I had been in the market for a controversial, half-serious satirical piece to write, and it finally came in the form of this tweet by professional Super Smash Bros. player ‘Anti,’ who made a claim that Lonzo Ball was one of a list of many government plants:
I began to think about this a little bit more, as someone mentioned to me how odd it is that the top 2 picks from the 2017 draft can’t shoot basketballs like normal human being, and how the biggest weakness in the 3rd overall pick, Jayson Tatum, is his excruciating shot selection which has put a dent in his own and Boston’s offensive efficiencies. So, without further ado, here is the un-ironic argument that Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and Jayson Tatum were planted in the league by the government in order to counteract the surge in 3-point shooting that the league has been seeing this year.
The Case for Fultz: Markelle Fultz, born only 45 minutes from Washington D.C. (coincedence?) shot very, very well during his one year at Washington (coincedence?), however during his transition to the NBA after being drafted first overall, he somehow completely forgot to do basic functions involving shooting a basketball. For example, this internet-famed free throw in which Fultz not only botches his form, but can’t even lift the ball above his head normally:
How can one explain such a turn-around? He was once an absolute killer anywhere on the court; he knew his spots and he did what he needed to do in order to get there swiftly and efficiently. It’s possible that during Fultz’s years in and around D.C. that the government used some MK-ULTRA bullshit to control his mind and destroy his shooting. Maybe it was an microchip, maybe he was kidnapped and hypnotized, who knows. But it is incredibly strange that almost every aspect of Fultz’s gameplay are intact except his shooting. He handles the ball well, passes well, and has improved his 1 on 1 defense significantly since arriving in the league. So it’s not like he completely busted after entering the league; he’s a fine player. He just completely lost the most integral part of his gameplay, and what made him so desirable to take at No.1 by the Sixers.
The Case for Ball: Lonzo Ball has the weakest case here. He always had an ugly shot, but the idea that he would break it down and build it back up from the jump in the league was pretty foolish. The most jarring thing about Ball’s shooting is the fact that it violates the most basic principle of shooting: you don’t center the ball over your head. It is supposed to be slightly to the side in the direction of your dominant hand. This is to prevent your arm from sliding off center as you straighten your elbow to release the ball, providing a more stable extension. Not only does Lonzo not do this, but he angles the ball to the other side of his face. This goes about as well as you’d expect:
As you can see from the thumbnail alone, there is no way in hell that ball is coming across his frame at a straight angle. Much like Fultz, this can only be the result of some high-tech mind-altering tomfoolery by the government. There’s no way the son of an NBA player in a famed basketball family would so clearly violate such a basic principle of shooting form, especially given his position as a point guard in today’s league. Conclusion: the league needed to slow down the roll of the tsunami of 3-point shooting around the league at nearly every position.
The Case for Tatum: This theory I’ve decided to take in a different direction. I don’t believe Tatum’s shot changes have come from the Feds, but rather one of the greatest players of all time: Kobe Bryant. Anyone who followed summer basketball is aware that Celtics sophomore Jayson Tatum trained 1-on-1 with Lakers legend Kobe Bryant for the off-season. I’ll say that again slowly: CELTICS sophomore Jayson Tatum trained 1-on-1 with LAKERS legend Kobe Bryant. Anyone who knows basketball knows how deep the Celtics/Lakers beef goes. Kobe, who played for the Lakers for his entire 20 year career, was famously an extremely selfish player. Kobe always tried to maximize his own performance no matter what statistics would say benefits the team the most. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the best way to win a game is to maximize your best player. But Kobe never cared about any of that. In the absence of Shaq, he became a one-man show. So is it possible, that in order to sabotage the Celtics from within, that he instructed him to take more selfish, less efficient, and riskier deep 2’s instead of the catch-and-shoot 3’s that he made so smoothly last year? During the 2018 playoffs, in the absence of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, it became quite clear that while this team will succeed in the short term, the future of this franchise lies in Tatum’s hands. Maybe that scared Kobe, whose Lakers were due for a resurgence in the impending arrival of LeBron James. So, maybe to slow the Celtics’ roll, and keep the spotlight on the Lakers, Kobe gave him some of that Mamba Mentality.
It’s no secret that the U.S. government is traditional and is scared of change. Maybe they saw the direction the league was going and implanted in these young players a solution. Well, maybe not Tatum, unless Kobe is the shadow president.