Tuesday, May 14, 2013

NBA Ravenclaw

It's really a shame that Ravenclaw gets so little mention throughout the entire Potter series. Yes, we know they're the house with most of the smart kids, and that their famous founder had a lost diadem (though we're still not entirely sure about what a diadem even is), but other than that, Ravenclaw's many accomplishments are either brushed aside or ignored completely. For example, Ravenclaw gave us the one and only Roger Davies, Hogwarts's leading ladies man. In addition to hooking up with Fleur Delacour in the bushes at the Yule Ball, making out with unnamed hotties at Madam Puddifoot's Tea Shop, and keeping Cho Chang back after quidditch practice to "discuss tactics" on numerous occasions (I'm making the last one up, but it doesn't take a very large leap of faith to assume that this happened), Davies also captained a fine quidditch side and being a Ravenclaw, would probably have also earned 10+ passing O.W.L. marks. I can only think: Why doesn't this guy get more ink?? For all of Cedric Diggory's accolades, Diggory is really nothing more than a poor man's Roger Davies when you really give it some thought. In retrospect, it wouldn't be too difficult to sell me on the theory that when rigging the Goblet of Fire, Barty Crouch Jr. also fudged the ballots to ensure that Diggory would be chosen, sparing Roger Davies in the end.

As for quidditch, I'm also pretty sure that Ravenclaw won the Quidditch Cup in Book 1, a result that was completely ignored. We know that Slytherin was set to win the House Cup until Dumbledore went all David Stern on them, but it doesn't it make sense that a 2-1 Ravenclaw team who absolutely demolished Gryffindor (when Oliver Wood made the puzzling decision to play no Seeker 6v7 rather than find a replacement for the injured Harry) would finish with a higher aggregate score than a 2-1 Slytherin? The end result is still in dispute (Wikipedia says it was Ravenclaw, HP Lexicon says it was Slytherin), but my gut tells me that the Ravens pulled a surprising upset and JK didn't feel like telling us about it because she was too busy trying to get us to like Hagrid.

Sorting students into your house based solely on intelligence might help you achieve higher O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. scores, but it generally isn't considered the best way to put together a powerhouse quidditch team.  However, Ravenclaw's steady display of strong defense, and methodical and intelligent style allows them to perennially overachieve on the pitch and sometimes even find themselves in contention for that coveted Cup. I think there's a certain Roger Davies swagger that must come with the territory of playing ball for Ravenclaw too.

CHASERS: Danny Granger (IND), Jeremy Lin (HOU), James Harden (HOU)

Granger- There are very few people in this world who are smart enough to get accepted into Yale. There are fewer who get accepted into Yale but turn down the offer. There are even far fewer who are good enough at basketball to get accepted into the NBA. As for people who fall into all three categories? To my knowledge, I'm pretty sure we're just left with Danny Granger. Choosing the prestigious academic reputation of the University of New Mexico rather than you know, YALE, Granger forever forfeited a shot at getting into Skulls and Bones, but hindsight being 20/20, I think it's safe to say he made the right call. As for being one of the smartest players in the NBA, let's just say he wouldn't be the first Granger to be referred to as "an insufferable know-it-all".

Lin- Speaking of the Ivy League, New Mexico must have waitlisted Linsanity just like the New York Knicks did, so he had to settle for safety school Harvard. Seeing as Ravenclaw is essentially the Harvard of Hogwarts, do I even really need to give a further explanation as to why he might be sorted there? Put in the idea of the most overlooked basketball player of our generation being placed into the most overlooked of the 4 houses, the decision becomes a no-brainer Although, based on his very poor performance during Houston's first round playoff exit this spring, Ravenclaw might want to think about going back to Cho Chang to fill their diversity quota. 

Harden- James Harden is another guy that the Sorting Hat had a hard time time with, and quidditch Captain Shane Battier had an even harder time deciding whether Harden's patented "Old Man Game" style of play would successfully transfer to the pitch. It's common knowledge that Harden is, kinda weird, but it's even commoner knowledge that he's both an athletic and crafty player that can flat out score the quaffle, and he'll be at the top of the league in penalty shots almost every year. 

BEATERS: Kevin Love (MIN), Luol Deng (CHI)

Love and Deng- With this pairing, I see a more calculated and refined physicality than what Slytherin brings to the table. Both of these players are known for their strong work ethic and high basketball IQ (Love with rebounding/passing and Deng on the defensive end). This is a pair of Beaters that will be able to match Slytherin's toughness without losing their heads, and will likely be able to simply outwork and outsmart Hufflepuff. Growing up in South London, I can only imagine how many glorious journeys to Diagon Alley that Luol Deng must have made in his youth.

GOALKEEPER: Shane Battier (MIA) *Captain

Battier- Generally regarded as 'the smartest player in the NBA', Battier also has the distinction of being one of the few players in league history who have been able to sustain a 12 year career based almost entirely on getting in other people's way and then falling down. This knack for playing the angles and finding ways to disrupt things will pay off big at the Keeper position. While most of his saves will likely come from taking charges on opposing Chasers rather than actually blocking the quaffle, I suppose you have to prevent goals any way you can. Given his intelligence and Hermione's undeniable penchant for quidditch-playing men, would having an emotional range anywhere higher than "a teaspoon" give Battier a chance?

SEEKER: Mike Conley Jr. (MEM)

Conley- A year or two ago, this spot is filled by Steve Nash, whose exceptional coordination and court vision would have given him a stranglehold on the position for the past decade. And also because Bromolyte Nitch would be very upset to go through four of these posts without a single Nash mention. He still might be a little upset that Nash is over the hill and probably only hanging around Hogwarts as gamekeeper at this point, so if you see Nitch on the street, just to be safe you might tell him that you think Clay Aiken is a great singer, and stuff. 

As for Mike Conley, the Sorting Hat looked past the pure-bloodness of having an Olympian triple jumper for a father and instead saw the incredibly high quidditch IQ that he possesses and the ability to rise to the challenge as somewhat of an underdog. Thanks in large part to his strong play in the playoffs so far, Conley has the Grizzlies inching closer and closer to the franchise's first ever Finals appearance. And don't worry about Steve Nash--I'm sure he'll soon be promoted to a Care of Magical Creatures teaching position that would be just as undeserved as his two MVP awards.

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