A Place Fit for Standing


You don't even recognize my face. That's fine. Some stuff I wrote you might like:

-GM Swagger Power Rankings, with Ziller

-Unpacking "Change of Scenery"

-This Evans/Martin Break-Up Was Good for Martin, Really

A brief word about the last one: An earlier draft contained a reference to Martin's light skin, which I cited as another reason some people might be under the impression that he wasn't an aggressive player. But as Q McCall pointed out in a chat, in a context like AOL, it's hard to broach the concept of skin tone stereotypes without either:

1) Appearing to condone them
2) Having to exhaustively lay out the phenomenon
3) Giving a reader the opportunity to say "I don't think that way", thus weakening the argument
4) Meet with steep resistance to the very idea that such prejudice exists.

I finally decided that this point, and the meta-media question surrounding it, belonged here on FD—where, I think it's safe to assume, most of us have at least heard of this form of prejudice. But it was strange to realize how hard it was to write that sentence about Martin in a way that the general audience on FD would have found accessible, and would have had the desired effect.

Speaking of Martin and skin tone, I think we've seen something similar happen with Stephen Curry. Now that Curry's gotten comfortable, we're seeing what his game will look like at an NBA level, and it's pretty nasty. He penetrates, shakes defenders, crosses over at random, and doesn't fear disaster. In some ways, he's not that different than Monta. But since members of the media never watch the Warriors, they talk about him as a pure shooter with stellar basketball IQ and a airtight sense of right and wrong on the court. The Kevin Martin-syndrome, as much as anything else, explains the disconnect between the discourse surrounding Curry and the player you see on the floor.

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At 2/19/2010 5:28 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...


At 2/19/2010 9:55 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

I realize that the GM article was about swagger, which is only related to and not determined solely by success, but ...

In thinking about all the praise that Morey is getting for his work, hasn't he really just recreated the 2007-09 Rockets, which were, you know, good enough for a first round exit from the playoffs? Look at the two rosters, and assume that Yao plays healthy again next year. What's significantly better about this team as compared to 2007-08?*

*Yes, I'm intentionally leaving out the draft picks obtained from the Knicks. Those are obviously valuable, but don't actually represent an improvement in player quality now or next year.

wv: ovenerst = egg sausage

At 2/20/2010 1:12 AM, Blogger Josh said...

Well, last year's Rockets went to the second round before Yao got injured and they still took the Lakers to 7. But what about the 08 Rockets that won 55 games and lost in the first round?

08 Rockets
C Yao
PF Scola
SF Battier
SG T-Mac (in decline)
PG Rafer Alston
Chuck Hayes
Luther Head
Bonzi Wells

In the past two years, the Rockets have swapped out T-Mac, Alston, Head, and Wells for Kevin Martin, Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry, Trevor Ariza, and Chase Budinger (plus the Knicks bounty). If Yao is back, this team is definitely better than those teams.

Interesting theory on Martin and Curry...I'll probably pay more attention to descriptions of their game now :)

At 2/20/2010 2:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Martin's light skin, which I cited as another reason some people might be under the impression that he wasn't an aggressive player."

I'd like to hear the extrapolation of this theory, and its endpoints, likely somewhere around the Matt Harpring/Hasheem Thabeet values.

Martin isn't an aggressive player, in the same way Pau Gasol isn't an aggressive player. They both know better. For which I love both of them.

At 2/20/2010 4:29 AM, Blogger curryrice said...

Kenyon Martin is pretty light-skinneded

At 2/20/2010 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Confessions of a lite skinned league pass choice member....

I have been hanging my head for much of the season lamenting my league pass choice choices...particularly the Blazers (injured), Wiz (disarray), Clips (no man-child), and Hawks (the best/boring/highlights reel waiting to happen team ever).

But the trade deadlin has brought some hope. The Wiz are currently rolling out James Singelton, Al Thorton, Josh Howard, Blatche, Javale Mcgee, and Nick Young. Now that is some sunshine right there.

At 2/20/2010 1:54 PM, Blogger Dylan Murphy said...

Does anyone actually believe T-Mac when he says he'll take a significant pay cut to stay with the Knicks if they acquire two big name free agents?

At 2/22/2010 3:02 AM, Blogger Christopher said...

Tracy is making like 25 mill this year. He's taking a big paycut no matter what.

At 2/22/2010 4:00 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Redd Moon,
Griffin Hunter Rose


Head West ‘Morrow. Miles. Green Hill, Brooks. Brown Bell House.


At 2/22/2010 10:07 AM, Blogger spanish bombs said...

Martin's skinny, so people might just be presuming that he can't take the hits. His body is like a cross between Tayshaun Prince and Reggie Miller!

At 2/22/2010 3:10 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

@ Josh

When you look at each individual player, sure, there's marginal improvement. But as a whole, is it a team that's markedly better? Who on that roster (compared to 08) puts them in the conference finals or the finals, or wins them a championship?

12 out of 18 on the Almanac quiz. I couldn't think of 2/3 Phenomenal Tumors or 2/3 Lost Souls.


At 2/22/2010 3:38 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

And also, after seeing it twice this weekend, I'd like to point out that Mike Brown does not know how to draw up a useful out-of-bounds play at the end of games. It's like he's never seen the players on his own roster before and can't think of anything other than getting the ball to LBJ at the top of the key where he can uselessly fling it at the basket. Does he really not remember that LeBron used to get buzzer-beating layups?

At 2/24/2010 12:14 PM, Blogger walrusoflove said...

@W2 thanks for cheering me up. its raining, but what could be possible be worse than having pre-selected the Wiz, Clips and Blazers on league pass? i'm surprised you still like basketball.

morey has definitely put the rockets in a better place now, and in the future. it is near miraculous he has been able to do this while being stuck with the yao & tmac contracts. he could have pulled a donnie walsh and crapped the bed for 3 years and blame it on the previous gm (yes, zeke left a trail of disaster), but he persevered. hat tip.

At 2/26/2010 2:52 AM, Blogger Jacob said...

very good post, especially regarding the discourse surrounding a player not matching the player's actual game. another guy who fits this description is james harden. everyone keeps talking about his "old school game," without really qualifying what that actually means. i honestly think they say it because he looks like james worthy.


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