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.