Dilapidated Zones on the Perimeter

The cobwebs cluttered between fingers unattended to during my literary sabbatical have proven burdensome to eradicate.  I’m not exactly sure what has kept me from jamming inconsequential thoughts onto this blog for nearly a year and half.  Sure, the typical excuses exist and are more prevalent and present than a hobo at a liquor store.  Life been busy.  Marriage been busy.  Work done been busy.  Yap, yap, yap…like a broken record.  Truth be told, inspiration seems to have consummated its scandalous relationship with the seductive succubus of ambivalence.  And…well…let’s just say that inspiration has long since abdicated the right to rock the denim in its courtship.  Shit, it’s been so long since I’ve even visited my own site that I had to check to make sure it was still active.  I even had to re-establish acquaintances with my own administrator dashboard.  I couldn’t remember where what was and where ish was supposed to go.  Good God almighty, I’m slippin’.  I fear that my faithful quartet of readers have justifiably shifted their allegiances to another hack of equally indiscriminate diction.  I can’t say that I blame them in the least.  Honestly, for months I’ve been trying to coerce myself into blogging again.  Yes, it’s come to that.  Me having to talk myself into scribbling down nonsensical drivel.  There was a time once when little motivation was needed to continually manufacture these erratic posts.  Not no more, folks.  An embarrassingly sad state of disinterest.

Enough with the confession.  I done been absent.  My bad.  Won’t happen again…unless it does.  I guarantee diddley-poo.  If you’ve been even a haphazard frequenter of this blog, you’ve learned one absolute and unassailable truth about me:  I’ve got more holes in my game than an And 1 streetballer.  Hot sizzle!  Speaking of basketball and players with holes in their games, let’s dissect the dissension in LA between Dwight Howard and the Lakers.  Bet large, bet heavy, and bet often…because that’s about as intelligent a segue as you’ll ever get from me.  Truth be told, nowadays, the only thing that awakens me from my interminable hibernation away from social media these days is sports…and specifically, my Los Angeles Lakers.  Unless you’ve sworn celibacy from ESPN for the day, I’m sure you’ve heard the news that Dwight Howard has decided to leave the Lakers in free agency and head down to H-Town to form a superteam with The Bearded One.  There are rumors twerking on the hardwood that the Rockets are looking to try to to get Josh Smith in Houston as well.  The Houston Rockets front office is as cap savvy and clever as any in the NBA, so if Josh Smith wants it to happen, I’m sure they can make it happen.  They’ve pretty much let it be known that they have almost their entire roster on the block if there are any takers.  If they can pull that off with the D12 acquisition, they’ll definitely be a top 3 team to watch in the NBA from a pure entertainment standpoint.  They’ll be poppin’ 3’s…I’m sweatin’…whoo!  When they’re not flippin’ off treys from dilapidated zones on the perimeter, they’ll be barrelin’ through the paint to the rack for floater after layup after bunny.  When those rattle astray off the rim, Dwight will be there to cram it home.  Oh, they’ll be quite the thrill to watch.  Believe that.

Every rational and resolute fan is a bipolar hypocrite in denial.  I can attest to suffering symptoms ranging from sympathy to disappointment to disdain in regards to this entire Dwight Howard saga.  It’s hard to sift through it all.  From a fanatical and borderline illogical standpoint, I say good riddance to the year-long Dwightmare we Lakers’ fans have had to endure.   This clip sums it up rather poignantly (credit goes to ESPN LA where I originally heard this clip).  This past season, Dwight’s play seldom alluded to his days of dominant lore in yesteryears past.  However, admittedly, I never analyzed his game as much as I have this past season.  Who knows, maybe when you follow the team as closely as I do, you tend to over-analyze.  After being privy to Dwight’s performances for an entire season, I can’t help but watch him and shake my head wondering why he can’t do more.  It’s no different than the perspective NBA pundits have in regards to Blake Griffin.  Dwight can defend, he can rebound, but his low-post moves are staggeringly average.  His footwork is terrible and his touch is about as subtle as a perverse paralegal coppin’ an illegitmate feel of your checkbook.  He has very little instincts in the post.

