With the NBA converging on Walt Disney World this week for the resumption of the season at the end of the month, SB Nation’s team blogs got together for a fun twist in anticipation of the restart at the House of Mouse: Drafting OG Disney Characters.
Unfortunately, despite my better attempts to sprinkle pixie dust and channel Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother for some Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, the Pacers ended up with pick No. 22 in the randomized draft order.
Still, wishing upon a star for either a dogged point-of-attack defender or a sturdy stretch-four, here was my big board headed into Draft Day:
- Robin Hood: Known for his mastery of archery, Robin Hood is a flat-out shootah. Plus, the heroic outlaw has no trouble walking on stilts while disguised as a stork, so there’s a chance he’d be capable of playing up a position without sacrificing defense — especially since, if he can bob-and-weave through lines of arrows, he can probably skirt a screen or two.
- Maui: A shape-shifting defender with the build of Zion Williamson, the Polynesian demi-god literally sings, “Don’t mess with Maui when he’s on the break-away,” while belting out the lyrics to You’re Welcome. Can he space the floor? No idea. But there’s a strong argument he’s the best, most versatile baller in the Disney-animated pantheon. Need we say more?
- Hercules: The muscle-bound son of Zeus and Hera isn’t going to get pushed around on the block, and he sings one of Disney’s most iconic anthems, Go the Distance. Crooning lines like “I know every mile would be worth my while” and “I would go most anywhere to prove that I belong,” I choose to believe this means the zero-to-hero is a team player ready and willing to shoot from way downtown in order to stretch the defense a few extra feet.
Much to my dismay, however, none of these heavy-hitters lasted long. Robin Hood was picked No. 1 overall by Brew Hoop, because... of course he was. Maui went to SLC Dunk at No. 4, and Sactown Royalty snapped up Hercules with No. 9. As a result, this left me reeling in my quarantined war-room, knowing I would most likely have to search for a deep-cut well outside the normal realm of big-name protagonists and villains in order to satisfy my own standard to avoid drafting for magical powers and potions while still finding value at the bottom of board.
Therefore, with the final pick in the 2020 Disney Draft, I ultimately decided to select the character who I felt would best step up to do the little things in the heat of the playoffs:
After reviewing the film, here’s what the Pacers can expect to get from Lady and the Tramp’s old, lovable service dog.
A nose for the ball
First and foremost, Trusty, who by the way I selected before it was made known that Victor Oladipo would be sitting out the restart, is a bloodhound. And, as you may recall, the retired service dog uses his acute sense of smell — through puddles of rain, mind you — to track down the dogcatcher’s wagon that is heartlessly carrying away Tramp during the film’s climax, which means knocking him off the scent in rearview pursuit isn’t going to be easy.
Given Malcolm Brogdon’s struggles to get up under the ball against lightning-quick point guards (as can be seen below against Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe), adding Trusty arguably would’ve allowed the Pacers to shift their point guard’s occasionally suspect defensive positioning over to bigger wings without having to conscript Oladipo away from the impact he makes roaming the entire the floor.
In the event of a potential first-round series with the Heat, there would also be less stress on Myles Turner to have to slow down the ball with Bam Adebayo rumbling down the lane, especially against empty-corner actions.
Granted, if Oladipo had committed to playing in Orlando, his ability to tag from the weak-side and still recover out to shooters would’ve been on a hand in a way that it wasn’t with Jeremy Lamb earlier in the season; however, assuming T.J. Warren would’ve matched up defensively with Jimmy Butler, Indiana’s two-time All-Star still would’ve been tasked with pulling off his teleportation act against Duncan Robinson, who is currently sitting in the top five for both total threes made and three-point percentage.
With Trusty at the point of attack, Oladipo would’ve been able to stay home on Robinson and conserve more of his energy to go to work against Butler at the other end of the floor.
Alas...what could’ve been.
That said, even in the absence of Oladipo, Trusty still has the potential to come in handy against match-ups where Aaron Holiday’s lack of size has a tendency to result in head-hunting, as was the case late in games against Denver’s shape-shifting Murray-Jokic pick-and-roll and Philly’s guard-to-guard screens.
After all, the Sixers aren’t always going to get in their own way with Al Horford parked in the dunker’s spot when Ben Simmons has a clear advantage, right? Assuming the answer to that question is no (which, to be fair, might be a big assumption), then it can’t hurt to have an extra Justin to scram out mismatches and stay attached on the perimeter.
Willingness to sacrifice
Not gonna lie, things get dark fast at the end of Lady and The Tramp when it looks as though Trusty has been seriously injured (or worse!) after putting his body on the line in a scrape with a wagon wheel. However, once he shows up at Lady’s Christmas in the final scene and everything appears all good, his act of bravery goes to show exactly how far he would be willing to go to back-up his teammates in order to come up with a big, potentially game-saving stop.
Moreover, given that Oladipo has made it a practice this season to slide over and absorb contact from hulking centers, perhaps the aging bloodhound will be able to replace some of what the Pacers are losing in what has been the most consistent aspect of their star player’s game since returning to action.
Yep, Trusty is a real one.
All of which is to say that, though he may be getting up there in years and doesn’t boast superhuman strength like Hercules, the dead-eye shooting of Robin Hood, or Maui’s thicc frame, Trusty arguably best reflects the three —admittedly, somewhat corny — tenets of Indiana’s culture: toughness, togetherness, and...wait for it..trust. I mean, c’mon, it’s right there in his name.
Trusty for the win.
Here’s a closer look at how the full draft went down:
- Robin Hood, Brew Hoop
- Jiminy Cricket, The Dream Shake
- Simba, The Bird Writes
- Maui, SLC Dunk
- Beast, Hot Hot Hoops
- Mickey Mouse, Bullets Forever
- Genie, Silver Screen and Roll
- Hercules, Sactown Royalty
- Tarzan, Bright Side of the Sun
- Moana, Nets Daily
- James P. Sullivan, Welcome to Loud City
- Peter Pan, Orlando Pinstriped Post
- EVE, Pounding the Rock
- Alice, Raptors HQ
- Elastigirl, Clips Nation
- Mr. Incredible, Denver Stiffs
- Mufasa, Blazer’s Edge
- Elsa, Grizzly Bear Blues
- Air Bud, Liberty Ballers
- Yen Sid, Celtics Blog
- Kronk, Mavs Moneyball
- Trusty, Indy Cornrows