Paints for Mirrors
Quote of the holiday day: "You bring me the yeti and I'll release your parents." Meatloaf said it, no less.
I knew there was a reason I was so thoroughly invested in Anthony Randolph. Besides being my last best hope for feeling like I'm touching the league's pulse, Randolph's also bringing it back to 2001 for the MSM. Check out these quotes from Bucher (bold all mine):
Sources also say rookie phenom Anthony Randolph, who some believe has the talent to one day be among the league's top 10 players, has been told he's not fitting in and could be dealt.
I guess FD is still more influential than I ever imagined. Are people really saying this? And if indeed it is front office folks, isn't the planet spinning backward if they're on my wavelength? Not that potential will ever completely disappear as a factor in assessing talent, but aren't things supposed to be getting more rational, economical, and here-and-now when it comes to team-building?
If you think I'm overreacting, how about this:
Yes, Randolph is 19 and plays with crazy rambunctiousness that results in silly fouls and ugly turnovers. But he also routinely makes plays -- blocked shots, crushing putback dunks and acrobatic drives -- that are beyond any other Warrior's capability. People within the organization talk about him the way they did Webber, as a singular talent capable of someday making the team a title contender. According to a half-dozen scouts and GMs, he has the potential to nudge out Derrick Rose as the best player in his draft class.
This is one of those "how serious is FD" moments. I would never say any of this with a straight face, because for now, Randolph's mystique is light years away from anything this concrete. I might be treading on the old "potentially potential" territory, but at this point, I think the real drama is seeing what kind of prospect Randolph develops into, not projecting what he might do as a refined NBA player. I'm especially attached to the kind of athlete who forces this kind of thinking. The charm, and the irony, of it is that you've got the fantastic doubling as the height of scouting acumen, the whimsical and the shrewd forced to pull in the same direction. But there's a big difference between venturing there selectively (less so if you're a half-serious blog) and applying it as a matter of course, as front offices once did; it's also bizarre to see it show up at all now, seeing how the climate has changed, the age limit has sobered everyone up, and there are so many embarrassing quotes on the record about past duds. I guess Anthony Randolph really is that fucking powerful.
Also, I was looking at my fantasy team and happened to click here. I have to say, if there's any single reason for me to be alienated from the NFL, it's the way running backs—my favorite position—currently rise and fall, or are platooned. Maybe my "I miss 2003" is nostalgia for the height of my interest in the NFL, but it also marks the exact point at which platoons and "RB's are finished at 30" started their ascent. It keeps real star power from gaining traction—T-Mac, injury-ravaged as he is, is still a viable star at 30 due to his playmaking ability; Kobe at near 31 is 1A or 1B in the league—but it cheapens the position itself, and what the individual's contribution to it means. Feel free to insert your favorite FD buzzword (style, personality, etc.) anywhere in the preceding graph.
Merry Christmas, and may you live like a slipping pitch.