The Sound and the Fury

My reaction to the Clippers' "big" signing of Jamal Crawford reminded me of Mark Cubans recent appearance on ESPN2's "First Take." Cuban confronted ESPN2's Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith about the current state of sports media. Cuban says, "It’s not just Skip. It’s sports writers—sports media in general where everything’s generalities." I've mused on Cuban's comments and wonder if they apply at all to the blogoshphere.

Jamal Crawford and his fresh 9 year deal for 120,000 rupees (do you know how much tall grass Sterling had to cut to earn all of that?) do not put the Clippers over the hump. What hump? Oh… The championship hump, I guess. I don’t know. I'm angry because the Crawford signing just feels so wrong.

I say it feels wrong because, if i think about it, Crawford is hardly a bad signing: The truth is, if Jamal Crawford was on the Clippers last year instead of Chris Paul, Clippers fans might better understand Blazers fans’ distaste for Crawford (in case you didn't know, Blazers fans aren’t exactly begging for Crawford to come back). Without Paul or even an Eric Gordon to spend some time with the ball in-hand, Crawford would likely have jacked up all sorts of questionable jumpers. But another truth be told, if we were to have just added Chris Paul to the Crawford-led Clippers, we’d be rejoicing about Paul being the one to reign-in Crawford, a point-guard who can actually put Crawford's talent to good use, the proper "hardwood-general," and all of the other superlatives which Paul deserves.

But I don't want to think to much about it. I don’t want to get muddled in specifics, so—as Cuban might say—let’s stay in generalities. It’s comfy there. Specific answers to questions like, "Didn't the Clipper out-Grizzly the media’s darling Memphis Grizzlies?" or "Wasn't Chris Paul obviously injured at the end of the first round on into the second round versus the Spurs?" We shouldn't consider any intricacies. Do you think the national media remembers that Paul was injured? All they remember is that the Clippers were swept. And sure, Paul's injury is reality, but reality doesn't sell. Just ask ESPN... ... ... What where we talking about again? Oh! Yes!

If you ask the citizens, then you'd know that the Clippers absolutely need a defensive specialist on the wing, preferably at the two-guard, since (at least before the Crawford signing) there was a void (with Crawford, there's just a blackhole! ZING!). Never mind that championships are won with team defense, which requires five players at a time to master a system of concepts, techniques, and fundamentals. And never mind that there is only one starting caliber defensive specialist available. I'm sure you've all read my stuff about how much the Clippers need that wing defender—they need Ray Allen. Some of you might say that I'm not making any sense and you can shush. I know what the Clippers need. I read ClipsNation. They need a starting shooting-guard who can A) Lock down the opponent's best wing, and B) be Ray Allen. It's simple if you avoid those specifics.

This dichotomy reminds me of coaching criticism. When the offense is terrific: "That’s Chris Paul’s offense, baby!" When the offense is horrific: "Damn Vinny’s offense... grumblegrumble, babies." They can't both be true, can they? I don't want to know. That's why I stick with, "Fire (Enter Current Clippers Coach Here)!" It avoids messy research.

This is also my philosophy with Jamal Crawford. He's not a "defensive specialist named Ray Allen," so he needs to go. I don't care if he's yet to play a game with Paul and Griffin.I mean, I could tell you the truth and admit, "The Clippers will not win a championship until Blake Griffin—entering only his third playing season—develops into the fully-rounded superstar we expect." But that requires patience and luck. It also prevents me from pointing my finger at those who deserve it, like Vinny and the front-office. As a Clippers fan, I’m entitled to a championship-winner now.

We could confess and confront that a number of the Clippers deficiencies stem from the youth of Griffin and Deandre Jordan: the interior defense will improve when Griffin and Jordan get their heads better wrapped around defensive concepts. Floor spacing will be less of a problem if Griffin develops a consistent jump-shot. But it’s limbo, talking about the (hopefully) quickly dissolving deficiencies of the young superstar. C’mon citizens and blogheads. Let’s just do our best national media impersonations and rabble and rouse in unison! Altogether now:

Crawford can’t play next to Chris Paul. They’re not compatible. Paul is helpless. I just know it!

Crawford deserves the criticism. He’s a chucker and he plays no defense. I know he deserves the criticism because I’ve watched him play. I mean, the majority of the games that I watch are Clippers games, and sure, I hardly watched the Blazers last year… but—BUT—I know Chris Paul and Blake Griffin cannot overcome Crawford.

With that, Let’s open up the thread for more complaining about Jamal Crawford versus Courtney Lee as if that debate is more important to the Clippers than Griffin’s basketball maturation. Because if Griffin fulfills his great expectations, then it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s Crawford or Lee or James Singleton (maybe it matters a little), because Griffin will take the Clippers places they've never been. Until then, I just have to hear my own voice. Rather, I have to read my own words. Am I doing it right?

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