When they dance, don't call me

There have been a small handful of FreeDarko posts that could truly have been called "short." Before today, that scurrying list included the day Finley signed with the Spurs (why did I ever give a fuck about that?) and the news of Amare's injury (still I grieve). For all you stat-keepers out there, break out the old abacus and add another notch on the fire.

I'm not only speaking as one of the world's foremost Arenas boosters: what do you have to do to land on the Eastern Conference reserve list? He's a ferocious scorer who actually knows how to lead a team at this point, fourth in the league in scoring, one of the Association's brightest young talents, and just generally a force to be reckoned with in any remotely perceptive human being's picture of the sport.

It's almost like he's reaping the backlash against Kobe. No one can dare question #8's latest chain of exploits, so the next closest thing in the league, role-wise, gets lambasted. Wade's more balanced (as in the opposite of imbalanced, game-wise and otherwise), Iverson's a rock; these are HOF caliber talents. And the only guards in the East better than Arenas. I don't want this to turn into a "how do we reward the Pistons" meditation or pile-on, but no way is Arenas not the third best guard in the East, top five league-wide (Kidd's on the decline, Paul may be the better pure point but is not the same dominant type of presence; Baron Davis is a joke).

Doesn't a franchise player having a career year deserve a spot? That's the argument being made for Pierce, and he's 1) not nearly Arenas's equal 2) on a shittier team 3) not as much fun to behold 4) not a legit superstar

This is all so fucking obvious I feel shamed by being the one who has to say it.

DAMN YOU, SKY ABOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. Now the Recluse tells me that Melo's off, too. In the immortal words of Shoefly, "this is buuuullshit."

Double missive: I have a new rule about the NBA. It's called "fan loyalty to a particular player only lasts as long as he stays himself on the court." Case in point, K-mart. Loved him when he could do some things. Now, he's dead to me. Call it inhuman, but really, what's there to like about Martin if he's not rumbling about and playing in a way worthy of his bionic swagger? Now he's just some big dude who seems kind of pissy. This is a league of athletes, and personality or no personality, it's only so interesting, important or meaningful without the game to back it up and justify what these figures are to us.


At 2/09/2006 12:21 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

that is on some keeping 'nique out of the hall of fame shit. boooooooooooo!

At 2/09/2006 12:36 PM, Anonymous T. said...

plus, he's wacky in a good way. and i enjoy that. like i enjoy ron artest applying for a job a circuit city or nen wallace being obsessed with remote control cars or hakeem olajuwon having his own water.

At 2/09/2006 12:50 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

what a joke! listen, i like the pistons as much as the next guy, but this has gotten out of control. they're two games ahead of the spurs and mavs, not ten. it defies logic to include rip, who is arguably the fourth most important player on the pistons, while excluding the heart and soul of DC. since when does 28 and 6 not make you an all-star?

and t, it goes far beyond gilbert being wacky. he's really fucking entertaining to watch, especially in the all-star game setting. we all deserve to see round two of the t-mac v. gilbert 40 ft. shootout. i imagine that he still gets added as a replacement, but that's almost beside the point. this is nothing less than an assault on the FreeDarko way.

At 2/09/2006 1:06 PM, Blogger emynd said...

I agree with the notion that this is in response to Kobe's 81.

I fear that Kobe's 81--instead of inspiring a quiet awe and humility amongst fans--has further polarized the NBA's "religious right" (i.e. the "play the right way," "Basketball is a team game," "AI ruined the game" folks) forcing the "game of Style" to be unjustly criticized for what it's been for years.

Kobe's 81 has given the NBA "religious right" traditionalists an achievement to rally against, allowing them to continue to misread the NBA a similar way that most folks misread "On the Road" or Theodor Adorno.

Truly unfortunate.


At 2/09/2006 1:31 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

Unless I'm mistaken ...

1995-96 Bulls: 2 All-Stars
2005-06 Pistons: 4 All-Stars

Those (coaches)who cannot remember the past are doomed to make asses of themselves.

