5.08.2007

No Band Is Not Angry



Over the last two days, some longtime FreeDarko associates have nominated the Jazz. Their contention is not an idle one: this Utah team is like when Parker/Ginobili infected the Spurs. Superficially, the attitude is vintage Sloan, but the mechanics are nothing short of positionally revolutionary. Of course, one could argue that the old Jazz way then permeates their feats at a deeper level—attitude being both affect and perspective. However, that requires all sorts of franchise essentialism, coach over body doctrine, and belief in the enduring mist of history. These things are best left to the Reggie Miller's (hacks) and Bill Walton's (snake handlers) of basketball discourse.

In fact, the first thing I wrote after the Rockets' loss had to do with the Jazz's numerous charms. The second I saw the press conference, I felt horrible about it and got back on orthodox FD track. I did, though, manage to inject some modest nods into a couple of recent posts, which I would link to if the whole thing weren't so obvious. Maybe the Jazz's swag is largely implied, and Derek Fisher a key part of their rotation. But really, what's the qualitative difference between Okur's dead-pan three's and Richardson's? Said Turk has got more bright fatalism in his stroke than Dirk does these days. Kirilenko is back to his Gerald Wallace-like fits of disruption. Deron Williams may not have Baron's elevation, even now, but his sturdy insistence is hardly the stuff of leaden ideology. And Boozer, I know he's most hated, but that game of his is like Zach Randolph with a tether.

Last week, I called them my favorite NBA foil. I didn't just not hate them, I actually respected them. At some point, that morphed into appreciation, which then gave way to warmth. I can safely say that, in this May of 2007, I might well rather watch the Jazz than the familiar, and possibly doomed, Phoenix Suns. From a strict basketball standpoint, they are positive matter, not shadow or void.



Alas, this last four days of Warriors and T-Mac related upheaval has brought out something important: basketball can be devastatingly human without losing sight of the game. The Warriors fascinate us so because their screwy style seems a reflection of their coach and players; more than mere tactics, this is the nexus of style/psychology at its most extreme. Similarly, McGrady's making the sorrow of losing into an existential dilemma both elevates and humilates sports-in-itself. I once called the Warriors a team based on '06-07 Amare; 'twas meant as a means of descibing the fine line between discipline and chaos, method and madness. But I think it also applies nicely to what that team means on a person-level: Stoudemire's not just a greatly improved basketball player, he's a young man who now dresses weird and write poetry about the majesty of black women.

In the end, we might be looking at two different means to the same end. The Jazz have all the hallmarks of a FreeDarko team, yet no one suspects that they've been driven to it by idiosyncrasy and tribulation. Theirs is a revolution of necessity, not prophecy. And while the former is often the more successful, it's the latter that leaves behind the best paintings.

36 Comments:

At 5/08/2007 3:25 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

And yet with each passing day it seems like a Spurs-Pistons Finals is inevitable. If Phoenix loses tonight, break out the brooms in San Antonio. Which would be more embarrassing: Nash accepting the MVP en route to a 2nd round sweep or Dirk accepting it at a press conference?

 
At 5/08/2007 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dirk. Thats just completely humiliating. At least the Suns ran into the eventual champs. Golden State probably won't get by the 5th seed.

 
At 5/08/2007 3:36 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

http://www.nowscape.com/mormon/images/Smith_Vision_spoof.jpg

 
At 5/08/2007 3:46 PM, Anonymous Josh said...

tres on point, Bethlehem.

I don't know, Okur just looks kind of like a dork. That probably shouldn't put me off, but it does.

Boozer, though - I've been nothing but impressed by his game since I saw him play the (sniff) soon-to-be-doomed Wizards in DC back at the end of March. I mean yeah, the Wiz defense was never ever good, but he laid 41 on 'em in 36 minutes like it weren't no thing. Against Houston and (in one game) Golden State too, he just looks so good putting up shots. Maybe his game is stat-driven, but at some point those stats exist because they indicate how strong a player is, right?

 
At 5/08/2007 4:00 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

What are the odds that Pop and Sloan make the "right way" adjustments and are able to slow down Phoenix and Golden State for Games 2 of those series? I think the Spurs could very well sweep this series (as I said, if they win tonight I think it's pretty much a done deal), but I am flummoxed that they were able to win playing the way they did in Game 1 and don't think they'll be able to win too often against the Suns playing that style. I think the Jazz give themselves a 50-50 shot of winning games against the Warriors playing uptempo, cause as Shoals said above they're clearly able to play that way; but clearly if the Jazz & Spurs can slow down the games then they'll give themselves a much better chance of winning.

