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, 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).
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.
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.
|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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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, 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, 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.