BBIQ Revisited

I'm much more of a lurker than a poster... but I've followed with interest the evolution of the term "BBIQ" on this forum. It's certainly become a loaded and provocative term.

I've seen it usually applied to Travis Outlaw, replete with all the arguments that come with it about politically correct issues, statistics, upside, and otherwise.

From my perspective, I get really, really frustrated watching Travis Outlaw. In my mind, BBIQ comes down to something that's extremely subjective and relative to the observer: poor BBIQ = me, the casual fan, seeing opportunities that the player on the TV screen misses. Rightly or wrongly, that's probably as good a definition as any. Certainly, I think the assessment of Nate or KP or a scout regarding their idea of BBIQ and mine are substantially different, but in the forum of the BEdge inteligentsia, it seems that the majority has declared against Outlaw on this basis.

The reason I thought to revisit this issue is from watching Batum play against Utah. I had the opposite experience watching him play. He was breathtaking. First, he was hitting jumpers, which is always nice and if those don't go in maybe he doesn't play more and maybe I have a different opinion. I certainly held my breath when heaved that first 3-pointer. But in general, from his drives, to his dishes, to his defense (including at least one great block), he seemed to me to epitomize what good BBIQ is. In my definition, not only did he take advantage of opportunities I thought I saw on my TV screen, he found plays that I myself (the self-defined expert for the purposes of this definition) missed completely.

His defense seemed to come out of no where. His passes seemed to be hitting players in places--better places-- in stride or set up or some ineffable something, that was missing from other passes. His movements seem more purposeful--he gives every appearance of knowing exactly what he's doing before and during his actions. I don't even know if Broy knows what he's looking for half the time he's driving. Bayless certainly doesn't give that impression. Nor did Sergio, who for his defensive faults was regarded as a good passer in general.

That feeling was encapsulated in his pass to Martell for a 3 pointer near the end. He'd already dropped two dimes to LMA from his favorite spot with passes so good not even the eternally shy LMA could not shoot. Then Batum received a pass on the baseline and could have taken an open 3. He didn't. He passed it off to Webster. (Pretty sure it was Webster.)

Now, it's not unusual for Blazers to pass up shots in the 4th qtr (at least this season with Broy and TO out). But this pass was, I think, qualitiatively different. It was not a flaming bag pass. I didn't get the sense that Batum didn't want to take the shot or lacked confidence. It seemed to me that Batum knew that to win the game--not make this bucket but to win the game--Webster needed that shot and it needed to go in. I would swear that he unconsciously or subconsciously (which?) made that pscyhological calculation and executed, intentionally, the precise play that would've led to a win.

That's a lot of poetry to invest in single play and even in a single game for French 20 year old coming off of an injury.

But I know this: when I think of BBIQ from now on, I'm going to think of those two passes to LMA and the drop off to Martell as well as this game in general. Next time someone complains about needing a definition of BBIQ on a given thread, I'm going to think of this game. Next time LMA tries to pass out of the post falling sideways or TO comes back and takes a spinning fadeaway, I'm going to think of this game.

For me, right now, understanding that it's an emotional, ridiculous, (and irrelevant) fan decision, Batum is about as untradable as any guy on the team right now. For me today and the BBIQ display I saw, Rudy, TO, and Webster all pale in comparison. And I'm a guy who loves watching Rudy play and is generally pleased with Webster's progress.

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