Save your claws, chew angles
Who the fuck was I kidding—of course I was going to end up mesmerized by Hawks/Cavs. At last, the Hawks might be the ideal FreeDarko team; they've got some chemistry and a style together, but are also overstuffed with individuals in every key FD category. Joey Johnson is the league's most underrated star, Josh Smith is turning into the second best player from the 2004 draft, Zaza is a Euro I can stand, and that Aryan sharpshooter looks a lot like a certain crazed killer albino monk. At some point this season, I hope to announce Marvin as an FBP Future Star. Most importantly, though, they seem to be reasonably competent, which both makes them bearable and makes us into non-refundable conceptual masterminds.
I realized tonight why League Pass always reigns supreme. It has nothing to do with the importance of what's on or one's moral obligation to check it out. Instead, it makes basketball invariably fun to watch, because you're no longer a slave to whatever's on network. The world is yours, and if you have love of the Association there's at least one game per night that will illuminate you. Maybe this is the ultimate articulation of FreeDarko Liberated Fandom—we chase product, rather than waiting till we can brag about ours to others—and I only hope my living partner recognizes this miracle when she gets back in town.
My sofa life aside, I want to be short and sweet about something we've thus far neglected: the zero tolerance rule and its implications. Let me begin by saying that I could give a fuck less if players whine, provided they're good enough that they're generally a credit to the game. That said, I don't find any intrinsic value or energy in berating refs, and think it has next to nothing to do with the Association's long history of self-expression. Stern's muscle clearly is not fucking around here, and not falling in line will result in nothing but disgrace. I'm not talking with the media—among other players, I'm sure that anyone who fails to see the writing on the wall will eventually turn into a puncline. Sheed's looking nothing like a martyr right now, and for all the world like a guy who doens't understand the difference between liberty and self-indulgence.
For all some of you might want to throw at me about this being Dress Code (Slight Return), think about this: the sport itself has always had rules. Some are restrictive, some leave room for interpretation, and some are largely ignored. The bottom line, though, is that the game of basketball is a mess of rules, which the individual negotiates in an attempt to play like he knows. This is a rule about the game, about the flow of the game and an attempt to stabilize officiating. The new ball isn't ideal, but as Caron said, players know how to adapt. In fact, adapting is a hallmark of rugged, versatile, or even remotely creative basketball, the difference between formula and inspiration.
Maybe the ZT isn't entirely fair, but it's not crippling, and shouldn't keep guys from playing the game. If it does, that's on them, not the Commish's Office—which, after all, is a governing body that trafficks in rules. Stern's Cabal can go too far, but inconveniencing players is kind of its essential function. Unless you want to watch a pick-up game, rule-making is a necessary evil. And I think players have a good sense of when there's been a move worthy of resistance, versus the usual cycle of imposition, adaptation, and transcendence.