Creepin' out vastly
After yesterday's crock of panic, I feel I owe to you and all others involved in this enterprise to come with something moderately composed. I have also been in the throes of a sudden sickness, making it all the more difficult to wade through the eternal mush that is the patented FD approach to things. So while I still believe that I had something worthwhile going on in yesterday's post, we can pretend the last two days never happened and get on with more immediately germane business, namely: THE GREATEST FREE AGENT CLASS IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND.
Of course, this is the most brutal of fallacies. Anyone with half a pencil and a high-speed opportunity knows that this group of free agents currently poised to spring itself upon the field of thirty odd NBA franchise is, quite honestly, pretty weak. Yet how soon we forget the utter mayhem that was Playoffs 2006, which turned out so hair-raisingly tight that the most forgettable of players did/almost did/easily could have made all the difference. Tim Thomas? A competent shooter on the Cavs? Anyone on the Mavs willing to guard a PF? Some range for the Lakers? More interior defense for the Bulls? And let's not even forget about the countless franchises who fell beneath the cruel blade of elimination before the Tom Petty had even rung throughout the alleys and byways, many of which are in prime position to squeak in this year.
In short, the NBA has somehow managed to become outlandishly competitive without having to resort to the utterly demeaning taint of parity. Thusly, adding one or two key players to any number of rosters will propel them further this coming season, or at least might have made the difference in '06. Already, we've seen Peja, Vlad, and CV presumably end up on teams that were about that far away from the next tier of things; had this draft had anything in the way of talent that was both ready and able (usually the province of the mid- to late- first round), this off-season might be having an unprecedented effect on the peaceful jumble that is the choir's pre-season expectations. An aging Ben Wallace is certainly not the direction-changing presence he might've been two years ago. . . but in this pitched climate of near-misses and wholly credible fearlessness, he can for the moment put a team like Chicago high atop their most immediate concerns. Wallace, Gooden, or Przybilla won't make a team that much better, objectively; however, all they need is just a little bit to seem to all the world and their fans like they have made a majestic leap.
The same might even go for any number ordinarily undesirable trade options, like Randolph, some Knicks, or Jermaine O'Neal(Iverson exluded--he's not going to a contendor precisely because of what I'm outlining). Remember Sheed to the Pistons—right now, it seems like a tremendous amount of team can solidly claim that they're in the midst of some kind of window, or that the sacrifice of taking on one of these contracts will be worth the dividends they pay. That, presuming that these adjustments will have some standing for several years to come, and that we won't be seeing an '03 like crop of mega-talent dropping upon its own head anytime soon.
One more thing about this already-batty off-season: watching the Suns throughout is kind of amazing. Like fuck a Tim Thomas, fuck an Eddie House player option or lost draft opportunities. They're riding out next season with Nash, Amare, Diaw, Marion, and Barbosa. I told someone pre-draft that with Isiah coming to the bench, the Knicks were essentially finally getting the real Eddie Curry out of these summer months; the Suns are getting one of the most talented nuclei to ever tromp upon the sands of time without having to even lift a finger. Now that's providence.