Teams That Lose More Than They Should

…Almost always have good reasons for it. I love the NBA and find its players and personalities entertaining, but I bet this is not as funny to Suns fans whose team just missed the playoffs as it is to me (nod to infrequent reader Ben for the link).

If, like the Suns and Wizards, you spend more time clowning around than focused on basketball, you are not going to perform to your potential. It also makes you shitty at defense. To be fair, the Suns (led by Shaq and purportedly directed by Nash) are much funnier than the Wiz (led by Nick Young and directed by a seven year old with downs syndrome), but that’s just commensurate with general talent level (on and off the court).

That’s why, when I saw Flip Saunders say he’d get the Wiz to play defense, and Gilbert Arenas (Gilbert Arenas!) say he thought the locker room needed to stop being “a goofball team,” I lol’d (and not just because more self-defeating words have never been spoken. If you’re calling yourself a “goofball,” you are a long way from no longer being a goofball). And when your coach hiring’s ESPN article is headlined “Saunders: I Can Work With Agent Zero,” you know you’re fucked.


6 Responses to Teams That Lose More Than They Should

  1. Jon says:

    I call utter shenanigans on this post. Where was this when the Celts were filming SportsCenter commercials, or when LeBron was filming god knows how many commercials, or when Kobe was jumping over Astin Martins?

  2. mike says:

    The difference is when it crosses the line from chemistry building to distraction. Shenanigans is actually a great word for it … the Wiz and Suns engage in shenanigans. Gilbert Arenas plays online poker at halftime. These teams’ behaviors speak to a lack of intensity that if you spent five minutes watching Kevin Garnett in the game or on the bench, you would know the Celtics do not have.

    The celts doing sportscenter commercials is a product of sportscenter (it’s not spontaneous goofiness, it’s a paid ad shoot), kobe’s thing is an endorsement deal, and the cavs doing stupid pregame routines is both confined to pregame and doesn’t matter because LeBron is deadly fucking serious about being the best player in the world. So serious that he’s going to stay with the Cavs, because all the best players ever stayed with their teams. I hate sucking him off, but LeBron is already smart enough to realize how to both keep it light and how to pump up his teammtes. Shaq, steve nash, and agent zero don’t really pump guys up these days.

    This response reminded me of two posts i want to do … one on sucessful player leadership styles in the NBA and one on the amount of cap room teams have in 2010. The answer for Cleveland is, enough to keep LBJ and sign another couple fringe all-stars.

  3. Jon says:

    Look — I don’t disagree that the Wiz have focus problems — wouldn’t any team that lost it’s star player and (as sad as it is for me to admit, underrated) center?

    Anyway, I didn’t mean to spark debate about the Wizards. You’re quite right to suggest they lack the intensity and leadership of a player like KG. My point is that if you WANT to dump on the Wizards, then be my guest, but making the argument that the existence of a viral video produced when the team was basically competing for the number draft pick is the root of the Wizard’s lack of “focus on basketball” rather than result of having had a terrible year, you’re being preposterously unfair.

    Also, I’m not sure why you’re drawing a distinction between paid and unpaid video shoots. Neither one has anything to do with “focus on basketball”, and in fact, actual professional video shoots probably take a lot more time to put together. That the athlete is paid for it, if anything, makes the distraction more tangible.

    At the end of the day, non-basketball affiliated activities are non-basketball affiliated activities. What matters is ON THE COURT focus, of which the Wizard’s sorely lack.

  4. mike says:

    I’m suggesting that teams that block time out to put together video shoots are not thinking about basketball. The self-made videos are not the genesis of the problem, they’re a symptom. I’m using two teams with a similar lack of focus and desire to communicate my point. Lack of off court focus is part of a cycle of lack of on-court focus.

    Paid or unpaid has a ton to do with focus on basketball. Paid advertising work is part of your profession as a professional athlete. Unpaid creative work is not.

    Sure, the Wiz were playing for lottery position. But so were the Thunder, and they became a .500 team that people are now thinking show signs of the player development and “big 3” (a relative term) chemistry to MAKE THE PLAYOFFS next year. Just because you’re out of it this year doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be focusing and developing for next year. And shenanigans inhibit development.

  5. Jon says:

    You know you don’t believe what you’re arguing.

  6. mike says:

    I firmly believe that teams who don’t focus during the season, as evidenced by stupid videos and locker room shenanigans, often are poorly led enterprises like the Wiz and Suns, don’t play good defense, and don’t succeed in the playoffs. I also believe that “side projects,” be they a rap career or amateur video shenanigans, are detrimental to focus and how your teammates perceive you. Other than the super bowl shuffle, has a championship team ever had that kind of privately funded asshattery? Nope.

    I don’t really think this is debatable.

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