 
At 5/08/2007 4:10 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

Who'd you rather have running your team: Chris Paul or Deron Williams?

 
At 5/08/2007 4:31 PM, Anonymous padraig said...

AK-47, certainly, and maybe even Deron Williams although he seems way too solid, consistent and unmercurial to have FD appeal. Beyond that...what are the appreciable differences between Boozer and the ever-hated TD? He's a little bit shorter and he shoots more midrange jumpers but that's about it. Okur is great at what he does but Euro bigs whose games are all finessee and 3s are not exactly unheard of these days. Derek Fisher is just too short and slow to be a starter and then there's a bench full of 'gritty', 'hard-nosed' interchangeables. Outside of Kirilenko I fail to see this intrinsic positional revolution. Of course being coached by Jerry Sloan doesn't help matters either. If you're going to hate the Skileses of the world I fail to see how you can fail to extend the feeling to one of the obvious progenitors of their style.

The essential difference between the Warriors and the Jazz can be boiled down to Matt Barnes, who by the way pleasantly surprised me with a (fairly) low number of jaw-droppingly crazy decisions last night. Can you see that dude flying on the Jazz for even 5 minutes? What would happen the first time he inevitably attempted an out of nowhere behind the back look on the break only to have the ball go sailing past a flabbergasted Okur, or jacked up a slew of wild 3s with no one in position to rebound? Sloan, if he hadn't keeled over from the potent shock/rage cocktail, would relegate him to the bench for like the next 700 yrs.

Don't get me wrong. The Jazz are hella good. But there's no confusing their inherent stability with the Warriors' once-in-a-lifetime, ludicrously volatile all or nothingness.

 
At 5/08/2007 4:57 PM, Anonymous kharrig1 said...

I think everyone needs to calm down a little bit with this sweep of the suns business. They lost a very close game and they did shoot terrible in the fourth quarter. They may lose, even though I think they hold on in 7 but they are not going to get swept. There has to be at least one game where they catch fire and probably another where Stern alerts the officals that we may have another SPurs Pistons finals, please keep the suns in as long as possible. It was just one game, lets not jump ship on this being a very good basketball series.

 
At 5/08/2007 4:59 PM, Anonymous kharrig1 said...

And one more thing, can Dee Brown's flashback to 2004 Big Ten play in front of his old coach Bruce Weber only be described as free darko?

 
At 5/08/2007 5:11 PM, Anonymous Ceth said...

does boozer's acne make him less aesthetically pleasing to anyone else? or is it just me?

 
At 5/08/2007 5:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a Mavericks fan and I'm amused as hell to hear people start to shit on the Suns. Are you fucking serious? It was one game, and not at all like, say, the Mavs game one vs. GSW.

It's their year, how can anybody even doubt at this point? You gotta be Mark-Jackson-level retarded.

 
At 5/08/2007 5:45 PM, Blogger DDD said...

If you're not a Jazz fan you're not only missing the most talented well-balanced team in the NBA, you're also missing out on some of the best unintentional comedy in modern American sports.

This team is so good they can overcome Sloan's completely inept coaching.

 
At 5/08/2007 6:16 PM, Anonymous Petey said...

Dead on stuff.

Shoals for Pope.

 
At 5/08/2007 6:55 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

For everyone saying "it's just one game" with the Suns-Spurs, even though technically that's correct, there's more to it than that, especially given the history of these two teams. The reality though is that in any series where the home team loses Game 1 if that same team goes on to lose Game 2 it really is headed for sweep territory. But in particular with the Suns and the Spurs, that's maybe even more true. Marc Stein's got a column over on ESPN about this very thing:

"The Suns have yet to win a single home playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs in the Steve Nash era, but they reached new depths Sunday. In the Game 1 loss that extended that dry spell to 0-4, Phoenix didn't manage a single slam (dunk), either."

D'Antoni's gonna change the starting lineup tonight and swap James Jones for Kurt Thomas, which really hurts the Suns efforts to speed everything up. While it's not over yet for the Suns, if they lose tonight then it technically is (barring a Tim Duncan injury or something of that ilk). If the Spurs can force the Suns to slow it down (and you would think if Phil Jackson could make Phoenix do it then Pop should be able to), this series is gonna be over quick.

