Here’s my Avengers/Memphis Grizzlies comparison. Let me know how I did. Let’s begin.
Grayson Allen: Ant-Man, aka Scott Lang, aka the kind of funny one who’s still a little bit awkward.
Ant-Man is the scrappy one who operates in the trenches and that’s what the Grizz got when they traded for Allen during the offseason. Want to know his credentials? Check his tape from Duke. The dude can straight up get under your skin before you can say “Krzyzewski”. Okay, before you can say “blue devil”. Point is Allen can really get into the other teams head whether it be with his antics or by sporting his grin while draining a three in your face. He’s the player you hate on every other team, but that you love when he’s on your squad.
Jaren Jackson Jr: Hawkeye, aka Clint Barton, aka the sharpshooter.
Deadly from distance Jackson is averaging 39.7% from beyond the arc and doesn’t need to take more than 12 a game to be effective (looking at you Harden). He picks his spots and does his damage in 28 minutes per game, but is also not afraid to get down and dirty and butt heads under the rim. He’s willing to pay the price to operate in the paint so his team can thrive. Just like Hawkeye was willing to pay the price until Black Widow pulled the ol’ switcheroo on his ass at the end. Speaking of Black Widow –
Marko Guduric: Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, aka the eastern european one with a nice smile but who’d also smoke you in a second without hesitation.
Don’t let his pretty eyes fool you, this guy is a killer. He shot almost 48% from downtown his last season in Europe. It hasn’t translated to the NBA just yet, but here’s to hoping his game keeps developing and he joins the ranks of great Serbian players having graced the NBA courts: Vlade, Predrag, Jokic and Boban. Yup, I put Boban in the same sentence as Divac and Stojakovic, deal with it.
Jonas Valanciunas: Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, aka the one who’s been there before.
Because he’s smoking hot and doesn’t have a single wrinkle on his face people tend to forget that Captain America was born in 1918. Being old as dirt (sarcasm) at 28, Valanciunas is one of the elder statesmen on the team. He’s seen some stuff in his day during multiple playoff runs with the raptors and he bring his experience and knowledge with him to Grind City where he’ll not only contribute valuable minutes defending the paint during the playoffs, but also do his best to facilitate the learning process for his younger teammates who have yet to learn that playoff basketball is an entirely different beast.
Jontay Porter: Spiderman, aka Peter Parker, aka the kid who still needs to be supervised.
New kid. Hasn’t played a minute all season. Seems to have potential. Let’s hope for the best.
Ja Morant: Captain Marvel, aka Carol Susan Jane Danvers, aka the crazy one with the good hair.
The most powerful avenger. Just give him the ball and let him smack everyone in his way. Nobody is slowing him down on his way to the rim. Brings to the table a combination of vision and athleticism seldom seen even in the NBA as well as exemplary leadership rarely displayed by a player so young. Also, this cat can fly. Dude soars through the air like some kind of flying fox evading all obstacle with grace and agility. It’s freaking breathtaking.
Kyle Anderson: Iron Man, aka Anthony Edward Stark, aka the one with the know-how.
There isn’t a set play or a situation that this dude hasn’t seen. Playing four years for Pop will do that for you. Picking Timmy D’s brain everyday at practice might also help a little I think. He’s never been one to fill up the stat sheet, but he always makes the right basketball play and on a team loaded with young and explosive talent that quickly becomes invaluable. Coach Jenkins will look to him to help the young bucks navigate through their first playoff experience.
Tyus Jones: Rocket, aka the one who holds down the fort.
Just like Rocket when Peter Quill disappeared, Jones is the one who keeps the shit together. He manages the second unit and has done so this season while averaging a career high in points. He’s the facilitator who drives the ship and seems to get along great with everybody. He can also pitch in with timely shooting with a seasonal 38% from the land beyond.
Josh Jackson: The Winter Soldier, aka Bucky Barnes, aka the one for whom it could have ended real badly.
Thank god the right people got him out in time. Who got it worse? Bucky Barnes who was brainwashed and live in a Siberian gulag for the better part of half a century, or Josh Jackson who had to play two years in Phoenix? Jackson, I agree, It’s Josh Jackson without a doubt. The negligence they have displayed in their player development the last several years in borderline criminal. We’re talking about a one-and-done top five pick who was also a freshman of the year and first team All-Big 12. But I guess we shouldn’t expect any better from a franchise run into the ground by one of the worst owners in sports.
Dillon Brooks: Falcon, aka Sam Wilson, aka the one who can really move.
Have you seen this guy get up and down the court? He’s blistering fast with and without the ball in his hands. His moves are smooth and his footwork has improved every year he’s been in the league. Falcon was always an afterthought to Captain America, but he shouldn’t have been. The dude was lethal. Brooks as well and he shouldn’t be an afterthought for anybody either. The brother was disrespected coming out of college falling to 45th in the draft after being an All-American two years in a row and all he’s done for the past three seasons is prove wrong every GM who passed on him.
John Konchar: Black Panther, aka T’challa, aka a king.
Black Panther is the king of a country and so is John Konchar, well almost. March 28th is “John Konchar Day” in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Brandon Clarke: Wolverine, aka Logan, aka Weapon X, aka the one who’s kind of Canadian.
This dude is a force. Six feet eight inches and 220 pounds of get-out-of-my-way-or-get-your-face-on-a-poster brute strength and explosiveness. Logan was gritty and would never give up. Clarke is the same. He wants the rebound, he’ll get that rebound. But he also at times displays a delicate tough: he’s shooting over 40% from beyond the arc this season. He’s also one of only three players to drop a 35 points and 5 blocks stat line in the NCAA tournament. The other two are Shaq and David Robinson. Pretty good list to be on. But what’s even more impressive is that he broke Adam Morrison’s Gonzaga record for most points in a NCAA tournament game. Adam Morrison > Shaq and The Admiral.
Justise Winslow: Thor Odinson, aka the one who comes from far away.
Asgard is a hell of a long way from earth and yeah, Miami isn’t really that far away from Memphis, but it might as well be on another planet. Ain’t nothing about south beach that reminds you of Grind City. I dare you to find any man wearing white pants in Memphis. Not going to happen. It’s just not in the city’s DNA. Also, they are so impractical. If I’m eating a burger and get ketchup or mustard on my hands am I supposed to use a napkin? Never. I’m wiping those bad boys on my jeans every single time because that’s what adult men do. You can’t do that with white pants.
Gorgui Dieng: Nick Fury, aka Sam Jackson, aka the one who’s seen way too much shit to give a damn about anybody’s nonsense anymore.
Seven season with the Timberwolves will do that for you.
De’Anthony Melton: Star-Lord, aka Peter Quill, aka the thief.
This brother will pick your pocket. Blink and he’ll rob you clean. In his rookie season he lead all NBA players in steals per 100 possessions with 3.3. This season he’s increased his usage as well as his scoring and has shown promising signs.
Anthony Tolliver: Happy Hogan, aka the older one we don’t see a lot.
Doesn’t get a lot of air time, but it’s always exciting when he does.
Yuta Watanabe: Groot, aka I am Groot, aka I am Groot.
On the sideline more often than not, but a fan favorite.
Taylor Jenkins: Professor X, aka Charles Xavier, aka the brains behind the operation.
I know Professor X isn’t technically and avenger. I don’t care. Sue me.