Out of Write Field has its favorites. Wisconsin sports, Ron Baker, Ken Pomeroy, Harry Potter, Spotted Cow, fried pickles, etc. One that has yet to be introduced to the world is the greatest show television has ever seen, The Office. And in the spirit of the NBA’s free agency period and lucrative contract bonanza, we decided to do our own version, Scranton style, examining key characters and analyzing their NBA worth. Here is our first installment.
Comp: Kevin Durant with a general sense of what commitment means
Among available Dunder Mifflinites, Jim Halpert is the cream of the crop, the undisputed #1 on the board. As fluid an athlete as they come, Jim has the prototypical size and length for an NBA wing. He truly emerged onto the scene with a dominant performance head-to-head against archrival Roy Anderson at Dunder Mifflin Warehouse Arena in Season 1. From that point on, a max contract for Halpert became a forgone conclusion within the basketball inner circle once he hits the market. The crowd on that day of his attention-grabbing exhibition provided plenty of motivation for Jim, but several scouts question his drive on a day-to-day basis. A notorious locker room prankster, Halpert is surely to have a number of run-ins with gullible teammates. He has, on several occasions, been accused of being too loose, and his utter lack of seriousness towards his career has become a growing concern for numerous organizations. Yet, time and time again, once the ball tips, Jim has exuded an uncanny ability to flip a switch and perform brilliantly. He fully understands that patience is a virtue and will stick to the process in Oklahoma City, just ask Pam.
Contract: 5yr/$164mil to the Oklahoma City Thunder
Comp: Zaza Pachulia
Culture. The moment Dwight Schrute walks through that door, his presence is felt. Said presence can transform the aura of an entire organization, and that is the greatest quality Schrute provides. On the court, Dwight being “an extension of the coaching staff” is an understatement, because he will quite literally do anything his superiors ask of him. Off the court, Dwight can conquer almost any language barrier that exists with his teammates, as the Schrute language is a very close relative to several spoken in Eastern Europe. Much of Dwight’s discipline and hardworking identity can be attributed to his upbringing. Dwight took perhaps one of the most unconventional routes to professional basketball. Having to spend every breath of his free time working a 60-acre farm, AAU was never an option. Schrute, in fact, developed his attachment to the game at a young age by shooting beets into a wicker basket. Thus, Dwight obviously never received the proper skill development, but the values instilled in him as a boy that highlight his intriguing backstory will resonate with particularly youthful players in need of direction. Intangibles. Accountability. Leadership. Dwight’s wrath will immediately rub off on those surrounding him. Unless Battlestar Galactica is in your repertoire, you will find it deathly difficult to maintain a conversation with him, but when Dwight hits the court, it’s all business.
Contract: 3yr/$36mil to the Milwaukee Bucks
Comp: Devin Booker with J.R. Smith off-the-court mentality
Boom-or-bust defines Ryan Howard, one of the more controversial players on the market. The former 5-star recruit’s talent is undeniable. Ryan’s unfathomably rapid rise from temp to Dunder Mifflin’s #2 man reaffirmed everything we knew about his abilities. His stardom, however, was only short-lived, as questionable nightclub escapades and drug use, along with a fraud scandal regressed Howard back to square one. Ryan’s prioritization of scoring off the court over scoring on it has shied the majority of teams away from seeking his services. A few franchises, though, maintain the belief that with the correct grooming, the basketball ceiling is still tremendously high for him. It would be reasonable for the local team in search of hitting a home run to give the Pennsylvania product a shot. Philadelphia nightclubs beware, but at least this polarizing shooting guard will assuredly always be wearing a shirt.
Contract: 2yr/$22mil (team option after first year) to the Philadelphia 76ers
Comp: Leandro Barbosa
Toby is on the back end of his basketball career, but the expressionless HR rep still has plenty left in the tank. Flenderson is desperate to evacuate his previous situation in which he was the victim of repetitive verbal abuse at the hands of his team captain for simply doing his job correctly. Toby is eager to contribute to a winner and eager to find a home where his talents are appreciated. Although more than likely coming off the bench at this stage, Toby showcased his stamina as the runaway winner of the first annual Fun Run, so he is certainly capable of playing big minutes if pressed into such a duty. He felt no need of pacing himself either, a direct reflection of his ability to command and play in an up-tempo attack on the hardwood. Unparalleled, painful social awkwardness offer concerns from team psychologists for his fit in an NBA locker room. Nonetheless, Toby can lead by example and push the envelope for a team’s second unit.
Contract: 2yr/$12mil to the Cleveland Cavaliers
Comp: Brian Scalabrine
Phyllis’ days as a double-double machine are well in the rearview mirror, and there exists serious doubt as to whether or not she can contribute in any fashion to an NBA team. Those doubters, however, haven’t looked at the tape recently. Phyllis is very much still a serviceable stretch 5 for quick spurts here and there. She demonstrated soft shooting touch in Season 1, sparking a spirited reaction from the man in charge.
Looks can also be deceiving, as Phyllis is actually the owner of sneaky agility proven by a Flonkerton gold medal, edging out world-class athlete Kevin Malone. Her veteran locker room presence also seems to unfailingly go overlooked, and her warmth, believe it or not, has its place in the NBA. Her Mama Bear qualities are viewed as a positive by particularly young organizations. So when Kris Dunn needs a consoling embrace after an inevitable 9-turnover performance this season, he’ll know where to find one.
