My pals in the struggling
World of computing, thou art my bane. I don't know whether I'm dismayed or relieved that only one person suggested some Marcus Williams humor, but having yesterday's post disappear from the earth was indeed a cruel homecoming. Anyone who knows more than we do, please advise.
Some serious FreeDarko-certified shit rattling the cage today. Simmons drops his positively majestic trade value column, an off-season landmark that I'm not above paying tribute to. And then there's that first batch of summer league results to dream over, which might be more important to the FD worldview than even the regular season. Anyone who has a clue as to where and when these games are broadcast needs to get in touch.
But lord of all lords, the real reason I just had to quickly procure a loaner computer is that all-time FD gawds Marquis Daniels and J.R. Smith have new murky roles to call home. I'm going to assume that anyone reading this blog regularly has some faint understanding of these two cult ballers, if not my fragmentary devotion to them. I will tell you this, though: I am in full possession of a rationalization for jumping on team's and player's bandwagons, and also stand up proudly for my right to let individuals drop off of my favorites list. Seasons change, people change, and someone like Ben Wallace just isn't as captivating to me as he was in '04. One thing I can guarantee, however, is that Smith and Daniels simply cannot be dislodged from their place in my priorities file, partly because they are so fucking elusive.
In a sense, these trades change nothing. J.R., who Simmons carelessly called "a draft bust," will find himself buried in a deep guard rotation; maybe Gordon gets moved, but even then there's Skiles' fondness for the gutsy Hinrich/Duhon tandem to contend with. As I've said in the past, it's amazing to me that Smith so quickly went from a member of NOLA's "backcourt of the future" to a guy destined for bench duty; I don't quite get why a "talented big" is always worth taking a chance on no matter how old he is, while a potentially deadly guard is washed-up if he forfeits his starter's tag at age 20. Smith may have been exiled by Byron Scott out of spite (has there ever been a less amenable player's coach?), but in Chi-town he's legitimately an afterthought.
Marquis has led an altogether more mystifying basketball existence. Undrafted FA who suddenly shows up in the midst of a stacked Dallas team and proceeds to lollingly dominate in the playoffs. Gets rewarded with a sizable contract, disappears due to injury, and then somehow falls out of favor with Avery Johnson even though he's a serious defender. Hopefully none of you have forgotten what happened when he was briefly introduced into the Finals last month: for a split second, we saw the weapon that might've reliably given Miami's well-laid roster a problem. Even if it had only lasted one game, it might've been enough to give Dallas the title. But no soon as Daniels had unleashed his lazy brilliance, Avery sent him back to the pale, as if to cover up his own error.
Marquis on the Pacers might very well be their attempt to atone for losing Artest. I'm not saying Daniels is on TW's level, but he can guard 1-3, pentrate at will, pass decently, and grab some boards inside and out. Still, with S-Jax holding it down, future mastermind Granger before forced to the 3 by O'Neal's lock on the 4, Sarunas possibly moving over, and perennial almost-there scorer Fred Jones, there's some competition for that 2/3 spot. The most common criticism of the Pacers with Artest was that the line-up was getting too crowded; maybe Daniels is in a better position than he was on the Mavs, but it also looks like he's on a team desperate for some clarity and direction. To secure the spot he deserves, he'll have to positively wow the staff and then take advanatge of an injury or two. He's not despised as he was under Johnson, but the situation's hardly that much better than it was under Nellie.
Obviously this is yet another case of me hung up on potential. Here, though, what makes it so dramatic and earnest is that we know what they can do; these two angels of style just aren't given the chances they deserve. They run no risk of compromising our imaginary visions, since they've already laid their own footsteps to follow in. If there is a version of potential that can satisfy the needs of both the realist and the flake, this here is that perfect union.