3.30.2007

Peace At Last



Note: This is sort of a response to that Simmons post. It was also written in twenty minutes on my last day at this job, so sorry if it's a little rushed or completely off.

Hey, anyone see that Warriors/Suns game last night? The one where Reggie Miller claimed that Barbosa was too fast for his own good? Where J-Rich exposed his potential to be the sub-Wade (in terms of FreeDarko hate speech)?

I have to say, the whole game was hovered over for me by Nash's recent admission that the Suns are basically done for now. Not I think a team could ever not try when their style is based on freewheeling telepathy and hyperkinetic self-stimulation. But when the starters went to the bench—or hell, when the Suns seemed ill-inclined to prove anything by staging a mammoth run of their own—I couldn't help but feel the shrivel. I know that Barbosa zapped them back into things, and I thank him for it, but isn't the Suns credo that they play team ball like a hot-rod individual? This is the hook missed by every single bad Voltron comparison made in the last decade. . . and why if the Suns were jazz, they would be a kind no one likes to listen to for long.

But the real treat was seeing the plosive Warriors truly shattering their old masks. I know that some might have been them attaining a Suns-like fluidity, especially with that bazonkers small line-up. Really though, that was the first time that team has ever seemed to have any hierarchy, which is the mark of normalcy in the NBA. Not along the lines of traditional labor distribution, but instead an understanding of how important everyone is in the grand scheme of the sport—and, correlatively, how large they loom on the team.



It's no secret that Ellis and Biedrins are the future. What's striking is how willing to accept this the tempestuous, star-ish vets seem. Davis, who is more like a chunky Billups than a more complex Marbury, doesn't force his significance. There have been some rumblings from Richardson, and yet you didn't see him trying to turn that first quarter into a career night. And Al Harrington has turned into, well, an effective scorer who wants no more or less with his life. Maybe the Warriors' style allows them to slake their egos while buying into a program, but it's shocking how much so many supposedly me-first pricks have been willing to get in where they fit in.

Surely, though, the most startling pilgrim is that one called Stephen Jackson, a.k.a. the league's real poster child for bad behavior. No one seems to care, or maybe they just don't remember, that he stuck in the league because he won a title for the Spurs when no one else would/could. This isn't an attempt to redeem or excuse all he's done (or been through, if you prefer that formulation). Instead, I'm mawkishly suggesting that there is a place after death for this kind of player. Jackson showed in the beginning he could tame himself and accept the bigger picture; now with the Warriors, he's that hungry kid transmuted into a bad-ass vet. He'll drop 30, sure, but he's not freaking out if he's not.



I am sure that some of you who watch the Warriors every single night will dispute most of these claims. I believe, however, that the emergence of Monta alone attests to the maturity of the club. He's more aggressive than Barbosa's ever been, and no one seems the least bit averse to it on the floor. I know Richardson's been losing minutes to him, but last night showed that coexistence is possible. The real importance of this post is actually to point out that there is a future for this generation. I once mused about how entertaining it would be to see old Zach Randolph or Eddy Curry interviewed on television. What I missed was that necessary step between now and then, when, inevitably, some kind of mellowing with age has to occur. It's more unlikely that a rebellious athlete will cool down some than it is that he'll continue to rage, unchanged, till his dying day.

15 Comments:

At 3/30/2007 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: No need to apologize for the post. It was up to par. Good luck with the new job.
Saw only the first half,second half did not comne on until almost midnight EDST.

It was, of course, a blast. Almost glad I left it at that point. Thought the Suns were going to win even when they were down more the 20 in the first half. (Sports Illustrated recently did the jazz anology thing in a piece on Bryant and the Lakers going to New Orleans. The Freedarkos would like the article's somewht frank comments and quotes about the relative merits of Vegas and New Orleans as All Star game sites.)

 
At 3/30/2007 11:43 AM, Blogger Rashard Lewis said...

"What's striking is how little the tempestuous, star-ish vets seems willing to accept this."

