Wherein I remedy what's transpiring below

In retrospect, I probably should not have gone public with my anxiety over Morrison's arrival in Charlotte. At this point, Wallace is no secret, not even to the most indept evaluator of talent that may lord over his own team; replacing player through the draft is generally an inexact science, but it's safe to say that there's no way you'll reasonably top a future DPOY with Amare-like offensive authority. The Recluse is right that Morrison provides a rather literal complement to Wallace's kingly offerings, rather than actually look to replace him. In this day and age, even drafting another seven footer, or another point guard, need not be seen as undermining what you've got. Certainly, getting a classic scoring three to go with your everything-but-that three and calling them both "wings" is not the most outlandish roster philosophy going in today's post-Suns, post-Mavs climate of GM'ing.

In Felton and Knight, the Cats have two players capable of solidly fulfilling the responsibilities of the point guard position. This is the one firm principle of the new, position-free age: get yourself a competent one and all other bets are off. With the exception of Arenas, no first option combo guards have yet proven credible fixtures in the temple of basketball accomplishment at the one (hence not Wade, not Iverson). This first attempt at a league-wide transformation ended in the awful dramatic predicament I like to call STEVE FRANCIS/STEPHEN MARBURY BACKCOURT. But get a Nash, a Terry/Harris, and suddenly all NBA order melts away before your very eyes, revealing a slippery vista of complete and total offensive freedom. Only the big man is as time-honored as the PG, yet the former demands a fixed system while the latter lives to manipulate situational wrinkles.

What I find irksome, however, is the stark contrast between the demands made on these guards and the utter, indigent chaos that is allowed to reign elsewhere on the roster. Take today's Raptors/Bucks deal: acquiring T.J. Ford does not suddenly validate the rest of that team, which in many ways seemed far better set with Bosh/CV/Mr. Europe as a rotating chimera of a frontline. It will still have holes and weaknesses, and no amount of destabilized breaks can make it instantly ship-shore. This, of course, was the Suns problem this year, but they hardly set out to field the team they did. Similar accusations can locate the microscopic fissures that proved Dallas's downfall: however potent Terry/Harris had become, relying on a gaggle of swingmen was bound to catch up with them in the face of Shaq and Haslem/Toine. Most odious of all is the assumption, carted about liberally by almost everyone associated with FreeDarko, that the Hawks would be mounting severed heads upon iron poles right now if only they had displayed the good sense necessary to draft Chris Paul. Or, for that matter, that Chris Paul + god knows what has Charlotte on the verge of grazing upon the postseason's noble fiber.

I initially thought the Bucks to be on some log-jammed bullshit, until I realized that they've got the ideal version of this 21st century roster fission going: two decent 1/2's (Bell/Williams), an All-Star 2 (Redd), a very talented swingman (Simmons), multiple serviceable 4/5's (Bogut/Gadzuric/Magloire), and now a wildcard who can play almost anywhere on the floor (Villanueva). If you want to know the real difference between '06 Suns-style endless rebirth and the Mavs' "long and athletic" approach, it's that the Bucks now seem to have perfected a Mavs-style roster. Flexibility is just that: a way to ensure that everything gets done somehow, not an excuse to foresake and repudiate certain aspects of a basketball contest. Furthermore, there seems to be a vast clashing mountain that rises up between the Suns-style "point guard animates the raw muddle" outlook and the Mavs' "competent point guard play is but one facet of the backcourt, which is a microcosm of the ever-shifting distribution of responsibilities that falls upon the team."

Yet while most of the credit for the Suns success has been given to Nash's expert manipulation and D'Antoni's madcap enlightenment, that team just doesn't exist without the utterly unclassifiable and elusive Marion and Diaw. For other teams to attempt to follow their particular, "careless" paradigm for roster assemblage and player combination without comparable pieces seems more than a little delusional. Unlike everyone else on that roster (including Amare), these two don't just buck positional logic, or surprise with their ability to make plays they shouldn't be able to. Rather, they're the sole justification for building a team in this manner, the embodiment of the team philosophy as a whole. Without them, such an amorphous roster would be a largely theoretical exercise. But in these two, arguably the only two real heirs to Garnett's example, you can see what it means for a basketball player's identity to be everything and nothing, for them to play everywhere and nowhere (Odom: commits from second to second). That's the kind of player Villanueva could be, which is why letting him go was a mistake for a team seemingly fashioned in the image of Colangelo's former lair.


