12.13.2006

Searching for Luke Jackson



The other day, I was ruminating about how quickly the talk about your '06-'07 Cleveland Cavaliers has gone from potential championship team to a supporting cast so shit awful (there's your "for mature audiences", New York Times!!) people are saying Lebron has already packed it in for the season. Or at least that he's coasting until the playoffs. In the East, it's looking like you don't even have to have a winning record to make the Final 8, so maybe he's just being shrewd. At any rate, the fact remains that the rest of the Cavs, save for the oft-injured Larry Hughes, pretty much suck. Donyell and Big Z are finally starting to play as old as they look, I'm not buying whatever Anderson Varejao is selling, and Drew Gooden's got ADD.



When you think about it, it's pretty astounding that the Cavs have such a dearth of talent, considering that they've picked in the Lottery more often than not over the last decade. An examination of the Cavs' draft history reveals more mistakes than the Bush Administration has made in Iraq. The agony starts in 1999, when Cleveland inexplicably selected a slow-footed 6-2 shooting guard with no handle ahead of Ron Artest and the chiseled Corey Maggette (about whom ESPN announcer Larry Beil once said, "When I die and am reincarnated, I want to come back as Corey Maggette's body"). Two years later, they took the Sengalese Shaq, Desagana Diop, at Number 8 overall, ahead of Joe Johnson, Richard Jefferson, Zach Randolph, and Tony Parker. It pains me to even speak the name of the cursed Dejuan Wagner, but it must be mentioned that he went to the Cavs sixth overall in 2002, ahead of Amare and Caron Butler.

After finally hitting the jackpot with Lebron in 2003, the Cavs were sitting pretty at the ten spot in 2004, with a good chance of getting some serious support for the Golden Child. They selected, out of the University of Oregon, Luke Jackson, the living embodiment of the hopes and dreams of frat boy intramural squad players the world over. To put it in perspective, Jackson went just after Andre Iguodala and before the suddenly productive Andris Biedrins, manchild Al Jefferson, and BOTH Smiths. At the time, it honestly didn't seem like that bad of a pick. The conventional wisdom was that Lebron needed to be paired with a long range threat, and L-Jax definitely had demonstrable range. Also, he tested out at the pre-draft workouts as an athletic marvel with a 36" vertical leap, "guard skills," and a "deceptive first step." Despite Amare's success, NBA execs were still wary of high schoolers, especially those under 6-10, so an athletic, all-around player with four years of college ball under his belt probably looked pretty good. And, let's be honest, having hiked in the Caucus Mountains has never hurt anyone in Cleveland.



Anyway, my point here is not that the Cavs fucked up by drafting Luke Jackson. Honestly, I was just wondering if dude was still alive! At the start of this season, he wasn't even on an NBA roster. From lottery pick to out of the league in two years.....and he didn't even get arrested once! After a little research, I found out that he had some pretty serious back and knee injuries, which provides a pretty good explanation for his sudden disappearance from the League. However, according to the man himself, he's been hanging out in Eugene and is in good shape and ready to play. This led me to wonder if you saw Luke Jackson out at your favorite collegiate nightspot, would you be like, "Sweet, it's Luke Jackson!" or would you be kind of sad?



I posted this in the comments to Dr. LIC’s most recent post, but in case anyone missed it, I think this is the definitive word on trying to take a charge in the NBA:
Jeffries tried to draw a charge on Josh Smith, but instead was called for a foul and wound up in the locker room getting three stitches in his chin.
Speaking of super athletic Atlanta Hawks forwards, I’m sure everyone who cares has already seen Marvin bang on Camby, but it’s still probably worth another look. My man hung 23 and 7 on the Knicks tonight, too. Anyone who has been shitting on the Hawks for taking him over Chris Paul and Deron Williams better pay attention to the young bol.

28 Comments:

At 12/14/2006 2:21 AM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

The Camby dunk was even more impressive because he didn't get a great take-off and it was from a bad angle, yet it looked better than most players jumping in stride.

There's this strange assumption of players being "done" at a certain point probably because of what happened with Luke Jackson, there doesn't seem to be any discrimination due to the factors involved: for instance, Jackson is regarded as done because of his injuries, which seems to be a fair enough assessment. M. Williams was assumed to be done because he couldn't get any PT, same with J.R. Smith, now everybody's all surprised that they're putting up numbers now that they're getting burn.

