Asteroid surfing, castor-oil burping
On Tuesday, Shoals mentioned that ESPN's ongoing "NBA 2010" series of articles was like "FreeDarko done badly," but yesterday's installment was just bad. I'm not hating on the general premise of Association soothsaying, which Shoals accurately observed was very in keeping with the FreeDarko mission of writing about "obscure players full of potential," but that shit was just awful. If you're going to get all sci-fi, at least be nice with yours. Claiming Yao, Darko, and the Greek Baby Shaq for your 2010 all-star squad is about as dope as picking MC Paul Barman, Mr. Lif, and Sean Ono to guest on your future-rap masterwork. It's not.
When picking the foreign stars of the future, it's no fun to pick Yao, who was already a dominant force at the end of last season, and picking Our Hero is trendy and boring. But, Marc Spears picking Sofoklis Schortsanitis? I know it's funny that a giant black man has such a Hellenic name, but he'd be lucky to even crack the starting line up of the worst NBA team. Of all the ways to misinterpret the U.S. loss to Greece (and there are a lot), that's got to be the dumbest. Making point blank, wide open layups does not make one a can't miss NBA prospect. There's a reason the Clippers haven't brought him over since picking him in the second round of the 2003 draft.
To make matters worse, Spears then claimed in an Insider chat that Tony Parker "could be one of the best PGs in NBA history," that OJ Mayo is too small to dominate the NBA, and, most problematically, that the reason that Americans are losing in international competition is that we only teach post players how to play in the post. What basketball has he been watching? I love KG as much as McCants seems to, but by creating the prototype of the seven foot small forward, he may have irreparably damaged the sport in this country. A few weeks ago, in this very space, there was a discussion of what American centers should be on the U.S. team, and the best we came up with was Brad fucking Miller, who was on the team and never played. I'd venture that what American basketball needs more than anything is post players who have refined post moves and countermoves on offense and who understand the nuances of positioning when rebounding and playing defense. The back-to-the basket game is very different, and young players need more fundamentals, not less. (To his credit, Spears did pick J.R. Smith as his breakout player for 06-07.)
Also, for those keeping track, Rex Grossman is not a Jew, but former UVA quarterback George Allen is.