From a rational standpoint, I’ll give him some benefit of the doubt because he definitely appeared hurt for large stretches of the season, so maybe judging him after this past year is a shortsighted assessment.  Plus, he did have short stretches during the season where he dominated defensively and/or on the glass.  When right, which he clearly wasn’t this year, he is definitely a max-salary caliber player.  No doubt.  He is a difference maker.  However, I can only base my judgment on Dwight in reference to this past year – as short-sighted as that may appear.  Honestly, I don’t know that I cared much what he decided during free agency.  I wouldn’t have been elated had he stayed and I’m sure as flip not depressed that he bolted for Houston.  It’s an odd feeling to have a top 10 talent leave your favorite team with nothing more than a bottle of Aveeno and have him wish them luck in alleviating their insufferable erection…….and to feel…well…almost indifferent.  I don’t know if that says more about Dwight as a player or me as a fan.  I’m not exactly sure.

Either way, I refuse to act like ignant Lakers’ fans who irrationally believe the Lakers should contend for a championship every year.  I was more than comfortable with the Lakers mortgaging their short term future to take advantage of the immediate years ago when they formed the team that made it to 3 consecutive Finals appearances with Kobe and Pau.  I knew then that they needed to capitalize on the short 3-4 year window they had with that group to try to win multiple titles.  Mission accomplished.  I can live with them languishing in the filth of mediocrity and obscurity for a year or two.  I’m cool with that.  Kobe, on the other hand…will have his patience tested.  It’s the price they had to pay to get what they got.  So, honestly, with Dwight now headed to Houston, I’m more than ok with the Lakers waving the white flag for a year, clearing off cap space, and reloading in 2014 amid a loaded field of free agents and an NBA draft that draft experts are saying could be the best in a decade.  As a Lakers fan, I’ve learned to keep faith in the Lakers’ brass to continually build competitive teams.  From Dwight Howard’s perspective, he probably did the right thing.  He went to a younger team with more immediate promise than the Lakers.  Why he reportedly waffled at the last minute and had second thoughts is beyond me.  The Lakers will be lucky to claw their way into the playoffs this coming season and their future is as large an unknown as it’s been over the past 20 years.  Who knows when Kobe will be back from his torn achilles?  Shit, who knows whether the  Phoenix Suns’ training staff is willing to FedEx Steve Nash the ‘roids he was shootin’ into his taint years ago in Phoenix?  Will Pau come back with a vengeance in his contract year?  Can D’Antoni somehow find a way to convince the Lakers that he isn’t the weakest link in a rusty chain to be discarded in 2014?  Like I said, the Lakers have enough variables floating around this season to compel even the most astute of engineers to seek asylum in an institution for the mentally ill-equipped.  Blow this mother up and regroup in 2014.  Kobe should have a couple more solid years left in him after this season, so there will be a sliver of opportunity on the horizon to get another ring.

As for Dwight moving forward, I’m still skeptical on his ability to captain a ship to the promised land (although he did come awfully close with Orlando in 2009).  Then again, much of what has been said about Dwight over the course of the past 18 months eerily resembles what was spoken about LeBron years ago before/after he made The Decision.  Remember?  He doesn’t take things seriously enough on the court, he chokes in big moments, he misses free throws in the crunch, he disappears during key stretches in the 4th, he isn’t a leader, he’ll never win a title, etc., etc., ad nauseam.  Now, look at LeBron.  Let’s not forget how adamantly we disregarded LeBron years ago as a competitive threat.  I’m not sure if Dwight can develop the same mental fortitude that LeBron has the past 2 seasons, but…I’m just saying that we shouldn’t slam the door completely shut on his title chances just yet.  Even with all that being said, I still can’t help but to react with a faint shrug of the shoulders at Dwight’s departure.  Confounding indeed.