Hell, look at Matt Barnes.

 
At 12/14/2006 5:16 AM, Anonymous The Legendary Greg Ostertag said...

I'm currently an Oregon student living in Eugene. My ex-girlfriend had a poster Luuuuuuuuuuuke above her dorm room bed, and she would lay there, dining hall curves quivering, praying that the poster would fall on her in a fit of empty eroticism.

Point is, he's better off here.

 
At 12/14/2006 9:42 AM, Anonymous Erik said...

Your post is way off-base. Shit awful? 13-8 is shit awful? Have you been watching the Eastern Conference this year, or have you been too busy trying to be funny?

I don't know where you live, but it obviously isn't Cleveland. You obviously aren't very familiar with the team, because your snap judgments are on par with an actor weighing in on the war in Iraq. Uneducated, oversimplified and altogether atrocious.

Did the Cavs "fuck up" by drafting Luke Jackson? Maybe. Did you know that the GM who drafted him is no longer the GM? Did you know the current GM traded Jackson in the preseason, getting his salary off the books?

Did you know that he wasn't healthy for most of his two seasons in Cleveland? Think that might have contributed to the fact that he had such a rough time? Think that might be why he isn't on an NBA roster right now? Or would that be a serious detail that might get in the way of your joke-fest?

I'll give you that the Cavs' draft history has, by and large, not been so good since the start of the decade. They are trying to climb out of the hold Jim Paxson (that would be the former GM, not the current) dug. But to call the roster a disaster? That's a horrible observation. It sounds like you're just parroting back what you read on ESPN.com instead of forming your own observations.

Please stick to making funny observations about Ben Wallace's lack of a headband. Because when you try to do actual basketball analysis, it ain't so good.

 
At 12/14/2006 10:03 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

wow, erik, it looks like i touched a nerve! lebron is currently carrying the cavs just as he has since his first day in the league. that's the only reason they're even decent. seriously, name the good players the cavs have.

and i mentioned jackson's injuries as the reason he's not in the league. still, don't you think it's kind of curious that a lottery pick is totally out of the league so fast when he didn't have what most people would consider a career-ending injury?

 
At 12/14/2006 10:11 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i'm not sure we've ever made a headband joke. you must be thinking of another site.

but in erik's defense, the recluse TOTALLY about forgot my man daniel gibson. kill kill kill kill kill kill kill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
At 12/14/2006 11:44 AM, Blogger whitefolks said...

I first have to recognize the Recluse for including a picture of the teacher from Malcolm in the Middle. This site reeks of former gifted students and we know our own.

The Cavs overall are not a good team and their flow is non-existent. Everything is disjointed with Z looking completely lost on offense, a decrease in PPG and minutes, and Gooden is continually suffering from Jekyl/Hyde syndrome.

LeBron needs a consistent outside shooter to make use of double teams. Damon Jones was that guy for one season in Miami, Flip Murray hasn't done anything for them and Pavlovic has barely gotten better since being drafted.

In fact, Gibson and Z aside (since Shannon doesn't really play) there are no other drafted Cavaliers to balance the now mediocre free agent moves.

They have a lot of young guys with plenty of talent, most have been through serious injury in their careers, some just can't put it all together like Gooden. Also, you know a team has given up on their guard spots when Snow and Wesley get that many minutes.

 
At 12/14/2006 12:13 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

I'm pretty sure it's a typo, but if you meant to call M. Williams a "young bol", I would like to know just what you meant by that.

 
At 12/14/2006 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having spent my first 18 years in the Cleveland area, Let me explain that residents of that most rusty pocket of the midwest are extremely defensive and especially about their sports teams. Cleveland's got an inferiorty complex and when it reacts as such you should just nod sympathetically. There seems to be an army of Clevelanders on the ready to respond to any disparaging remark about their teams be it in the media, blogs, or whatever. If only Kucinich could harness these fanatics....

 
At 12/14/2006 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

also, seems like these t-shirts might interest some of you if you haven't found them yet
http://store.ropeadope.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWCATS&Category=270

 
At 12/14/2006 12:44 PM, Blogger Gladhands said...

