Sounding Off with San Dova: Take 6
Starring Brandon Roy, the Black Mamba & the Black Cat.
Sometimes, I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on some happenings that have occurred in the world of the NBA. But many times, I don’t have the conviction to write 700 words on every singular subject of interest – but I may have a bunch of short bits to communicate en masse, on occasion. And so I’ll be Sounding Off on occasion. Holler.
Any of you out there who wishes that the NBA would man up on the flopping? Kelly Dwyer said it best:
“If the NBA wants the game to improve, it needs to stop blowing a whistle every time a player drives, and a whiff of contact sends a defender underneath the driver to the ground. It’s a terrible call, whether it goes to the driver or the defender. And flopping. How these refs don’t understand that it’s often best to wait a half second and not follow your initial instinct to whistle when someone hits the floor is beyond me.”
Refereeing is all about using the subjectivity of game context to uphold basketball’s objective parameters. Basketball is so dynamic that there should be instances where objectionable offenses like feigning injury, which flopping essentially is, should be given a smidgen more time to consider its grade of the indiscretion. The league is so busy trying to manipulate product to placate the fans, I wonder whether the Association will ever come to the conclusion that smaller grades of evolution can positively affect the game just as big waves of change can haphazardly distort the vision for how basketball should and can be played.
When I saw this bit on Portland Trail Blazers guard/forward Brandon Roy, it again affirmed everything that I’ve been talking about for the past year, in that he’s…selfish? Self-centered in a way that teeters on the line of negativity for collective Blazer harmony? Shortsighted? I don’t understand him. The team gets better players, Andre Miller particularly raises the level of team play, and then Roy pouts and makes these undermining, passive-aggressive utterances about how his more-tailored offensive preferences will make him more comfortable, which may or not actually help Portland win more ball games.
I really do appreciate his talent. He’s talented. We have superficial interests in common when it comes to Nike cross-trainers and Muscle Milk. I like him OK…but in general, as a ball player, I have my doubts about his impact, and I’ve said it and I’ll keep saying it — either Nate McMillan makes him the point guard of the Portland Trail Blazers or he should get traded. He’s a point guard, he loves playing the position obviously, and this is the only way that he’ll be truly happy. Now, if the Blazers continue to play him off the ball, Roy’s going to pout a little bit, “un-complain” with self-loathing comments and generally be a Bob Bummer in the most “I’m a trooper” sort of way possible; he needs to be placated and be stroked (…). Trading him might be a better option because I still wonder about his durability (something of note since his prep days) and he lacks the “I will destroy” mentality that many of great ball-handling, finishing guards like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James (yes, I said so) have when it comes to taking over games.
Maybe Roy and Rudy Fernandez both should sit down and have a chilled coffee.
(Right on, Dwight.)
I love how when people finally shut up about Kobe Bryant being so similar to Michael Jordan, and started to really respect his own career (which only really started about four or five years ago) that now Kobe seems to have a fair amount of muted comparisons to Jordan. Not that Kobe is or will be better than Jordan — for the perceivable future, MJ is the game’s greatest player, unless LeBron James or Kevin Durant really comes up in these next 5-10 seasons — but it’s finally fair and seemingly easy to have these two come up in the same sentence and not cringe or Hulk-smash the TV.
Having watched Kobe for his entire career, and having (with my own two eyes) watched Jordan from 1995-2003, I now understand what MJ was talking about when posed with the question of whether he was the best ever, and he always retorted that the eras of the game and the league are important — which was and still is his diplomatic way of saying, “I’m not gonna tell y’all that I’m the best. My work says I probably am, but because I’m super cool with these oldheads and Karl Malone, let’s just insinuate I was the best of my respective era. OK, thank you and good night.” But see, now I see what he means, even in his diplomacy. Even though Kobe and Jordan played in the league for several seasons, their primes were different because the league was different, temporally. Both Jordan and Kobe are the best shooting guards/players of their career spans (although for Kobe, Tim Duncan is a very close second), but their skills and styles of play in winning were uniquely dissimilar.
Point is, I appreciate that the media now appreciates Kobe for Kobe and no longer pushes that “Next Jordan” thing on people. As we’ve seen with Dwyane Wade, LBJ and Durant, just because you’re a high-scoring, multi-tooled wing, it doesn’t mean that you’re the “next”-anything. You are who you are and you are what you are. The continuum shifts, it’s dynamic…it changes.
Sandy Dover is a novelist/writer, artist, and fitness enthusiast, whose work has been featured in author Robert Atwan’s 8th edition of “America Now,” USA Today’s UWire, and Yahoo!’s Associated Content. You can find Sandy frequently here at SLAMonline, as well as at Facebook and Twitter.