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Super Smash Wolves

This season’s roster is chalk full of unique characters and personalities. Just like your favorite Super Smash Bros. icons, you have your heroes and anti-heroes. Who embodies who?

Prior to the start of the 2015-2016 NBA season, Canis Hoopus commenter Radoslav N. wrote a ground-breaking piece titled “Which Timberwolf best embodies each member of the Wu-Tang Clan?” It was an ingenious idea that perfectly blended Timberwolves culture with hip-hop culture, informing our community about one of the the greatest rap group of all-time while dropping sizzling Shabazz Muhammad and Damjan Rudež comps.

I highly encourage you to give it a read if you didn’t eight years ago.

Today, we’re putting a twist on it. Wu-Tang is forever, but so is Super Smash Bros. That’s right. The Nintendo franchise that dates back to 1999 with a community that is still very much alive and kicking. The competitive scene still features legendary players from decades ago, to exciting new young talent. Each player not only has unique talents on the sticks, but unique personalities that has garnered huge respective fanbases.

So who are the Timberwolves and who do they main?

Joe Amati/NBAE via Getty Images; Domiziana “seya” Suprani

Anthony Edwards — Mang0

Main: Spacie / Multi-main

He’s Captain American. The Kid. The GOAT. No comp is easier than the naturally gifted prodigy that is Mang0, to Anthony Edwards. Only once in a generation do we get a player as talented as Mang0/Ant. It’s fairly common to hear early rumblings of a potential GOAT, but it’s another to fulfill that destiny despite constant naysayers doubting the “want” or “care” factor. Not only does young Ant have the elite on-the-court abilities as Mang0 does on the CRTs, but he also has the natural charisma, magnetic personality, and hilariously candid aura that garners the largest fan base. Imagine Ant streaming Call of Duty on Twitch. Ant Nation would take over the world.

Ant maining a spacie seems fairly on point. Is he more of a Fox main who overwhelms his opponents with explosive speed and top tier button options? Or is he more of a Falco main who deletes victims with dangerous combos and an ability to snipe from afar? I’d bet money that Ant would be a dual main, if not more. Some say he picks his main depending on how he feels on that given day. — LS

David Berding/Getty Images; Gail Fisher

Karl-Anthony Towns — Hungrybox

Main: Ganondorf

No player is more irrationally hated on than Hungrybox. Through tons of hard work, grinding to earn respect from the community, and over-the-top pop-offs, the direct correlation to Karl-Anthony Towns is obvious. Though KAT is still working his way through his journey, it took a while for Hbox to be more generally respected among both fans and his peers as well. Both have been continuously meme’d and ridiculed throughout their years, but have continued to push forward and be their most genuine selves the whole way. Even during the 2019 incident where Hbox had a literal crab thrown at him after a big victory, his reaction felt like something we would see from KAT. When Towns thanked the crowd after being eliminated in the 2022 playoffs, his reaction felt like something we would see from Hbox. Even when he’s the victim (ex: Butler breakup), people try to dunk on him. Both Smasher and baller have roots from Latin countries and possess a big-time clutch gene.

Now the comp isn’t completely seamless, as KAT’s playstyle is quite inverse to Hbox’s uberly defensive Jigglypuff. A glass cannon like Captain Falcon seems more fitting for him, but even that seems too fast for a more meticulous mover like Towns. Take Falcon, turn down the speed dial, and you have yourselves a Ganondorf main. A devastating character who possesses a touch of death, but just can’t seem to stay away from getting punished (offensive fouls). — LS

(Although KAT doesn’t show up in this University of Kentucky feature, it occurred during his lone year there. He does talk about how he played N64 during college and his affinity for Smash Bros. in this other video)

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports; Carlton Beener

Rudy Gobert — Leffen

Main: Donkey Kong

Big Leff. Big Rudy. The God Slayer. The Dunk Slayer. They’re the European anti-heroes that many love to root against. Leffen is one of the most decorated players in the fighting game community, let alone Smash. Though his personality is a bit more aggressive and in-your-face than Rudy Gobert’s, they’re both certainly guys that many fans and peers have beef with. Leffen fires off venomous, spiteful tweets like Rudy touches microphones/recording devices. Did Ant/KAT have their qualms about Rudy in the past? Maybe. Hate them or not, the talent is undeniable. Rudy has imposed his will to become a fixture of the NBA scene and when it’s all said and done, he’ll have done it while stifling your favorite player’s highlights along the way. Like Leff, he’ll go down as one of the best to ever do it (on the defensive end).