I can barely stand to watch the Pistons as it is. Why would I turn on the All-Star Game if it's just going to be Them ... unless it's for an opportunity to see Right-Way (alleged) Dull Plodders v. Unfettered Improvisation. Maybe I'm more interested than I thought.

At 2/09/2006 1:38 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i take back what i said last month about all-nba being the place for the pistons--they should all be on USA Basketball.

but the All-Star Game. . . Arenas isn't just one of the league's best and most dynamic players, he's hands-down the most entertaining one (performance and personality-wise) not named Artest. I'm not saying he's not serious when he has to be, but who exudes sheer entertainment like Gilbert? for fuck's sake, this is when entertainment, not victory, matter, and he's the people's champ of sick basketball playfulness.

At 2/09/2006 1:57 PM, Blogger CFunk28 said...

Shoals is right. The All-Star game is about entertainment, not fundamentals or rewarding a good team. I want to see half court ally-oops and passes off of the backboard in this game. Not great defense and perfect rebounding position. That shits for the regular season and playoffs.

Give me Arenas, Kobe, T-Mac, Vince, and LeBron going back and forth with ridiculous score after ridiculous score in a 122-119 game. That's what I want to see.

At 2/09/2006 2:00 PM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

at least someone is getting some respect this week;


shoals: isn't it about time we had that destroyer draft?

At 2/09/2006 2:01 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i can only hope and pray that no one asks us what the fuck you're talking about.

At 2/09/2006 2:39 PM, Anonymous scoopsnoodle said...

um you're an insane lunatic - pierce shoots .473 to arenas' .435 gets 3.5 more rebound while only recording 2 less points and 1.5 less assists.

and destroyer is a complete wanker.

hate you guys.

At 2/09/2006 3:58 PM, Blogger c-los said...


Pierce's team sucks. Their division sucks and he does less for his team than Arenas. Arenas almost single handidly beat the Spurs. Pierce should be averaging more rebounds...he's 6'7. If Pierce is so good then why is he in trade rumors every year. Gil is untouchable for the Wiz. If you take Gil off the Zards then they will be a bottom 5 team. If you take Pierce off the C's they at least have backups. Gils having a better year than last year with a team who lost their 2nd best player and has then 3 games behind last years pace and only 4 games behind Miami. He plays 40+ minutes a night too. Cmon man you have got to be joking

At 2/09/2006 4:15 PM, Blogger Gregg said...

I want/need to hear more about the Destroyer draft.

At 2/09/2006 4:19 PM, Blogger BenSchwarmer said...

Emynd seems to be assembling troops for a Jihad. Battle lines are being drawn. I am curious as to where new recruit Morrison will fall.

At 2/09/2006 4:53 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

adam morrison is freedarko. it's official.

At 2/09/2006 4:54 PM, Blogger zachille o'neal said...

dare i say? I am all for the Pistons on the all-star squad. they're all fucking gangsters, and simply the highlights of the year. I'm alone in this, but I consider the all-star game the "best-of-the-1st-half-of-the-season-recap-in-40-minutes". i highly doubt rip's going to be coming off screens the whole game. it'll be fun. haters. you loved them 6 weeks ago.

At 2/09/2006 5:17 PM, Anonymous T. said...

Here's the real question. Do I go to the Bill Simmons book signing on Tuesday? With my FreeDarko shirt?

(I'd 100% go, except that it is All-Star week and I have all sorts of people flying in. I can't skip out on free sushi).

At 2/09/2006 5:35 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

for the record, adam morrison will be discussed tomorrow.

At 2/09/2006 5:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pierce is better. its just a fact. i like arenas, but he's like ben gordon-a single aspect of jordan, reflected in a funhouse mirror.

At 2/09/2006 5:38 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

i've been wondering if any members of Free Darko's Texas Branch would try and hijack one of Simba's book signings for PR purposes. there are a lot of possibilities here. i don't have his book and refuse to shell out $20 to read recycled Red Sox articles, but he claims that he will inscribe anything people ask him to write. i'd like to see this tested. for instance, would he be willing to confess "i stole shirtless peja from Free Darko."