Contract: Veteran’s Minimum (1yr/$1.5mil) to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Comp: Boris Diaw with Grayson Allen villain appeal
Roy finds himself in the midst of the prime of his basketball career, and his window of opportunity is just beginning to close. Highly-touted extending back to his high school days, front office personnel have always drooled over his combination of size and skill, but repeated emotional flare-ups and locker room issues have stunted his growth as a player and place his NBA future in jeopardy. A free agent signing of Roy Anderson just screams Vivek Ranadive’s name. The last thing the Kings need is another incendiary personality in the fold, but it’s the very first thing they will pursue. Boogie better be sure he has a can of pepper spray handy.
Contract: 1yr/$10mil to the Sacramento Kings
Comp: Jenna Fischer with Georgia O’Keeffe artistic abilities
Once admitting to faking having PMS to avoid playing basketball in high school physical education classes, Pam’s basketball future does not, in any way, involve the playing of the sport. Unfortunately for Pam, her college-level volleyball talents did not translate when the court was extended to 94 feet. She can, contrarily, play a major role in the makeover of a franchise’s appearance (I’m talking to you, San Antonio Spurs). Pam’s credentials on LinkedIn aren’t going to wow you, as she, in fact, took time off from her receptionist post only to fail art school.
Yet, her quietly burning ambition is all franchises need to see during the interview process. Pam’s (at least basic) knowledge of graphic design can help transmute the dullness of a black and grey color scheme and logo that looks like a rusty field goal post into something more lively. Perhaps the rainbow scheme of the ‘90s can even be brought back. In the end, Pam is eager to pursue dreams of artistic creation, and she could be a key cog in ushering in a new, post-Tim Duncan era.
Contract: $60,000 annual salary under the reserve clause from the San Antonio Spurs
Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration
Comp: Kendrick Perkins
Bob’s Swaggy P-esque self-promotion of his company, Vance Refrigeration, is the antithesis of the values he holds as a basketball player. Bob comes across as a no-nonsense person, and his “enforcer” mentality makes Memphis and the Grindhouse an obvious destination. Just as on The Office, his presence from the outside may seem fleeting, but he is being paid the big bucks for his unspoken leadership and intimidation on the bench.
“What line of work are you in, Bob?”
“I’m a Memphis Grizzly.”
Contract: 2yr/$8mil to the Memphis Grizzlies
Comp: Andre Miller, with Dennis Rodman flamboyance and Phil Jackson Zen Master ruminations combined
The comp speaks for itself. Robert California has a better shot as the successor to the Dos Equis man than an NBA career. He would frankly make his teammates unprecedentedly uncomfortable with his indescribably overconfident presence. Throw any expectations with Robert California out the window, because there truly is now way of knowing what the man will do or say. How does he fit into the NBA? The Miami Heat need players. Robert California is a man noteworthy for indulging in his wealth. His talent level and the Heat already being handcuffed by three max players will only place a cheap one-year deal on the table. The only kickers that would lure Robert California would be Florida weather and Miami nightlife, and good news for him, that comes with the terrain.
Contract: 1yr/$2.5mil to the Miami Heat
Comp: Dan Dickau with Frank Kaminsky goofballery
Holly, the more lively HR rep Dunder Mifflin Scranton employed, is the exact wily veteran contenders are looking for in rounding out their rosters. After spending the majority of her career in Nashua, Holly caught on in Scranton in a hurry, which speaks volumes for her ability to fit in any environment, particularly one that tolerates surprisingly decent Yoda impersonations. Holly will likely have to disconnect from Michael Scott, and while Michael will refuse to understand that it is a business decision, Holly will. Portland seems to be a match made in heaven, as Neil Olshey is going all in with this roster in an effort to give Golden State a run for its money. Similar to Steve Blake in 2014-15, Holly can be the calming backcourt presence off the bench, spelling Damian Lillard in the meanwhile.
Contract: 2yr/$5mil to the Portland Trail Blazers
Comp: Poor Man’s Matthew Dellavedova
The question of whether or not Kelly “Erin” Hannon can actually play basketball remains. Wait… correction: Erin Hannon cannot play basketball, but that fact is understandable given her background. The ex-orphan was never granted the opportunity to participate in competitive organized sport. Shockingly, however, loneliness failed to wreck Erin’s spirit, as she is armed with endless enthusiasm, optimism, and fierceness to this day.
Yet, her perpetual positive energy does far from overshadow her complete lack of skill. Owning some of the worst hand-eye coordination scouts say they’ve ever seen, as evidenced by multiple swings and misses during Dunder Mifflin picnic volleyball games, Erin can do nothing for an NBA team. The Orlando Magic send two full squads to their hosted summer league, so possibly there is space for Erin. Even though she is not nearly half the prospect Kimmy Schmidt is, Rob Hennigan has proven he isn’t afraid to try a thing or two.
Contract: Summer League Invite from the Orlando Magic
Comp: An unathletic Rosco Allen
The laughing stock of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch, Gabe seems to have worn out his NBA welcome. With a long, lanky frame providing false upside, Gabe’s allergy to the weight room hasn’t allowed him to fill out one bit, and for that reason, most organizations feel his days of American professional basketball are finished. There most likely remains a market for his services overseas, however, and that may prove to be a much better fit for the finesse combo forward. With a peculiar taste in movies and simply being a cripplingly peculiar person in general, Gabe often found himself alienated from his teammates and the target of cruel jokes. The change of scenery is a necessity for him at this point.
Contract: 3yr/$2.4mil to Alba Berlin