The Royals are 20-games under .500. They’re the worst team in baseball. That’s the reality, so that’s what we have to write about here at Royals Review. And that’s no fun. But baseball is supposed to be fun, and as frustrating as this season has been, the Royals had a bit of fun on the plane ride to San Francisco.
As announced by Whit Merrifield, Kansas City went with an NBA-themed trip to the west coast, with veterans choosing the uniforms of the younger guys.
Themed flight tomorrow. We’re doing NBA player comps. The older guys got to pick their jerseys (with group influence). Younger guys, didn’t get that luxury. We spent many nights deliberating on the best comps for guys. It’s been great fun. Here’s some of my favorites:— Whit Merrifield (@WhitMerrifield) June 12, 2022
Let me start by saying that it’s good for the Royals to have fun. Stay out of the comments with your “why don’t you focus more on winning” takes. Players don’t build teams. They don’t choose who drafts them or trades for them. By all accounts, this team is playing hard and is just not very good. When that happens, it’s hard to blame the roster itself for not being better than it actually is.
With that said, I think we deserve some fun too. So we interrupt your usual apocalyptic Royals coverage with a ranking of the best NBA comps on the Royals roster, with some help from Merrifield’s Twitter account.
Here’s the group photo for reference. I have circled each of the five comps on this list and you can use it as a reference point as we explore this important question.
1. MJ Melendez as Trae Young
My freshman ball coach told me something that has stuck with me until today: Look good, feel good, play good. If there is a single player who embodies that mantra on this team, it’s MJ Melendez. He’s easily got the best aesthetic on the team with the gear he wears and his beautiful swing.
So it’s not surprising that MJ looked the part when he was asked to play the role of Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks.
Now, based on my understanding, Merrifield and the other vets spent lots of time developing these comps, so I would assume they tried to find NBA players who look like or give off a similar vibe to the Royal representing them. So based on that and Trae Young’s reputation, it would appear that this comp wasn’t supposed to be flattering.
But Melendez took what was meant for evil and turned it for good. Not to mention that MJ’s size and athleticism easily translates to the basketball court. I have no idea if he’s a hooper, but based on aesthetics alone, if Trae Young ever gets a movie, he can only pray that MJ will play him.
2. Brady Singer as Larry Bird
Other guys were more adventurous than Brady, some more creative, and without a doubt, he had flashier teammates. Just about every teammate, in fact. He looks somewhat like a fish out of water in that uniform compared to his teammates, which is why he ranks so highly on this list. Brady comes in at #2 for one reason and one reason alone:
I have never seen Brady Singer and Larry Bird in the same room so I can’t definitively rule out that Brady Singer is not actually Larry Bird.
Pound for pound, this was the most accurate comp on the flight and I think the footage speaks for itself.
3. Josh Staumont as Bill Walton
Staumont’s jersey number is partially covered, so it’s hard to tell who he is representing. But based on the first digit (3) and some digging that I did, combined with his look, I believe he is representing 1976-77 Bill Walton.
You have no idea how difficult the battle was between Brady and Josh, especially after I resolved that Josh was representing Walton. Everything from the pose, to the headband, to Josh’s mystic hair, to his short shorts and what I believe to be kneepads, perfectly personifies Big Red, Grateful Red, the Red Baron, or however you remember Walton.
He gets bonus points for being the only guy in the photo without a smile on his face. He’s a serious hooper. This isn’t a game to him, it’s a business trip.
4. Whit Merrifield as John Stockton
Whit organized this whole thing, so before you get onto me for nepotism, let me just inform you that I have had no communication with Whit about this piece. My research, sources, and due diligence are impeccable and I implore you to prove otherwise.
I believe that Whit is representing John Stockton, and it’s hard to not see it as one of the more accurate comps. Like Stockton, Whit was an unheralded prospect who dramatically outperformed expectations. Both players’ intelligence and understanding of their respective games helped them overcome the lack of tremendous physical tools. Whit’s a selfless team player and his bat control is reminiscent of Stockton’s pinpoint passing accuracy.
Whit’s defensive posture gives him bonus points as well. He’s the only player that is, at the very moment of this photo, ready to lock you up. He could be higher on this list, but we would need to see how he and Jose Quas, who plays Karl Malone in this photo, work in the pick and roll to give him that bump up to #3.
5. Daniel Mengden as Chris Mullin
Good for Daniel, making this list before having even pitched a single inning for the Royals. Mengden was recently promoted to Kansas City with Joel Payamps being placed on the COVID-19 injured list and could soon make his first MLB appearance in two years.
But before that, he finds himself on this important list, for three primary reasons. First, the hair. As far as accuracy goes, this comp isn’t the best. Mengden’s Woody-from-Toy-Story look is a far cry from Chris Mullin’s iconic flattop, but I’m going to ignore that because it looks great for our purposes. The integrity of this list is still not in question, though.
Second, the mustache. Again, not the most accurate comp. But it gets bonus points because it feels like something he can pull off in an Indiana jersey.
Lastly, the boots. Before I get into it, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the tan line revealed by his shorts. Tan line or not, his boots are a bold choice. Now, boots aren’t the best sneaker. But he’s doing something that no NBA player has ever had the courage to do, and that is worth noting.
This is the definitive ranking of Royals as NBA players. There is no other. The reporting and research here has been poured over for more than one hour. With that said, we want to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Which Royals was the best NBA comp?
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