Okay, okay. It's the off-season, and virtually nothing is going on right now, other than Stephen Jackson eating some fried ribs. That gives me an excuse to write narrowly focused columns that only certain readers will begin to understand! Namely, everybody below the age of 25.
Sure, I could do a column comparing Thunder players to something more culturally relevant....like Breaking Bad characters or something. But I don't watch any current TV, so my scope is pretty limited. Anyway, without further ado, let's catch 'em all!
Also, this only includes the original 150 Pokemon. Both the anime and the video game are fair play to talk about. Why? Because I said so. And I don't know what the heck a "Luvdisc" is supposed to be.
End of the Bench:
Cole Aldrich - Magikarp
Back in the day, when you caught a Magikarp, all it could do was splash and tackle. In other words, it was totally useless in battle. So you'd have to basically whip it out and immediately withdraw it before it took any damage, and have another Pokemon finish off your foe. The only reason you would do this is in the hope that it would eventually evolve into a Gyarados, and totally destroy your opponent with Dragon Rage. I kind of feel Cole Aldrich is the same thing. He was totally raw and unpolished coming out of college, but after sitting on the bench behind Nazr Mohammed, his time to shine might be now. Then again, he might stay forever as a Magikarp. Who knows?
Lazar Hayward- Geodude
In the anime, Geodude was the workhorse of Brock's Pokemon arsenal. Did he ever do anything amazing? Not really. Would he ever evolve into Graveler or Golem? Heck no. But he was there, doing the same basic moves, right up until the end of the original series. Lazar Hayward seems like the same type of guy to me. He's old and doesn't have a high ceiling for improvement, but he's a two guard you can keep on the cheap, and he's always there to fill in when you need him. Plus, I kind of like the image of Hayward plowing into the defense, just like the rock-hard Geodude.
Reggie Jackson- Diglett
Diglett is a small Pokemon, but, like Reggie Jackson, it played a vital role in everyone's Pokemon game. When you went from Cerulean City to Vermilion City, you went through a tunnel full of Diglett to get there. Now, up to that point, you didn't have a Pokemon that was really good against electric types, unless you happened to raise a Geodude. So, in order to beat Lt. Surge, you caught a Diglett and had it use Dig against all of his Pokemon. then, you quickly dumped it in favor of something better. Reggie Jackson filled that role for the Thunder this season. We desperately needed a backup point guard when Eric Maynor went down, and he filled that role decently, though not good enough to consider keeping him.
Below: Everyone Else!
Perry Jones III- Kabuto
Kabuto was a Pokemon you got towards the end of the game (if you selected the right fossil), but by the time it was yours, it was too low of a level to be of much use. The same kind of goes for Perry Jones, who would be an excellent addition if he came along a couple of years ago, but now seems like he might get lost in the shuffle and not given the playing time he needs to develop. But if Perry Jones actually is given the time he needs, he might evolve into a Kabutops, which is an excellent addition to any Pokemon/NBA team.
Daniel Orton- Rattata
If you owned a Pokemon game, you caught a Rattata. And it was, at one point, a valuable member of your team. It scratched and tackled those Viridian Forest bug catchers into oblivion. But once better Pokemon came along, Rattata quickly fell in your rotation, basically just existing to use HMs or sit in the computer. Daniel Orton is a similar type of player. He had some minutes on the Magic, but he was never really good enough to warrant being more than a placeholder until something better came along. Now, he's just on the team because the Thunder are looking for a backup big man and because he's from Oklahoma City. Rattata holds the same allure, because everybody had one, and you used it at some point.
Hasheem Thabeet- Bellsprout
Look at the potential of Hasheem Thabeet. Look at the potential of Bellsprout. Look at the long, lanky arms of Hasheem Thabeet. Look at the long, lanky roots of Bellsprout. Just like Thabeet could have been the next Olajuwon, Bellsprout could have been a pretty mean Victreebell, using sleep powder and stun spore to annoy your opponents into submission. Unfortunately, no Pokemon trainers really took the time to raise a Bellsprout, because it looked lame, you probably had a Bulbasaur/Butterfree anyway, and it performed pretty poorly in battle early on. But, there's always the off chance that it had the dedication to become a Victreebell. And Sam Presti still sees the Victreebell in Hasheem Thabeet, so that's why we have him. I hope we don't ever have to use him against the Elite Four....