So who does the large, lumbering Gobert main? As Kevin Durant once in the 2022 NBA All-star draft, “I’ma need some size fasho.” There aren’t too many playable “large” characters in the competitive scene, but I can definitely see Rudy maining Donkey Kong and getting booed as he spams infinite cargo throws. Critics will say it takes no talent to play DK, but others will say competing at such a high level with a limited array of moves is what makes them so special. — LS

Scott Wachter; Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Jaden McDaniels — Wizzrobe

Main: Yoshi

You see the goggles and think Slow Mo. You see the gameplay and the popoffs and think that there’s no comparison made to the calm, emotionless presentation of Jaden McDaniels. However, there’s one major similarity between the successes of Seatbelt and Wizzrobe: they’re oppressive in their playstyle.

Wizzy’s N64 Yoshi patrols and controls space like Jaden navigates screens. Jaden punishes loose ball handlers like Wizzy does failed approaches. Most importantly, Jaden has grown to be an all-arounder, good in every aspect of the game. He’s one of the few players to be truly terrifying on the perimeter and in the paint, and his offense has taken leaps in terms of real creation. Wizzrobe has been a top-15 player in every Smash game. It’s this consistency and overall shutdown mentality that leads us to highlight after highlight, whether it’s in bracket or on baskets. — TLW

Michael Reaves/Getty Images; Echo Fox

Kyle Anderson — Mew2King

Main: Peach

Speaking of goggles.

The slow, methodical genius with a mastery of the technical game. He processes the game like a robot. The hipster fan’s GOAT. Kyle Anderson is the Mew2King of the Timberwolves. M2K, at his prime, was known for striking fear into the hearts of his opponents with a complex flowchart that was second to none. Slow Mo is known for being struck in the heart by his teammate a similar style of play on the court, always playing at his steady, cerebral pace. Though Slow Mo is far from the awkward presence that M2K is socially, his playstyle certainly adopts that wonky aura. Every time a defender tries to swat a seemingly easy shot attempt, they find themselves in checkmate, giving up an and-one. You’ve already been downloaded.

Slow Mo’s measured style of play is reminiscent of a Peach main. He lobs turnips like he does alley-oops and gracefully glides through the paint like Peach does in the air. Just when you think you’re defending the lob, Anderson will pull out a Bob-omb or stitch-face turnip and detonate two points in his opponent’s face. — LS

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Mike Conley Jr. — Isai

Main: Mario

Who’s the resident “old guy” of the community that we all love to see pop up? The wholesome head who graces us with his presence, just to remind everyone that he can still get his? The sage Mike Conley Jr. matches up perfectly with the living legend, Isai. They’re fixtures of the NBA/Smash community who have happily volunteered to guide and coach the next generation of players. Though individually talented, they’ve always much preferred a team environment where their selflessness shines. The viral Isai motto of, “Don’t get hit,” could also be a mantra for how Conley has enjoyed a career of over 1,000 games played, being one of just 13 active players to achieve that feat.

You say Minnesota Mike? I say Mario Mike. Mario is a solid, well-rounded character who has been a part of the Smash Bros. cast since the beginning. Always a solid mid-tier in the competitive scene, he’s perfect for a guy like Conley who would probably never switch to a top tier just for results. — LS

(Editor’s anecdote: Leo once coordinated a 3-on-3 basketball tournament after a Smash 64 major. Isai signed up to play and he was surprisingly a top 5 player on the court. He claimed that all of his basketball knowledge was from a basketball class he once took in high school or college. Isai’s got a jumper)

Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images; Kishoto

Naz Reid — Zain

Main: Marth

What’s Zain spelled backwards? Niaz? That looks awfully close to...

Naz Reid not only shares a similar name to the number one ranked Melee player in the world, but a similar journey and punishing playstyle as well. Zain is perhaps one of the most successful players of the “Doc Kids” generation and trained incredibly hard to earn his title as the top dog. Naz, who arrived by the way of the “Jelly Fam,” went undrafted in 2019 before he worked his way up to become one of the top bench players in the league. Before either player knew it, teams came rushing to them with big contract offers.

On the sticks, Zain’s Marth dominates foes with an unforgiving punish game that few can mirror. He controls space and is never rushed. That certainly sounds like Big Jelly when he breaks down big defenders off the dribble or tramples smaller defenders in the paint. — LS

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Nickeil Alexander-Walker — Cody Schwab (iBDW)

Main: Fox

Sure, it’s cool for a player to go by an acronym with two letters. KG. MJ. KD. But what’s even cooler than that? Those that go by three or more.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker. NAW.

Cody Schwab. iBDW.

The latter dropped his “iBDW” moniker earlier this year, citing that the callback to his original gamer tag of “iBDoiNWorK” wasn’t something he wanted anymore. Regardless of the tag change, Cody has still been doing work, topping in as the current number two ranked player in competitive Melee. He’s now solidified himself in the elite tier of Smashers, but it wasn’t that long ago that he was going through a sort of “identity crisis” as illustrated in the Smash Summit 11 skit below. How can fans connect or relate to him?

