignment is. In his futile attempt to put the pieces together, nothing materializes. Yet miraculously, the job gets done. No thanks to George, of course, but George takes the praise. Ultimately that is Biyombo in a nutshell. I can’t explain it, I can’t describe it. He just happens, and his teams usually win.
Jonas Valanciunas â€“ “The Pool Guy” (Season 7): Even Valanciunas has admitted that his skill level isn’t very high. But that doesn’t stop him from coupling his 6-11 frame and 7-6 wingspan with an unrelenting motor and willingness to pick up the scraps. That is, do whatever it takes to win.
The pool guy who tries to befriend Jerry at the gym is no different. Despite Jerry’s best efforts to express his unwillingness to become friends, the pool guy is not deterred. Even though he may clean up the mess of others, he has high aspirations and a positive attitude. These same qualities may bring Valanciunas the success that the pool guy could never seem to find.
Alec Burks â€“ “The Secretary” (Season 6): He’s a scorer, through and through. Although he flew somewhat under the radar for the majority of his collegiate career, he’s on the big stage now with nowhere to hide. In the NBA, he might even exceed expectations, but Burks is the most decipherable prospect around: great scorer, little else.
When George hires a new secretary during his tenure at the Yankees, he initially claims that he just wants someone attractive. It turns that he hires Ada, a highly efficient, although not particularly attractive secretary. In just a few days, she proves to be so skilled at her job that George sleeps with her and offers her a raise (she ends up making more money than him). Maybe Burks will end up making more than his future backcourt mate. Maybe a team will accidentally overpay for his offensive services (see Johnson, Joe.) But most likely he’ll do his job and turn into an efficient role player. A secretary, of sorts.
Who do you think will be the sleepers of this draft?
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