Rocket Takes a Bounce
So I've figured out why my writing over here has slowed to a trickle. It isn't that, after five years, the well's run dry, or the league has passed us by. It's that what keeps me writing on a daily basis, and what has "FD-ness" constantly subject to re-examination and its own wicked permeability, is the shock of the new. The sense that, in no particular order, there are new faces cropping up in the league, bringing with them new ideas about how to play the game, no matter how micro they may be. This season, however, such jagged wonder is in short supply. LeBron's Cavs, and the unleashed James and Wade, are ironically among the few things that consistently grab and shake me like they demanded my attention. We can argue about exactly what NEW means, but I know it when I see it.
Everything else, I term "appreciation." That's not to say that Granger or Harris or boring or uninspired. Just that they don't call me to action in the same way. They're unique, but not original to the point of shifting those around them. They break with the Right Way mold, but don't revolutionize all by themselves. And perhaps most importantly, while better than we'd anticipated, they aren't surprises. These two, along with Durant, Roy, Jefferson and Rondo, are somewhere between NEW and old guard. They're the guard changing, in such a way that if we had to redo the book right now, I feel like only LeBron, Paul, Kobe, and maybe Amare (down year) would be in a revised edition. The next generation is settling in, hierarchies becoming clear, and while the league feels different than it did in 2007-08, a shift is not the same as blaring change.
I don't believe this is just fatigue on my part. I think Mayo has come the closest, even if his game isn't particularly radical. With all the hype surrounding PGs, Rose was supposed to be this good. Actually, I did feel something watching Webber on Inside the NBA on Monday. With all due respect to Barkley, fuck Barkley. Webber says shit like "prominence doesn't equal significance," engages Kenny is a discussion of personality vs. character, and seems like he's going to burst if he can't get some of this shit off of his chest. That personality/character distinction might be exactly the snare I've been hitting. Webber was claiming that no matter what LeBron's outward personality was, you could see his dead-serious character in his eyes on the court. Kenny wondered if the lack of a cutthroat manner was still a problem. Or something like that; I wish that clip would appear.
What I'm still not sure of is whether this season is rich with personality but low on character, character-rife but lacking personality, or proving that, at least for me, the two are inseparable. EDIT: To me, the question was whether one trumped the other, and whether one, the other, or both were absolute. I think that's applicable to my take on this season.
More importantly: If you want to own a piece of history, and live in the Pacific Northwest, hit me up and I'll tell you what store currently has Detlef Schrempf's record collection in its possesion. The collection is equal parts 1983-1987 R&B like Shalamar and Ray Parker, Jr., European pressings of Dylan and Neil Young, and some stuff that's literally, drably, Kraut rock, as in, campy rock by self-satirizing Germans. If Germans are in fact capable of such a thing intentionally. All the black stuff is still in the shrink. I will be charging a small finder's fee for each tip.