I'm sorry, i'm just a little confused, but did you mean something like "whats striking is how willing the tempestuous, star-ish vets are to accept this" or something like this? The rest of the column seems like you are praising Baron and co. for accepting it, but this sentence says the opposite to me...or maybe I'm an idiot.

 
At 3/30/2007 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

109 in 3 quarters - amazing! But then just 15 in the fourth? I noticed that the warriors have no ability to play half court offense of any kind. The suns got outplayed at their own game...again. So what does this mean for the suns?

Monta Ellis is the shit. He doesn't get enough on that squad.

Every 3 that Richardson knocked down was just another nail in Jason's coffin. Don't know why, I was just feeling that. He'll never be a starter in the league after this year. If he accepts it, he could be like stackhouse, if not...

Brian

 
At 3/30/2007 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoa...Jason Richardson will never be a starter again in this league?????? are u crazy???? the guy has been battling knee injuries but he's still just as athletic as most of the NBA....just because adds a jumpshot to his game doesn't mean he is relegated to the bench....the suns are one team the Warriors can match up well against because Ellis can guard Nash and Baron can check Raja...jrich is far from done

 
At 3/30/2007 12:23 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

shard--

yeah, that was a typo.

richardson/stackhouse is not so far from perfect. . .

 
At 3/30/2007 1:27 PM, Blogger Joey said...

Monta has become one of my favorite players this season.

 
At 3/30/2007 2:52 PM, Blogger Babydaddy said...

I both thank and curse you for linking to the Simmons post. He was already On Notice a while back for saying the 80's Celtics & Lakers were the last "dominant" NBA teams (on behalf of the Bulls, 00-02 Lakers, and even the Duncan Spurs, fuck you, white meat). Now he's Dead To Me for bemoaning the *lack* of frustration violence in Boston. Like Carmelo's suspension was such a boon to the Nuggets. Ass.

 
At 3/30/2007 4:00 PM, Anonymous fix_the_knicks said...

I almost never check the standings, but I came across this nugget today: the Warriors at 26-11 at home, and 8-28 on the road. That is absolutely ludicrous. Have you ever seen anything like that, in any sport? Are their fans that good? Are they afraid of flying? It's like they're bringing a different team for road games. Can someone explain this?

Anyway, from that perspective, the Suns were actually underdogs, since they're only 24-11 on the road.

 
At 3/30/2007 4:37 PM, Anonymous Iverson fan said...

Every year I hear about how the Warriors are finally gonna do some damage. Every year they fail. Nellie sucks. The fact that him and Lenny Wilkens keep getting coaching jobs is a disgrace. The Warriors play no D. They are a SLAM team like Simmons talks about. As far as Mayo goes, he seems like he might be the next Telfair. I hope I'm wrong.

 
At 3/30/2007 5:00 PM, Blogger Phillip said...

How bout' the 2-time getting abused in the post repeatedly by Matthew Barnes and everybody else.

G-State was just beast-ing him like their kid brother on driveway.

 
At 3/30/2007 5:51 PM, Anonymous Ronnie Friday said...

Why does Simmons sound like a stuffy high school kid on Ford's podcast?

 
At 3/30/2007 7:34 PM, Anonymous paper tiger said...

i'd forgotten how much i like to watch baron davis. this game got me so riled up that when i saw a fan wearing a yellow "the city" logo hoodie, the glee and the libations mingled and within four minutes i had found and ordered one online. like i've got any money. the internet, dangerous and amazing. when it comes, i don't know how i'll not write biedrins on the back.

 
At 3/30/2007 7:41 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

All I'd like to say is that I had Biedrins as the starting 5 on my Live 06 dynasty... he was the cornerstone of the five championships I won on that game before I got bored of it. Can I say I saw his potential before anyone else? No? Ok.

 
At 3/30/2007 7:50 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Nellie is great - a clever player's coach with a proven mastery of offense. His only problem is that he'd rather be in Maui than coaching.

 
At 3/30/2007 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a Warrior fan is rough, but watching that game made this season for me. I can't decide if my favorite part was when Biedrins tea bagged Nash, or when the latter got a T for throwing a tantrum.

MVPs should win games, not watch from the bench as backups make it close.

 

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