Monday, June 05, 2006

It'll never play in Wurzberg

Not to go all Free Darko on you tonight; however, it's not easy to read Pat Forde's latest over on the worldwide leader and not come away with a nasty aftertaste. (As an aside, this article was written and posted before the article talking about the same column went up at FD. It's just something in the air!)

The premise starts out that stating that the Dallas Mavericks, if they win, will be the first NBA Champion to be led by a true Euro. Which is true enough and worthy of discussion. Even the talk of Euros playing the game in a different way deserves to be examined, with no less an authority than Kobe Bryant talking about Ginobli's dribbling technique and the recent theory that Nash's perpetual motion dribbling is somewhow soccer-inspired.

Unfortunately, the column quickly digresses into the favored land of the white middle-aged basketball writer, the decrying of the corrupted nature of the young (black) basketball player, more concerned with fame (black), money (black) and respect (black) than he is in learning how to box out (white) or shoot free throws (white).

One wonders how exactly Wade, Howard, Daniels, Harris and other young American players have managed to develop "fundamentals" at all.

The answer is that everybody is going to point fingers at Sebastian Telfair (possibly unfairly, possibly not) rather than talk about Wayne Simien. Forde's attack on American youth basketball reads less as an indictment of entropy taking apart the logistics of youth leagues as it is a condemnation of the ethics and philosophy of the current generation of young American players.

The most telling portion of the article being the following quote:

" in Europe and elsewhere actually learned how to play the game."

Which is why the Warriors would be crazy to ever let my namesake go and why they're crazy to have given up so quickly on Skita. Quick! Trade for Jiri Welsch again!

Then, we return to the favorite dead horse of those who bring up these arguments: the performance of the US Basketball team, ignoring all the various details and complexities involved in international basketball, to place the blame not on poor squad selection (not all of that voluntary), inability to change strategies for a different rule set, etc; rather, the fault is clearly that America is the sick man of basketball youth development.

It is a disservice to Nowitzki to be claimed as an icon by the Play-The-Right-Way brigade. His game is closer to Rucker than it's true to Deustchland and it's more T-Mac than it is Mikan.

(RIP Ralph Wiley. You are sorely missed.)

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