The NBA is back and it’s filled with all sorts of excitement! You have the coaches, the stars and the “WHO? players.” This is a term created by the BroadcastBoys on TikTok, who have an ongoing series where they discuss irrelevant NBA players — ones that make you say “WHO?” when discussing them. Today, the DC Sports section digs deep to find some of the best such players:
Associate Sports Editor
Not only is Pryzbilla one of the most irrelevant players to play a full 13 seasons, he is also the owner of perhaps the greatest nickname of all time: The “Vanilla Gorilla,” which rhymes with both his first and last names. It quite literally does not get any better than that. The Montenegrin and Minnesota Gophers alum was picked in the top 10 by the Houston Rockets, but was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks on draft night. Pryzbilla averaged a healthy four points and six rebounds during his career, once pulling down 25 boards in a game. One would hope that a top 10 pick would have a more successful career, but he did have longevity and served as a solid backup throughout his tenure. Overall, the Vanilla Gorilla was a disappointment on the court, but at least his nickname hits perfectly up in the nickname Hall of Fame.
In the 2007 NBA Draft, there were plenty of amazing players taken, from current Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant to former Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah. Even the Los Angeles Lakers were able to grab the steal of the draft with Marc Gasol, who was later flipped for his brother Pau. But, with the 59th pick in the draft, the Phoenix Suns selected a man with one of the best names in the entire draft: D.J. Strawberry, a defensive guard who consistently led Maryland in steals and assists per game. While he only played one season for the Suns and eventually entered international play, he is the son of former New York Mets star Darryl Strawberry, and that fact alone makes him a great candidate for this week’s question.
Szczerbiak was the pride of Miami (Ohio) University. He was the sixth overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft and then went on to make the All-Rookie First Team. Two seasons later he would make his first and only NBA All-Star game with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He set the Timberwolves franchise record for points in a game with 44 in a 2003 regular season game, which has since been broken numerous times. Szczerbiak averaged a nice 14.1 PPG over an interesting 10-year career where he played for Minnesota, Boston, Seattle, and then finished in Cleveland. This is the guy for when you’re doing trivia night in Boston and they ask who the Celtics gave up for Ray Allen.
This is focused on a sport that I do not follow that often, so I decided to go with a Syracuse University alum because everyone who roots for the UConn Huskies hates them. The Orange have had several big names in the professional leagues, from Carmelo Anthony to Dave Bing, but the most WHO? player they have had is Leo Rautins’ son, Andy. While the elder Rautins was selected 17th overall in the 1983 draft and averaged 1.5 PPG in 32 games, the younger Rautins got selected in the second round of the 2010 draft and played in just five games in his NBA career. During his time with the New York Knicks, Rautins scored eight points, committed seven turnovers and shot 3-for-7 from the field. The most famous thing that he did during his professional career was get traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Tyson Chandler. Being involved in a short-term-impact acquisition is a great example of a player existing and playing at least 60 entire seconds on an NBA court.