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SnellWatch: The Promise Of A New World

Our cool guys.
Photo: Getty Images. Collage by me.

Welcome to SnellWatch, formerly PokuWatch, formerly BaynesWatch, a special Defector segment dedicated to the NBA’s most baffling ongoing statistical mystery.

And so it has come to this: Our vigilant watch over the sourest, most irradiated wastelands of Basketball Reference has come to its natural conclusion. Is this the end? Who knows. The only true thing I can promise you is that over the weekend, Tony Snell joined the semi-hallowed ranks of fellow free-throw takers such as Aron Baynes and Aleksej Pokusevski when he finally, finally reached the charity stripe on Saturday. Snell logged four hundred and seventy-one minutes of NBA basketball this season before taking his first free throw. To put that in perspective, that is enough time to watch 2017 Best Picture nominee Lady Bird 4.95 times, which means that you will miss the ending the fifth time around, although you probably would have remembered it from the first four and so it doesn’t really matter. It’s just a way of showing how long a period of time we’re talking about, which is “notably long.”

Why do I bring up Greta Gerwig’s feature film? Because the naughty Sacramento Kings, a true abomination of a basketball team, helped Snell to break his historic (in our eyes) streak. De’Aaron Fox sent Snell to the line in the fourth quarter of an eventual Hawks win, and even though Luke Walton filed a formal challenge against the call, nothing could stop fate. Snell hit both free throws, bringing him to an even 100 percent from the line on the year. It does not seem coincidental that the Hawks are playing their best basketball of the season over the same stretch in which Snell made it to the line. Here is cell phone video of this guy’s TV showing the foul but not the free throws, for some reason.

Fittingly, Snell broke his league-historic streak of free throw-free basketball on the same night that Aleksej Pokusevski, the former star of PokuWatch, had a career night. His 23 points and 10 rebounds were nice, but the true heads will be even more delighted that he shot and made four free throws. If this does not fill your mind with the possibility of a better tomorrow, I do not know what could.

This concludes SnellWatch, formerly PokuWatch, formerly BaynesWatch. For now, anyway.