To remedy the mystery surrounding so much of the 2011 draft, we created the First Annual YouTube Draft. Picks were made solely on the strength of each player's highlight video. We considered the following factors: the editing quality, the choice of music, the overall production value, and whether or not it made its subject look awesome. After watching hours of tape, the draft committee came up with the following six picks
6. Kenneth Faried
Kenneth Faried does not throw a single pass in his YouTube highlight reel. Nor does he shoot a jump shot. He dribbles seven or eight times, depending on how you define a dribble. All his dribbles are power bounces, in which he pounds the ball once into the floor with two hands, sets his feet, and then jumps to the rim. He does not take two consecutive dribbles at any point in his two-minute video, and his first dribble in a game situation does not appear until a minute and four seconds have passed. By that time, he has already dunked 12 times. This is what Kenneth Faried, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Morehead State, does. He dunks hard and then dunks more. If he must dribble once, he will, but only to set up a two-handed slam over some mere Ohio Valley Conference mortals. In 1 minute and 52 seconds, Kenneth Faried dunks 23 times and sinks five short bank shots. He is the Zeus of monster dunks.
The legend of Faried is only amplified by the music in his video. At first, the beat sounds familiar — the piano loop comes from Xzibit's "The Foundation," a 1996 song in which the gruff-voiced rapper spits "words to live by from a father to a son." For Kenneth Faried, those words were surely "THROW IT DOWN, BIG MAN!" Within 10 seconds we learn that this is not just a collection of dunks set to an Xzibit track, but instead a special tribute song by Newark, N.J., rapper bc 2-Tone.
Been dunkin' since a young'n like Kenneth Faried
Been dunkin' since a young'n like Kenneth Faried
Then, at the 1:22 mark, things get weird:
Playin' for Morehead/gettin' Morehead
Opening more legs, the girls are scheming
They keep it open/they hopin'
With being with a star/so I play it real smart
Shortly after the song veers into Basketball Wives territory, bc 2-Tone himself emerges, hanging from the rim of a recreation center basketball court with an elevated jogging track visible behind him. He looks like a less muscle-bound version of fellow New Jersey emcee Chino XL, who, according to accurate Internet sources is a member of MENSA. I don't care how smart or how strong you are, Mr. XL. You ain't dunking like Kenneth Faried.
This video was created and uploaded by someone who calls himself nuk3you. (I suppose nuk3you could be a she, but I don't think anyone, including the he/she grammar police, wants that to be true. So, for the purposes of this discussion, let's just refer to this nuk3you as a male.) A little internet research reveals that nuk3you also goes by the name "Li'l Ochocinco." I don't know what any of this means, but I did figure out that this nuk3you has made a ridiculous number of YouTube videos. Each one uses the same shadowed Impact font, a hip-hop song recorded between 1999 and 2008 and a lot of quick cut-scenes.
A man so prolific deserves to be reviewed. So, without further ado, our review of nuk3you's Jimmer video.
Good branding. Especially good use of the red wavy background that looks cooler when you're stoned. Playing to his core audience.
0:04- As a sad piano tinkles its sad tune, Jimmer walks down the tunnel from the light into the darkness. It's a little predictable, but the scene has been set: Jimmer has to walk through hell, vanquish the demons of the NBA and spread his awesome seed before he gets to head back up to heaven with Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
0:15-0:18- Weird pervy shot of Jimmer studying, listening to music, and going to class. Clearly taken on a cell phone. WTF? I thought he was walking down into hell? Why does it suddenly feel like pregnant Bristol Palin is about to show up naked and serve Jimmer with papers?
0:31- OH SHIT, 8 MILE!!! JIMMENEM!!!
0:52- "His palms are sweaty," means that B. Rabbit is nervous, not that he's hustling and therefore sweating. I don't think this quite works.
0:56- interesting timing of "vomit on his sweater" and footage of Jimmer going crashing right into an old woman's undercarriage. I agree. That's pretty vomitus for Jimmer. He only pulls top-shelf.
