Plumes in Need of Fancy Nerves

I am not sure of a lot of things, but one salient one is how all of you--bloggers, sportswriters, ardent fans--do it. I consider myself a fairly upstanding American, and at least as invested in the National Basketball Association as the next man in the bread line. I can identify most players in the league by profile or first name, with the curious exception of each and every Milwaukee Bucks. Yet often, I find myself feeling like I'm slipping, like I've let down my life's work by missing that Arenas shot yesterday, like I should ignore my live-in companion for six hours every night. On average I see about one game per day, and still certain facts elude me. I had no idea that the Bucks were on a tear, or T.J. Ford a consistent scoring threat? Mo Williams. . .actually, it seems like it's only Bucks, present, former or future.

With that in mind, I wanted to discuss a few recent developments in the league, and what they mean to my narrow worldview. Firstly, the search-and-destroy Grizzlies. More power to any team scoring 140 per contest. And praise due to anything that jumpstarts Rudy Gay's ascension. I can't help but wonder, though, if this doesn't go back to my complaints about the Raptors' grand running plans this summer. Is running inherently awesome, or simply a means of facilitating inherent awesomeness in a player or roster? I happen to think that Gay and the now-demoted Warrick are tremendous possibilities, and the Recluse's ineffable belief in Gasol has me convinced to view him favorably. But these other cats. . .Mike Miller? Chucky Atkins? Stro Swift, another AI-like example of FreeDarko gone horribly awry? I hesitate to hang my saddle upon that pew's greasy ledge.

Contrast this sharply with the Warriors, who when healthy are a marvel because they have insane personel and then loose them like no other staff could. Even the Suns can't mess with their level of unhinged brio, since that Nash fellow is the sub rosa order-bringer of the entire Phoenix operation. Monta Ellis would likely be of interest anywhere he went, but given this shot at GSW means we're being given a Barbosa-like benediction (no irony of succession). The Baron erases all worries of the slop he's given us these last few, and J-Rich/Pietrus become vibrant finishers, not stunted creators (GERALD WALLACE PAY CLOSE ATTENTION). So while I applaud the urge to run, and will no doubt find some solace in teams putting up points, they're only as transcendent as their personel are suited to that style. Like it's a ncessity, not a tactical decision. The real question is whether the Celtics' inability to run makes them more or less intriguing than a bland Grizzlies team that does so.

All of this remind me of a certain Gilbert Arenas quote, culled recently from Dan Steinberg's latest audience with his Devil-Footedness:

You know, that's the only thing I don't like about drafts, is a thing that's called "potential." What is "potential?" Are you potentially good, or are you gonna potentially be good?... I focused on it more when it was my draft, and it's like this "potential" word. It's like, what is it? Either you're good or you're not, either you have heart or you don't. You can't give someone a heart.

What Gil said that day was riddled with so many inconsistencies and contradictions that I got uneasy, so I wouldn't be shocked if this were nonsense. But what if we suppose for a second that there's something here. That there's a difference between having potential and it mattering that you have potential. You can make a team run, but that's different from having a running team on your hands. And you could theoretically have a running team right in front of you and yet waste them on half-court sets. Such is the mystery of destiny--it defies us to defy it.

I need to stop writing these things at work. Some Arenas thoughts coming in the darker hours.


At 1/04/2007 3:48 PM, Blogger whitefolks said...

Your analysis of the Grizz overall is short-sighted considering the efforts this year by Mike Miller. His game is best suited to be the second scorer on any team in the league and actually would serve a team like the Suns as the best case version of a Tim Thomas from last year's run.

Take the Grizz, subtract their injuries from this year, swap Mike Fratello to add Nellie and tell me which would be the better team. Memphis has a really interesting potential starting five that could give serious fits to teams like the Jazz and Mavs at most positions.

Also, there has been a recent trend from analysts heaping praise on Miller for having the best overall shot in the NBA from a mechanics perspective. He won rookie of the year (in an astoundingly shallow draft) and realistically could have helped the Magic a whole lot more in the last couple of seasons.

Grizz 07/08 potential lineup:



At 1/04/2007 3:53 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

wf, saying that mike miller could be like tim thomas isn't exactly cause for celebration. and i never found last year's suns all that captivating.

At 1/04/2007 4:30 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

The Griz should have had Oden locked up. I've made a ton of money this season betting against the Griz, and believe me, the name of the game in Memphis is still Get Greg. Except Philly seems to have jumped into the favorite spot, especially since, as Simmons put it, it looks like the Commish owes them a favor.

Still, next year's lineup will surely including a top-3 player, possibly the big Chinese guy (Yao II).

I don't believe in the 144 point outbursts continuing. It wasn't like the Warriors were playing tight defense or anything, and high output against the Yao-less Rockets and the Raptors does not make them Showtime yet...

WV: aeoia: Where the fuck is U?

At 1/04/2007 4:47 PM, Anonymous youshoottoomuch said...

This whole Greg Oden is going to be the 2007 #1 ish needs to stop. I can't link to any articles but, I lived in Indianapolis for all four years of Odenmania and the prevailing sentiment coming from both him and his coaches was that he would stay at least 2 but probably all 4 years. People seem to think the 1 year in college rule applies to every freshman that is any good. If OJ Mayo can remain eligible/finish high school, I don't see Oden/Conley Jr./Cook leaving OSU before next year.

At 1/04/2007 5:06 PM, Blogger T. said...

sml - I've seen Yi Jianlian play quite a few times (both with the National Team and with his club team in Guangdong).