Hollis Thompson- Horsea
Like Horsea, Hollis Thompson is a sharpshooter. But most people don't think of Horsea or see much of Horsea in the video game.
Nick Collison- Pikachu
Pikachu is the workhorse of Ash's Pokemon team in the anime, just like Nick Collison. And despite Pikachu being limited as an actual Pokemon, everybody loves him, because he's just so gosh darn cute and always gets things done. I don't know if the earlier is true of Nick Collison, but I do know that everyone loves him, despite his lower status in the rotation.
Daequan Cook- Electrode
Electrodes aren't really known for anything but exploding. An explosion kills the Electrode, but 99% of the time, it kills the other Pokemon as well. Daequan Cook doesn't get to play too often during the playoffs, but he'll have his moment. Like when you desperately need a three, and Cook jacks up a few. Like the explosion, the shots could help you, killing your foes best Pokemon. But a miss could also hurt you, like losing a Pokemon in your rotation when you're down. Both Electrode and Daequan Cook are gambles, but they're well worth it.
Serge Ibaka- Dragonite
Dragonite is an extremely powerful Pokemon, and a jack of all trades. He can attack with several different types of moves, has a ton of HP, and is immune to most attacks. But, Dragonite is susceptible to one type of Pokemon: Ice. Other than that, the only reason Dragonite would lose a battle is if you taught it the wrong set of moves. Serge Ibaka is similar. He's only really ineffective when he fouls too much, and he can fly high in the air, just like Dragonite. And he seems to learn a new skill every year, with his shot range and number of blocks getting better throughout his career.
Eric Maynor- Golbat
There's a lot of Golbats and Eric Maynors out there. In fact, it's hard to get out of any cave in the later game without seeing at least one. And while Golbat isn't great at any particular thing, there's lots of little things it can do to help you win the battle. Just like Golbat will annoy you to death with supersonic, poison sting, and bite, Eric Maynor can kill an opponent with a well placed pass, a mid-range jumper here or there, or a surprise steal. Don't underestimate a Golbat, and don't underestimate Eric Maynor.
Kendrick Perkins- Snorlax
You don't mess with Snorlax when he's sleeping. You don't mess with Kendrick Perkins....ever.
Thabo Sefolosha- Cloyster
This comparison might seem obvious, since both of them are very defensive and good at what they do. But also, you have to be a very specific type of player to defeat Thabo Sefolosha. You have to be a good shooter from the outside, and have the size to beat him in the paint. The same is true for Cloyster, which is really only suceptible to four types of Pokemon, and has a huge base defense stat. Both have specific weaknesses, but against the vast majority of opponents, they're hard to get by.
The Big 3:
Kevin Durant- Mewtwo
In case you didn't know, Mewtwo can pretty much control minds and destroy any other Pokemon it pleases. Even though five generations of Pokemon have been released, I'm pretty sure that no other Pokemon could take on Mewtwo in a one on one battle. So yeah, since Kevin Durant is the NBA Scoring champ three years running, I'm willing to compare him to that level of awesomeness.
James Harden- Metapod
MY METAPOD IS HARDER THAN YOUR METAPOD! NO, MY METAPOD IS HARDER THAN YOUR METAPOD!
Russell Westbrook- Charizard
In the anime, Charizard is reckless and won't obey Ash. But when he wants to battle, he's virtually unstoppable. Russell Westbrook, like Charizard, is a one man wrecking crew. He doesn't always get points how you'd like him to, or distribute the ball as much as he should, but he gets the job done.
Do you have any Pokemon-Player comparisons? Let us know in the comments!