At 2/09/2006 5:52 PM, Anonymous Brains McGee said...

Wasn't it a vulture that ate Prometheus' liver?

At 2/09/2006 6:44 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

and i don't know why i take this so personally, but why would someone who thinks pierce is better than arenas and shits on destroyer read us in the first place? i am nothing if not someone trying to write a destroyer song about arenas.

silverbird and i had a long discussion earlier that i'd thought he was going to paraphrase here, but i guess it's on me. here's the gist: it's one thing to say that major star x (20ppg on good team) belongs on there over major star y (27ppg on lousy team). no way, though, that mere stars squeeze out superstars just because their team is better.

i'm sorry, but none of the pistons are as mega-watt as arenas, even if they each contribute to a powerhouse team. the all-star game is about individuals, not inspired collectivity, and only billups could really, on an individual level, take credit for the team effort. otherwise the pistons really good players who play well together and are lucky enough to be in the same place. chemistry is great and all, but it doesn't necessarily translate into individual accomplishment. you can commend ballers for playing well with others, or knowing how to win, but that's not the same thing as saying someone jumps up a notch in the hierarchy of stardom BECAUSE of those things.

does anyone else get the feeling that it was either four pistons or no pistons? silverbird said earlier that, esp. if they play all 4 pistons at the same time, you're going to basically see the very fabric of the all-star game undermined.

i would crash simmons but i have other business to tend to.

the destroyer draft is exactly what it sounds like: eight or ten of us selecting bejar gems as if for a fantasy league. that's about as far as we got with the idea, except silverbird was adamant about taking "notorious lightning" in the first round as a wide receiver. i think the only other time we talked about it, we thought about using football positions so it made some sense.

i hope this makes someone hate us more .

whoa, have you seen that charity commercial that commends vince for the graduation jaunt? i've always defended him on that, but it's weird that someone's trotting it out as a public positive.

At 2/09/2006 6:46 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i have no idea who that "you" was.

and it didn't even dawn on me that there might be others this week. . .i can't make the houston one, but is there an austin stop?

At 2/09/2006 7:27 PM, Anonymous scoopsnoodle said...

it's for the same reason that you read simmons - right general idea, but you think you're cooler.

u2 < destroyer < boredoms

pierce < arenas < pierce

sports guy < free darko < scoopsnoodle

At 2/09/2006 7:43 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

Here's an idea :

-Let the fans keep stupidly voting for the starters in the game because without them, there's no NBA, much less an All Star weekend.

-Let the players vote for the reserves, kind of like in baseball when they vote for most Outstanding player. This way, no one can really complain, because no one can claim that the players don't know what they're doing when they compete against one another each night and should know who's a real all-star.

Fuck the coaches and their agenda-driven voting. Let the playas play!

At 2/09/2006 7:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"let the players vote for the reserves"

I've always liked the idea of players voting for stuff. But if you maybe want an idea of where that would go, remember that the players used to vote on the MVP, which came to an end after they elected Kareem like six times in a row...

At 2/09/2006 8:13 PM, Anonymous aug said...

I don't see why Arenas has a big edge over Pierce except that he has more style. Both teams aren't very good. The wizards are way too inconsistant to be considered a good team(the hawks beat the pistons and i think the spurs too). His team is doing significantly worse than last year with essentially the same team(butler, daniels and atkins for hughes isn't much of a downgrade except for chemistry). It's not just about numbers, because pierce's about the same. Once again, the all star game can't just put good stat on bad team guys in the all star game since it has a big role in hall of fame status in years to come.

