And the Nominees Are: NBA Performances Deserving an Oscar
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Who cares about the real Oscars when there are NBA Oscars to be handed out?
This NBA season has been chock-full of theatrics. Whether it's a player doing his best to sell a foul call or a front office doing its darnedest to lead a team to disaster, it's been nothing but theater this year.
Now all that's left is to figure out who should be nominated for an NBA Oscar. Let's take a look at a few of the nominees.
Best Actor: Reggie Evans
That's just fundamental basketball.
Reggie Evans is a flopping wizard. There's no other way to look at it.
The fact that Evans keeps drawing fouls off flops is a testament to his acting chops. Not only does he have a reputation as a big flopper (leading to increased scrutiny from refs), he's also enormous. Despite that, he somehow manages to convince refs that other players are throwing him around like a rag doll. It's remarkable.
The flop shown above is a great example. Evans perfectly sells what very little contact there was (not too much arm-flailing or throwing himself around), and he also sells the flop after the foul gets called. You can even see him holding his face for dramatic effect.
That's the work of an absolute pro. Evans was later warned for the flop, but he fooled the refs pretty well. Just great acting, even if it is a pretty despicable basketball move.
Best Actor: Kevin Martin
Bold flop alert.
“Bravest actor” actually might be the best way to describe Kevin Martin after his (failed) acting job above.
It's not like flopping on a jumper is new territory in the NBA, but players usually at least wait for someone to touch them. Not Martin. He doesn't need things like “other players.” He'll flop all by himself.
One other thing is interesting about this. For most players, flopping appears to be reactionary; the player feels contact and then makes a conscious decision to exaggerate it.
But Martin proved here that his flopping is premeditated. He clearly had decided to flop as soon as he pulled up for the shot. His fall is otherwise totally inexplicable. Now that seems like new ground.
Thankfully for those NBA purists out there, Martin was slapped with a $5,000 fine for his actions.
Best Actor: J.J. Barea
Poor, poor Jimmer.
Out of the three “best actor” nominees, J.J. Barea probably has the easiest time selling his flops.
Barea is an average-sized man in a game full of giants, so unlike Kevin Martin and particularly Reggie Evans, he actually is going to get thrown around a bit. Funnily enough, it's the fact that he doesn't throw his body around that much that leads to all the fouls off flops.
The flop above is one of Barea's best and earned him his first warning from the NBA. After Sacramento Kings guard Jimmer Fredette makes slight contact with Barea's face, Barea acts like he's been hit with a wrecking ball.
Admittedly, no one reflexively throws their arms up in the air after getting brushed on the face, but it is the best way to get a ref's attention. So kudos for that, J.J.
Again, Barea smartly chooses not to dive onto the ground like so many other players would. There's a fine line between too much and too little when it comes to selling contact. Hitting the deck after some slight contact definitely would have erred on the side of too much.
It's hard to respect Barea's flopping ways, but even Kevin Durant would agree that you at least have to give him a nod for being a master of his craft.
Best Costume Design: Russell Westbrook
By far the tamest thing that Westbrook has worn in a while.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
There's not a player in the league who dresses quite like Russell Westbrook. Honestly, that's a good thing.
Here, without comment, are just a few of the things Westbrook has worn (in public, mind you) over the past few months. Make of them what you will.
Best Writing: Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have been sneaky good lately. Just another twist in this soap-opera season. Photo via Kobe's twitter account
Drama. Intrigue. Betrayal.
Seriously, when's the last time an NBA season has ever played out as more of a soap opera than this Lakers season has? You'd have to go back to the Kobe and Shaquille O'Neal Lakers teams of the early 2000s to see anything like this.
Here's what needs to happen for this season to fully play out like a sports movie:
- The still-bickering Lakers slip into the playoffs as the eighth seed.
- A “coming together” montage takes place as the Lakers knock off their Western Conference foes one by one en route to an NBA Finals showdown with the Miami Heat.
- The series works its way to Game 7. Down big at the half, Mike D'Antoni inspires his team with a basketball version of Al Pacino's speech from Any Given Sunday. (Warning: This clip contains language that some readers may find offensive.)
- The Lakers ultimately take that last step and win the NBA championship, leading to a sobbing LeBron James handing the Larry O'Brien Trophy to Kobe and Dwight a la Johnny Lawrence in The Karate Kid.
Outside of the Lakers having four potential Hall of Famers rather than being a ragtag group of nobodies, that's the script of every generic sports film ever—and the Lakers have a chance to live it. Someone's writing this stuff behind the scenes.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Andrew Bynum
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Words alone cannot describe the evolution of Andrew Bynum's wildly entertaining hair, so let's just leave it to some pictures.
Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Spencer Hawes
A mullet has never looked quite so good.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Shockingly, there is at least one player who can give Andrew Bynum a run for his money in the hair department—the Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes.
Spence has decided to rock the mullet/short-on-the-sides look this season to impressive results. Any time you have a chance to evoke memories of the late, great Dwayne Schintzius, you take it—something Hawes apparently already knows.
It doesn't have the amorphous qualities of Bynum's hair, but it's a classic, time-tested look. Quite possibly the stiffest NBA Oscar competition of the year.
Worst Directing: The Maloofs
Some of the worst owners in professional sports. Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports
Technically, the real Oscar is awarded for best directing, but an exception has to be made in this case.
Even if you live in Seattle—heck, especially if you live in Seattle—you have to sympathize with the people of Sacramento. The Maloof family has to be considered the worst ownership group in sports.
Not only are they completely screwing the city of Sacramento over despite the city's best efforts to keep the team, but they jump on any chance to cut payroll. Trading Thomas Robinson was just their most recent inexplicable move in a long line of them.
You never give up on a top-five pick halfway through his rookie season. Never. Especially not when he's shown the flashes of talent that Robinson has. It was a move made strictly so the Maloofs could pocket a few more bucks.
Here's how Sactown Royalty's Tom Ziller explained the trade:
I asked several people connected to the team why on Earth this happened, this being the trade that sent Kings rookie Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt to the Rockets for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas. Every single one replied that money was the driver. Because of course it is. Because until April at least, the Maloofs still own this God-forsaken operation we call a basketball team. And we know that when the Maloofs own something, they will suck it dryer than a London gin. In the great strip-mining operation that has been the Maloofs' ownership of the Kings, this is a final sand blast, a (hopefully) last chance as milking any last piece of profit out of what is now a giant hole on the ground.
That's putting it nicely. The Maloofs are that bad.