Fuschia Maze Alert

Attention. We are on the verge of a lost NBA season--One of those seasons that comes along every six years or so, when you look back and say, "Oh weird, remember that one season when Mehmet Okur and Caron Butler were all-stars?" Such is the fate of the nation's third sport--baseball is Grey's Anatomy, football is the news. Not only must the NBA wait each year until the Superbowl is over, for its season to officially "begin," but this year's NFL postseason was so plot-driven, so captivating in bringing us the rise and fall of Rex, Peyton, Lovie, Tony, Brady, Marty, Eli, LDT, Bellichek, and the Saints, that it nearly swallowed the NBA whole. What's more, the NBA has had to compete with a college basketball season that has brought two of the brightest coexisting stars in decades and a infinitely intriguing WIDE OPEN pool of interchangeable #1-seed teams. When March comes, this whirring of activity will zenith. I fear for The Association.

All of this while ESPN pimps Auto Racing "scandal" and Daytona500 flashback segments in hopes of drawing viewership to their new NASCAR Now joint, and Dice-K's spring training drills are getting more airtime than McGrady/Dirk showdowns. Perhaps The Lig only has itself to blame. Among the elements contributing to this year's stumble are:

--Key injuries to Key players. Shaq, Nash, AI, Odom, and most underratedly, Yao. Yao's dominance could have been the single biggest story of The Association this year. More on this in a bit.

--a TERRIBLE TERRIBLE rookie class. I'm not asking for Bron/Melo/Bosh/Wade/Howard. All I'm asking is for a little excitement, a little promise, a smile. You know, something along the lines of Vlad-Rad, Joe Johnson, Tyson Chandler, Diop, Troubled Griffin, J-Rich. At least that was a class we could argue about. With the 2006-07 class, I am just hoping that Brandon Roy will ever be able to play 75 games in a season and that Randy Foye doesn't turn out to be the next William Avery.

--No surprise teams. Don't say a word about Utah. They are simply finally performing up to expectations. Also, any team doing well in the East is doing well by default.

--No surprise free agent explosions.

--The Iverson deal falling flat on its face. There are too many sad things about this to mention. Iverson dying a baby blue death. Iverson proving nobody wrong. The 76ers getting actually slightly better and messing up their draft plans. The ever-so-slight stunting of Melo's development.

--LeBron's incapacity to become THE FACE. Shoals places blame on Bron's coach and his shitty teammates, I blame it on regression to the mean, and his own lack of originality. Give him time and he may figure out how to dominate from the in-dominitable point-forward position. However, the year should have been his.

Etcetera. All of this is not to say that the league has been disappointment or that the NBA has lost something this year. All-star weekend reminded us, as Shoals recently pointed out, of the league's style and humor. To reiterate, this is more of a concern over an ever-churning industry of character and savantism being swept under the rug. The purpose of this call to arms is also to state that all is not yet lost, and I have provided below, a short list of THINGS THAT HAVE TO HAPPEN, so that this season can emerge as a proud contribution to history as well as to the future.

--America must get behind the Raptors. Although behind FD's closed doors, Shoals has bestowed this title to the Suns, as far as I'm concerned, the Raptors are our Saints. Don't forget that just two years ago, Sam Mitchell was ready to scrap with Vince Carter in the Raps' locker room. This is the last guy in the league that should have a job, especially given the regime change in the front office, but the guy who used to dance to Betty Wright's "Tonight is the Night" in the T-Wolves lockerroom has prevailed. Then there is the wonder that is Chris Bosh, seething silently every time he hears Josh Howard's name get bigged up. Bosh is taking his time, learning the lessons of KG before him, and has pound-for-pound become the single most exciting player to watch this season. Seriously, watch him. Of course none of this would be possible without TJ Ford, who is playing like JAMEER NELSON WAS SUPPOSED TO PLAY. Give me my meat-and-potatoes drive-and-dish team. Bargnani's passing skills are heaven-sent, and Anthony Parker is good. Plus, they have Darrick Martin. The Raptors are the team for all of those whose favorite squad's are not in the playoff hunt. Embrace them.

