clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Sonics Rising 2015 Yearbook

Who in the NBA is the most likely to succeed? Who has the best hair? Our panel of experts names our Sonics Rising superlatives.

Edited by Joanna Nesgoda

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

We all remember our high school yearbooks, full of candid photos and staged-to-look-like-candid photos, the groups, sports teams, band, etc. The blank pages filled with "have a great summer!" and unintelligible signatures that you look back on and think "who the heck is this?" Then you feel bad because they wrote "make sure to stay in touch!" Oops. Then, of course, there was the popularity contest known as the Senior Superlatives, all of the menial awards that senior classmates hand out to each other. Well, here at Sonics Rising, we wanted to transfer those awards to the NBA. So here are your 2015 Sonics Rising Superlatives.

Most Likely to Succeed Kyrie_irving_medium

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

What a whirlwind career for Kyrie Irving. Irving went from "The Next Big Thing" and "Future Best Point Guard in the NBA" to "Kyrie Irving is injury prone" and "Isaiah Thomas might be better than Kyrie Irving." Now he's partnered up with two of the top 10 players in the NBA: Kevin Love and the homecoming king, LeBron James. Given the magnitude of James's shadow and the scrutiny of Love's trade, Kyrie is set up to reap the benefits of them winning (top point guard status), while also avoiding more of the criticism of losing (that likely falls on James and Love's defense).
Best Dressed Dwyane_wade_medium

Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Wade has some serious swag in his style; he's made numerous appearances in GQ, graced the cover of numerous magazines, and his first cell phone commercial was more about his closet than his phone.  His style is sleek and well presented, not ostentatious like the wardrobe of a Russell Westbrook.
Best Hair Kelly_olynyk_medium

Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics

When Kelly Olynyk was going through pre-draft workouts, he said that he would cut his hair if a team asked him to. Luckily, no team did. Boston selected the Gonzaga center, and we can continue to watch his long, luxurious locks 82 times a year. While Chris Douglas-Roberts' braids and Norris Cole's flat tops also got consideration, there was just no topping Olynyk's Vidal Sassoon coif.
Class Clown

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

If you don't follow Joel Embiid on Twitter, shame on you. You are missing gems like this, his failed recruitment of LeBron James, his romantic pursuit of pop star Rihanna (and this photo), his NBA 2K15 player ratings campaign, his "slide in your DM's" comments, his bold MVP rankings in future years.......shall I continue? This kid's Twitter is gold. You have been informed.
Most Inspirational Derrick_rose_medium

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

Once again, Derrick Rose is coming back from a season-ending injury. He spent a good portion of last season on a walker. Seriously, a 25 year old man in a walker. Rose is coming back from a torn meniscus that required surgery. Whether or not Rose will return to his completely explosive, dominating form is still yet to be seen, but he did play the entirety of the FIBA World Cup.
Most Photogenic Chris_bosh_medium

Chris Bosh, Miami Heat

Chris Bosh has become the king of photo bombs during his time on the Miami Heat, and he has also transformed himself into the most meme-able NBA player. Just head over to Google and search "chris bosh memes" but, remember, he's watching you.
Most Outspoken Jr_smith_medium

J.R. Smith, New York Knicks

The Most Outspoken award is a highly contested award. Kobe Bryant comes in as runner up with his stares of death, and his willingness to never shy from any question.  Want to know an NBA player's thoughts on the Middle East?  Ask Kobe. But Kobe will never be as interesting, nor as potentially damaging as J.R. Smith.  Smith wins this on his own, but then gets extra credit for the added on family bonus pack (see sister and brother as exhibits A & B).  With this much quality crazy always looking for an outlet, we suggest keeping your eyes and ears on J.R. Smith!
Best Nickname Nick_young_medium

Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers

Other players have cooler nicknames, some have better nicknames, but no one has a nickname that embodies the player more than Nick "Swaggy P' Young. Honestly the name is a joke, but Swaggy P's "fire-at-will" shooting, ridiculous hair cuts, and fashion choices are swaggy by any definition of the word. The man was brazen enough to impersonate Kobe Bryant and live.
Most Athletic Timberwolves_logo_medium
Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves
This was an easy choice. LaVine recorded a record 46-inch vertical at Lakers pre-draft workouts. He also dominated the Seattle Pro-Am dunk contest. I'm half convinced he is an alien, or perhaps some kind of robot with hydraulic legs. While he may not be the strongest or fastest guy in the league, his leaping ability is unheralded.
Least Athletic Andre_miller_medium

Andre Miller, Washington Wizards

There was much debate among the Sonics Rising staff as to who was actually the least athletic.  Al Jefferson and his almost negative vertical leap got deep consideration.  But when all the conversation closed, we just kept coming back to that really old dog you only see from time to time, that almost can't go up or down stairs, and every time you see it you think to yourself it HAS to be the last time you'll see it.  That's Andre Miller in a nutshell.  That he keeps a roster spot is a testament to his knowledge of the game.  And likely blackmail photos of some key people...
Most Likely to be Posterized Kendrick_perkins_medium

Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City Thunder

Combine no fear at the rim with slow feet, limited lateral mobility, and very little vertical leaping ability with the fact that he plays the Clippers on a fairly regular basis and it becomes readily apparent that Perkins wins this by a landslide.  I imagine his nightmares all end with bulbs flashing and Blake Griffin's shorts at eye level.
Most Likely to Lead the League in Fines
Lance Stephenson, Charlotte Hornets
David Stern once pulled the plug on Allen Iverson's rap career, and now, 14 years later, Adam Silver might have to do the same to Lance Stephenson's. In addition to his freestyle over a Bobby Shmurda song, Lance has been known for clown antics on the court, like, you know, tapping people in the face. Lance has only been fined recently for flopping; now that he is out of the cocoon that Larry Bird built for him in Indiana, expect more "Lance being Lance" episodes.
Least Valuable Starter Kendrick_perkins_medium

Kendrick Perkins, Oklahoma City Thunder

This could have likely gone to three of the five starters from the Philadelphia 76ers, but Perkins makes more than that entire starting five combined.  There is a good shot that Perkins isn't a starter for long this season with Steven Adams breathing down his neck.  At this stage of his career the only thing Perkins does well is scowl and it's not even that scary because we know he won't do anything more than scowl.