At 7/01/2006 9:11 PM, Blogger bayaz said...

To more or less ignore the point of your post, I think that what's ultimately disappointing about the trade is that it ends up marking Colangelo as someone who has probably made his one conceptual invention and who'll likely stick with it (a Steve Reich) rather than a monstrous alchemist always on the tip of some new insanity (a Miles Davis). We've seen this before you know, so who cares.

At 7/01/2006 9:16 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

to bring it back to my post, i'm saying that maybe coangelo doesn't quite get something essential about what made the suns work like they did.

there's always those coaches who get accused of compromising themselves or proving they've always been on some emperor's new clothes shit when they switch it up, i.e. brian billeck or riley

At 7/01/2006 9:38 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

NOTE: this thing got majorly rewritten when I realized how utterly idiotic anything i could say about morrison/wallace actually is. like every player on every player can do everything well. please immediately undo any blows to my credibility this might have resulted in. hopefully you will be able to revisit this post for what it's now been turned into.

At 7/01/2006 9:40 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

that should also be read as a sincere apology

WV: hebro (pretty fucking obvious)

At 7/02/2006 12:28 AM, Anonymous spider said...

You can read the trade as Colangelo trying to re-do his earlier triumphs, but isn't this a lot more banal than that? Toronto had too many 4s and needed a 1 -- simple as that. It's a risky deal because of Ford's spine and Bargnani's still-inchoate abilities, but I don't think we need to worry yet about how close TOR can come to the PHX lodestone.

Bosh and Rasho are not going to run, anyway.

At 7/02/2006 1:49 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i'm not buying that. colangelo is clearly up to something here, and there are plenty of more safe players he could've gotten for villanueva than t.j. plus he got brought in on the heels of the highly successful phoenix experiment. . .he's got carte blanche to implement his concept, so it's not just like he was fishing for parts.

bosh can too run. that's the garnett in him.

At 7/02/2006 2:21 PM, Anonymous db said...

of course it makes perfect sense for TO to swap a forward for a pure point guard, but colangelo seemed a little too willing to part with his youngster. CV probably could have netted him a bit more than he ended up getting - he was, on paper, the second best rookie last season when all the numbers were tallied up (i don't think he's the second best player from the class, however). and he actually elevated his game considerably from uconn to the pros and from the first half of the season to the second half. that counts for something, especially when you consider that tj ford is much more of a known commodity at this point. he's a good one, sure. but he's sort of a 'what you see is what you get type player.' i'm a huge huge tj fan going back to his austin days when i lived there ... i loved him then and i even half that picture of him clapping (from the kansas game perhaps?) on my wall. and on top of everything else i do think he'll be a good fit in toronto. with my italian/texan lineage i'm not sure how i couldn't like this team.

but about their style of play ... i don't necessarily see them as a running team so much as one that will run a fluid offense with lots of ball movement. they have smart, athletic players but they don't have the horses to be the suns of the eastern conference. bargnani might be great and errything but all i've seen of him looks like he might be more of a halfcourt player. whatever .. i think they'll improve quite a bit from last season but i don't think they're going to come out all gunz blazing averaging 130 points a game or some shit. trading for a cumbersome center kind of sealed the deal on that one.

bucks will be better as well. tj was great for them but they still have two capable point guards and CV is going to step right in as their starting PF. magloire is out. mo/redd/simmons/CV/bogut look nice to me dang

At 7/02/2006 3:13 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

has anyone yet considered the role sam mitchell will play in all this? colangelo took d'antoni to really start looking like a mastermind

At 7/03/2006 1:16 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

good point about mitchell. i can't see him fitting in with the colangelo model. plus, he seems to be a hateful human being.

as for the bucks, don't forget about joe smith. he was most definitely NOT the answer in minnesota or milwaukee (maybe he needs a warmer climate--phoenix, are you seeing this?), but if he's filling out your post rotation (along with gad--magloire's gone), that's not too bad.

i actually like that bucks roster a lot:

PG: mo williams
SG: redd
SF: simmons
PF: villanueva
C: bogut

PF/C: gad
PF: joe smith
G: bell
G/F: noel (i hope)

noel is poised to be the next devin brown/adrian griffin type player: defense and athleticism off the bench.

not a contender, obviously, but they should make the playoffs.


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