Ben Zani, Rotowire.com

I've always considered myself a champion of the unrecognized. My favorite knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" was "Sir Not Appearing in This Film." I always check to see who wins the Oscars that are actually handed out before the awards ceremony. My favorite baseball position is the designated pinch runner. I think that George Harrison was, by far, the most talented Beatle.

It is with that spirit that I recognize those that, for whatever reason, will finish this season unpicked and unloved in the Pick One Challenge. We pick nearly 200 players on the year, but sadly, these gallant warriors have not made the cut and, unless some wild strain of bird flu somehow takes out the first and second units of every NBA team over the next two weeks, will not make the cut when the regular season ends. This column, therefore, shall recognize a few of the "Sirs Not Appearing in This Film," but is dedicated to all who spend most of their season sampling various varieties of courtside seating while forever wearing warmup suits:

Brian Scalabrine, Matt Bonner and Robert Swift - I sadly did not pick any of the Ginger Haired Trio this year, though the decision may have also had something to do with the crazy redhead I dated during junior year of high school. That girl was positively nuts, and probably caused me to be somewhat racist against Ginger Kids. Then again, my decision was helped by the fact that Scalabrine suffered more concussions than the entire WWE roster this year, while Swift somehow tried to look like the bassist for every Fall Out Boy cover band. Bonner…well he's actually a Florida Gator, so I actually apologize profusely to this great man.

Hamed Haddadi - While Haddadi does have the honor of being the first 7-2 Iranian I've ever seen, I sadly think I will leave him unselected in this year's Pick One season. Fun fact kids, Haddadi is not the first Iranian to play pro basketball in the U.S. - that honor goes to someone named "Behdad Sami." Thanks Wikipedia! Though I didn't pick him, I completely respect Haddadi's efforts to bridge U.S.-Iran relations through the joy of Memphis Grizzlies games. Now just make sure nobody shows Haddadi's country's President the "I Ran" sketch from Saturday Night Live a few months back.

Bobby Brown - It was just simply not my prerogative. (I've been sitting on that one all year! Tip your waitresses)

Eddy Curry and Jerome James - If this was the Pick "two guys who have free time on their hands and would serve as optimal bodyguards for me when I become a rap star" Challenge, then I'd be all over Curry and James. Or if it was the Pick "NBA stars that you think would win a competitive eating contest" Challenge. But, sadly, the Pick One Challenge relies on things like "on-court production," rendering James and Curry obsolete.

Michael Redd and Al Jefferson - Because I'm an idiot.

Kyrylo Fesenko - If you asked my buddy John, who plays in our weekly pickup game after work on Mondays, who my game most resembles, he'll almost certainly say Kyrylo Fesenko. I'm not sure whether to take this as a compliment or not.

Gentlemen named above, I wish you all nothing but the best in your future endeavors, and you can sleep well knowing that, unlike pretty much everyone else I picked this year, you didn't underperform and make me look stupid in public.

As far as my picks go, I currently sit in the 94th percentile and around 1800th place, but this final death rattle of top-notch selections will hopefully catapult me towards my goal - the top thousand. A boy must have his dreams, a boy must have his dreams.

On with the picks…

Date: Monday, March 30, 2009
Player: Rudy Gay - MEM [SF]
Opposition: @ Golden State
2007-08 Averages: 18.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.7 APG (26.0 PRA)
General Thoughts: This is often the "Best Athlete Available" part of the Pick One season, and I can't think of a better athlete than Gay, who has at least given Grizz fans something to look forward to while meshing well this year with O.J. Mayo. The fact that Gay is playing the Warriors, who tend to give up major PRA to excellent athletes, is all the better.

Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Player: Chris Paul - NOR [PG]
Opposition: @ Sacramento
2007-08 Averages: 22.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 10.9 APG (38.5 PRA)
General Thoughts: And with this pick, I throw down my last major trump card of the season. Paul is third in the league in PRA, and third over his last ten games, with a PRA of 42.8. He's also averaging 27.0 points per game over his last ten, so an increased emphasis in scoring and a matchup against the defensively poor Kings will hopefully lead to my last huge push towards the top thousand in the Pick One standings.

Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Player: Aaron Brooks - HOU [PG]
Opposition: @ Phoenix
2007-08 Averages: 11.3 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 3.0 APG (16.3 PRA)
General Thoughts: Brooks' overall season numbers may not be wildly impressive, but he's certainly upped his game since the Rafer Alston trade, averaging a PRA of 19.9 so far in the month of March. Brooks also scores much better (12.4 points per game) on the road than at home (10.4 ppg). "Moneyball" general manager Daryl Morey seems to have handed the Rockets over to Brooks, so I'll use him now before the season is up.

Date: Thursday, April 2, 2009
Player: Carlos Boozer - UTA [PF]
Opposition: @ Denver
2007-08 Averages: 16.3 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 2.2 APG (29.3 PRA)
General Thoughts: It hasn't exactly been the best of contract years for Boozer. He's found himself injured for most of the season, eclipsed by Paul Millsap while out, and now still finding his game heading into the playoffs. However, Boozer has finally started to get his groove back a little bit recently, with 11.6 rebounds per game over his last five. I'd like to see more scoring out of Boozer (15.6 over his last five), but I'd rather take a guaranteed 15 and 10 (and hopefully more) from Boozer at a time of year where I can use the consistent PRA.

Date: Friday, April 3, 2009
Player: Greg Oden - POR [C] (T-Mobile Rookie)
Opposition: @ Oklahoma City
2007-08 Averages: 8.8 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 0.6 APG (16.5 PRA)
General Thoughts: Quick, before he gets hurt again! Oden's rookie year has not gone according to form, but he's finally healthy and playing now, just in time for the playoffs. Oden has given us a few promising performances in this latest return, including two 21 PRA nights. Those numbers are doubled because Oden is a T-Mobile rookie, so even a subpar performance from Oden will look halfway decent because of the rookie rule.

Date: Saturday, April 4, 2009
Player: Jose Calderon - TOR [PG]
Opposition: @ New York
2007-08 Averages: 12.9 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 8.8 APG (24.6 PRA)
General Thoughts: I'm really not trying to pick only guys playing on the road, I swear. This pick comes mostly on the heels of Calderon's huge performance Sunday, where he put up 22 points and 19 rebounds against the Bulls. The Bulls actually aren't that bad a defensive team, so one could only imagine what he'd do against the defensive sieve that is the New York Knickerbockers. Calderon reportedly is playing through a dislocated finger, but it doesn't seem to be slowing him one bit.

Date: Monday, March 23, 2009
Player: Danny Granger - IND [SF]
Opposition: @ Oklahoma City
2007-08 Averages: 25.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.9 APG (33.1 PRA)
General Thoughts: Granger is back from a foot injury, and playing again like the All-Star he was in the first half of the season. He's topped 28 points in his last three games. He put up a 45 PRA night two weeks ago against Portland. He had an 11-rebound game against the Mavs. Granger, possibly more than any other player, has truly broken out this year to star status, and I don't want to end the Pick One season without using him.


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