Run up on you with the Kodak Moment

As has already been hinted at in the comments section, Young Smith had himself quite a night. Actually, what’s most encouraging for this proud fan-father (fuck adulation, dude’s like eight years younger than me) is how unexceptional an outing it was. An athletic, rangy two with range drops twenty-one, hits the right highlight notes, and doesn’t make too many ditzy mistakes. Thirty points, or ten assists, that would’ve been hollow. But this, an essentially one-sided stat line that leaves room to grow while asserting what I’ve known, is heartfelt progress indeed.

With my hand hovering over that contract with the League Pass Illuminati, I didn’t feel like I had to watch it all. That angle probably should’ve crept into my McSweeney’s dent from yesterday, and may or may not counteract the entire argument. Or maybe it was that no single game will be truly representative of how J.R. shakes out with the Nuggets, and that’s pretty much why I cared about viewing it at all. I know where Melo’s at; an ejection don’t mean shit, he looked even more polished and canny than Brand last night. If anything, J.R. will look like a bratty novice trying to have any swagger around Melo, who at this point plays like he’s being mapped for idealized video game movement. You can save those jungle cat metaphors for Bron, Wade, and Amare; Anthony’s like that Lexus that parks itself. Totally pragmatic luxury with a bunch of functional shine.

One thing I did pick up on after a half, though, was how fucking lazy Karl’s RUN RUN RUN RUN RUN regime is. Note to all teams: a PG + some versatile pieces doesn’t equal Phoenix. And I sure as hell know that running doesn’t just mean throwing all semblance of strategy or schema out the window. First off, Karl looked completely and totally disinterested as his troops supposedly implemented a new vision that would make them less Melo-centric, more viable in the playoffs. The guys, for their part, seemed to lack the slightest inner urge to keep moving. Plus they’ve got a half-court PG, a lead scorer who likes to operate with fractions and details, and big men that are always hurt or blunted. I don’t know what comes first, the desire to stay in motion or its application, but with both absent, you have to conclude that coach has given up.

Running is not total chaos and coach apathy, which is why the Suns will be the only team doing this two seasons from now. D’Antoni is the only mind next enough to build a system out of open-ended burst, which is why the others need to realize they’ll just look stupid, not end up with an laxer obligation. As much as I’d like to see the Wizards’ highly ambiguous cast unleashed, Jordan’s acknowledging that he doesn’t know how to coach a team that way. Nor should he be expected to. Hughes/Arenas had the chemistry to make it work, but the other three players on the court would be awkward stragglers. Now, at least there’s some order in place to accommodate those not born to break; Butler’s also looking better than ever, since he’s in a system that emphasizes his double duality (chart necessary):

1. most athletic bad athlete
2. least athletic good athlete

How is that less ingenious that letting the team run wild and crumble? The first step to solving a team’s problems is understanding what kind of solutions you’re capable of, conceptually. I could probably make this point a lot better with quantum physics but sadly, I have not access to that realm of discourse. Hence, you get this Friday morning drivel, and I say, is Eddie Jordan’s small-scale inventiveness somehow worse than D’Antoni’s innovations? Is Melo that much less interesting than the high dramatics of LeBron?

These are the questions that will one day cause our deaths.


At 11/03/2006 2:08 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Couldn't agree with you more about the laziness of Karl's RUN plan. At one point last night I tapped into my inner-Damon Stoudamire, and declared that no Andre Miller team would ever win a title.

I still think I may be right, but your laziness take on Karl is certainly more reasoned. The NFL is still more of a League of Copycats, but NBA coaches certainly aren't above hopping on the latest trend. With Karl, though, it can only be our gain, since Smith is born to run regardless of who's running with him.

At 11/03/2006 2:10 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

about smith and running: did you notice how often he brought the ball up?

explain inner stoudemire. are you saying were high?

At 11/03/2006 2:12 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

Shoals, you know about Grinnell and Redlands college hoops, right? These are the places where running basketball steps across the horizon. Look into their athletics pages.

I watched the first half of Karlball and I couldn't figure out what it all was hinging upon. Certainly the players were acting like they were waiting for something to emerge, but it didn't. Your sentence about Mel's detail-orientation is sticking with me; either Karl doesn't see this or he sees something else that he wants to unleash.

D'Ant is still the master. I think the Suns don't consider pace to be their impetus. They run because:

1. They must,
2. Nash enables it.

Increasing possessions for them simply increases consistency and avoids bad swings. The true defining principle, to me, seems more along the lines of the hypermodern.

Suns as exception.

At 11/03/2006 2:25 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

heh...back in the day Damon famously said that "No Avery Johnson team will ever win a title," only to have to deal with Avery and Co. sweeping him in the '99 WCF.

oh, and it's probably too early to officially start my campaign, but Free Flight White!

At 11/03/2006 2:28 PM, Anonymous chad ford and the mormon wailers said...

So, Insidehoops is saying that JR might be sent to the Clippers for Maggette. Smith & Livingston. If this goes down.. shudder to think what the next week is going to be like here.

wv: dvoxef. Dvorak explains eternal failure?

At 11/03/2006 2:38 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

what part of "your starting shooting guard for the next three years" did george karl not understand?

At 11/03/2006 6:29 PM, Anonymous 215thelivest said...

I need to know. Does adding Jalen Rose make PHX better or worse. Even more importantly, more FD or less?

At 11/03/2006 7:05 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

at college, big baby's sculpture professor would talk his ear off about jalen rose.

At 11/04/2006 2:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys fell off a while ago.

Thanks for helping me realize it.

At 11/04/2006 12:45 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

being told we've fallen off really doesn't mean anything unless i know who it's coming from. thanks for helping me realize that.


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