Welcome to the next installment of the Off-Topic Theater. The lockout is long, subjects to write on will become increasingly spare. Prepare for basketball flavored gruel, and that is as close to an apology as you're getting.
Today's edition of Off-Topic Theater features our planking machine, JaVale McGee. Some of you are on the fence about the planking craze, others want to get in while the getting is good. My advice? Leave it to the professionals like JaVale, if you value your home appliances.
Yup, we're doing this to "Home Alone."
JaVale McGee as Kevin McAllister: [to Flip Banks and Gene Banks lying insensate on the floor, clipboards in their outstretched hands] You guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
Actually ... yes. JaVale McGee's cinematic doppelganger is Kevin McAllister in Home Alone. Chris Columbus introduces us to a Kevin frustrated with an overcrowded house, being ignored and given short shrift.
JaVale as Kevin McAllister: Did anyone [schedule] me [some playing time]?
Brendan Haywood as Buzz McAllister: Yeah, we did. But if you want any, [you're gonna have to unsign Fabricio Oberto], 'cause it's gone.
Heading back even further in the time machine, Eddie Jordan was not famous for giving rookies leash, and JaVale was no exception. It was tough for any rookie to see the floor, and that didn't get any easier for quite some time. The McAllisters were preparing a vacation to Paris much like the Wizards were preparing for a trip deep into the postseason when Flip was brought on board. Then, as in the movie, tensions were high; even the McAllisters were carrying a full roster ("THERE ARE 15 PEOPLE IN THIS HOUSE, AND YOU'RE THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS TO MAKE TROUBLE."), prompting an upset Kevin (JaVale) to wish his family would disappear.
If we liken Gungate to a family vacation and a halfway house to Paris, photoshop JaVale McGee's face over Macaulay Culkin's and play audio: "I made my family disappear!" can anyone argue? (yes, I know you can actually argue) Cut to wild montage of Javale goaltending everything within reach, launching 18 foot jumpshots, biting on Brian Scalabrine's pump fake from three, and going coast to coast with our screaming guards hanging off his elbows.
At first, it's all riding toboggans down the stairs, jumping on the bed, infinite playing time, and ESPN highlights. Eventually, though, the high points get old. The view from 40,000 feet demands more than just blocks and dunking in transition, you need the milk, eggs, and fabric softener of basketball. Some might call that the triple-double of seeing to the running of a household, and how many suburban pre-teens can say they've done that? Improvements start to manifest in JaVale's game to go with an already stellar work ethic and his consistency takes an uptick. We'll still see the occasional coast-to-coast, but as Kevin tells the skeptical cashier scanning the bag of army men, "It's for the kids."
One can imagine the draft scenario. Travel back in time and cut to a scene of Gene and Ernie casing the neighborhood in a van decked out in Wizards blue.:
Ernie Grunfeld as Harry: [points at JaVale planking on a mailbox] That's the one, Marv, that's the silver tuna.
Gene Banks as Marv: Oh, he's very gee.
Harry: Very gee, huh? He's loaded. Runs like a gazelle, jumps out of the gym...
Harry: Probably looking at a lot of blocked shots. Possible ESPN highlights. Odd appearance in the All-Star game...who knows. He's a gem. Hand me our draft pick.
But that's all in the past and we're still waiting on JaVale's full maturation on the hardwood. Difficult not to be an irrepressible homer about his progress in the 2011/12 season ("I've got a good feeling this year!"), and it's anybody's guess as to how it'll play out. Remember the scene where Kevin realizes his home is under attack and he cocks his bb gun?
JaVale as Kevin McAllister: This is my home. I have to defend it!
JaVale might have no rifle to ready, but he wants to know if you have tickets...to the gun show. Will Chris Singleton become Old Man Marley protecting JaVale's help side? At least you'll know what I mean when I go full caps lock screaming about SHOVELS OF JUSTICE when Singleton hacks Lebron into the stands. Some of you might argue that Gene and Ernie are no true villains, and why would I cast them when there's a bumbling ex-local looking for notoriety and easy copy during the lockout at faux red carpet events identifying our man as the nearest shortcut to broadcast solvency?
And I bet there's at least one of you out there crying 'Foul!' at any cinematic parallel to any D.C. Center with trouble playing fundamental defense that doesn't reference My Giant.