--The Suns must win the whole thing. If not, they are the Chargers, the Mets, Tom Cruise, whoever. As much as we bolster style on Freedarko, we cannot sustain ourselves on a diet of all sugar and no meat. Watching the All-star game this past Sunday made me realize one all-important fact. If the Suns had signed Kobe Bryant instead of Steve Nash during that fateful summer, they would have won a championship already. The Suns, as they stand now, have no dawg in them. And despite Bill Simmons' bright observation that Nash has a badder attitude (bad meaning good) this year than ever before and despite year-ago acquisitions Kurt Thomas and Raja Bell supposedly standing as indicators of the Suns' push toward toughness, they still seem a little too thrilled with themselves, a little too light. If the Suns do not prevail, then we should feel like we wasted a season of our lives pretending to usher in some wind of change.

--Yao Ming must play deep into the playoffs. I am not wholly sure if Shaq injuries have the same impact they used to, where the entire league breathes easier for a few weeks, and nobody is looking over their shoulder. With Yao out, however, there has been NOBODY to keep the league honest. Over the past year and a half, we've been tricked into thinking the league has gotten quicker, smaller, more stealth, more compact. Tweeners are playing center, and Ervin Johnson can't get a ten-day contract. Forget the fact that until proven otherwise, smallball simply does not work in the playoffs (I will spare you my usual Duncan/Shaq/DetroitBigs won the last million championships & even the Mavs needed Diop & Damp last year rant). Yao is all we have left. I'm not trying to see Josh McRoberts do battle with Bogut in the post next year.

--The Bulls must acquire Pau Gasol. The Bulls are the most sullen team in the NBA, and are in need of a spark. This spark could very well come in the form of good old-fashioned low post scoring. What's more, I have never seen a team with so much young promise/energy appear so dour and dismal. Tyrus Thomas scoffs at opportunity. Hinrich, Deng, and Gordon all feel they have been snubbed from the all-star squad. Nocioni has no friends. And this cheerlessness starts at the top, with the perpetually frowning Scott Skiles and his would-be team captain, Ben Wallace, still searching for himself. Gasol would at least add some color to the Bulls' game, and restore some glimmer to what, as of now, looks like a bunch of pouty children who would rather slouch amongst themselves than pursue their dreams.

The league itself is Free Darko. Its potential is limitless, and we can move it forward.


At 2/20/2007 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was with you until this:
"The Suns must win the whole thing."
I see FD style means no defense/all flash championship is the way to go.
And I say a pox on thee!

At 2/20/2007 9:36 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

basically i'm just sick of cheering for a team all season, only to see that they aren't built for the PO's.

At 2/20/2007 9:37 AM, Blogger whitefolks said...

Until the Bulls have a change at head coach, they will continue to be dour and unpleasant to watch. So much talen, so little purpose.

They win in the exact same fashion that they lose.

Agreed on the timeframe for the league's yearly emergence. It almost feels like the All Star Game is the national kickoff to the season and is almost instantly eclipsed by the NCAA Tournament. I've heard many times that the NBA isn't worth watching till the playoffs. It seems like the current schedule setup is going to force this to happen indefinitely.

At 2/20/2007 10:46 AM, Blogger The Feed said...

The fact that the Bulls won't fathom trading some combination of Nocioni, Hinrich, Gordon and Deng for Gasol is everything that's wrong with this NBA season. Why be content to be a medium sized fish in a small pond? I don't know how much color Gasol would add to a team that still employs the drab Scott Skiles on the bench but it would provide, at the least, the illusion of a brighter tomorrow.

At 2/20/2007 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This season's weaknesses -- compelling NCAA hoops & the worst rookie class in decades -- are consequences of the Stern's age limit. This year should be the worst though since all the freshmen who couldn't leap outta high school can go pro next year, etc.

At 2/20/2007 10:56 AM, Anonymous Josh said...

"If the Suns had signed Kobe Bryant instead of Steve Nash during that fateful summer, they would have won a championship already."

Not buying this. I think you're reading a little too much into a single half-assed exhibition game. I don't see Mamba and Matrix co-existing over the course of an entire season. Plus, Kobe only just learned to become a facilitator this year.

At 2/20/2007 11:06 AM, Blogger T. said...

cosigning on Yao.


