A while back, Coach Greg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs said of the Spurs' policy regarding player acquisition: we don't take head cases or problem children. Listen carefully Sacramento Kings as you consider trading for Josh Smith. You already have a problem child, a large brooding, frowning one, in Demarcus Cousins. He is indeed a great talent and worth the risk you took signing him to big bucks. But, if you're smart, you'll do your best to surround him with emotionally stable teammates. Josh Smith does not fit that definition, a high school kid drafted into the NBA, his prior coaches never schooled him, never matured him, never provided him with the guidance.
So many years into the league, I'm afraid Smith's game is not going to change. Can the Kings' coaches stop him from pumping up ill advised 3's? Can the Kings' coaching staff make him a consistent defender and shot blocker and rebounder. I'm not impressed with 7.5 career boards a game and 1.5 blocked shots a game. He pouts and in some games he disappears. Enough said. Listen to Pop. I know the Kings need more at the power forward position. I get it. But the Kings say you want to change the culture. Smith will not help the Sacramento Kings do that.
Once again, let me weigh in on the Warriors hopes for acquiring Kevin Love. Barnes and Lee and a first round draft choice make sense to me. But the Warriors will lose too much if they add Klay Thompson to the package. A franchise can't trade away a backcourt of Curry and Thompson that is the envy of the their opponents and their opponents' biggest headache. Every team's first consideration and consternation when playing the Warrriors is how to deal with the SPLASH BROTHERS. If you add Love to that powerful duo, the headache becomes a migraine. Eliminate Thompson and add Love, and things just return to headache mode. I grant that Love will add a defensive rebounding component to the Warriors that would help, but with the absence of Thompson the team loses an important backcourt defender, and the way the league looks today, controlling backcourt penetration is essential.
I saw in this morning's sports news that Bill Russell fainted while on a speaking tour. Let's pray this is not serious and Bill will be back on his feet soon entertaining people with his wit and intelligence. Here's a poem I wrote for Bill from my recent collection of poems.
Once, in a poem I call him an eagle
with a bread. I was young and the poem
held promise that the writer might improve.
I always liked the image. It asked
the reader to see Bill with slightly stooped
shoulders, long feathery arms and talons
hovering above the paint protecting it
like his nest intruders entered at their peril.
His beard was dark as was he, a shadow
that darkened our attempts to score.
I am older. As is he. I saw him recently
on TV still an eagle, giving an interviews
and tried picturing him as something else
and couldn't. I found it comforting
to think I got him right so many years ago,
that now, so close to both our dying
I hoped for the Hindu afterlife, Russell
as a real eagle. Then,came a troubling
thought, given what happened on the court,
catching us by surprise, the way he did,
appearing our of nowhere to slap our shots
away, what would our reincarnation be?
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.