 
At 5/08/2007 6:56 PM, Blogger BenQRock said...

DDD, I agree that the Jazz are balanced, but I'd argue that the Pistons are to an even greater degree.

Apropos of nothing, but did anyone see Tyrus Thomas last night? I only caught the highlights, but the box score looks nice. That's been the only bright spot for the Bulls in the series so far.

 
At 5/08/2007 7:00 PM, Anonymous eauhellzgnaw said...

Amare may be a more complete player now, but the fact that he lost some of his spring hurts the Suns more than his improved shooting and movement helps them.

In game 1, he missed about 10 close shots that would have been easy dunks 2 years ago, when he was getting his Shawn Kemp on. When he tore through the Spurs in that series, you could see that they, even Duncan, feared him. Now? Not so much.

 
At 5/08/2007 7:07 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

amare used to also be an offensive foul machine. he's figured out that you don't always need to dunk, and that sometimes not doing so is the smarter play. plus, his entire non-dunk game is premise on hangtime and room for adjustment, two things i don't usually associate with a decrease in leaping ability.

he's also now a much better rebounder and shot blocker, things he still relies largely on athleticism for.

 
At 5/08/2007 7:34 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

Call it essentialism if you must, but I don't think I can ever have warm feelings for--let alone be enchanted by--a Jazz team that's located in Utah, coached by Jerry Sloan, and owned by Larry Miller.

The current roster is trying as hard as it can, but it can't escape the cloud of those elements.

 
At 5/08/2007 7:47 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I just wish Jerry Sloan would stop with the pretense and just get rid of Kirilenko already. Send him to the Warriors or the Suns, any place where he's more important than Carlos Boozer.

I hate Boozer with a passion, not only because he's boring, but because he takes up minutes that AK could use. When the jazz went "small" ball with AK in for boozer, they were fun to watch. But every offensive board that Boozer gulped up, and every dreaded short hook he put in, were a victory for Jerry Sloan in his war against AK.

Put the crazy russian on a team that actually appreciates and maximizes his talents.

 
At 5/08/2007 7:50 PM, Anonymous Steve said...

Mr. Shoals, I've pored through Free Darko. I've printed out and read Free Darko at inappropriate times at my place of employment. Free Darko is a friend of mine. Mr. Shoals, the Utah Jazz are not Free Darko in any way, shape, or form. Matt Barnes's used tattoo needles have more Free Darko in them than the entire Jazz squad put together.

 
At 5/08/2007 8:21 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

The only difference between Okur and this site's namesake is that the former is actualized. I can see why some would find that threatening. Check out the news archives on memo13.com (in English) sometime when you have about 100 minutes. Perhaps I admire him because he looks like he just woke up from a bourbon binge. And his wife Yeliz? Holy shit!

 
At 5/08/2007 10:57 PM, Anonymous cw said...

Is anyone here old enough to remember the Showtime Lakers? They had positions, they took good shots, but they ran more than the current Suns and were fun as hell to watch. I think the physics of basketball is--over time--always going to favor teams with big guys who play close to the basket, play good defense, and pass the ball and take good shots. Unfortuantely for many FDer, that describes the Spurs.

 
At 5/08/2007 11:03 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

And yet Magic could arguably be considered a harbinger of the death of positionalism.

 
At 5/08/2007 11:20 PM, Anonymous Sourounis said...

Why is Magic "a harbinger of the death of positionalism" and not an oversized PG?

I think the positional revolution will never destruct the two basic positions in basket: either you are a post-up player or a face up. That's about it. It can not go beyond that point.I think.

 
At 5/08/2007 11:26 PM, Anonymous Sourounis said...

And of course you can be both a post and face-up player. But never anything beyond that. The revolution will be limited.

 
At 5/09/2007 12:22 AM, Anonymous eauhellzgnaw said...

BS,

You're absolutely right. And I acknowledge that Amare's a smarter, more efficient, better overall player.

There is something to be said, though, for the psychological advantage that being physically unstoppable has on teams.

When Shaq was Godzilla--after all of the quality centers had either retired or gotten old--facing him had to be demoralizing.

I think that the Suns, given their style of play, would benefit even more from this type of advantage.

 
At 5/09/2007 12:34 AM, Blogger Colonel D. Williams (Ret.) said...

The Jazz are about as much Free Darko as Ken Burns is Free Darko, as in none at all.

