Full Court Digress: Introducing the Latrell Sprewell All Stars

Full Court Digress returns with a special all-star ballot and an ode to Zach LaVine's latest dunk.
By    February 15, 2018

Atticus Grinch votes for the soft-body All Stars every year.

All Star Weekend is upon us and it’s time to unveil my All Star ballot. Unlike the rest of the NBA intelligentsia, I don’t give a damn about individual metrics, team wins, or any of that other shit. In my opinion, the All Star game should be about celebrating players for reasons arbitrary and absurd.

For years Zach Lowe has done his own take on the All Star ballot in which he celebrates the overlooked role players of the league. He calls it the Luke Walton All Stars. It’s always a fantastic and worthy read and just like Mr. Lowe’s, my ballot values glue guys, but it also values guys that play like they’ve actually sniffed glue.

So without further adieu I present to you:


The First Annual Full Court Digress Latrell Sprewell All Stars (Presented by Elmer’s)


Before diving into the roster I thought I’d share a personal story involving the team’s coach Latrell and myself. As some of you may know, we both hail from Milwaukee and have both had our aquatic property wrongfully seized by repo pirates. So it should come as no surprise that when we finally met on a frigid Monday night in the winter of 2010, there was an unforgettable je ne sais quoi in the air.

Out of blunt wraps and undeterred by the cold, I left my apartment just before midnight and made my way to a nearby convenience store. Upon entering the store—and to my surprise—I walked in to find Spree pleading with a young, North Face-clad woman behind the choke-proof glass. Spree was upset but had immediately noticed my presence. “Hey man,” he said. “What’s going on Latrell?,” I replied, unfazed, as in Milwaukee we see celebrities all the time. Latrell’s eyes lit up at my recognition of him and he let out an exasperated “Thank You!”

Gesturing for me to come towards him, Latrell had a favor to ask: “Tell this respectable young woman who I am!” I approached the cashier behind the glass and did as instructed. “Pardon me ma’am, but do you know who this man is?” She was unimpressed and it was clear from the look on her face that Latrell had been there for quite some time. “No I don’t and I don’t give a fuck, he’s gotta pay for that glue stick and those Funions!”

I looked back at Latrell with an expression of uncertainty, but he gestured again to continue explaining. “Well I’m sure he will be happy to pay for those Funions and that glue stick.” I could see a reflection of Latrell’s braids shaking side to side in the glass as I said, “As this is Latrell Sprewell, the prodigal basketball son of Milwaukee and three—” I paused and turned back to Spree to confirm, he nodded, “three time NBA All Star.”

Latrell was pleased with my introduction but still the cashier was unimpressed and only more irritated. “Look,” she said, “you and your friend need to get the fuck out of here or pay for your shit. Either way I’m not going to give you my number.” I shot Latrell a disappointed look and offered to pay for his glue and Funions. He protested my kind gesture, but not in a manner strong enough to imply that he was actually going to stop me.

With Funions and glue in hand Latrell said farewell to me in the parking lot and went on his way down an alley. I haven’t seen Latrell since but will forever remember him for attempting to use me as leverage to get a young woman’s phone number.

Your 2107-18 Latrell Sprewell All Stars:

Starters


Spencer Dinwiddie


Dinwiddie plays with a silky finesse that has been terribly underrated all year. Despite the Nets’ lack of wins, they’ve been an incredibly fun team to watch, largely due to Dinwiddie’s guile in the pick and roll and his endless range. A self-professed sex symbol, Dinwiddie looks like the guy your mom is alluding to when she refers to her “wild days” back in the ’70s.

He’s also clutch as fuck.

Last month against the Toronto Drakes he single-handedly kept his team afloat by burying audacious j after audacious j. Then, in the final moments of regulation, when a lesser player would jack an irrationally confident jumper and lose the game, Dinwiddie made the right play for his team and hit the cutting Crabbe for the tying basket.

Again, Dinwiddie never looks out of control; every move appears to be impossibly premeditated. Here, he steps into rhythmic jumpers with confidence and delivers no matter the distance  As the clock dwindles, Dinwiddie double clutches and loops an impossible falling fade-away into the net—a big fuck you to meatball Van Gundy who started Steve Blake over him years ago.

