What are the Hopes for Joel Freeland and Victor Claver?

Dave,

We've heard recently that the Blazers are interested in bringing over Joel Freeland and Victor Claver. What hopes do you have that they'll bolster the roster?

Let me tell you a story. For purposes of illustration we're going to compact a couple years' worth of events into a short time frame, but allow the license, please.

Ahem.

Once upon a time there was a little boy who had the Best Christmas Ever. He got a giant remote control robot with flashing lights and awesome sound effects. He got a brand new gaming console with games beyond his wildest imagination. He got an incredibly cool looking bike that went really fast. Also in his stocking he got a couple bags of Sea Monkeys. He thought this was pretty cool too. Naturally he was distracted by the bigger presents. But those bags of Sea Monkeys did say that, when added to water, the little creatures therein would hatch and build a nifty Sea Monkey colony complete with cities and spires, a complex society, and an amazing ecosystem. So he dutifully dumped the Sea Monkeys into a fish bowl and stuck it in his closet. Then he went on his way to play with his other toys.

The little boy loved his robot. It was probably the coolest of the three gifts. But being so high tech it seldom ran right. It kept breaking down, especially at the knees. After a month or so of play it snapped so badly that the boy had to toss it for junk.

The console system was everything advertised and more! The boy played and played and played with it, developing quite an affection for it along the way. But after a couple months it, too, started having problems. It ran slower. Its games developed glitches. Then one, fateful day came the Red Ring of Doom. They took it into the repair shop to try and have it fixed. The tech guys thought they had the problem solved! The boy picked it up, turned it on, the title screen of the game came up, then the Red Ring returned. It, too, was done. (This was a bummer, as his parents were still making exorbitant monthly payments on it.)

Now, this isn't entirely a sad story. The bike still worked! In fact it worked great. The boy zoomed here and there on it. It was really the only thing keeping the boy's Christmas experience from being a total disaster. Maybe it wasn't as unique as the robot or as engrossing as the console. Lots of kids have cool bikes, after all. But it was still good.

That said, how far and how often can you ride on a bike, especially when you're a kid? The boy rode his bike, and rode and rode and rode. He had a couple breakdowns, a flat tire now and then, nothing too bad. But eventually he had ridden as much as he could. He needed something else, something to supplement the bike in bringing the fun back into his life.

"Aha!" he said, "Thank goodness I still have the Sea Monkeys! It has been many months now since I put them in the fish bowl and stuck them in my closet. I feel bad for ignoring them. By now they must have built a regular Sea Monkey metropolis! I wonder if their spires have reached the top of the bowl yet? And I wonder if they will be able to communicate with me somehow through their complex society and amazing ecosystem?"

OK, Blazer fans. "The Blazers want to bring over Joel Freeland and Victor Claver" should be read in the exact same way as, "Then the boy went to the closet to get his Sea Monkeys."

Just because your awesome giant robot and your rad new gaming console both broke and the Sea Monkeys are the last potentially cool toy left besides your bike doesn't mean that the promises on the packages are going to come true. Sadly, things don't happen just because you need them to. No matter how you stare into that fish bowl your Sea Monkeys are not going to become robots or consoles. In fact unless you're quite fortunate they're probably going to sit there like, I don't know, malnourished brine shrimp or something. The real story here isn't the efficacy of the Monkeys nor the hype surrounding them, rather that after the Christmas you had this is what you're down to relying on for your good time. That ain't good.

Freeland and Claver may be fine players. They're not going to transform the team and they'll probably struggle to gain rotation traction if the team is any good...which it might not be. In the normal course of things they'd be an afterthought. If they're not that now, at least expectations shouldn't be inflated by the team's extreme need. Nobody else around the league is saying, "We've got to get our hands on these guys!" Sergio Rodriguez came in with higher expectations than they do. Rudy Fernandez was like a sun to their asteroid comparatively. You know how those stories turned out.

Celebrate their coming and maintain interest in seeing them play, but plan accordingly.

--Dave (blazersub@gmail.com)

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