Monday, May 12, 2008

Outside the Aviary: Here Comes the Argument

If I were a savvier interneteer, I could devise a quiz that that harbored all the ideal situations that made you definitively “Chris Paul” or “Deron Williams,” but I’m not, so I’ll have to drop this talking points memo instead. There is more to this debate than Free Darko or any of the other near-perfect basketball sites have hinted at, and, while it is annoying to philosophize the human condition by proxy of sport, I am going to do just that. I apologize in advance.

The Chris Paul Fan has a distinctly whimsical tone. He/she is more likely to say I love Chris Paul-- or even more apt to say he might be the greatest point guard ever. There is self-reflective tone-- a reverence to basketball that understands placing the onus of the Rockets on Tracy McGrady is as absurd as blaming the Suns loss on trading for Shaq halfway through the season. The Chris Paul fan would rather see a half-court set end with an alley-oop while just a few seconds remain on the shot clock because that is sound basketball maneuvering-- reflection before reaction (and something that is typically non-revolutionary as all the fast-break basketball fans would argue).

The Chris Paul fan is a leader and a talker amongst friends. He/she is the one most likely mired below middle-management for acting as if he/she is anti-authoritarian, but he/she is, in reality, is not a leader and will never be one. The choice of Chris Paul is a not a blind decision, but is, still, an easy one. They were the most likely to defend his bad games and point out the 36-12-5 games with text messages like who does that or MVP. He/she is likely a quasi-leader of the group when they are out for birthdays-- the party planner/ambassador of fun.

Deeper than any of that, however, the Chris Paul fan admires Chris Paul; is more likely to lean toward hero-worship. They likely have an absolute favorite singer-songwriter or hip-hop producer in mind that can’t be argued lest heated debate immediately ensue. Often, the Chris Paul fan will lapse into argument without realizing it-- usually on topics that are unnecessarily pride-inducing like the least-regarded authors of the twentieth century or the necessity of instant replay in sports. The Chris Paul fan is likely to avoid commitment unless the pleasure of a significant other is perfect at all times-- even then the idea of a relationship is more escape from the pain of life rather than the betterment their social construct.

On the other hand, the Deron Williams fan may exude alpha-maleness amongst friends-- outright jealousy that a certain person is doing better monetarily or has a pretty girlfriend. They feel picked on despite the opposite likely being true. They skip out on social events solely on mood swing. They are serial monogamists. They could never understand cheating on a lover or significant other. Despite their faults, they are fiercely loyal.

They are apt to use phrases like, Deron Williams is better than Chris Paul, hands down, or Why doesn’t Deron Williams get any MVP talk-- he’s better than 90% of the players in the league. They are genuinely confused by the Jazz’s workmanlike team persona not producing a championship. Watch out for the Jazz this year they might say. They never watch the draft, but analyze afterward. They take easier paths to conversation to avoid arguments because they know everyone else in their generation are stupid. They assume what you will argue beforehand and judge liberally.

Both fans convolute the idea of the point guard at times, and mix the 1 and 2 positions. There’s nothing wrong with that.

If I were technologically savvy, Chris Paul fans would be given Charlie Brown faces, and Deron Williams believers would get Snoopy. (Tony Parker fans would get Franklin and all others would get Lucy-- Franklin because he stands out as a has to be there character due to Tony Parkers brilliance in big games and Lucy due to the Steve Nash and etc. folks that just want to argue against Paul or Williams for no good reason).

The argument itself-- who is better?-- lends to running circles around the main point of these playoffs. The Chris Paul fan was enthralled to see the Suns-Spurs, Jazz-Rockets and Hornets-Mavs come up in the first round despite the fact that all of those series were easy to pick in hindsight. Had any of those been a second-round matchup, they would have improved immediately. The Deron Williams fan licked his/her chops at the prospect of getting and beating McGrady early and having the Hornets face the Spurs as early as the second round. The Deron Williams fan wants Chris Paul to fail against the Champs and have the Jazz slay the dragon that is Kobe. The Chris Paul fan wants the aesthetic that is Deron v. Paul-- Jazz v. Hornets whereas the Williams fan wants the path of least resistance-- the Spurs are the bigger fish. The Jazz need to eat them to prove their worth.

Both men have merit, but they are both dreaming in a world meant to tear them down. It seems likely that the Jazz (who probably won’t win a game in LA) and the Hornets (who have lost their moxie trying to attack the defensive genius that is Popovitch) will fall. It seems likely that, once again, the point guard play will be overshadowed by the necessity of good defense, the perfection of coaching-- as much as I love Byron Scott and cheer for Jerry Sloane for no good reason, Phil Jackson v. Greg Popovitch just seems more fitting-- or Kobe Bryant with a decent cast (despite their sleeping on defense. I mean, come on, how many times did the Jazz score on inbound plays yesterday? Gasol can’t stop anyone, Kobe is hurt and Radmonovich wants to complain more than he wants to actually play defense).

There are the whimsical and the more straightforward. There are the workmanlike risers and the poetic ramblers. There are the arguers for the sake of argument and the pre-existing brilliant. The thing is, their both wrong. There is no right answer and their may not be a championship to prove it for either team in the near future. Neither Charlie Brown nor Snoopy ever really won in Peanuts anyway. That was the twisted brilliance of Charles Schultz-- the cruel heart of competitive sport.

1 comment:

Phony Gwynn said...

I hereby endorse the Nuggets' "Pigpen" version of point guard. Let Allen Iverson be the PG on paper, but put a talented-yet-underachieving squad in the hands of Chucky Atkins or Anthony Carter.