(Editor's Note: Absolutely fantastic rookie effort from ny knickerbocker. Enjoy. Anthony Mason's Haircut may or may not be up next with an ode to Rick Brunson)
[Note by ny knickerbocker, 08/22/08 11:39 PM PDT ]
SCRUBDOWN #3: QYNTEL WOODS
(Caution: Qyntel Qinside)
This post is all about Qyntel Woods, arguably the most thrilling player on this Scrubdown list. And we will discuss him eventually. But first, let's consider a normal game of Scrabble. As most people realize, in Scrabble, the letter Q always manages to drive its holder crazy, because it is only playable if the player also has the letter U. However, a few particularly enlightened (read: obnoxious) Scrabble aficionados may know that there are a few playable words featuring Q, but not U. Among these words are qat and faqir. If one were playing Scrubble instead of Scrabble, in which the only words that can be played are the names of NBA scrubs, then Qyntel Woods would be the equivalent of qat and faqir. Obscure, weird, awesome in their uniqueness...Qyntel is truly the perfect name for the #3 player on our Scrubdown list. Now for the actual player behind the name.
Qyntel was a qat with mad skillz. Or at least, that's what everyone assumed when he was chosen by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 21st pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. Woods languished in Portland for a while, but he soon realized that, like a Q-letter in Portland's hands during a game of Scrabble, he didn't likely fit into their plans. So Qyntel got angry...then Qyntel got even. He decided to make his own "U," which he determined stood for underground...dog fights. He was charged with holding illegal dog fights in his home after this inside investigator turned in the dirt on him. He wasn't done there, though; soon after the dog fighting charges Qyntel was arrested for marijuana possession while driving his car; police later stated that as his form of identification Qyntel gave the officers his NBA rookie card. Seriously. No wonder this guy had protesters. During this time, Woods lost everything but Zach Randolph's respect; Qyntel's two pit bulls, Hollywood and Sugar (which sounds like a seedy, whore-filled intersection near where Stephon's been training), were confiscated and then released to new homes...much like their owner, who was released by the Blazers and rode some serious pine for the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics in 2005. One might say that Qyntel Woods was at a crossroads. But it is at this point that a savior emerges, one who was to be considered a savior for both Woods and the franchise that had newly minted him as their coach. Enter the one man who deemed him relevant - Larry Brown.
Qyntel blew right past Scalabrine and into the hearts of Knicks fans.
Qyntel was released by the Celtics before the start of the 2005-06 season, and Brown, realizing that his current roster wasn't exactly what he wanted (read: his NEXT roster), immediately saw the opportunity to sign a player that he could psychologically beat down and then force to play his own way (Oh, cruel twist of dog-fight-training fate, Qyntel!). One of the biggest mysteries of the 2005-06 Knicks season was how this unlikely partnership could have come to pass; perhaps Larry and Shelly watched this movie one too many times before falling to sleep. Who knows. Whatever the case, Qyntel proved to be exactly what Brown wanted and actually started Opening Night. As a Knick, Qyntel started 16 games and played in 49, averaging career bests in minutes (20.7), points (6.7), rebounds (3.9), and every other major category except turnovers, including assists, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, 3-pt percentage, steals, and blocks. Then, just like that, he was gone, off to play in Greece or some shit, pulling a Childress before it was even called pulling a Childress. Which it really isn't even called now, just sayin'.
So why is Qyntel here, then, you ask? What makes him a worthy inclusion on this elite list of scrubs? Well, like any great scrub, it isn't really about what Qyntel did on the court ('cause he really didn't get that much burn, 20.7 minutes in 49 games), but what we imagined him to be like as a person off of it. After all, what kind of man could stage dog-fights in his own home and manage to ingratiate himself to a strict taskmaster like Larry Brown in no time at all? Actually, dumb question. But Qyntel was certainly full of quirks. Or Qirks, if you will. It's hard to forget his 360 in-game dunk that didn't go down, or Walt's constant confusion over how to pronounce his name, or the fact that he currently has a facebook page. (By the way, the best comment on his Facebook message board has to come from Panos Siozos, who marvels, "you are a god...continue to smoke...it's nice bro.") So at least now you know where Qyntel is now; getting offers from Greek kids on facebook to share a joint with them. Given the lack of anything resembling a starting small forward on the Knicks' roster since Sprewell left, Knicks fans were often caught with high hopes for Qyntel and the 2005-06 Knicks in general. Both ended up letting Knicks fans down, but not without high levels of entertainment value. So ultimately, Qyntel embodies everything that one could love or hate about the 2005-2006 Knicks - high levels of hype coming in, ridiculous bumps along the way, all ending in a brilliantly disastrous crash. His strange alliance with Larry Brown only makes the connection to that season stronger. And if Qyntel had fully succeeded that season, maybe the Knicks would have been able to post a few more W's and come together as a team; it's a lot to ask, but who knows? Both long-term and short-term, though, it was hard to see how Qyntel fit into the Knicks' game plan. So ultimately, maybe the missing piece for the 2005-06 season wasn't a legitimate perimeter slasher/defender, but this?