The season is here.
Even with the assessment that we are a far too impatient culture and we should learn how to wait for the things we want, being in an NBA holding pattern for months on months on months was far too ridiculous. For the fans, it never really mattered about who was going to win the lockout between the players and the owners. All we wanted to know is when we got our basketball back. Was it a marketing ploy to start on Christmas Day? Was the season rushed to take advantage of a day that will bring many of the holiday-celebrating families together, in front of television sets around the world, trying to forge a familial interest. Probably.
Do any of us care after yesterday’s games? Not at all.
For some of us, basketball is our livelihood even if we never make any money off of it. It brings us an escape from lives filled with pressuring responsibilities in watching athletic giants trying to persevere through pressure-packed situations. The NBA is a museum of modern art. It doesn’t have to make sense to the passersby. They can look at the coloring between the lines, the pretty shapes, their senses being teased. Then they can leave the exhibit and go have lunch without ever thinking about it again.
For the die-hard NBA nerds like the rest of us, we immerse ourselves in a world of different styles and forms of execution. The art is ever-changing and never stagnant. Wrinkles are added to games. Rules are imposed to force evolution from the game’s purest form into a complicated series of nuances. We’re never satisfied with the present, always measuring it against the past in order to figure out what will happen in the future. We want to know where this art is going. We want to know the significance of the next brush stroke or molding technique.
Basketball is technology. Whether you believe in advanced statistics or watching the games with your eyes, it’s nearly impossible to view the game in the same manner as someone else. It’s a subjective lineage of conquerors and failures. Nothing is ever good enough. We want LeBron to be more strong-willed, Kobe to be more efficient, Dwight Howard to be more gentle with his touch, and Greg Oden to be healthy. We want Rose to develop sniper range, Chris Paul to invest in bionic appendages, KG to have more of a stable backbone, and Blake Griffin to be more defensive in his nature.
We view the world of basketball the most efficiently through the world of ever-changing technology. Televisions are barbaric. We now need multiple games on a computer screen with instant advanced metrics being constantly updated. We want Zach Lowe, Henry Abbott, and Tom Ziller to confirm what we think we’re seeing. We want Sebastian Pruiti, Kevin Arnovitz, Couper Moorhead and Rob Mahoney to give us video breakdown for that same ocular confirmation. As often as technology changes, so does basketball theory. Upgrades in memory, RAM, core processors and the speed of connectivity become whether or not you funnel the defender baseline or into the middle, where the help post defense comes from, the use of passing and backdoor cuts from the high post, and just how much you hedge on a pick-and-roll.
The game is evolving constantly because we are constantly evolving in all facets of our society. The exemplums of our world coincide with the tropes of this game. We need more. We need drama. We need more drama.
Once again, that drama starts out with another year of hope.
For us Wolves fans, hope is a Spanish harbinger of fortune. Hope is a fitter version of the historic, scoring glass-cleaner that helped make our team less of a punchline and more of appointment viewing last season. Hope is a new outside assassin, also capable of obliterating your impeding hand if you dare try to keep us from a highlight. Hope is a pair of Serbian centers, able-bodied enough to be the difference inside for us but still needing to figure out how to do so mentally. Hope is a contradiction of maturity with the glimmer of greatness we’re dying to see shine through.
Hope is a man in his mid 60s who has turned franchises around before and taken them away from the laughing stock dungeon of the sporting world. Hope is the high-post system feasting on ball movement and player activity. Hope is uptempo DNA, tiring out opposing legs and imposing fatigue on unwilling participants. Hope is being the laugher and no longer the laughee.
Hope is retiring the longing for days led by a wiry gaggle of limbs and intensity from Maudlin, South Carolina. Hope is new highlights that come at the expense of others. Hope is national relevancy and hype. Hope is once again for basketball this year and no longer hoping for something better next year.
The season is finally here. Hope to see you at the Target Center.