— РФБ (@russiabasket) September 6, 2016
When the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a $64 million deal with lumbering Russian big man Timofey Mozgov on the first day of the free agency moratorium, many raised their eyebrows in genuine confusion, while others tore their eyebrows out in resigned frustration. But it appears the Lakers knew something no one else did and that something is that Mozgov is the next Steph Curry, except unlike Curry, Mozgov’s three-point shot has never been blocked by a 17-year-old kid.
Watch this delightfully spare and elegant video of Mozgov sinking trey after trey set to a song that sounds sort of like the inspiring tune one would hear when good triumphs over evil in the final scene of a romantic comedy.
Sure, Mozgov has been coy with his three-point stroke in actual NBA games, making a total of seven in his career (and just one last season!), but it now seems like it’s all just been a half-decade long plan to lull the opposition into a false sense of security. This isn’t a new passion for him either. Mozgov’s former coach, the doomed David Blatt, recounts his desire for Moz to fire from beyond the arc both in Russia and in Cleveland, comparing him ruefully to Bill Laimbeer, who was shooting the long ball, winning championships, and becoming the most hated man ever when Mozgov was just a toddler.
And it’s Mozgov’s good fortune to suit up for newly named coach Luke Walton, who has proven himself a capable deputy under the newest thinking-outside-the-box coach Steve Kerr. Will Luke Walton establish himself as the “groovy” and “hip” coach who will finally be willing to run plays to get Mozgov open for corner threes? Probably not! But it’s certainly a lot more likely than it would have been under the regime of Byron Scott, who no doubt would, at this very moment, be writing a letter to Mozgov sternly warning him to banish his dreams of three-point dominance and stick to being a massively unpleasant presence in the paint. And, that’s actually, probably, not terrible advice.
But this video, this beautiful video, shows a man willing to dream his dream. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, not even if you are a huge Russian man who wants to throw a ball into a net from a different spot on the court than usual. Dreams are free.
Then again, Brian Shaw and the Denver Nuggets dreamt big back in 2014 with a game on the line. Let’s hope Walton doesn’t remember the result.