Sunday, March 30, 2008

Guest Post: Team of Destiny

Today, we have another guest post from loyal reader L3E.

Why You Should Cut The Baby Bears Some Slack in the Wild, Wild West

I confess that I am a terminal optimist. But the more I look at the current state of the Western Conference, the less critical I am of the Grizzlies.

I admit, I drank the Kool-Aid. I ignored the fact that, no matter how smart or highly touted he is, Marc Iavaroni is a rookie head coach. I believed our youthful exuberance would overcome our youthful inexperience. And somehow, I thought all this new talent would magically gel under a new coach installing a new system under a new GM. What was the buzz phrase? Ah yes . . . "New Game." So I like Grape Kool-Aid, with lemon slices. There, I said it.

All that said, I don't feel so bad at all about our Baby Bears after watching how the Western Conference playoffs are shaping up. Let's go down the list:

• Denver (with former MVP Allen Iverson, All-Star Carmelo Anthony and incumbent Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby) might win 50 games AND STILL NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.
• If the playoffs started today the defending NBA Champion Spurs would be the FIFTH SEED.
• Dallas, with Josh Howard, Jason Kidd and Reigning MVP Dirk Nowitzki were not locks for the playoffs even BEFORE NOWITZKI GOT HURT.
• Phoenix is a sixth seed today and would open the playoffs on the road. This is a team with 2-time MVP STEVE NASH, AMARE STOUDEMIRE and SHAQ.
• In the East, Boston, Detroit and Orlando are all locks for the playoffs. In the West, NOBODY HAS LOCKED UP A PLAYOFF BERTH. For perspective: the Hornets and Lakers are tied for the best record in the West with 12-13 games to go . . . and even though it's unlikely, it's still mathematically possible that BOTH COULD STILL MISS THE PLAYOFFS.
• In fact, it's likely NOBODY will lock down a playoff spot for another six games or so.

You get the idea. The West is just SO impossibly tough this year. The metaphor is perfect: The Baby Bears are quite simply fighting for table scraps with their bigger and stronger older brothers (who are also fighting each other). And while I don't like it, when you back off it and look at the big picture, should we have expected otherwise?

Or how about trying this exercise: Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child is a beautiful young woman. Look at a solo picture of her.

Now look at a picture of her standing next to Beyonce.

Notice how Kelly basically disappears because the competition is so . . . ahem . . . stiff? Aside from the fact that I like looking at Beyonce (and I actually DO miss the "Upgrade" commercials for this reason alone), the point is that the Western Conference is packed with Beyonces, and the Grizz have the misfortune of being Michelle Williams (the other member Destiny's Child who evaporates next to Beyonce and Kelly. Just look at the picture.)

The upside is this: The Baby Bears won't stay so young, weak and inexperienced. In fact, much like the 13-year-old kid playing pickup ball with the high-school seniors, this season is a trial by fire that promises to only toughen up our guys for the coming years.

Meanwhile it's going to be a wild and crazy offseason, because a couple of this year's playoff contenders are likely to be blown up for not meeting expectations (I'm thinking Dallas, Phoenix and Denver). For every team that falls off, another one must rise, so I'm hoping we'll draft well, trade well, and sign some good free agents.

But in the meantime, I'm just looking at those gleaming eyes on our beloved Baby Bears and anticipating the payback they'll dole out for all those noogies their big brothers gave them.

Our time is coming . . .


BallHype: hype it up!


Anonymous said...

Nothing like a good analogy to bring this painful season into perspective (gratuitous Beyonce pics don't hurt either). Here's to a responsible offseason.

August West said...

great post! Hopefully the Griz will be ascending to the top over the next 2-5 years as J-Kidd, Duncan, Shaq, Nash, Iverson, Baron D, Kobe, Pau and maybe Dirk all start to lose effectiveness with age.

One thing is definately for sure: the west is great this year, but it's also VERY old in terms of top-notch talent.