A Tribute to the Lakers Blog Icon: Von Wafer
It only feels right to pay homage to a K Brothers' fave, considering his monstrous- and mohawked!- performance against the team that drafted him (and since the Lakers won anyway, why not?) 10-14 from the field for 23 points, highlighted by a trio of triples and a few sweet trips to the rack. Two steals. That slightly sideways-tilted gait as he sprints about. It all came to a head in one heck of a performance. So for that, we take a trip down memory lane to some of the blog's past thoughts on Mr. Wafer.
His rookie midseason report card in 2006
BK- Love him. I wish he played more. Why? Because he makes the
game fun. The guy will shoot from anywhere. That big dunk against
Memphis (it was Memphis, right?) was one for the season ending
highlight tape. Sure he's shooting under 20% from the field, but hey,
we're all human. D+/Inc.
AK- Very few things in life shock me. Von's 16.7% from the field? That shocks me. If he had been manning the grassy knoll, JFK would still be alive. That being said, kid's got balls and ain't afraid to chuck. And being one of the only athletic looking guys on this squad, I could see his time coming. Just not this season. D/Inc.
His rookie final report card in 2006. First, my eval, then BK's.
Von Wafer: A
legend. So out of control, he makes practice entertaining. I once
caught the tail end of an El Segundo session where every vet, B.Shaw and PJ
would alternately remind Von to pass the ball on about five straight
possessions. That's gold. Yes, him playing meaningful minutes would
result in nothing short of Armageddon. But when he's your sixth string
shooting guard? Outstanding!
First Half Grade: D/Incomplete
Second Half Grade: F/Incomplete
Final Grade: D-/Incomplete
Von Wafer: Fun, fun, fun. Unfortunately, his fun was had in Fort Worth, not in L.A. I want him to come back a) because if he ever pans out I can say, "I was on board when...", and b) he makes garbage time fun again.
First Half Grade: D+
Second Half Grade: Incomplete
Final Grade: D+/Incomplete
My rundown of his 2006 Summer Pro League play, which marked the disappointing start of Von looking to play in a manner that involved structure. "The right way," if you will. Granted, that step likely paved the path towards him actually sticking in the league, so in the grand scheme of things, good call. But from the K Brothers' selfish perspective, abandoning that God given talent for unintentional comedy was borderline unforgivable. Although he still managed to turn the ball over trying to call time out, which went a long way.
My "goodbye" post to Von after he got cut heading into the 2007 season. In it, I describe one of my favorite Wafer memories, which I've excerpted.
Last season, the Laker got blown out 105-79 by the Pacers on the road. And with about 7 seconds left, both team's scrubs were in. Pacers PG Eddie Gill, simply trying to avoid a shot clock violation, went in for a meaningless lay up. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Von comes streaking in, fouling the crap out of Gill while yelling, "Get that %@^& out of here!" so loudly, I heard it while watching on the KCAL telecast. Gill takes his free throws. Lakers inbound and Wafer gets the ball. Most players will simply run the clock down when trailing by 26. Not Von. Our boy sprints up court, parks himself behind the arc, fires a trey...and misses.
I can't even tell you people how angry I was that I accidentally
erased the game recording while trying to store it in my TiVo's "Keep
until I delete" section.
And finally, BK pays tribute to the man after he recently hit a game winner to keep the Celtics reeling.
There you have it. And all joking aside, Von really played well tonight, which is nice to see for a guy that's bounced around, obviously worked hard on his game and is making the most of an opportunity. So congrats to the Lakers Blog icon for an impressive effort in what was ultimately a Laker win. Couldn't have turned out much differently if I had scripted it.