I am a river, I am at ease
What somehow didn't come out of yesterday's strident rant is that I just don't find the Spurs or Pistons all that interesting or compelling. They could put up 150 points and still not hold my interest. The numbers may be there in this postseason, but the inspiration still is not there.
(I know that I am a veritable font of typos, but the Old Country flashback there was intentional.)
(Not to be confused with a Big Country flashback.)
-The Spurs are almost flawless. Except for one major error in judgment last night, Duncan always finds the path of least resistance and makes it happen. Really, Tony Parker could not exist as is on any less-disciplined team.
-If you want to start making a list of my favorite players, try looking first at guys whose names sound majestic when intoned by Kevin Harlan. "Stoudemire with the block!" "Tracy McGrady from downtown!" One of the small joys of NBA-watching that I'm only now catching on to. [editor's note: originally this read "when intoned by Jim Gray," which is a funny thought in itself but clearly just the wrong TNT name in my head]
-Duncan may be able to outwit Amare for now, but I honestly believe we're looking at the best power forward ever in embryonic form. If he got a little more consistent on defense and learned to grab a board or two on that end of the floor, he might overnight become the hero of Duncan-haters everywhere—can you imagine Timmy not making an all-NBA first team even once before he retires!?!??!!
-At one point last night, I was so dispirited and broken that I actually enjoyed something Neal Pollack wrote. Granted, it was on the Suns, and was mostly notable for a few choice post-games quotes and the pandering claim (it was on slate.com, no link because they don't need your traffic and frankly, the piece stinks) that the Suns don't just run, they do so with irony and humor. I have returned from that dark place, but that shows you how far I'd fallen by midnight yesterday.
-This draft may suck for teams forced to make selections, but for self-proclaimed pundits it's going to be a field day. I often think of the draft as the ultimate in NBA-geekery, since it's bigger, badder NFL brother certainly is. But there's something so surreal, elegant, and self-contained about that great day in July that I think it's appeal is far broader than the game itself. You've got all matters of politics, economics, and race front and center, international relations, the art-in-itself of scouting that increasingly has less and less to do with actual basketball playing, a cast of characters that would make a magical realist blush, and the goldrush-like insanity of it all. You could make an art house flick called "Draft!" and sell it to the ladies. I swear this!
-That is, after this year's #1 pick this is all true. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Marvin Williams as a player or as a person, and I expect him to be at least as good as Melo. Then you can get down to choosing between the floppy-haired Aussie giant, the goody two-shoes point guard with a dark side, and the token "next T-Mac."
(There are basically two modes of scouting: one where everyone in the draft is going to be a star, and the far more useful, if less titillating, approach in which everyone is probably going to be very good or just okay. The former compares everyone to Garnett, Kobe, T-Mac, and Shaq, the latter more manageable names like Abdur-Rahim, Andre Miller, Brent Barry, and Quentin Richardson. It's also pretty clear that superstars are far less likely to be "types" than borderline stars or outright role players, since "once-in-a-lifetime talent" is by definition singular. You don't want to go looking for a player who fits the template of Kobe or KG, because they'll inevitably come up short and blind you to their true usefulness)
-Brickowski, thank you for your comforting words yesterday. The Suns may have one foot out the door this year, but it looks more and more like they have the stench of prophecy hanging around them.
-On the off chance that Joey Johnson reads this blog, I'm sorry I ever even implicitly questioned your right to sit out. I forgot that you'd basically had your entire face reconstructed.
-I've pretty much stopped reading King Kaufman, but