Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Talking heads and settling arguments

Though the 2017 NBA championship is barely in the books, the yappy heads have already started with their silly comparisons and speculation.

Is Golden State now the best team of all time, they wonder?

The objective answer would be -- not just yet.

After setting the regular-season record for victories last year with 73, had they capped it off with a title (they blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals), then followed it up this year (they indeed won) to make it three straight, the Warriors would certainly have to be considered as among the best, if not THE best. But it didn't play out that way. As the singer Meatloaf once crooned, two out of three ain't bad, but it won't get you to the mountaintop either.

True, given the ridiculous amount of talent they have, if they can keep the team together, along with head coach Steve Kerr, for the next several years, they could become quite the dynasty indeed. I mean, look around. Who's going to beat these guys any year soon?

But that's a lot of ifs. If Okla City hadn't lost guard James Hardin to Houston and super-star Kevin Durant to Golden State, how good would they be right now?

There is already chatter that Lebron James might opt out of Cleveland. That's probably not going to happen. James would be roundly derided as a title-seeking mercenary if he left the Cavs (his home town team) after already one such venture in Miami.

And where would he go to have a better chance at another title? The Clips in LA? It would be a PR disaster. Coach Pop in San Antonio may or may not even want him. Same with GM Danny Ainge in Boston. Bottom feeders like Detroit wouldn't even be considered. Here's a scary thought. How about if he did a "if you can't beat em -- join em" Durant and went to Golden State? If they could find a way to shuffle their salary cap around and add Lebron to their already formidable mix, the other teams in the league might as well not even show up. How good would THAT team be?

This whole greatest of all time thing is tricky business. Maybe it was a "showtime" Lakers team from the 80s. Or Jordan's Bulls in the mid-90s. And though it's generally accepted that each generation gets "bigger, stronger, faster", who's to say Bill Russell's Celtics of the late 50s and early 60s weren't the best of all time? Didn't they win a dozen titles or so? Nobody else has accomplished that before or since. Well then....

And some just have short memories. See the talking head that claimed Steph Curry is the greatest pure shooter in the history of the NBA. Granted, Curry can definitely put the rock in the hole from all over the court, and from long range to boot, but this is nothing a guy from the past couldn't do even better.

Try "Pistol" Pete Maravich. Thing is, unlike Curry, Maravich always played on otherwise lousy teams and the NBA didn't get the hype back then it does now. Plus, he couldn't play a lick of defense. But nobody played defense in his day. Scores were routinely over 120-130 points, sometimes much higher.

Tragically, Maravich died young (40) of an apparent heart attack while playing in a pick-up game long after his NBA career was over.

But think about it, if you remember him. Put both Maravich and Curry in their primes, and who do you think was the better overall shooter? How cool would it have been to see those two guys play a game of "h-o-r-s-e"?

Alas, it is something we will never know.

Then again, we could also imagine an opposite scenario. How about Shaquille O'Neal in a free-throw shooting contest with current Detroit Piston Andre Drummond?

It could be billed as "Brickomania". First one to make ten shots from the charity stripe wins. Surely the masons would be glad to sponsor such an extravaganza -- or debacle -- depending on how one wishes to look at it.

Problem is, this could go on for hours, days, weeks -- longer than your average Congressional investigation -- and perhaps as boring -- or laughable --before one of them made it to 10. But if you've been burned after ponying up $69.95 to watch a super-duper fight on pay-per-view -- only to see it end in a first round knockout, then this would be a way to definitely get your money's worth. You might have to take a week's vacation and stay up 24/7 glued to the flat screen throughout before it's over but, dammit, you couldn't say you got cheated on your investment.

Hmm. Maybe that's not such a good idea. Maybe a round of putt-putt golf would be a lot less painful.

And let's settle another raging debate once and for all. Is Kevin Durant now the best basketball player in the world -- having supplanted Lebron James?

Yes -- he -- is. LJ was the man, the king, in recent years, but like Tiger Woods a while back, the time has come to pass the torch. Also Michael Jordan. Everything Jordan could do, Lebron could do, plus he was/is a few inches taller. Nowadays, everything James could do, KD can do, plus he's taller yet.

People wonder whether the Golden State Warriors will accept an invitation to visit the Prez in the White House, if it's ever even forthcoming. Who cares? It's always been more of a photo-op for the Prez than an honor for the champions. Politics and sports mix about as well as bleach and ammonia. You can do it, and it won't blow up, but it will certainly create a poisonous atmosphere in a hurry.

However, on that note, let's put one other highly debated topic to rest.

Donald J. Trump is the greatest President the United States of America has ever had.

Since January of this year....

In the post-championship words of the above-mentioned Kevin Durant -- debate THAT.


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