If I put my name on it, people, you can write it in stone.
They’re replacing the carpet in my building this week, which means that in addition to breathing in toxic glue fumes eight hours a day, I’ve had to clear all the piles of random sh*t out of my office. This has been simultaneously annoying and kinda cool, as it’s had me going through the stacks of magazines I haven’t touched in a few months. In one of these, I found my copies of SLAM 123, the NBA preview issue.
With the regular season ending today, the time seemed ripe to revisit.
Because I know he smokes a lot of cheap weed, I won’t hold Lang to his “100% accuracy guarantee!” on the League preview. Still, he did pretty good: Kinda hit-and-miss on his division previews (Pistons in the Central? JJ Hickson one to watch?!), but he called the Iverson and Marion trades and LeBron’s MVP. Not bad.
Then to the rooks. I always sort of simultaneously love and dread our annual Rookies Most Likely To… picks, as they’re a chance to look into the future (fun) and totally embarrass ourselves (less so). I’m afraid to think how I’d do if anyone actually added up my picks over the years, but as I’m entirely certain no one will do so, I’m not sweating it.
Here’s what’s funny: I only remember how I picked in one category this year. If you follow me on Twitter (I’m not on Twitter, but I think you should follow me on it anyway; just, you know, keep trying), you know that Kevin Love is my homeboy. And if you saw the issue, you know that I was the one tasked with writing the little blurb on Kevin Love being voted “Rookie Most Likely to Average 10 Rebounds.” Which I did.
Fourteen people — all SLAM staffers or contributors — voted on our rookie picks this year, and if my little Mac calculator widget did the math right, six of us voted for Love in this category, while five (apparently) chose Mike Beasley and (I think) three went with Greg Oden. My guess is that the other voters who chose Love did so because either a) they were worried about Oden’s health (smart of them), or b) they literally forgot to include him as a rookie this year. Honest mistake.
Me? I chose Kevin Love. And I’m pretty sure I was the only one.
“I could list his 23 double-doubles last season at UCLA (oops—looks like I just did),” I wrote, somewhat cornily, “but I don’t need digits to justify this pick. Just know that few players understand how to rebound as well as Love does. Watch. You’ll see.”
As the regular season draws to a close, allow me to direct your attention to what I like to call “statistics” from the 2008-09 NBA regular season:
Rebounds per game:
9. Kevin Love, 9.0 (first among all rookies)
Offensive rebounds per game:
3. Kevin Love, 3.4 (first among all rookies)
And this is my favorite…
Rebounds per 48 minutes:
3. Kevin Love, 17.2 (first among all rookies)
A lot of you mocked my prediction — nay, guarantee — of Kevin Love’s rebounding prowess. At the time, I knew you to be fools. Today, the world knows as well.
Motherf*cker better send me one of those glass-cleaner t-shirts after this.