With every draft pick comes a gamble. In the 2010 NBA Draft, Geoff Petrie and the Sacramento Kings took one of the bigger gambles the franchise has ever taken when drafting DeMarcus Cousins; the talented but complex rookie out of Kentucky. Without the character issues of Cousins, there is no way he would have been available at #5. Without character issues, Cousins would not be a King. We Kings fans have pinned our hopes and dreams on a 6'-11", 290 lbs. 19 year old with more red flags than a ref with mob ties and a gambling problem. Cousins is not a criminal and Cousins is certainly not the first player to come to the NBA with issues. I believe that the as much as a player is responsible for developing, the team that takes that player is just as responsible for providing the support system for each player to succeed. Some player need more support than others. Not everybody has a blue print or a team of adult brothers to watch their back. Some people need a Jack Haley.
When I was a kid, there were no Sacramento Kings. I was a Laker fan and my favorite player was Magic Johnson. As I watched more players play and began collecting basketball cards, a young power forward for the Detroit Pistons caught my eye and I was hooked. I remember watching Rodman block a shot where his elbow was so far over the rim, he had to lean his head to the side so he didn't smack it on the iron. He wasn't yet the tattooed freak that dated Madonna and dyed his hair new assortments of colors every week. He was a defender and rebounder extraordinaire- something to behold. Somewhere along the way, Dennis Rodman let the crazy out, and once out, there was no putting it back in its cage. Something had to give. Someone had to slow the insanity. Enter stage left- Jack Haley, the designated Rodman tamer.
Jack Haley is the type of player that would have been forgotten if not for his relationship with D-Rodman. Beginning in the 1993-94 season, Haley and Rodman became teammates for the San Antonio Spurs. I'm not sure there could be two more different men. Rodman, a wiry African American, tattooed, pierced and dyed from head to toe and Haley, a 6'-10" white banger who had the look of a church deacon. They met, they fell in love, Rodman needed a babysitter and Haley needed a roster spot. It was a marriage made in heaven.
I've almost become the liaison between the team and Dennis," Haley said. "I interpret both worlds."
So, when Hill got Haley in his clutches, he pointed Haley toward a drawing board. The coach then scrawled a huge circle.
"This is us," Hill told Haley. "This is our team."
The coach then drew two smaller spheres outside the circle.
"These," the coach said to Haley, "are two moons off to the side that circle around our team. These are you and Dennis."
"So, what are you saying, coach?" Haley said.
"I'm saying I want you in our galaxy, at least," Hill said.
Jack Haley tried countless times to dispel the image that he was nothing but Rodman's babysitter:
"That's the kind of stuff that irks you. I want to be known for who I am, what I do. I'm a professional basketball player. I've been in the NBA eight years. I've played at UCLA UCLA University of California at Los Angeles
UCLA University Center for Learning Assistance (Illinois State University)
UCLA University of Carrollton, TX and Lower Addison, TX . You like to be given some credit."
"To me, it's an insult," he said. "People think I take care of Dennis, I carry his bags. You can see in the games, Dennis is in total control out there."
For his career, Jack Haley averaged an impressive 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds over 9 seasons. He spent two years in San Antonio as Rodman's keeper and another doing the same job for the Chicago Bulls during the 1995-96 Championship season, playing a total of 218 minutes over the three year stretch. Jack Haley was irrelevant and if you were not a basketball fan in the 90's, you should have no reason to know who he is or was. Jack Haley is known for one thing- keeping one of the greatest rebounders in basketball history in line, as much as anyone could. So why is Jack Haley relevant to our Sacramento Kings?
I guess this is part that I get to the point. For those of you who are starting to believe that our beloved Brockness Monster just got handed the short end of the stick, I want to give a ray of hope. With the trade for Dalembert, the drafting of Cousins and Whiteside and the already signed Thompson and Landry clogging the roster, is there room for Jon Brockman? The answer is yes, Jon Brockman is the perfect player to complement this Kings roster.
Now, I don't want to insult Jon or what he brings as a player but lets be honest here- Brockman just became the fifth or sixth best big man on the Kings roster. Brockman brings a talent that last year would have been a commodity- he can rebound. This season, the Kings will bring the beef with amazing defensive rebounders like Dalembert, Thompson and Cousins. I can't believe I'm saying this but who cares anymore that Carl Landry is a poor rebounder, that fact is now completely irrelevant. So if you have a guy who the fans love but he really only performs limited and duplicate tasks, how does he fit in?
The answer is...Jon Brockman, at age 23 becomes the mentor, body guard and confidant of a 19 year old DeMarcus Cousins. We all know, even without having a personal relationship with the guy, that Jon Brockman is good people. He is the type of guy you want sitting on the end of the bench because he doesn't complain or make noise when he doesn't get minutes. Brockman cheers on his teammates and when he gets his shot, he destroys people with heart and energy. Is Brockman ever going to be a starter in the NBA? No, but he can perform a valuable service to both his team and himself by sticking on this team for the next few years as a character guy.
So in closing, I want Jon Brockman to be DeMarcus Cousins' Jack Haley. Before the train can get off the tracks, before the piercing and the Christina Aguilera affair, I want Jon Brockman to make DeMarcus Cousins into a better man. Jon Brockman has the opportunity to create a place for himself in the NBA, even if that place is as a big brother to a young man who needs him desperately. Is that too much to ask?
Save me Jon Brockman, you're my only hope.