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.