Look at this shit:


Lance Stephenson


Ultimately, there is no better way to gain my respect than to irritate me when playing against my Milwaukee Fucks. Stephenson has rose to the occasion against seemingly every fan base this year with his on-court dance moves and his unparalleled ability to make what look like egregiously terrible plays that somehow end up working.

With Lance you gotta take the bad with the good but even when he’s playing like a tumbleweed of diarrhea you’ve still gotta give it to him for making it look like so much fun.

I want nothing more than for the Pacers to play the Cavs in the first round so we can see Lance air-guitar on national TV and of course, harass LeBron incessantly.


Sterling Brown


Last month Brown was tazed by Milwaukee Police Officers after they stopped him for being double-parked outside a Walgreens at 2 AM. All charges were dropped and the officers are under-investigation, yet despite showing up for a game the day after his arrest with bruises on his face, Brown has remained quiet.

Personally, I can’t wait for Brown’s settlement and to hear his side of the story, but for now all I’d like to say is fuck the police.

On the court Sterling has proven to be a defensive savant and wiser than his experience would lead one to believe.  Thus far, Brown is in the 98th percentile of all players in forced turnovers and the Bucks’ defensive points per possession is in the 97th percentile with Brown on the court (per Cleaning the Glass).  On the offensive end, the Bucks are taking 4.4% more corner threes— the highest valued shot in basketball and good for 98th percentile in the league—with Brown in the game.


Bradley Beal


On the court Beal thinks he’s Kobe and off the court he’s orchestrating a subtle smear campaign against injured teammate John Wall. I love it.  Since the Wizards held their infamous team meeting, Beal has been covertly working to obtain alpha status in the organization. Gortat has been Beal’s right hand goon all along and has gladly thrown shade towards Wall at every opportunity.

Beal’s performance on and off the court is reminiscent of some of LeBron’s greatest hits, and if the Wizards can stay in the top fourth of the East for the entirety of Wall’s absence, maybe Beal can parlay his healthiest season to date into one in which he is the team’s only clear-cut star. If Wall doesn’t feel wanted does he demand a trade? That I’m even asking this question is proof of just how great a season Beal is having.


Mareese Speights’ Mole


This is Speights’ 12th season in the league and I give all the credit to his mole, which I’ve long believed to be the source of his basketball powers. With every off-season there is one consistent question I ask myself: Is this the year the mole dies? And every year he returns, mole intact and still able to ball.  The real question is: How has no teammate of his lopped that disgusting thing off of his perfectly ovular head?


The Bench:


Malcom Brogdon


This is a bit of a homer pick, but Malcom Brogdon doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the craftiest players in the league. For that alone he’s earned a roster spot. The President has an old man game that relies heavily on his brilliant understanding of space and positioning. The biggest addition to his game this year has been his savvy use of the rim as a means of guarding his reverse-layups from being blocked.

He also added this wonderful dunk to his résumé:

This one’s for the Prez:


Lauri Markkanen


Lauri qualified for this spot exclusively by doing this:


Nerlens Noel


Much like Markkanen, Noel qualified by way of one transcendent moment. During halftime in one of the countless games that Noel has been a Coach’s DNP, he wandered over to the press area and got himself a hot dog. What I don’t like about the clip below is Carlisle’s willingness to play along despite the fact that he’s singlehandedly-keeping Noel off the court. Free Nerlens!


Andre Drummond


This has nothing to do with Drummond’s on court improvements, but rather his lifestyle choices. Last year I’d scammed my way into free courtside seats to a Pistons game. I spent the entirety of the game taunting Drummond for the profound amount of shoulder hair he had. This year Drummond is a changed man, as he’s lasered that shit off, or at the very least, bought a razor.


Baptism of the Week


Zach Lavine recently came back from a serious knee injury and now he’s disrespecting try-hards like Jakarr Sampson. Sampson doesn’t handle this well at all, as he tries to talk shit to the man that just pressed his knee to his chin.

While not-as-great-as teammate Robin Lopez’s wheelchair poster earlier this year, it’s a great Baptism and an even greater excuse to end the week with this: