Long ago in a distant land, Alex Arnon was watching a Kings/Suns preseason game when he became so furiously enraged at a Tyreke Evans double-teamed isolation jumper with 19 seconds on the shot clock that he hit his head, fainted, and woke up a delusional new man. To my understanding, he's now wholly ensconced in a bizarro world where some guy named Xenu created the Earth, Segways changed the very core of how people get around, and small markets make up the vast majority of NBA coverage and traffic. So just remember the motto we've provided our cracked-skull columnist: "No superstars? No problem!"
Good day, faithful readers! I apologize for not following our tried-and-true structure last week, but that whole Spurs fiasco really rustled my Jimmies. Seeing as how being critical certainly isn't a value we small marketeers like to propagate, I'm going to make amends today by teaching our true values to the team who needs it most -- the big-market Los Angeles Lakers. I know, I know. I've written about the Lakers much more than other (perhaps more deserving) small market teams. But rubbing in everyone's faces just how well-run our teams are isn't in our code of values. But charity is - and the Lakers certainly need charity after last night's dismal-yet-hilarious performance where they lost their fourth of five games, each of which to a small market juggernaut. The first loss was to the Orlando Magic, the team Dwight Howard left to join the Lakers, and a team from which two lessons can be derived.
The first of these lessons? Originality. All of us are unique and precious snowflakes with lives to be cherished and one-of-a-kind legacies to be made. You should never strive to be like anyone else, nor should you abandon the team which did everything you wanted them to do just like the last transcendent center to play for that team did. Dwight changed it up a bit by virtually not trying at all in the penultimate year of his contract while trying to force a trade to the Brooklyn Nets, but the end result was the same when he ended up with the Lakers. Just like good ol' Shaqnificent. You really need to try to be yourself Dwight. Unless your true self is a guy with an obnoxiously over-the-top "wacky" persona who tries to eat cookies off of his forehead like a 3rd grader in a game of truth or dare gone wrong. Then you might want to try to be someone else. But only then.
Another thing you need to try, Mr. Howard, is practicing free throws. These are a small market staple as success in them comes from thousands of hours of hard work and preparation, not planking on Pepsi machines. Disregard my previous thoughts, maybe you should go back to eating cookies off your own face. But never mind that either. What you should REALLY do is avoid going 9/21 from the free throw line in a game decided by 10 points. I'm not the best 'mathologist' around but if you were to make all of those, you would've scored more points than the final margin, which generally means you would've won that game! Awaiting confirmation on this. [Ed. Note: I am a professional mathologist. You are correct. --Aaron] Ha! See, mom? I really COULD be a professional mathologist, if I wanted to. I could be anything at all, ever. Regardless. Dwight, please inject some originality into your life. And considering that Shaq was also really terrible at free throws, you could definitely kill two birds with one stone here.
The third lesson to be learned from these losses is selflessness. In the second loss of this streak, Kobe Bryant took 31 shots for 39 points. Considering that the Lakers are 1-9 when Kobe scores over 30 points this is an obvious mental lapse on Kobe's part. He simply needs to take no more than 14 2-point shots a game while taking a lesson from Dwight Howard's book by missing any free throws he takes - this way, he can't possibly score more than 30 points and the Lakers might actually have a chance to win! With those extra 17 possessions, Kobe can utilize these unbeknownst concepts like "ball movement" and "teamwork" in order to try to "win close games" for the Lakers.
Finally, the last lesson is incredibly simple: for the love of Small Market Allah (A.K.A. Reggie Miller), don't give Chris Duhon minutes. And don't, under any circumstances, let him start. Or else you might somehow get a point guard racking up all of 3 assists in 32 minutes. Normally we small marketeers are in favor of giving everyone a chance in the interests of fairness, but this is the one exception. Chris Duhon: Not even once.
• • •
The State of The Small Market Union (Sponsored by The Memphis School of Modern Dance)
Yawn. The sun rose on this beautiful Monday morning. The sky is still blue. Javale McGee is still the most magnificent creature to have ever graced a basketball court. And the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Memphis Grizzlies still have the three best records in the league. The Spurs got revenge on Commissioner Stern by winning all 4 of their games since the sanctions, the Thunder joined them by doing so, and the Grizzlies let the Spurs win in their first game in a post-sanction world. You see, David, we small marketers stick together when times get tough. You can't just strong-arm us into submission. Our wills only grow stronger in the face of adversity, we don't back down from our core beliefs just because Dan Gilbert sent us a strongly-worded letter. Nor will Dan Gilbert keep writing his letters in Comic Sans after we give him a talking to at our next small market committee meeting for that matter.
You see, David Stern, the sun never sets on the small market empire.
Sammy's Sack Racing Presents: "The King Of The League!" Jimmer Fredette MVP Watch
The Jimmer was jobbed. After getting the attention of our MVP watch, he was told to play two games in back-to-back nights, a Herculean task surely unmatched by most NBA players. Therefore it's no surprise to learn that after a blistering 50% shooting performance (that means he made at least a third of his shots!), he followed it up with an 0-6 game thanks to the fatigue he surely felt in his morally pure legs. Once he got some rest, he proceeded to shoot 58% over his next two games while proving that he'd learned a valuable lesson. Fredette once again had two games in two nights -- is there anything Stern won't stoop to to get back at us small marketeers? -- but he knew better than to play into Stern's hands and chose to not play a single minute in the second game of this back-to-back, a game in which his team won against Portland. How many other players would not only sacrifice themselves, but in doing so would lead their team to a win? None. And that's why Jimmer Jebediah Fredette is our MVP.
Small Market Mondays Game of the Night
Thanks to last week's rant there wasn't actually a game of the night, but we're going to go ahead and say that every Spurs game that week was the game of the night. Uncoincidentally_ [Ed. Note: That is not a word.], they just so happened to win every single one of those games! Isn't it amazing what the human spirit is capable of when times get tough? One time, my great aunt Sally fell down the stairs _without her handy dandy Life Alert! But instead of sitting their wallowing in self pity, she got right on up and took her glucosamine pills in order to prevent any joint injuries from happening in the future. And that's exactly what Coach Pop did. But, uh, in basketball form. I guess. Yeah.
But enough about last week, tonight we have our MVP favorite's Sacramento Kinds taking on everyone's favorite Dallas Mavericks. Look for Jimmer to light it up not only from deep, but in our hearts. Look for the Mavericks to fight passionately without Dirk, even more passionate than Dirk fired up with disco fever. And last but not least, look inside yourself to see if these small market teams can teach you any lessons about your life. Especially if that lesson is taught by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and has to do with skinny jeans. Because you know what? This might be the small market Wrangler fan in me talking but...
I just don't get it either.