TMac, Luther Head, Chuck Hayes, JVG, Deke, Juwan Howard, Billy Spanoulis, Steve Novak, Kirk Synder, Bonzi, Skip to my Lou, JL3, Shane Battier, Caroll Dawson and Jake Tsakalidas.

Sidenote - Shane Battier might be the least FD player in the league (all right way playing, grit and no sembalance of style - but he's a joy to watch)

At 2/20/2007 11:10 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i'm afraid battier is becoming one of those players that i absolutely despised when they were in college, but whom i kind of like in the nba. mark madsen is another. they were so lionized in college for being right way players, it made me sick, but their limitations are so exposed in the nba, no one would ever say they can legitimately be on the same level as a lebron or even an arenas. it allows me to appreciate them for playing within themselves and doing the little things.

At 2/20/2007 11:27 AM, Blogger Pacifist Viking said...

The Mavericks must win the title to redeem the last TWO seasons. If the Mavs win the title, then last season becomes not about Wade and officiating--last season becomes the Mavs' learning moment, the almost-there-moment, the step along the narrative toward eventual greatness. It is the moment they came up short just before taking over, like the face in a wrestling match getting beat around mercilessly before finding his momentum. If the Mavs win this year, they can become the story of the previous two years.

At 2/20/2007 11:57 AM, Blogger Gladhands said...

National television coverage is killing the Association. ABC airs, what...two, three games a year? How many different teams have their games televised on TNT? I consider myselt a fan, and yet I haven't seen the majority of my favorite players in action this season.

The most heavily marketed stars in the league are also its least charismatic. I fear that Stern's attempt to give the lig a more red-state-friendly image has actually backfired. With the exteption of Arenas, whom the blogosphere forced the NBA to move to the forefront, the NBA makes it a point to present smiling voids as the the league's poster-children.

wv baxpkfer: run up on Lonnie's whip at your own risk.

At 2/20/2007 11:58 AM, Anonymous lightninghank said...

Nice to see some Raptors love, as a long-suffering fan I'm still reluctant to believe. But it's so much fun, and it's only when seeing how much happier Bosh is this year that you realize just how sick of the losing he was. There's a swag that's emerged in him that I couldn't have imagined even a year ago.

But the true "everything that's great about this team" thing is not TJ alone, but the PG duo of Ford & Calderon. First, the selflesness - both are top 25 PGs in this league content to share the 48 available minutes between them. As a result it's the contrast in styles that makes them such a handful for opposing teams. Jose is the ultimate Euro/pass-first PG, always playing in control, making sure everybody gets their shots, and blazing to the hoop for a layup when the defence presents the opportunity. TJ is the headstrong buzzsaw, sometimes a little too reckless but loaded with Iversonesque grit. Together they've been combining for 20-20s on a shockingly frequent basis, and... damn, this is the most fun I've had as a Raps fan since that EC semi. I'm not saying we're as downtrodden as the Clips had been prior to last season but I think we deserve this.

And for anyone out there who thinks, "first in the worst division ever, big deal"... wait. The (still highly respectable) W-L record for the season is in no way an indication of how good this team has been over the last two months, and yes, two months is long enough to make a real trend. (Don't mean to sound defensive, but this is the "I'm afraid to actually believe it/Damn right they're for real" mindset of a fan for a lousy team that's turning it around.)

At 2/20/2007 12:00 PM, Anonymous lightninghank said...

Wow, smiling voids - that sums up my feelings about Dwayne beautifully. Nice, gladhands.

At 2/20/2007 12:26 PM, Blogger J.E. said...

lightninghank's already there, but "Raps talk, Raps talk, Raps talk. . ."

- I wept tears of joy seeing CB sitting beside KG at the Rook game on Friday night.

-- Parker is actually better than good. He’s a solid defender, never makes mistakes and always seems to hit a big three in the corner when the opposition pulls within two or three. It’s amazing how much veteran experience a “rookie” can bring to the table.

- I threw this name (slightly in jest) at Shoals while considering out-skirt All-Stars a few weeks ago, but Jose Calderon has played ridiculously well this season. TJ’s been good; Jose’s been great. Note to self: Next time I’m feeling blue, win a World Championship.