About the pistons, Rip is scoring enough points to count as a major star according to BS's equation and everyone knows Billups deserves to be there. Ben Wallace led in fan voting the years before shaq came back to the east. Sheed is one of the best players in the league if you go by those efficiency ranking things(please don't tell me it's about style and entertainment not efficiency, it's just a good way to measure how well a player is playing). Personally, i would put Billups on there as a lock. Rip and Sheed are on the borderline, rip is scoring and playing great and sheed is a multifaceted monster. I wouldn't put big ben in there because he's having a bit of a down year rebounding and blocks wise, and the fans wanted shaq instead. I don't buy them not being great individual players. These aren't role players, these are stars who are asked to play together, within a system offensively and play world class defense. Lets not forget sheed was great on the blazers and his 42 minutes for the hawks were good as well. I do believe winning has something to do with stardom. Shareef put up 20-10 many seasons, but getting 20 wins on the hawks/griz, does not a star make.

I really don't care that much either way. I'm just waiting for someone to show up so we can get food so i decided to fill it with a rant. Gilbert is very deserving as an all star, but i find it a bit foolish to completely dismiss pierce, and the pistons for lack of style and hipness. They're not the fun pick, but they're also very deserving. There are snubs every year. Maybe this will inspire gilbert to pick it up(not his personal play, but the play of his teammates and the win category).

Anyways, good day to you all, and i hope to hear more about the destroyer draft in the future. BTW, could "Certain Things You Ought to Know" get eligablity as RB and C? You would really helpy me out if it could.

At 2/09/2006 8:15 PM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

A couple more points from my conversation with Shoals...

I think most people would agree that Arenas (and Carmelo) are better individual talents than the lesser of Detroit’s Four. The argument, as I understand it, is that Detroit's whole is more than its sum, and so as Shoals said, its either four all-stars or no all-stars (an impossible solution). Thus the DetroitBadBoys a la Chad Ford proposal that Saunders should sub all four Piston all-stars into the game at once.

Now, there's no question that the Pistons are a great team, and that the greatness of their players deserves its rightful showcase. But there's a time and place for that, and it’s called the Playoffs. Detroit will have it all to themselves. Do they really need the Weekend too?

Ford's proposition, as innocent as it might seem, is as threatening to the meaning and coherence of the Weekend as Gilbert's slight is to its moral integrity. The whole point of ASW lies precisely in its liminal distinction from and opposition to the familiar logics of season and playoffs. Simple Boy: why is this weekend different from all other weekends? Because on all other weekends, the game is about Teams; only on this weekend is the game truly about Stars.

Try as it might, science has yet to submerge the laws of Stars to the laws of Chemistry; the far-flung lonely giants chart a different path than the small and proximate molecules. Likewise, the Team of Players that win the all-star game aren't suppose to the same "team-players" that win the playoffs. Different laws mean different games. QED. (world's dorkiest double entendre).

(Does this means that Nash is less of an individual talent because of the Suns' chemistry? Shoals and I considered this and decided the situations are different. Billups' credit is for taking a team with chemistry to the next level, whereas Nash gets credit for creating the chemistry in the first place - welding seemingly disparate parts into a lethal whole.)

At 2/09/2006 9:07 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

really well said, silverbird5000.

shoals, simmons will be at the barnes&noble in the arboretum center next wednesday at 7:30pm.

At 2/09/2006 9:19 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the boredoms over destroyer? are you fifteen? did you miss the mid-nineties?

pierce's free throw shooting has been a mess this year. all all-star 2/3 shouldn't have nights when he shoots 50% from the stripe.

four people from one team is excessive, plain and simple. putting all those pistons on is as pig-headedly "right way" as it would be obnoxiously "stylish" to leave duncan off cause he's dull. unless there's a totally airtight case for it which, unfortunately, there's not.

i'm not opposed to 2 of them, maybe even 3. but four when it means freezing out gilbert? that's just fucked up, irrational, and a threat to all order and balance in this land.

and aug, efficiency is fine and good, but if that's going to be a valid criteria for selecting the rosters, you can't make wallace the only beneficiary. and i don't think anyone will be particularly giddy over some of the necesssary alterations.

if someone has more patience and a better internet connection than i do at the moment, might be funny to look at the other four (or three, i can't remmeber) times that there have been four players from one team on it. what the reason for it seemed to be, if anyone else deserved it more, whatever.

At 2/09/2006 9:22 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

can't i just tell everyone i went there and heckled simmons wearing a custom freedarko burka?

