You Can't Pay the President
You should be reading MJD's new daily feature at the Haus, and not just because they pay me. I can safely say that, after a little more than a week, The Debriefing is already neck-in-neck with El Quickie as my first-stop shop of choice. And if you have the internet, you don't really need me to tell you that MJD can write.
Today, the subject is the lottery. The project: survey the teams in the passive hunt, and rank them according to how much we should want them to win. A pretty FD concept if I ever saw one, but I wanted to take issue with its fundamental premise. See, to me, Oden and Durant are the kind of players that make a team worth following. We hear all the time that this star may or may not instantly catapult a team into contention. From a spiritual standpoint, there are guys who can be affected by teams, and those who change the identity of that organization.
I would even go so far as to venture that this is the difference between a star, or star potential, and superstardom. I'm not saying that, say, Chris Bosh complements other players. Certainly, from a roster standpoint, he's the organizational hub. On a franchise-wide scale, however, he's nothing more than the Raptors' best piece. "Face of the franchise" is just a public relations truism unless you've got people talking about "the __________ era." If this is happening on a league-wide level, well, that's either mass hysteria or the ultimate form of corroboration.
The exception to this rule, of course, is the point guard. An elite point transforms the complexion of a team, from the style of play up through its record and success at the gate. However, this seems more like proof that point guards are the new centers, not that Chris Paul is bigger than Carmelo. A few years ago, teams were signing up every seven-footer in sight. Not because they thought they were finding exceptional talents, but because centers were thought to be a structural necessity. A decent one held down the function, and an above-average one was as valuable as a star guard. It's like that whole "big men win MVP's" thing—they aren't better, they have an unfair advantage built into the way the game works. God's truth, shooting guards and small forwards have all types of strikes against them.
Just something to keep in mind in a playoffs that saw Baron Davis ignite the universe, and now has Deron Williams looking like one of the last meaningful commodities gone down. Why Steve Nash is the new Tim Duncan, not the scrappy underdog up against big man hegemony. We're in a transitional period now, but mark my words: when Chris Paul should have gone first overall in 2005, there's some kind of undertow going on.
-To throw a wrench in my own machinery, here's the verbal highlights from Chad Ford's look at Oden's workout. What does it mean that this made me drool?
-I know someone's going to call me terrible for saying this, but fuck all this outrage over Vick. Like every single white NFL or MLB player hunts. While I get that dog-fighting is cruel and inhuman, it's not like the killing of animals for sport is unheard of in professional athletics. Oh, and dogs are the little blond girls of the pet kingdom. People need to stop playing favorites with species and comprehend that all creatures are indeed equals.