If you read Part 1 of the Mailbag just below, you'll know that people have been firing off interesting e-mails lately. I jauntily ran through all of that stuff in the earlier post, but I wanted to save this one for its own:
Bring it on! Come on let us have it! People come at you and you're too polite. What would you say if you really let loose? Get on your soapbox and edumacate us!!!
Well, if you did read that post below you'll know that this is neither my mindset nor my purpose. But OK...I accept your challenge! If I were to let loose, here's my (at least 60% tongue-in-cheek) list of things every fan should know.
1. Every year some team with ultimately fatal (at least in terms of ultimate success) flaws gets off to a hot start. None of that team's fans ever think that's what's going on. Here's the handy rule: If you can't immediately identify that team and why, it's you.
Thank you Rounders and whichever poker player I'm too lazy to look up right now said that.
2. If a National Media Guy compliments your surprising start after six games and says you'll go far, he's probably hedging his bets so he can say he picked the eventual winner from the start. There's no penalty involved for doing so. Plus it behooves him to make every game and team involved seem as important as possible. Therefore before playoff seedings are actually determined every "surprise team could make good" compliment should be taken in the same vein as, "My, that's a cute baby!" It's not a lie. But there's a big difference between smiling and saying, "Thanks!" and immediately searching out the nearest modeling agency because your child is cuter than everybody else's and is definitely going to make you a million bucks.
2a. If you show up at that guy's house two months later and say, "Remember me? It's me and my really cute baby!" he's probably going to call security.
3. The National Media Guy who's an idiot when he says something critical about your team isn't suddenly a genius when he says something good. With 30 teams to cover and interested concentrated in just 2-3 there's a decent chance he hasn't seen your team play much either way.
4. Nobody should be able to compare anybody to the 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks unless:
- That team has multiple players who have been to the NBA Finals before.
- That team is led by a multi-time MVP candidate, preferably one who has won that honor.
- The team has proven Hall-of-Famers on board.
- The team finishes the season top-ten in offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, and victory margin
- The team's road record is as good as its home record.
5. Only franchises that haven't won and probably aren't going to win really care about early-season predictions and comparisons. The Lakers look down their collective noses at the rankings.
6. In fact only franchises that haven't won and probably aren't going to win get really excited about what happens in the first couple months of the season, period. It's like running great in the first two miles of a marathon: better than not, but if you're thinking about applause at that point you're screwed.
7. The All-Star team and other league honors don't matter too much unless you go deep in the playoffs.
8. Other than avoiding the dreaded injury bug, going deep in the playoffs isn't a matter of chance. If you say, "With the right circumstances we can make it" then you won't. Teams who make it are the ones who are dead sure they'll go even farther, who don't consider it a dream but their right.
9. How good you can play on the ideal night doesn't matter nearly as much as whether you can still win on your least ideal nights. If you can get taken out of your game you will be.
10. That holds true for individual players and their "potential" as well.
11. This is sports. Anything can happen. Better than being the team who says that, though, is being the team who just kicked the butt of the team who was saying that. That's how you'll know you made it.
11 is a really unsatisfactory number! Feel free to add your own tongue-in-cheek-ish observations below.