Let's Check in With Smush Parker, Shall We?

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August is a pretty rough time for those of us who cover TEH HOOPS. Free agency's over, and training camps are a couple months away. The FIBA tournament doesn't start for another few weeks. To fill column inches and pixel quotas, you've got to lower your standards and scrape the gutter for stories you'd be embarrassed to publish any other time of year.

In unrelated news, anyone want to know what Smush Parker is up to these days? OHAI, Joseph Staszewski of the New York Post!

In yesterday's edition of the paper, Mr. Staszewski wrote an article with the actual headline, "Ex-Fordham Star Parker Looks to Revive NBA Career." No, seriously. Those are words that the Post printed and delivered to newsstands and subscribers. It's one of those articles of which you wouldn't have to alter a single word if you wanted to run it in the Onion.

Smush, in case you're wondering, which obviously you're not because who cares, has been playing in China, for the Guangdong (heh heh, "dong") Southern Tigers. You're not going to believe this, but it turns out the Chinese Basketball League is not the height of aspiration for an American-born basketball player. Nope. La Smush wants back in the NBA.

Share with us your unrealistic ambitions, Smush:

Parker would be OK with playing overseas again, but really wants another crack at the NBA.

"It's about playing at the top level of basketball that there is," Parker said.... "I feel like I can play at that level and I've proven myself. It's just about trying to get back."

Yeah, I don't think that's happening. During his time with the Lakers, Smush had moments of not being entirely awful. But starting in 2006, he pretty conclusively demonstrated that he's not an NBA-caliber guard, and his career cratered in 2007-08 when he blasted out a PER of 7.0 in 28 games with the Heat and Clippers. He's now 29 years old, which isn't an age at which guards are known to improve, let alone achieve the enormous jump in productivity that Smush would need to get back in the league.

I'm curious to know, however, what a one-time Fairfield player I've never heard of has to say about this. Can you please address the issue, Mr. Staszewski?

At Pro City, a streetball league he plays in religiously each summer, Parker looked like a polished pro. He slipped by defenders to the basket, finished 3-point plays and connected from behind the arc. He collected steals and set up teammates. The league is a way for him to stay in shape and compete against top competition."He is phenomenal," former Fairfield star Darren Phillip said. "That’s an NBA basketball player."

Note to self: do not give scouting job to former Fairfield star Darren Phillip.

Look, I don't want to be the guy to crush someone's dreams. If Smush can hustle a tryout and a 10-day contract with an NBA team somewhere, God bless him. As long as it's not the Boston Celtics. That would be a heinous act of betrayal on the part of a Laker legend and would ensure that Smush's jersey is never retired at Staples Center.

Follow Dex on Twitter here.

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