The 2018-19 NBA season has begun. The Association still believes that its destination will be another championship for the Golden State Warriors. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the season as a whole. Last year was wonderful, so let's return to the path. Let's go back to the Journey.
Song of the Week: Freeway, Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel - "What We Do"
(Warning: Not safe for work)
People are unpredictable because of the power of choice. Because of free will, no situation involving people can be fully predicted without any room for error, even those scenarios in which people have been conditioned to think, feel or behave a certain way. One change in thought, one intentional decision to respond differently undermines all calculations and plans. This is why predicting winners does not result in the right picks more often. There are so many people beyond our control that we cannot raise our predictions to anything more than researched speculation and conjecture.
This is true in our relationships with people. We have those who are companions and those who are not. And though we expect people to treat us a certain way and react to us a certain way, it does not happen in the way we hope every single time. The Golden State Warriors are currently experiencing this based on the recent rift between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. During the last possession against the Los Angeles Clippers, Green looked off a pleading Durant and headed up the court, resulting in a turnover and no chance to attempt a shot to win the game. In the huddle before overtime, Green and Durant had to be separated after words were apparently exchanged regarding Durant's upcoming free agency after this season.
We can focus on how sensitive Durant is, how Green probably wouldn't have looked off Steph Curry if he is the one calling for the ball and every other psychological angle that others have used to predict if this is what will topple the Warriors' dynasty. Instead, keep this in mind with the rest of this post:
Sometimes personalities clash, but that won't stop everyone involved from reaching the same common goal.
Remember back to after the 2016 NBA Finals. After LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers do the impossible and win the series after talking 3-1, Green began the process of recruiting Durant, a soon-to-be free agent, to sign with the Warriors. Durant does, and two championships later, the Warriors are as dominant and dynastic as basketball has ever seen. Nothing save for injury would keep anyone from predicting the Warriors to win. But this spat between Durant and Green raises doubt because we did not expect teammates to have public disputes. If that happens, that must mean some sort of bubbling problems that surface. Apparently in that heated exchange, Green made inferences to Durant's pending free agency after this season, stating that the the Warriors were champions before his arrival and that the team didn't need him. Whether that's true or not is unable to be proven now, but what is true is that it was Green who initiated the call for Durant.
In the most basic perspective of the phrase, last Monday's dispute happened. Draymond was suspended for the Warriors' next game, a win against the Atlanta Hawks, and everyone in the organization has said the right things about nothing being fractured in the locker room. This is similar to an ally in a video game who has a different philosophy than the protagonist as to how the goal should be accomplished. There's a moment of tension that usually results in a split, only to return in the end to help save the day as a unit.
In 2013's Bioshock: Infinite, protagonist Booker DeWitt rescues a woman named Elizabeth. After the plot twist is revealed, Elizabeth runs off and when they reunite, she reminds him of just how horrible of a person he is. She still aids DeWitt as a support character, despite repeatedly reminding him that he's awful. Green and Durant had a moment as work associates where a difference in philosophy uncovered deeper beefs. Whether it means something long-term matters not, as it will not keep the Warriors from achieving their goal of winning a championship. As Gilbert Arenas said on his No Chill Podcast, this is about egos. And those egos will not derail them this year.
- Duane Casey returned to Toronto as Detroit Pistons head coach, and it was some vindication as Reggie Bullock knocked down a game-winning jumper against the Raptors. Casey is a really good coach, and has the Pistons playing well, though they've lost six of their last nine games after starting the year with four wins. I'm pretty sure that win meant a little more than the others so far.
- The early season's high point total belongs to Charlotte's Kemba Walker after he netted 60 points against the Sixers on Sunday. Unfortunately for him, it was still not enough as Philly's new edition Jimmy Butler sealed the game with a basket in overtime.
- This week's Hooper Appreciation Blurb goes to the Miami Heat's Josh Richardson. The fourth-year guard from Tennessee is averaging 20.6 points per game, though the Heat are just 6-10 as of Monday. Richardson received a $40 million contract this past offseason, and is certainly living up to the expectations of the payday.
That's Week Five in the books. The Journey continues. Happy NBA, folks.
Poemer. 8-time Hug Champion. Pick&Roll Enthusiast. Guardian of Logic and Tact. Apocalypse's good Brother. Collector of muted souls for Mt. Filtermanjaro.