I'm calling for a moritorium on the use of "bol" and "jawn" by all non-Illapelphi.

 
At 12/14/2006 12:58 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

rm--first i thought those shirts were the best thing ever, then i realized how corny they were, now i've concluded that it's always the back that's the problem

gh--i can claim philly but have never use "bol" or "jawn" in my lifem, so BR has the right to use all my backlogged philadlslang credits.

 
At 12/14/2006 1:22 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

it's true, i purchased illadelph slanguage cred from shoals. it cost a pretty penny, but it also included the right to throw batteries at professional sporting events.

roland, i think you're totally right on about cleveland sports fans having an inferiority complex. when you consider their (justified) paranoia about lebron leaving cleveland, you realize why it is necessary for them to see a half-full glass as brimming with talent.

i know it's unclear from my tone, but i'm actually sympathetic to cavs fans, it's like they can't catch a break. landing lebron wasn't a sign of change to come, it was a fortunate aberration.

wv: dwagbwe. is it racist to keep making jokes about how these random letter combinations look like the names of future african basketball greats?

 
At 12/14/2006 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shit awful, their record is not. Watching the Dalai Lama's mannerisms night-in, that's shit awful. Al Bundy, I thought my life was going to be all good but I got an albatross around my neck and 2 on my feet. When Kobe, KG, hell Paul Pierce come out every night and line up next to Mark Blount, Scalabrine, & Maurice Evans, they look "my new Jordan's just got scoffed" pissed off, and they exude it all on the opponents. Bron's got more if a "Why did I marry this bitch, why do I have to go to my kids dance recital, my god, I drive a Ford Windstar" disgust going about him.
I'd like to thank the Recluse for bringing up repressed memories of popping Ratilin in the principal's office. Time to check out my Vin Baker Guide to suppression.

 
At 12/14/2006 1:28 PM, Blogger T. said...

Luke Jackson was the in Celtic's camp this year and got beat out for a spot by LEON POWE!!!!

I thought Jackson would be a decent NBA forward - he certainly dominated the Pac-10.

But then again I thought Adam Keefe and Todd Lichti would be running the lig.

Erik must've missed this sentence After a little research, I found out that he had some pretty serious back and knee injuries, which provides a pretty good explanation for his sudden disappearance from the League.

I never really thought of FreeDarko as a jokey blog.

 
At 12/14/2006 2:22 PM, Anonymous SK said...

Maybe Cleveland thought they were getting Luke Ridnour, which would have helped their PG problem a bit.

 
At 12/14/2006 2:42 PM, Blogger shoefly said...

They are absolutely dreadful to watch. And Lebron does seem to float through, going six minutes at a time just kind of waiting in the corner and not going after the ball. The good news is they don't need much, and perhaps not even anything to make it to the finals, but boy, are they depressing to watch. Not one above average player on that roster outside of Lebron.

 
At 12/14/2006 2:47 PM, Anonymous Erik said...

You all are damn right we have an inferiority complex. If you'd look at the past 42 years, you'd know why.

That's why everyone hates us. We lash out when we get disrespected. Then who made the initial smart-ass remark feels the need to lash back. Pretty soon a war of words has developed.

And you had to start yet another round of Cleveland-bashing over what? Luke freaking Jackson. Amazing. You want to rip the drafting of Luke Jackson? Fine. I don't see why you have to tear the Cavs organization a new one while you're at it.

You'd think we'd get an ounce of sympathy from other cities for having gone so long without a championship. Wrong. It makes you all hate and mock us even more.

You want to tell us how much we and our teams suck? Fine. Tell the Pope he's Catholic, too.

 
At 12/14/2006 2:49 PM, Blogger Tigero is my Afro-Asian said...

This is the best written prose about the NBA in about 5 years, since def jams all pot allstars. I eat about 56 pounds of raw red meat a week and watch Fair and Balanced News, so obvious I'm not pushing an agenda.
http://blog.peta.org/archives/Letter%20to%20NBA.pdf

 
At 12/14/2006 3:00 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i wonder what PETA think they're achieving by insulting the people they're trying to reach, e.g. beyonce, all nba players, etc. i certainly wouldn't be receptive to that sort of tactic.

also, if it wasn't clear, calling the cavs "shit-awful" was hyperbolic, i thought that's how people talked when they talk about sports. Cf. "That was the worst pass in the history of basketball."