 
At 5/09/2007 1:01 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Wild Yams: Yeah, I don't know how the Suns are ever going to be able to hang with the Spurs. It's not like they could ever establish a double-digit lead late in a game or anything . . .

 
At 5/09/2007 1:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are the suns that good defensively or the spurs that bad offensively? I feel like the spurs are a mirage propped up by favorable officiating.

 
At 5/09/2007 2:53 AM, Blogger BenQRock said...

Kurt Thomas' D on Tim Duncan tonight was impressive. I hope he and the rest of the Suns are able to keep that defensive intensity up for the rest of he series.

Also, why the hell did Jalen Rose not get any burn tonight? There should be some sort of policy for D'Antoni: if Pat Burke and Marcus Banks enter the game, so must Jalen Rose. And Eric Piatkowski, for that matter.

 
At 5/09/2007 4:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Jazz really impressed me on Monday. Deron Williams was a true monster (bald spot notwithstanding) and Kirilenko played with as much confidence as I've seen from him all season. Harpring was Harpring and Okur also chipped in nicely despite playing like crap the first series (except for short clutch spurts).

Somehow, I doubt that DWil or whatever his nick name is going to be able to keep up this kind of performance, scoring wise. I think Utah already played their best game. However, I worry that the Warriors wasted a hell of an effort from "Big" Al and Barnes, and the balance that they displayed will not be seen again. I also worry that Baron is just not capable of playing that well against Utah judging from the regular season series in which he did not have a single good game against them.)

So, I think both teams showed their best in terms of balanced offense, with the exception of Deron williams. I think the next game will be more about individual explosions, which should mean Warrior ball. If they can solve Kirilenko (forget about boozer, let him have his boring jumpers and hookshots in the lane) the series is theirs. If not, they lose Jackson on offense, lose their ability to drive to the rim, and gamble on the ability to hit a jump shot.

 
At 5/09/2007 11:38 AM, Blogger ~CW~ said...

In a league where everything is about getting to the rim and setting up threes, does Kurt Thomas knocking down mid-range jumpers now qualify as FD?

And don't look now and try not to be surprised, but after a strong start to a playoff series, Tony Parker might be starting to disappear.

 
At 5/09/2007 2:10 PM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

Anyone else catch this quote from Flip Saunders in Sam Smith's column today:

"It's called the hyperbolic, paraboloid, transitional, floating zone defense," Pistons coach Flip Saunders explained after practice Tuesday."

Flip is on some Keith Murray ish....

 
At 5/09/2007 8:34 PM, Anonymous cw said...

Hey, wait a minute. I'm cw.

 
At 5/09/2007 11:42 PM, Anonymous amphibian said...

does boozer's acne make him less aesthetically pleasing to anyone else? or is it just me?
This is completely a Miss Gossip thing, but I'll take a shot:

No. It is the mysterious "here-today, gone-tomorrow" chest hair. Boozer is the hairiest player in the Lig.

 
At 4/13/2009 4:48 AM, Blogger 平平 said...

^^Thanks!!

婚前徵信婚姻感情大陸抓姦外遇抓姦法律諮詢家暴婚前徵信尋人感情挽回大陸抓姦離婚工商徵信婚前徵信外遇抓姦感情挽回尋人大陸抓姦離婚家暴工商徵信法律諮詢跟蹤工商徵信婚前徵信感情挽回外遇抓姦法律諮詢家暴尋人大陸抓姦離婚大陸抓姦外遇尋人家暴工商徵信法律諮詢家暴感情挽回大陸抓姦外遇婚前徵信離婚尋人工商徵信外遇抓姦法律諮詢家暴婚前徵信大陸抓姦尋人感情挽回外遇抓姦婚前徵信感情挽回尋人大陸抓姦工商徵信法律諮詢離婚家暴工商徵信外遇抓姦法律諮詢家暴婚前徵信尋人感情挽回大陸抓姦離婚婚前徵信工商徵信外遇抓姦尋人離婚家暴大陸抓姦感情挽回法律諮詢離婚感情挽回婚前徵信外遇抓姦家暴尋人工商徵信外遇抓姦法律諮詢家暴婚前徵信尋人感情挽回">徵大陸抓姦離婚婚前徵信工商徵信外遇抓姦尋人離婚家暴大陸抓姦感情挽回法律諮詢

 

Post a Comment

<< Home