Cody’s battle to find a “brand” has been similar to NAW’s journey to find a place in the league. He’s always had the potential to be an effective NBA player, but he was seemingly lost in the jumble of “the NBA business,” donning three different NBA uniforms in just two years and technically having been traded five times. Hopefully the Minnesota Timberwolves will be NAW’s final “Cody Schwab” switch.

NAW flies around the court like Cody’s Fox does on the screen. Nickeil playing Fox as his main seems appropriate. A dynamic, speedy character that opponents hate playing against. — LS

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Jordan McLaughlin — Axe

Main: Pikachu

If you ask 20 Smashers who the nicest guy in the community is, at least 19 of them would say Axe. The always smiling, pizza connoisseur is a big-time crowd favorite who steadily improved on his game since being a fixture of the competitive scene in 2013, all without compromising his choice of maining a mid-tier character. His hard work finally paid off, as he fought his way into a top five ranking after finally winning his first super major in 2019. Axe’s friendly, never-give-up spirit, is embodied by our favorite (maybe second favorite) undrafted Timberwolf, Jordan McLaughlin. JMac went undrafted in 2018 before earning his stripes in the G-League. Some recent injury woes has put a pause on an otherwise impressive career as one of the best backup point guards in the league. When healthy, his physical shortcomings have never stopped him from burning past defenders with speed and smarts, just like Axe. Both competitors also attended Pac-12 colleges (Arizona & UCLA).

Watching Axe’s Pikachu run literal circles around opponents really does look like JMac slaloming through defenders in transition. An elite pace pusher like McLaughlin would certainly select Pikachu as his weapon of choice. It’s a character that maximizes his intellect and processing speed. The blistering move he put on Bam Adebayo for a game-winning layup made him look like Axe’s Pikachu four-stocking Silent Wolf in under a minute. — LS

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images; Matt Demers

Josh Minott — S2J

Main: Captain Falcon

The now legendary lawnmower quote from Josh Minott encapsulates his playstyle. Frenetic. Energetic. High-octane. There’s not many more aggro Smashers than S2J. The fan favorite Falcon main is always humming at an 11, soaring off the screen for suboptimal flying knee KOs, all in the name of styling for a stock. Don’t get it twisted, S2J isn’t all flash, as he has plenty of substance (and results) as well. Johnny, I mean Josh, is often an overlooked player who the crowd always tunes in to see. To further illustrate the comp: If Jaden’s long-limbed, calculated defense is to Wizzrobe’s calm and collected style, then Minott’s long-limbed, high-flying offensive talent is to S2J’s wild style.

Let’s not complicate things here. “Why Not, Minott” absolutely mains Captain Falcon. He teeters between brilliance and self-destruction in a way that only Falcon can. Minott’s Falcon, like S2J, is going to be chaos, for better or worse. — LS

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images; Mr.Pickle via YouTube

Leonard Miller — Borp

Main: Luigi

Non-Smashers hear the name “Borp” and think someone just had an obsession with strange onomatopoeia. Smashers, on the other hand, hear the name “Borp” and think of only one thing: Unconventionality. It’s fitting then, to compare him to a player who has taking an unconventional path to the NBA through the G-League with an unconventional playstyle as an off-ball point forward with an unexplainable and, yes, unconventional shot motion. Borp is Leonard Miller.

The glory of Borp is his ability to play at a high level without using any real high-level techniques. Leonard Miller is certainly not without skill, but his ability to do things weirdly and still play at the highest level of competition is what really makes this comparison.

And if we’re talking about weird, especially in the movement category, it’s absolutely fitting for Miller to main Luigi, who slides around the stage like a player failing to set their feet in time to draw a charge. — TLW

Rick Bowmer/AP; Mogul Moves

Luka Garza — aMSa

Main: Captain Falcon

These two players who represent the international scene often hear their names being chanted in large arenas. aMSa, hailing from Japan, plays one of the most unorthodox characters in the game. Luka Garza, who represents Bosnia and Herzegovina in international play despite being born in Washington DC, is one of the more unorthodox players on the team. It took aMSa a long time before he finally earned his first super major victory in 2022, upsetting Mango in “the most stacked tournament of all-time” to become the first Japanese player to win a major tournament since 2004. Luka’s journey is just beginning, but that won’t keep him from grinding his way into a rotation role like aMSa did. Until then, it won’t stop his mass of fans from cheering him on because he’s Luka Garza. He plays to win.

Luka is a bit of a glass cannon on the court, providing all the offensive skills you could ask for, while leaving much to be desired defensively. Though he might feel a bit too heavy-footed to play Falcon, his shredded new physique says otherwise. As they say: You are who you main. — LS

Which comps did you feel were most crispy? Which ones were whiff(-punishes)? Are there any other Smash Bros. community members out there in the Canis-verse? Let us know in the comments below. I would love to get some Smash R&D going here!