Friday, April 17, 2015

The NBA’s Furious 17: Capturing the Noncontenders’ State of Mind by Bill Simmons

The NBA’s Furious 17: Capturing the Noncontenders’ State of Mind
 Sacramento Kings (27-51)

 Tao of Dom: “I saw Linder about a week later. I had the wrench in my hand. I hit him. I didn’t mean to keep hitting him, but by the time I was done, I couldn’t lift my arm. He’s a janitor at an elementary school. He has to take the bus to work … and they banned me from the tracks for life.”

 The good news for Linder? He belatedly recovered from his head injuries and became Sacramento’s newest VP of personnel. Just kidding. I don’t mind the nucleus here: Boogie Cousins (a borderline first-team All-NBA center who couldn’t get it because his team stunk), Ben McLemore (blossomed in Year 2), Rudy Gay (shockingly solid this season), great and loyal fans, a top-eight lottery pick coming, Boogie a second time, and Boogie a third time. If you want to keep going, we have a great 30 for 30 coming about how Sacramento saved the Kings from going to Seattle. Oh, and the Maloofs are long gone. So it’s not all bad. Even if the Kings just endured the worst 13-year run of any NBA franchise.

The big question: When will the hilariously incompetent Vivek Ranadivé conquer New Owner Syndrome? When will he realize that you can’t keep changing coaches and front-office executives every six months like you’re replacing the oil in your car? When will he finally get the whole “You hire the front-office guy first, then HE hires the coach because they have to work together” sequence correct? Part of me hopes Vivek never figures it out; it’s just funnier this way. He’s gone through four coaches and roughly 42 different front-office guys already. He just turned basketball decision-making powers over to the well-liked Vlade Divac — someone who hadn’t been involved in the NBA, in any capacity, for 10 solid years. Who’s next after Vlade doesn’t work out? C-Webb? Bonzi Wells? The Christies? Lawrence Funderburke?

 Still, there’s a certain honor in rooting for the strangest, goofiest, most inexplicably incompetent franchise in basketball. When everything turns around, it makes the whole thing feel even sweeter. Trust me, I’m a Patriots fan. We stunk for the first 30-plus years of my life, then, all of a sudden, we didn’t. Keep your head up, Kings fans. And remember: At least you saved your team. Sure, you saved it and put it in the hands of someone who seems about as stable as Cookie from Empire. But at least you saved your team.

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