Tokyo, Japan. It’s about a fortnight ago as this Buzz writer is burning the insomniac midnight oils in an APA chain hotel with a pizza delivery (man I love Japanese food) on the last night of his vacation in the Far East. Surfing the channels looking for some sport to play with there’s little between the honoured traditions of sumo wrestling and the pitch and swing of the candy red, white and blue of baseball. As national a sport to this country as pinstripes are uniform to the Yankees. But then whilst remote hopping I see a solitary figure hooping that looks taller than the Tokyo Tower and Skytree combined.
Meet Yuta Watanabe. The second Japanese player to enter the NBA after the same first named Yuta Tabuse after his 17 games with the Phoenix Suns. The most famous Watanabe since ‘The Last Samurai’ star Ken. Ready to inception write his next chapter in translation like Murakami, South of the border, West of the sun.
Saying this kid is big in Japan is a major understatement. Over in the land of the rising sun they call their rising son, “the chosen one” like a certain King out in Hollywood. Watanabe has such a legion of followers that one frustrated fan threw their newborn baby at him. Not as an insult, but anything for a selfie. Now that’s one hell of a picture. But mamas and papas, please, we beg you…don’t try this at home. “Aah I can’t get through this crowd…here take my baby. HEADS UP!”
Good job like this countries favourite outfield recreational pastime, Yuta knows how to catch with those mitts.
And what a catch he is like the right swipe on Tinder. Everyone was swiping left on draft day apparently as Yuta Watanabe went undrafted for basketball Gods know why. He should have hit the lotto, but after a scorching Summer League with Brooklyn in Las Vegas this rookies odds went up in the desert city of sin. But just when you thought the B.K.’s stock was rising with their ace in the hole, Y.W., the neon went out. But not whilst crossing the Times Square lights of Shibuya. Apparently averages of 9.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.60 blocks in 24.0 minutes at the tables of the MGM weren’t enough for a team that lives and dies with the ice in D’Angelo Russell’s veins. But it’s enough for a bear bigger than the one that served up Leonardo DiCaprio like a sliced and diced, filleted fish in ‘The Revenant’.
Told you he was a catch.
Now the Nets loss is the Grizzlies gain. As the former expansion Vancouver franchise expands the league further international by bringing this kid with slick Elvis hair to the blue suede, rock and roll town of Memphis, Tennessee. Presley would be proud thank you very much.
The Kagawa native who graduated from George Washington University after four fantastic years (including a 2017-18 Atlantic 10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year senior campaign, averaging 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.64 blocks in 36.6 minutes) now has a two way home on Beale Street with the Grizz’s G-League affiliate the Memphis Hustle. But don’t expect too many Gatorade breaks for a phenom potential player who is already a legend in the legacy making as a member of Japan’s international team getting ready for the 2020 Olympic Games in host city Tokyo. This 6,9, 240 pound forward thinking swingman with Bullet Train hustle could be Memphis’ next Pau Gasol foreign legend teaming with brother Marc, Mike Conley Jr and the contract of the Chandler Parsons project.
It’s safe to say that even if the draft didn’t blow him our way, this wind of change from the Far East is now in season.
Yutamania like the ‘Norwegian Wood’ of Beatlemania rocking and rolling like the King (and this time we ain’t talkin’ about ‘Bron) over there is in full effect!
So what he didn’t get drafted this Summer! By March the one who brought Madness this third month of the year will blossom again like cherry. With all the X’s and O’s at the tools of his disposal, the 23 year young Yuta Watanabe’s basketball I.Q. and ceiling has a Fuji peak.
Time to make the climb. The rookie ladder is waiting.
DO Call It A Carmelo Comeback. Anthony Is Guaranteed For Years
Three fingers like “what’s your poison” and shots to the dome like LL Cool J’s comeback. I’m calling it…
La La said knock you out.
They say there are no guarantees in this life, or league. But now after almost crossing off an entire calender, Carmelo Anthony has one in this league of X and O’s.
You best believe every team that slept on him has woke up now.
O.K. Thunder? Like old New York. No ‘Melo in Lakers yellow, or Houston’s problem.
And let’s not talk about that ATL jersey Atlanta tried to hawk.
The Nugget type of fellow that Nelly rapped about like ‘Na-Nana-Na’, with the heart of a champion sweat until he was no longer in a suit and part of the Sportscenter theme again. After waiting longer to align with The King in Hollywood for this Game Of Thrones than another Anthony (Davis), Carmelo ended up coming up roses in the RIP City of Portland. And boy has he blazed a trail. Voltron forming arguably a big three with the best backcourt in the league not in this nation’s capital with C.J. McCollum and Dame ‘Time’ Lillard with the look like the OK3 of Russell Westbrook and PG3 and not the Beard and the Brow.
And now he’s exceeded everyone’s greatest expectations. As one of the G.O.A.T.’s has polished his path to the Hall with a comeback even better than the return of Superman Dwight Howard with the Lakers…which could have had a Hollywood sequel with Carmelo’s comeback.
But the Lakers loss is the PDX’s blazing gain.
What more would you expect from a guy who still put up competent averages in the soaring Rockets cosmos, despite being grounded by little court acclaim? The problems in Houston could have actually been attributed to another guy who ended up ousted and in an Oklahoma home too. Despite the trolls who are now trading in hot takes like they never simulated 2K videos of him building a Commodore house with his shot selection. Or the analysts who are changing their discussion like a report rewrite.
Carmelo ain’t calming down. Anthony is taking everyone back to school.
