4.17.2005

Unleash the later months

Call me greedy before my time, call me ahead of the curve, maybe I only want what isn't even ready to happen yet. But as the rest of the world gears up for what should the most entertaining post-season in years, I'm already clamoring for the off-season. We're looking at an unprecedented amount of talent, chemistry and personality coming out of the East, and a wide-open West that will hopefully clarify whatever's been going on out there since October.

I could be already gearing up for the draft, which I think will be one of the most interesting in years. Almost every draft yields some star power; this year, with no sureshots and no hype buzzing so loud, we'll get to see/conduct some real scouting. Any slot in the lottery could conceivably nab you a key player, since there's such an even distribution of talent and so much disagreement over who goes where. With things that way, the Lakers, Magic, Warriors, and Knicks could easily land the starter that puts them back over the playoff hump, instead of talent being wasted on perpetually rebuilding teams who should probably trade picks for vets.

But with the Wolves officially out of the playoffs this season and the Cavs seemingly doomed to give way to the surging Sixers, we all know what the real story of the next seven months will be: how do you give a King his court? LeBron and KG are absolutely ideal franchise players; maybe, just maybe, you'd put low-post monsters Shaq and Duncan above them, but the latter are people you build teams around, not through. No one should be easier to make a franchise out of than James and Garnett, who do just about everything without stepping on toes, dominate by infecting everyone with their superlative know-how.

Both are getting new coaches, new supporting casts, and possibly new 1-A running mates. This is a GM's dream come true, for the simple fact that you're starting with the league's two most ridiculously protean pieces. On the other hand, there's no good reason to fail, since LeBron and KG basically exist to be at the heart of winning teams. And, with both organizations in less than ideal financial situations, this new-found license to tear it all down might be too little, too late.

Get LeBron Allen or Redd and a veteran point and you've got an Eastern powerhouse. If the Wolves can find a way to dump Cassell and Spree, get value for Wally, and put together a highly-organized system that could admit it begins and ends with Garnett (think Spurs, but blacker), they're back in business. Most of all, they need coaches worthy of their greatness, so the two can at least feel like things are taken care of on that side of things.

The Wolves were supposed to win the West this year and LeBron has been the league's best player. Anyone who's not over-eager to see how their futures shake out is missing out on history in the making. Fuck a Pistons repeat, Shaq back on top, or the Spurs continued excellence; unless the meteoric Suns hold up in the playoffs, the league's future has to at least wait until next October.