At 2/09/2006 9:23 PM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

I agree about Billups. And yes, a good case can be made for both Rip and Sheed, based on their numbers this year. But a big reason the numbers are great is that the team is great (especially for Rip, who I can't see being nearly the same player on a .500 team). Of course its also true that individuals make the team, and so the argument becomes circular. But I think the ultimate point is not that Arenas is an objectively or statistically greater player than Rip, but that Arenas' greatness is of a different sort. His great numbers are pretty much individual numbers, both because he plays better then his team, and because his team isn't that good. Just the opposite is true of Rip's great numbers - he doesn't outplay his team, but his team outplays the league. So the question is, what kind of great player should play the all-star game. And as I said before, I think the whole point of the all-star game is to showcase individual talent. In a way, the Detroit controversy has made this even more obvious. Because if you really wanted to assemble the "best of the East", you wouldn't just take 3 or even 4 Pistons - you'd take 6 or 7. And not just because they've practiced more and know more plays, but because they just play so damm well together.

"Certain things you ought to know" would be a good sleeper back. I think "New Ways of Living" will go higher, though. 'a dragon needs room to run', and whatnot.

At 2/09/2006 9:31 PM, Anonymous KennyKen said...

Dude, whoever thinks Rip is the lesser Piston really, really, really, really doesn't know a gahd damn thing about basketball. Besides Sheed he's the only one good enought to be there and I would venture as well that there's only a few other wing players better than him (definitely under ten of em and Arenas and Melo aren't even in the running [but if Melo works on his post game he'll end up better...but then again then he wouldn't really be a wing]). Honestly, I'd take Rip probably even over McGrady's brokeback-ass broke back too (well maybe not but what's up with his damn back anyway?) That Pistons team would be offensive shiit without Hamilton. Plus, for the other useless assesment of basketball talent, for most of the last few years when he wasn't hurt, Baron Davis was so much one of the two best points in the league it isn't even worth debate. How short are people's memories?

At 2/09/2006 9:39 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

baron davis is a different player these days then he was then.

"besides sheed he's the only one good enought to be there"

the fact that no one can even decide on which pistons deserve to go only proves how fucked this whole thing is.

this is all larry brown's doing.

At 2/09/2006 9:45 PM, Anonymous Mr. Six said...

The ASG is about special players or good but generally overlooked players having undeniably special years.

Detroit as a team is having a special year, but none of the players is, and none of them is a special player. (I'm tempted to write that they are mediocrities, all of them, but that would go to far.) Thus, as SilverBird points out, this is a perversion of the logic of the ASG.

Plus, unless David Stern gets in his time machine and goes back to add two more Bulls to the '96 Eastern All Stars, the unmitigated ahistoricity of the Pistons' selection will remain firm stuck in my craw.

At 2/09/2006 10:07 PM, Anonymous kenny ken said...

You're right, Davis isn't what he was, but 20 and 9 ain't bad for a has-been. I'm reminded of how effective Timmy was for the Heat when he was past his prime (he wasn't ever as good as Baron I don't think but close. On a side note, he's got a nice line of hand car washes down here in the 305 so I guess having Timmy washing Wade's cars is how Pat bitch-ass Riley is keeping him in the organization). Any time it was needed Rip could average gaudy numbers too ya know and I think, at least for him, his obvious all around basketball genius is given a nod as it should be. If you wanna talk about all star travesties with multiple players from one team, though, how about the Lakers four just for having nice names on their rosters during Kobe's first or second year, and them all coming out in different style uniforms so the Lakers could sell more Jerseys to fake ass LA fans. By the way, I'm watching the Heat and they're effin terrible. Riley deserves it. I think he eats nun's babies when he's not pretending to coach

At 2/09/2006 11:44 PM, Anonymous scoopsnoodle said...

Bethlehem Shoals - yes, no and no. Your point?

