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.