 
At 12/14/2006 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Joseph Alois Ratzinger,

Just a quick heads up, YOU'RE CATHOLIC.

misfocused passion = anger.

 
At 12/14/2006 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a quick note on Ohio sports fans in general: Don't even backhand slight any of their teams or they'll go completely bonkers. Must be something in the water or the overly ticky-tack highway patrol that's got 'em all high-strung.

I think LeBron and the Bronettes are chillin' until they get a clearer view what they need to do in the East with regards to the playoffs (what you said, BR). Obviously they can take a little extra time finding their mojo in this shit-sandwich atmosphere in the neo-Leastern Conference. I'm looking forward to Biz Bron telling someone "I'll call you back," snapping his phone shut and crushing the rest of the league sometime in March or early April, setting up a conference finals between the Cavs and my Magic, JEAH.

 
At 12/14/2006 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erik,

As Carly might say, I bet you think this blog is about you. This blog couldn't be arsed to give a rat's about the Cavs beyond the meaning they find in the accomplishments of King James.

vw: yaksia, which is I think what Marvin yelled to Marcus...

 
At 12/15/2006 3:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clevland won't be in the finals. East is going to come down to detroit, Miami and the bobcats....
My money is on the bobcats / Mavericks final where Nowitzki sons morrison

 
At 12/15/2006 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Cavs fan and Clevo resident, I feel compelled to mention that while most Cleveland fans are, by and large, irrational lunkheads that follow sports merely as an excuse to get drunk, some of us prefer to silently suffer the slings and arrows that most media outlets (read: ABC showing a Cleveland 'huge losses' package as the Cavs choked game 7 away in Detroit last year) toss out habitually in the anticipation that one day we will be evicerated from the mind-numbing suck that is a city sans championship in a combined 130-odd years b/t the three sports teams.

Sure, Jackson was a relatively ill-advised pick, but was he any worse than Jason Kapono over Luke Walton in '03? The very mention of the names Dajuan Wagner, Chri Mihm, Diop, Trajan Langdon...bush league. Just about every team has a stinker every once in a while, but our recent draft history gives anyone the right to chuckle. As a team, the Cavs deserve to be mocked for these picks. At least they're not in Cleveland anymore, so young guys like David Wesley and Eric Snow can finally get some playing time.

And despite these jokes masquerading as draft picks, we have the most singularly talented man in the game out there every night. Almost makes you forget just how stupid this team (and city, for that matter) can be.

 
At 12/15/2006 7:25 PM, Blogger Robo Duck said...

as a current UO duck, sports staffer for the paper you linked to (you don't know how much I wished I was the one shooting around the Rec when Luke was in there) and oregonian, I'm happy to read about Luuuuuuke on FD but still perplexed as to how he hasn't been picked up by somebody. Hell, I suggested he get picked up by the freaking Blazers just for the PR run - they'd have the ultimate feel-good SF rotation between Luke and local boy done D-league good Ime Udoka - but, alas....

I still think he'll end up with somebody in the association. he's too good not to end up at least on a bench somewhere. At the least he'll go to Europe and come back and everyone will go "why didn't we know about this guy!"

 
At 12/18/2006 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot the Cavs trading away their 2007 first-round pick two years ago for...Jiri Welsch. Also out of the league. Looks like the 07 draft is going to be really good too.

Speaking as a recent migrant from Cleveland who attended pretty much every home game from 2003 through the end of the playoffs last year: you're dead on about the Cavaliers. It sucks, but you're right. Lebron is that good, the rest are that bad, Lebron is developing a bad habit of loafing.

MQ

 
At 12/22/2006 9:25 PM, Anonymous ap84 said...

cavs

2001 joe johnson, mehmet okur 28.3 / 15.9 7.8
2002 amare stoudemire, carlos boozer 17.6 8.2 / 21.8 11.8
2003 lebron james, kyle korver 26.8 6.5 6.8 / 13.5
2004 jameer nelson 12.8 4.0

these are all players that were available for the cavs as first or second round picks and their 06-07 averages....talk about not knowing shit about drafting...with this supporting cast lb23 will go to the finals easy!!!

 
At 4/13/2009 5:37 AM, Blogger 平平 said...

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