At 2/20/2007 1:15 PM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

just a thought, but what about viewing the nba as a field that benefits from being occasionally left fallow, or even a forest that naturally needs a periodic fire? in that sense, what's to be gained from a "lost year" such as this one? perhaps, in the face of the heat's accepted status, it's merely the best year ever to craft understandings of why the regular season DOES matter (see: shoals and the big purchase/small purchase affair). the league gives us lemons, we say dead it, these are oranges.

At 2/20/2007 1:26 PM, Blogger m.o. said...

I see Mamba and Marion co-existing, but not on the suns. If Robert Sarver makes the worst move in Franchise history (trading the Matrix...I don't care for who...would be ruinous), well, let's just imagine he goes to the lakers.

Marion would shine there, providing toughness, athleticism, defense, rebounding, and a Pippen-esque willingness to cover Kobe's blindspots (like he does for the ENTIRE SUNS TEAM). I think the thing that makes Marion one of the fifteen or so best players in the league is his ability to adapt his game to whatever style of play is required.

Kobe on the Suns, on the otherhand, would be ruinous. Can you see D'antoni coaching Kobe for more than a game? I can't. That team works so well because of the synergy between star player and coach, the trust between them--the fact that on some level, Mike D'antoni and Steve Nash are the same person. They approach the game the same way. Kobe doesn't fall into that camp, and if he went there, the suns, as we know them, would not exist.

Also, I think it's too early to count out AI. When he's on the court with Melo, they can play with anyone in the league. Factor in the following things: AI having to shoulder the team while Melo was suspended, Steve Blake learning how to play point guard in the NBA, Marcus Camby's yearly injury, NENE working the fat off and learning how to dunk again, JR Smith slowly learning that he's not as good as he thinks he is, and AI's ankle sprain, and you have a team that's never really been given a chance to play up to their full potential. I'm not saying they will ever reach that potential, but if they do, if Melo and AI click, they have the potential to be a team you'd never want to face in a playoff series.

At 2/20/2007 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a pasta of stars?!


At 2/20/2007 4:13 PM, Blogger Genius wig said...

Move Artest to New York. Jumpstart the league with a jolt of defense to a major market team that needs the talent on that end of the court.

At 2/20/2007 4:28 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Did the All-Star game show that the league has style and humor, or that TNT has style and humor? If the All-Star game was left to ESPN/ABC we would be suffering under the yoke of Tim Legler.

I'm not sure if this goes against the Free Darko aesthetic, but the league should promote the best teams, not just the best players. Does anyone enjoy watching the Cavs play every national game? Of course not, the Cavs are horrible and this force-feeding now makes me despise Lebron.

At 2/20/2007 5:11 PM, Anonymous danny said...

DLIC's comments remind me of the political activist entering the justification phase of their life as they conform to values they'd previously considered unthinkable. Trying to rationalise one's own feelings of flatness at this time of the season in terms of the L's relationship with baseball and football is the beginning of the end.

What makes the NBA strong is its sense of self-determination, and from that strength it refuses to conform to the patriotic insularity of baseball/football, taking on a pluralist and cosmopolitan identity which is never going to win widespread favour. In fact, a contraction of the game from the public spotlight might overall be a good thing for the real fan, an opportunity to refocus on the reality of the cultural and aesthetic conflicts that constitute the game and which FD chronicle so well.

The L should aim to become Chappelle's Show - out of prime time but destroying everyone on DVD sales. The storylines might be unpalatable or too subtle for the mainstream, but it's the strength of the tradition that makes the game what it is. In many respects, I think that Jordan didn't so much save the league as paved the way for the sold-out veneer that it so often presents.

At 2/20/2007 7:11 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

Josh said...

"If the Suns had signed Kobe Bryant instead of Steve Nash during that fateful summer, they would have won a championship already."

Not buying this. I think you're reading a little too much into a single half-assed exhibition game. I don't see Mamba and Matrix co-existing over the course of an entire season. Plus, Kobe only just learned to become a facilitator this year.