I'm getting tear streaked streethawk clutched to tender bosom in darkened room vibes. Have you seen his new album cover? It is a picture of books, just in case we didn't know him by now. I must admit, I was just baiting you - sorry. I personally find his music to be derivative and overly precious. This, we call personal taste. If you want to see some real bejarmaina, check this thread: http://ilx.p3r.net/thread.php?msgid=6491799 it's psycho!

The Boredoms live in a universe of their own creation. It's a pretty fascinating place, you should visit sometime. Also, I don't think they have too many fifteen year-old fans.

As for Pierce v Arenas - one isn't definitively better than the other. Pierce is having the better year. Their fg% speak to this. In the real world no one would take rip over either of them.

I like your site a lot and don't find it to be at all bejaresque.


At 2/10/2006 2:17 AM, Anonymous Art Vandelay said...

Out of everything I've read or heard regarding four Pistons being named reserves, nobody is talking about what the true outcome of this will be: Prince will be playing like a man possessed in the second half, trying to prove that he should have been included. Watch him step up his D even more, increase his rebounds, and look like an altogether different player on offense.

At 2/10/2006 9:33 AM, Anonymous mvpotisthorpe said...


rasheed has it. chauncey (this year) has it. ben (looks like he) has it.

don't let larry brown tell you otherwise.

rip's too self-aware. he's the pistons emynd.

At 2/10/2006 10:43 AM, Blogger c-los said...

Pierce is not having the better year. Anyone who knows a little about basketball knows that. The Wizards are only 3 games behind last years pace and one game out of the 5th spot in the east. Arenas has to do more for the Wiz to win. He has to take the majority of the shots so of course his shooting % is going to be lower. Other than Kobe, there is no other player in the league than get on a run and score points like Gil. Maybe Tmac but he is too injury prone. The Wiz struggled a bit but that was mainly due to Jamison not playing well. Once he got his shit straight and Eddie Jordan found the rotation they have been winning. Pierce is a good player dont get me wrong but he doesnt deserve to be an allstar over Gil just for the fact that the Celtics arent good. This could all be a waste of time if Gil gets picked as the fill-in for Jermaine O'neal who in my mind shouldnt have been an allstar this year but that was up to the fans

At 2/10/2006 10:57 AM, Anonymous T. said...

Just as a personal note, I traded Pierce away this year (just last week) for 2 months of Amare. But Arenas is keeping my team afloat (actually in 2nd place) when he randomly drops a 40/7/9 game on people. (of course there are the 7/4/3 randomly inserted games too).

But then again, my highest finish ever in this particular league has been 4th, so what do I know?

At 2/10/2006 11:23 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

thank you friend for not noticing that i accidentally said paul was in the east.

and also in the by-the-numbers dept.: arenas doesn't play c/f, so either of the wallaces not making it wouldn't mean he'd get on, right?

(which is why i don't see how he can be put on to replace j.o. i might be wrong here, though)

so this really comes down to if arenas is more deserving than billups or rip. i've said already that i think chauncey should get some MVP love, so it's rip or arenas. and as much as i'm capable of appreciating rip's game, no way is he on arenas's level. figure that the "pistons win! pistons win!" capital got used to justify both the wallaces getting on.

the recluse has pointed out the even tougher call: KG over melo. i think we all believe, and want, melo to get his due, but as the recluse put it "can you imagine the all-star game without KG?"

At 2/10/2006 11:24 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

friends, i mean. all of you are special to me.

At 2/10/2006 11:33 AM, Blogger S-Love said...

I think we need to replace Carter with Arenas, and Hamilton with Michael Redd. Gilbert is fourth in the league in scoring, and he does other things as well. Gibert is getting his team back to a decent level; Carter is a good player on an underachieving team. Redd is a lot like Hamilton, but he can do more. I suppose Rip is more consistent and on a better team, but Redd is more than deserving. The Bucks are a fun team, and the Pistons aren't running away with it (granted, that's just because of their losing streak, but Dallas and S.A. aren't far behind, and no one is lobbying for Jason Terry), so they seem overrewarded. All of that should be moot anyway, given the games nature.

