Operation ‘Yer a towel’

Adam Morrison
Adam Morrison

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

For the last hour or so I’ve been going over ESPN insider Chad Ford’s Draft recaps and player breakdowns from 2005 through 2011[1]. For some reason there’s great entertainment value in reading ESPN experts project great things for players who aren’t even in the league anymore. Sure, there were accurate predictions as well, but I see no fun in those (unless they’re my own accurate predictions). I would much rather belittle an expert’s expertise; it makes me feel good about myself.

Anyway, after watching the 60 Minutes last night about SEAL Team 6’s raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound, I’ve decided to give things I do ‘operation code names’. The Bin Laden raid, for example, was operation Neptune Spear.[2] Operation names should spice up daily activities and add a general amount of excitement to my life. In this next operation, “Operation Yer a Towel”, you must guess which player Chad Ford is talking about.

The answers are provided at the end.

2005 Draft:
1. “I still believe that Player A should have been the number one pick in the draft”… “Player A is Insider’s No. 1-ranked player in the draft. He’s a versatile forward who can play both inside and out. Still developing but has the trappings of a superstar.” Ford continues, “Player A is an unbelievable specimen. He has a great NBA body, top-notch athleticism and the ability to play just about anywhere on the court. He has one of the most developed inside-outside games of any prospect…[and] possesses a fantastic basketball IQ and work ethic!!!”[3]

2006 Draft:
2. “A growing number of scouts are saying that Player B is the best prospect in the draft. His combination of size, athleticism, aggressiveness and skills (he showed some ball handling and a sweet 12-foot baseline jumper against Texas) are unmatched… it’s getting difficult to come up with reasons why Player B shouldn’t be considered the No. 1 pick in the draft.”
– “Excellent rebounder and shot blocker”
– “Nice touch on his mid-range jumper.”
– “The most upside of anyone in the draft.”

3. “Player C’s confidence in himself and his game is palpable. His ability to consistently make tough shots with a hand in his face might be his most appealing aspect. He’s crafty and finds a way to get his shot. He’s tireless and constantly in motion. His 3-point shot has really improved this year. His knowledge of the game, his passing ability, his silky-smooth jumper and his fierce competitiveness all are Bird-esque.”[4]
– Player C has “star power”
– Player C has “killer Instinct and leadership”

2007 Draft:
4. “Player D may be the most versatile player in the draft. He can guard and play four positions on the floor … but he needs to develop a more consistent offensive game. Look for him to be a Top 10 pick who could go as high as No. 3 depending on who’s picking in the draft.”
“I love Player D. I think he’s been underrated all year — he does so many things well. He’s not a great shooter, but he’s a guy who makes teams better.”
– “Great athlete” and “terrific defender”
– “Excellent passer for a player his size”
– “Ability to play point-forward in the pros”

2008 Draft:
5. Ford: “When the Rockets drafted Player E, I questioned it. He measured out terribly statistically under John Hollinger’s formula…”

Hollinger: “Teams are apparently worried about drafting Player E because of a possible heart ailment. I’d recommend avoiding him for other reasons — like the fact that he can’t play, for instance.”

6. Ford: “the Bucks wanted a talent with lots of upside, and Player F has that…
Player F is a “long, super athletic forward who can score inside and outside. Explosive leaper. Gets to the basket and is a strong finisher. Is big enough to post up smaller defenders and has a great touch around the basket. High basketball IQ. Very good passer for a big man. Very quick laterally.”

According to Hollinger, “Player F is the only [wing player] who cracks the threshold of a typical lottery selection. And in this case, the fact that Player F took up the game at a late age means we’re probably understating his pro potential.”[5]

2011 Draft:
7. Ford: “Player G![6] Do we really have to say anything else? He’ll be a very popular pick in Sacramento. The Kings’ starting point was Beno Udrih, and Player G has the ability to be much better. He’s a great shooter, and he’s tough. I think it’s a really good pick, and Player G, Tyreke Evans and Marcus Thornton will be a fun backcourt to watch.”
(Okay, obviously Player G is Jimmer Fredette, but I thought this was funny. Seriously?! I think everybody else other than Chad Ford knew Jimmer was a terrible pick at 7. I was ready to forsake the Warriors forever if they had taken him with the 11th pick.)


[1] Its cold outside and I’m still on summer vacation, so give me a break

[2] A few of my favorites: 1. Operation Rapier Thrust; 2. Operation Viking Snatch; 3. Operation Crescent Wind

[3] Alright, maybe Ford didn’t add the three exclamation points

[4] You know what isn’t Bird-esque? Career averages of 7.5 points, and 2.1 rebounds on 37% shooting.  Unfortunately the Bird comparison may be a giveaway on this one – everybody knows you don’t get compared to Larry Legend unless you’re white.

[5] A couple of wings who didn’t make the lottery pick cut using Hollinger’s draft rater: Russell Westbrook (may have been playing out of position at UCLA, but its “not worth using a top-10 pick to find out”) and Eric Gordon (“I’ve been suspicious of him for some time, and I’m a little unsure what has everyone so excited.”)

[6] This time Ford really did use an exclamation point


Player A = Marvin Williams
Player B = Tyrus Thomas
Player C = Adam Morrison
Player D = Julian Wright
Player E = Nicolas Batum
Player F = Joe Alexander

Eli Pearlman is an NBA writer for the Sports Blitz and can be contacted at EPearlman@TheSportsBlitz.com.