1:02- "Drop Bombs" goes by without a 40-foot jumper? I mean, yeah, it's obvious, but sometimes you gotta throw your audience a bone. That's what Fast 5 was all about.
1:08- That might have been the slowest cross-over dribble in YouTube history.
1:11- WHAT'S UP TAERNARI. That's my dude right there.
2:06- MAKE ME KING! Beast roar. Slow-motion cut sequence. Good work, nuk3you.
2:19- Missed opportunity with "These hos are all on him." We should be watching Jimmer deny coitus to hundreds of coeds. Politely, of course. But firmly.
2:26-3:26- This is like when you had your old Super 8 camcorder and it had four effects and your sister had ADD so whenever she shot a video, she would flip manically through the settings. Which was a problem because you couldn't watch the stupid video of your cousin's high school graduation without having an epileptic seizure because the screen kept flipping from normal to black-and-white to sepia to pixilated and then back to normal.
3:37- Maybe it's just me, but when Eminem goes, "There's no Mekhi Phifer," it would've been nice for nuk3you to cut to a still of Mekhi Phifer. Just a suggestion.
The rest of the video is all the same. Lots of slow cross-overs and 3-pointers.
5:10- Jimmer calls that look the "Slip-n-Slide." But what is he trying to tell us with it?
4. Jon Leuer
A Jon Leuer highlight reel set to 50's "P.I.M.P." is like watching a Matt Bullard sex tape that bumps along to "Ante Up." Meaning, I'm watching that shit because I need to know what pimping means to a skinny white dude with a crew-cut and a severe underbite. Judging from this video, Jon Leuer's putting a lot of slow-release jump shots out on the street, along with the occasional spin move in the lane.
Speaking of 50 click on both of the following two videos at the same time and watch them simultaneously.
There's no Wikipedia page that will tell me who directed this video, but it's gotta be Zack Snyder, right? Check out the intro to Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.
If 50 Cent and the Game were owls, what type of owls would they be? And who in hip-hop would be the Guardians? Who are the little owls? Right now, I'm envisioning the Game, 50, Short S!@* Stain from the first ODB album, C-Murda, and U-God a.k.a. Golden Armz flying in 50's Escalade with Lamborghini doors to go see a tribunal of Eminem, KRS-ONE, and Rakim. Their flight is interrupted by Canibus, who bores them to death.
3. Jonas Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas' video is maddening. From the mind of Euro highlight film mogul DJ Vilkas, the clip is a Josh Smith-esque exercise in realized and lost potential. The introduction is inspired — from the helicopter shots of what we assume is a large Lithuanian city to the P. Diddy sampling of "Kashmir" from the Godzilla soundtrack — but there is real concern when the basketball kicks in. Most of the clips either involve some of the least-authoritative dunks in the history of 6-foot-11 people or painfully textbook lay-ins. Keep it high, big man! Either DJ Vilkas was quite shoddy in his research or this year's draft is more doomed than we could ever imagine. Check out the running form at 1:50. This guy is a lottery pick that makes a newborn giraffe look like Steve Prefontaine. Just when all seems lost, the Lithuanian pageantry returns with a vengeance. Cheerleaders and giant flags ride in to pry us from the jaws of George Mikan's ghost. We don't know what that dancing metallic wolf thing is at 4:20. We just know we want more of it.
2. Donatas Motiejunas
When the video begins and you see that wolf prowling a wintry Lithuanian forest, it can only mean one thing: Donatas Motiejunas, a 7-foot lefty, is going high lottery. Twenty seconds in, we learn that off the court he is clean-cut and can introduce himself in English. Then, the beat drops on some heavy Baltic rap and we see Motiejunas swatting the shots of European men with bald spots. He is not to be played with. Please ignore that he was recently employed by the Italian team responsible for instilling toughness in Andrea Bargnani's game, and that Motiejunas averaged four rebounds per game there. Just let the rhymes of G&G Sindikatas thud in your ears — Motiejunas is for real, son.