At 2/10/2006 11:39 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

one more thing: my life with baron davis perfectly illustrates the lightly established "K-Mart Postulate." he used to be one of my favorites (as a player and a historical figure), but now i can't even look at him.

At 2/10/2006 12:02 PM, Anonymous Bob said...

I think this boils down to Gilbert being woefully underexposed. He is never on any of the NBA's TV promos, doesn't have the Adidas commercial (although that could be a good thing), the Wizards are never on television, and the ESPN talking heads are more concerned with Knick-related anything to mention him. Kobe scores 32 and gets a shot chart, constant updates, etc, but Gilbert drops 45 and gets a sidenote.

At 2/10/2006 3:10 PM, Anonymous hospital said...

The new Destroyer album is good. Bejar and DC Berman are now officially two sides of some strange liquid coin. I desperately want to make this an Arenas analogy, but who's on the other side? To clarify, this person wouldn't be the same, but also not an antithesis -- rather, two distinct forces asymptotically approaching the same conclusion. I give up.

Nevertheless, Arenas and Pierce are both top-notch, obviously; it just comes down to semantics. With Rasheed, I enjoy the psychodrama and the adorable emoting, but has he ever really been a star, on any team? Could the man actually be essentially a role player, just with a star-sized persona?

At 2/10/2006 3:19 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

wasn't the whole criticism of sheed in portland that he refused to admit he was the team's star?

i mean besides all the obvious "he so crazy and disruptive" crap

At 2/10/2006 4:14 PM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

All-star voting, be it from the fans or the coaches, always comes down how people feel about your game. As a result, to get to the game you have to not only put up numbers, but you have to possess some kind of on court identity. No one else plays like KG plays, no one else plays like Nash plays. But you can't just call this style, its more like having a defined on court persona, because even though Tim Duncan is a robot, you can still say that no one plays like Timmy plays.

Your identity trumps your numbers. Its a lot easier for Kenyon Martin to have an all-star season (17, 10 in 04) than it is for elton brand (25, 10 this year), because Martin, for better or for worse, is a more unique player. He forces you to acknowledge that there is no other Kenyon Martin on the planet earth. This also works in the Pistons favor, because they have a staring five of almost freakishly unique players. There's not a desmond mason among them.

The kiss of death is have a game that resembles that of another star, because then you are always jockeying for a single spot—you end up being Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney going to the same audition. This weighs heavily in the Gilbert v. Paul debate. Personally, i like pierce better. i think his game is more versatile and he's more efficient, but i'll also admit that they're pretty close. However, the reason paul will always get the nod is because gilbert, being an "unconcionable gunner" who isn't short enough to be compared to ai, has some people saying to themselves "he's like kobe, but a little bit worse."

At 2/10/2006 4:46 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the pistons starters are "freakishly unique?" big ben, yes. sheed, less so than he once was but sure.

billups, though? a big, strong point with good range and judgment. rip? a scrawny 2 who likes to shoot jumpers off of screens. maybe there aren't many of those around in this day and age, but as you point out about duncan, just because no one else does it doesn't make it style.

arenas is a speed demon who shoots half-court three's in his sleep, can get to the rim on anyone, and is unfazed by contact (not like those weak-ass rag dolls AI and wade). i guess there's a less impressive iverson in there, but can anyone who's seen gilbert play really say he's a less distinct player than rip, billups, or pierce, who's just a sloppier version of arenas with less joy and a few extra inches?

NOTE: that was a joke about iverson and wade, but arenas does invite contact like they do while handling it quite differently.

At 2/10/2006 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He dances after all. Thank you Stern. Next year let the players vote.


At 2/11/2006 2:04 AM, Anonymous bonghits said...

I like the fact that four Pistons are on the team, just because officer Keep-Darko-Down is now at the helm of this dysfunctional-ass Knicks team and it might make him feel a little sad. I realize that he probably voted for all five Detroit starters, but I came up with the "officer Keep-Darko-Down" joke last night and couldn't stop giggling for a good half hour and felt I had to share it. This won't be funny at all if you've never heard the Bill Hicks sketch, though.


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