I don't think he's that good. I mean I think he'll probably be able to make the NBA and be a slight contributor (10ppg? 4rpg?) But really, there's Yao and there's everyone else in Chinese hoops.

He's overrated as a top-10 pick. I would like him at 15-25 though.

At 1/04/2007 5:45 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

the oden thing is weird. my initial thought is to do what everyone else is doing and ignore what he says in interviews. lebron even talked about going to college for a while. the kid is guaranteed the number one spot and mad amounts of endorsement scrilla (although i wonder about his ceiling there, he's supposed to be a nice, intelligent guy, but so far, i haven't seen much charisma).

but, what if he does stay in college for another year or for all four years? he's a tim duncan lover, so you never know. it'd be interesting to see the media reaction. the growing consensus seems to be that it's foolish to stay in college and risk injury if you can be a guaranteed millionaire, but i'm sure there are those that would metaphorically fellate a surefire #1 pick for being so committed to education and the life lessons four years of college provides. not that the college experience of a 7-foot hoops prodigy is anything like what any of us went through chasing that degree.

At 1/04/2007 6:01 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

T. - I haven't seen Ji, so I don't know jack. Of the three articles I read (including a small Yahoo one), he seemed to be regarded as a good lottery prospect, and I guess I just assumed he would be hyped up into a top-3 spot. Thanks for setting me straight.

If Oden stuck around for another year, I think the press would do what it always does - back whatever side it serves. The college press (i.e. Dick Vitale) would commend Oden for being a role model, while the pro hoops analysts would consider it a foolish decision. If I had to bet, though, I would put my money on him applying for the draft. The only way I see him sticking around if it OSU loses in the Final Four, and he wants to come back to get the championship. But victory or defeat without hope = #1 pick. Too much $ to pass up.

At 1/04/2007 6:42 PM, Blogger T. said...

Well, he might very well be a top-3 pick. (After Oden and Durant) - but my personal opinion, he's not worth a top 10 pick.

At 1/04/2007 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i haven't seen much charisma

It doesn't help that he looks exactly like Robert Parish. That is Robert Parish right now.

I'm completely sold on Oden as a fabulous pro, however. And completely sold that Joak Noah will be a colossal bust.

At 1/04/2007 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word on the Noah sentiment. He is a pansy.

Going back to the Griz next year. What is the deal with Kyle Lowry. In limited minutes early in the year, he was great. Hustling, rebounding, and getting to the foul line. Why is he buried on the bench right now? I know he was hurt. Anyone know the scoop.

He was the player I watched closely in last years draft. He's going to be special. Too much heart not to be.

At 1/04/2007 11:10 PM, Anonymous MaxwellDemon said...

Pooh--massive Word! on the equation "young" Oden = current Parish. Teens should not have gravitas.

A propos of nothing except total bullshit, the SAG nominees were announced today and Wire was excluded from Best Ensemble--Drama. I would equate that precisely to leaving Dirk off the list of Best Current NBA Players--German.

At 1/04/2007 11:52 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

The more I read this blog, the more I think the ultimate "FD" team was the 1993-1996 Sonics, who had more style than anyone else in the league at the time, more contradictions than anyone else in the league at the time, were more entertaining to watch than anyone else in the league at the time, and had more talent than anyone else in the league, except for MJ's Bulls. I've never elsewhere seen fans look forward to their team's defensive possessions when it was not a matter of physical, "bruising" defense a la late-90s Knicks or early 90s Pistons. More than Kemp dunks or Perkins threes, those fans would go nuts for frantic trapping D thrown up by Payton at his frenetic best, Kendall Gill (always loved and hated in equal measures), and Nate MacMillan (strange to see how he was morphed into squishy, loveable father-figure after his career on court was all body-up steals and borderline reach-in fouls), followed by fast break after fast break, as often as not ending in an impossible Kemp dunk.

But I await your thoughts on Arenas. I know I am not the only one that feels a force-of-nature kind of player brewing and ready to pop, ready to make the impossibly smooth Duncan, the questionable-jumper Iverson, and the flat-out unlikeable Kobe, look like 'Nique and James Worthy did next to MJ: awesome in their own right but pale in comparison. He feels like a once-in-a-lifetime-r. No?

At 1/04/2007 11:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a fellow Indianapolis dweller and know I few people who had classes and things with Oden in high school. I fully expect him to return for at least another year of college.

At 1/04/2007 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Offense to anyone who likes college ball.... but fuck the NCAA. If Oden stays an extra year that's cool but I'm not going to get excited about having someone billed as the nba's next great center, spending his time dunking on every small town's best immobile 6'9 kid.

At 1/05/2007 12:58 AM, Anonymous Ten Foot Tiger said...

Re: Kyle Lowry -- he broke his wrist and is expected to be out for the rest of the season.

Re: Mike Miller -- right now he's shooting at an other-worldly clip, having made 7 or more 3-pointers in three consecutive games - first time that's been done in over 10 years. He's a perfect fit for this free-wheelin' offense and is what Joe Johnson or Ray Allen would have been if they'd gone to Cleveland, instead of what Larry "can't shoot a lick" Hughes has been as the sidekick to LeBron.

If you listen to interim coach Tony Barone's interview on www.cvernon.com, you'll see that he's interested in winning -- there is no tank and hope for Oden plan in the mix.

At 1/05/2007 10:20 AM, Anonymous Eeeee said...

Oh, I can relate. Don't feel so bad for missing certain facts, once I resume a career I'm going to be the blogger at the tail end of the field in terms of being up to date..


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