You want finesse? Motiejunas has got that. A minute into his highlight reel, an elegant intertitle informs us that now we are about to behold a "Solid passser" (sic). This is an understatement. If Vlade Divac had a lovechild with Andre Miller and Brad Miller had a lovechild with Mark Jackson, then Motiejunas sees the court like the lovechild of their lovechildren.
Two minutes in and we get more humility. "Good three point shooter" appears on the screen in a neat cursive font. Motiejunas is not a good 3-point shooter. He is a flawless one. Six shots go up and all splash through the fringe-bottom European nets. But the show is just beginning. Three minutes and three seconds into the video, another title announces the beginning of a new segment: "Perfect post moves and offensive skills." That's more like it! Being perfect is no crime. Own it, Donatas! A virtuoso display of back-to-the basket footwork ensues. You, viewer, are breathless. Is that Hakeem tiptoeing around his man? Is that McHale's touch around the rim? Yes, it is those things, but it is better. It is Motiejunas.
1. Jan Vesely a.k.a. The Dunking Ninja
This needs no intro.
0:08- For those who are trying to place that guitar riff and just got a half-chubby because the name Amy Jo Johnson keeps flitting through your brain, it's because THE GREATEST HIGHLIGHT VIDEO OF ALL TIME (GHVOAT) starts with the Power Rangers theme song. It also starts with our hero straight mad-dogging the camera while a bunch of completely inexplicable semicolons scroll across the bottom of the screen. Actually, what am I saying? The semicolons make total sense because every stat and fact about Jan Vesely is a complete effing clause, so you have to separate it from the other complete clauses. Some people might say: "Hey, Jan Vesely. Why not use a period?"
Because Jan Vesely never fucking stops. OK?
0:21- Kaboom. Heavy particles begin to expand outwards at an exponential rate. The universe is born.
0:22- Seamless transition from Power Rangers Theme Song to the Ying Yang Twins and Trick Daddy's "What's Happenin.'" Jan doesn't scrimp on production value. Or rawness. LYRICS: NSFW
0:28- Bottoms. Someone just get wet from deep.
0:43- Two thunder dunks against Ukraine, perfectly timed to the BOOMS in the song. The first dunk is named 228,923, after the number of YouTube hits his video got. The second dunk is called Brezhnev, because it's oppressing the Ukraine and diverting its oil resources to the Sovereign State of Vesely.
0:44-0:49- There are five levels of Jan Vesely celebration which are directly proportional to the five levels of Mary J. Blige vocal performances. As this piece went to press, Vesely had only unveiled Levels 1 through 3. This celebration is Level 1. He calls it "The Multiple O," referring to the method some women use to "skip along the surface of their orgasms."
0:55- Level 2. He's selling the naming rights on eBay.
1:02- Free-throw break! Elbow in. Goose-neck. Cash.
1:50- Level 3. Mary J. is scrunching up her face and has just begun to point at the crowd. She's tired. It's coming.
2:12- GET OFF ME, STEVE BLAKE!
2:33- That's a Jan Vesely assist: charge up the lane, cross over the Estonian in the way, pass the ball off to your inferior teammate, let him miss the lay-up, and then throw that shit down for him. That's the ultimate teammate — set up your teammate and then pick him up when he fails.
3:09- DJ Ousvec, we don't need you tell us "Very quick cross over and drive!!!!" and we certainly don't need you to drop four exclamation points on what's obvious. Stay in your lane, bro. Make ridiculous beats and get the crowd hyped. Jan Vesely can speak for himself.
3:29- Go back to your army base, Guile from Street Fighter II!
3:31- That's how Jan Vesely does you. He sends your shit back and then smiles. Sociopathic game.
3:35- That one's on your chest, Andres Alver, the first name on the Wikipedia page for "List of Estonians!"
4:03- Is that Mike Montgomery? Sorry Mike, Jan Vesely isn't going to Cal. Even Estonia's got hotter girls than Berkeley.
4:14- If you can't respect that, your whole perspective is wack
Rafe Bartholomew, Jay Caspian Kang and Robert Mays are editors at Grantland.