That's pure nonsense. So much of Kobe is misunderstood because he's so long been viewed by the public through Shaq's skewed lens. Kobe was the Lakers' facilitator for the three title years with Shaquille, but he became less willing to do it as time went on, and really it's not hard to see why. If you were a player as talented and driven as he was, would you continually want to simply play facilitator to a big, lazy guy?

Give Kobe teammates who are willing to work and who can hit open shots and he's always been more than willing to pass them the ball and set them up for incredibly easy baskets. He's just been saddled with teammates like Shaq (who would come into camp out of shape and complain if he wasn't the default epicenter of every offensive possession) or more recently with guys like Smush Parker and players of that ilk.

If Kobe had been with the Suns instead of Nash; Amare, Marion et al would have been getting just as many easy looks (albeit different looks), and indeed would have gone much farther in the playoffs.

At 2/21/2007 4:47 AM, Blogger Kyle said...

charles barkley and the ability and freedom he gets to say on tnt whatever he wants ( thanks in no small part to ernie johnson's impeccable hosting skills and ability to play the straight man to charles no matter what, thereby defusing any future backlash ) is solely responsible for the "humor" and "style" of the all star game that people have been so quick to associate with the whole NBA. without chuck and old man bavetta racing, all there would have been on saturday were a lame comp to get wnba players some shine, a skills comp where none of the players seemed to care except at the very end, a slightly exciting 3 point contest ( only for arenas), and a slam dunk contest where the best dunk of the night got jobbed bc of a distinct LACK of humor and sense of style from some of the lig's greatest players. stern should thank his lucky stars that chuck shot his mouth.

At 2/22/2007 7:18 AM, Anonymous jake said...

As a Bulls fan I must say this; fuck trading for Pau Gasol. If the deal was Duhon, Noc and TT plus expiring role player contracts I'd say great. However Memphis understandably wants Deng or Gordon. My answer to that is no, no, no, a thousand times no. Honestly I'd just say consequences be damned and go after KG hard in the offseason for a title run next year, but that's just me.

FD has some of the most intelligent basketball writing I've ever seen but the blurb about the Bulls was atypically shoddy. Noc has no friends? Really? How do you know Hinrich, Deng, and Gordon feel they were snubbed? No offense, Dr. LIC, but what the hell are you even talking about? The pursue their dreams line is particularly galling.

Excuse me, I'm going to go contemplate the frowning villain Skiles and his dastardly, dourless plan to force the friendless, pouting Bulls to play defense instead of importing overrated, slow, gawky Euros to add color to their lives.

At 2/22/2007 6:06 PM, Anonymous Sidney Moncrief said...

The achievement of potential is the exact opposite of this season's desired result. Potential is by nature exciting, dynamic, and (while in its infancy) limitless. When it is fulfilled, there is nearly always a sense of disappointment. L23 as the savior of the league? Spare me. The self-important living brand has realized his potential, and now is perhaps the least exciting player in the league to me (Based on the disparity between what could have been and the sad reality). Fuck potential, the real thing is never as good as wondering what could be.

At 6/20/2012 5:02 PM, Blogger mark b said...

Thanks for your great post.I like this very much,Black PC Dell Inspiron i560-5383NBK Desktop (Piano Black),jerseys with numbers,Pocket Watches,camera and photo,The best notebook,Graphic cards,price of a netbook,headphone earbud,the best backpacks,laptop bag and cases,MP3 Downloads,Finding a Ring,collar shirts for men,Batu Akik Kecubung,Calculator for graphing,Accounting software programs,Mouse cordless optical,Price for mp3 player,Glove Oven,smoothies blenders,Golf Bags,PC tablet prices,software for audio editing,commercial arbitration,short love poems and quote,car covercraft,healthy organic food,

At 6/20/2012 5:03 PM, Blogger mark b said...

this post is goodBusiness based at home,motorcycle,otomotif,lg cell phones,cell phone battery,walkie talkie talk,cheap dvd portable player,antenna for wifi,Asas Hukum,antenna for wifi,screen protector for monit,battery for a laptop,a leather wallet,android cell phone,prepaid cell phones,cell phone cases,Flash memori card,jenis Akik,solar lamps for garden,pump with filter,flip flops sandals,fragrance for men,women fragrances perfume,Movie this year,universal cell phone battery charger,


Post a Comment

<< Home