Class has been in session.
And how about the report card? Eight games. 16.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Big shots. Western Conference Player of the Week. All Star legend spot? He belongs like the Carushow in the Slam Dunk Contest. He’s unstoppable like LeBron James’ Eurostep, spin-cycle lay-up that is like a runaway freight…word to Denzel Washington. Or his Kareem sky-hook. Tokyo 2020 Team USA bid for the best in five rings Olympic legend in his golden age? Big shots from the double 0 like seven. From nothing twice?! This is no time to die Mr. Bond.
He’s gone toe-to-shot with the MVP. Showed he was more than a most imported or Sixth Man, but still a star. More than the name, but the actual game. And now he’s guaranteed to be around for a while longer like he never left, but is here to stay. As the Blazers changed the trail on the end of the signature of his contract before the ink even dried for this guy’s with the wet jumper like staying outside in the snow with your ugly NBA sweater this Christmas.
This tax is more than a luxury. It’s about to cap off a classic career with one compelling closing chapter.
Even when he bit career highs at the core of his career in the Big Apple, the ever humble hero Carmelo was a walking and dribbling, “I just take it one game (or day) at a time” postgame soundbite like he has been in his comeback off court to on it. Well now the Blazers can guarantee him 365…or at least 82 or however far he takes them.
From the headband to the hoodie, stay ‘Melo. Anthony is here to stay.
After Expelling The Order Of The Phoenix, Wizards Exiled By L.A. King.
Forgive the title…I’ve spent the week reading all seven of J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ books. Expelliarmus.
Hey if its good enough for Kobe cosplaying as “he who shall not be named” one Halloween, like the King as Prince, or a cut above the rest Edward Scissorhands this year. It’s good enough for us. And Basketball’s the closest thing to Quidditch right?
But forget the Wizenard series for a page, today the Wizards were in town and speaking of Bryant some former young core Lakers were gunning for revenge like the Ingram, Hart and Ball-less Pelicans last game. Thomas Bryant, Moe Wagner and Isaac Bogna to be exact. Along with dynamo Isaiah Thomas shooting the bright lights out to prove LeBron, the Lakers and the rest of the league that shouldn’t have wrote him off wrong. Proving that the Lakers leave more youngsters on other people’s porches than the stereotypical beginnings of old movies about coming of age, against the odds. See ‘The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’ and anything else set around that time.
But this weekend Hollywood had the perfect picture for their 10th straight W against D.C. Whose capital Washington game was big here in Tokyo with this writer and his new town for Japanese born Rui Hachimura’s clash with the titan. L.A. King versus the young king of the rising sun (no half-blood prince) that was going to be more Rakuten tuned into than when Tokyo hosted the Houston Rockets versus champion Toronto Raptors double-header first NBA Japan Games in decades last month.
But for the city in Shaq sized edition Dr. Buss tribute jerseys that were left on every fan that wanted tacos this Thanksgiving like LeBron calling on Tuesday’s seat pregame, it was former champion with Canada Danny Green who rediscovered his winners touch from downtown Los Angeles. Washington may be in a shooting spell themselves after scorching the Sun’s 140-132 Thursday in an Arizona shoot-out, but it was the Lakers who stunned them 125-103 today.
Yer a King, LeBron!
LeBron on a poetic couplet quest for the Lakers 17th championship in his year 17 was Magic with 11 assists and the number across his City Edition Nike in points. The same jersey number he’s going to give to Anthony Davis, despite this writer Black Friday buying his gold statement 3 yesterday (let’s hope that doesn’t end up like my Lonzo Ball road one this time last year next). A.D. lead the way with another double/double of 26 and 13 rebounds although Rui wasn’t afraid of going toe-to-sneaker toe with him, or never scared the King too with 16 points and 8 rebounds. As the next star next to star Bradley Beal’s 18 points and 9 assists showed Hollywood his coming to America story was Giannis worthy.
Bryant, Bogna and Wagner (seven and eight and one dunk on his head from Dwight in response to a flagrant) like Thomas with ten all showed out too against their old Showtime. But the Lakers who were still without defensive stalwart Avery Bradley like all these familiar, former faces got new help from Quinn Cook’s 17 out to the kitchen and another double trouble from fan favourite JaVale McGee who had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Whilst one of the best Point Guards of all-time still in his game Rajon Rondo had 13 in just two minutes less than that of play.
Shaqtin’a-fool in another reunion Dwight Howard (8 points, 5 rebounds and 2 “oh no you don’t, Mutombo finger wags) continued his bolstered bench presence against his old Washington state. But off a beautiful bounce ‘Brookyln 99’ copped pass from everybody’s hero Caruso he was T’d up after taunting after his big jam. Still the STAPLES Center loved it like they loved number 39 again after the D-12 drama. Who would have thought this guy would be back and back like this? Let alone dunking in a Shaq designed uniform?
But going 14 and 1 in November and winning 17 of 18 for their 10th straight, the league best Lakers haven’t been on box score paper this victorious for the record since those O’Neal 2000 champion days with the Wizenard Kobe. The Wizards may have a lot of tricks up their sleeve at the moment…but they haven’t got enough in their bag for this in the first part of their Hollywood road trip (just the best in the league Kawhi and homeboy P.G. next). Being outscored 84-36 in a half worth 24 like a Kobe throwback by the Lake Show.
But just wait until their new Japanese son rises.
I solemnly swear he’s going to be so good.
Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Canadian Basketball Insider Newsletter