For much of the year, coach Scott Skiles has relegated Drew Gooden to the end of the bench, the 15th man among fifteen men. When John Henson recovered from his preseason knee injury and the Bucks had 14 healthy bodies for the game in Washington, Skiles made Gooden an inactive player for the first time in his career. As Skiles put it, “I just thought that a couple other guys played better (in the preseason).” Gooden hadn’t played a minute of the season to that point.
And so it went for a long stretch until the Bucks got bitten by the injury bug. In a win this week over Sacramento, Gooden grabbed 10 rebounds. His enthusiasm gave the Bucks an energy boost that they were lacking against an awful (and depleted) Kings team.
He can help an NBA team this year. It may even be the Bucks.
Drew Gooden is not my punchline. He’s not your punchline. He’s not anyone’s punchline. He’s a bona fide NBA player.
But damnit, the guy is photogenic (and he has a good sense of humor). So without any further blabber, here for your enjoyment are the thirteen most Drew Gooden photos of Drew Gooden for the year MMXII.
Honorable mention #3: “Even Phoenix can get cold in January.”
Honorable mention #2: “Hey Luke! I just found the one guy in the League who’s more Caucasian than you. I think he used to be on my team too.”
Honorable mention #3: “Who wants to play basketball? We’ll play basketball first, then have a snack, ok?”
The Top Ten
Really, what person could contain himself when Austin Daye — THE Austin Daye — is blowing sweet nothings in your ear.
9) Rules violation #1
Not NBA rules, per se, but “respect for other men” rules. If you’re not sure why, check out the location of Drew’s left foot.
8) Rules violation #2
If I understand it correctly, one can get a defensive goaltending call for grabbing the rim or smacking the backboard as an opponent tries to make a shot. Drew does both.
7) “AND ONE!”
Where is the ball going? How did it get there?
6) “Here comes the ball. EEK!”
I think Jameer Nelson is trying to start a tickle fight with Ersan.
Also, this pic is from the same Orlando game as the one above. It was a banner episode of ‘photogenicity’. I could have chosen ten pics from this game alone.
5) “This #77 guy looks familiar. Let me get a better look at him, and then I’ll tell you if the two of us ever played on the same team together or not.”
Despite playing for a combined 16 teams, Drew Gooden and Vlad Radmanovic have never been actual teammates.
4) “C’mon, Brandon. This party sucks. We’re going home. “
Gooden helped Brandon Jennings up after Jennings missed a potential game-tying shot in a loss to the Kings. The sad faces are because the Bucks blew a 21-point halftime lead to add another dagger to a brutal January road trip.
This pic is also the best representation of skinny Drew, who shocked every Bucks follower by showing up after the lockout clean-shaven and 35 pounds lighter.
4) Gooden helps Jennings up again.
Look at those crappy Under Armour shoes Brandon is wearing. Hard to fathom getting a sprained ankle in those, eh?
Also, Drew Gooden’s suit is unsurprisingly awesome.
2) “This…THIS is how you make triple-doubles.”
This Joe Montana-like pass did, in fact, lead to a basket, but his actual triple double against Cleveland wouldn’t happen for another month.
1) The winning smile.
Drew Gooden is awesome.
For more photos of Drew Gooden, follow him on Twitter. Each week he’ll put up a pic that is beyond words.