There are loads of procrastinators known for their unrealized potential (at least in their lifetimes). Apparently, Samuel Coleridge, buddy of William Wordsworth, was highly susceptible to procrastination, leaving fragments of work in his wake, never fully completing anything. Similarly, Leondardo Da Vinci procrastinated so much that, according to some sources, contractors had to threaten to cut off his hand for him to finally finish a project. Da Vinci also left piles of notebooks and other works that were never published, at least until after his death. Both Coleridge and Da Vinci were pretty genius, and probably benefited from their ability to disconnect from productivity and focus on creativity. But, both arguably could have created a better balance between their procrastination and productivity that would have made for better, and in the case of Coleridge less opium, filled lives.
When I apply the idea of procrastination (from the Latin pro (forward) crastinus (of tomorrow)) to the NBA, I start thinking about young teams (teams, “of tomorrow") and the art of comebacks and potential. I think New Orleans has failed to mature from a young, back to the wall kind of team, to that balance between procrastination and productivity, adrenaline and stability, tomorrow and now. I mean, you can only thrive as an underdog for so long.
(Unless, of course, the Hornets’ issues can all be attributed to a pompadour, some bird tattoos, and a Joe Dumars brain-glitch.)
So what kind of procrastinators are the Blazers?
I’m defining procrastination loosely-I don’t actually think the Blazers efforts have been counterproductive or needless, which is often associated with definitions of procrastination. I also don’t mean to minimize the complexity of a playoff series, or the impact of giving Rudy more minutes so he can spread the floor for Brandon and LA, or Steve Blake getting into the key and getting rebounds, Pryz dishing, or LA finally deciding that Yao was not a mountain too high to climb. (BTW, did anyone else enjoy the possession last night where LA squared up against Yao, decided against driving or taking the jump shot, passed the ball out, realized he’d been passive once again, got the ball back and went straight at Yao like Batum goes at Pau? That play, and the Oden/Wafer/Backboard incident made the game for me). I am mostly just interested in how fast a young team should mature and how they learn to survive before, as Steve Blake put it, “it’s now or never.”
Last night I think the Blazers showed what they have shown all season, in whatever number of comebacks, down whatever number of points. They have thrived on the pressure. Back to the wall, they fought back, without making anyone spit blood or elbowing anyone in the head. Back to the wall, with the flu, with a sore elbow, with a coach fined 25k for standing toe to toe with the opposition, they fought back. And back to the wall, they didn’t lose by 58.
Tomorrow (I hope, hope) the Blazers take it to the Rockets. I hope Nate’s forehead stays at minimum crinkle level. I hope they push the ball and spread the floor, and make Battier fall down, unfouled/unprovoked, more times than he did in Game 5. I hope the Blazers make sure the Rockets can’t settle into their Texas-style easy chairs and control the remote. And tomorrow (or next year) I hope the Blazers will show everybody (even Kenny Smith) that they have grown up enough, that they understand the art of procrastination, and they are not solely procrastinators and the team “of tomorrow.” But that they are ready to be a team of now.