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 morning, dearest readers! After last week's installment of your favorite feature, we received a very encouraging e-mail which gave me a glimmer of hope in this ever dreadful, ever amoral world:
Hey Alex, huge fan here!
I've come upon a moral quandary while reading your work -- I'm a small market soul living in a big market town! While I'd like to blame my parents for conceiving me in such a soul-sucking, hope-trampling cesspool and making me a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers by pure proximity, I can't bring myself to it. I simply love them too much to do that... I guess that's some small market kindness shining through! Do you have any advice for me?
Sincerely, John H.
John, John, John... I am so happy you decided to write in to me because this is one of the very (very) few things I like to consider myself an expert on. Let me tell you the first thing about small markets - it doesn't matter where you live, it just matters how you live. You seem to be on a good start already with your kindness but you're going to have to prepare to rescind your Laker fandom and trade in your big market laurels for small market morals. The path to small markethood at heart is similar to that of the path to Nirvana - you must give up your material belongings and search your soul for the ethicality which defines the smaller markets. Only then can you truly forgive not only your parents but yourself as well, John. Godspeed.
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The State of The Small Market Union (Sponsored by The Memphis School of Modern Dance)
Honestly, friends, I'm getting bored of having to write this week-in, week-out. It goes without saying that small markets continue to dominate the Association as we all expected. The solid team constructions of the Grizzlies and the Spurs (two best records in the league, naturally), as expected, are tearing through the league with elite-passing big men, efficient threes, and anti-coddling, old-school curmudgeons at the coaching helm. Meanwhile, the hapless big-market glitz of the Lakers has already led to another coaching change: Before they even gave him a chance, the vicious L.A. press has already ridden interim coach Bernie Bickerstaff out of town (to work as an assistant somewhere). In his place, the Lakers have hired Mike D'Antoni to try to right the ship. Surely D'Antoni will get the most out of these stars. Not so fast, though: Unfortunately for D'Antoni, his team's issues go much deeper than chemistry or system. His stars seem to have trouble buying into anyone's system (if you can't buy into class-act and defensive savant Mike Brown's rotations, there's something seriously wrong with you). It also doesn't help that the decadent Lakers management is known for panic-trading franchise players to small markets for pennies on the dollar, like they did with Marc Gasol 5 years ago.
Overall, the small marketeers are rejoicing and their owners are smoking environmentally friendly cigars made from the stolen asbestos insulation of decadent big-market buildings. Meanwhile the big market apologists in the press are surely concocting their latest defaming attack against one of our beloved stars -- remember that takedown piece they threw at our fabulous Frenchman Tony Parker? The implication that the French can be decadent makes me sick, and, as a Frenchman myself (call me ladies), makes me want to get up and express my anger though modern interpretive dance. This has been your Memphis School of Modern Dance "Expressive Outburst of the Week".
Memphis Modern Dance: Open Tuesdays Through Fridays.
Sammy's Sack Racing Presents: "The King Of The League!" Jimmer Fredette MVP Watch
First and foremost, I have terrible news for you - heavy favorite for the 2012/2013 NBA MVP award Mike Dunleavy couldn't come back from the devastating rumors that his father might become the head coach of the Lakers. Thankfully, someone has more than filled his shoes: Jimmer Fredette, step right up! In the Jimmer's second year in the league, he's shooting a lights out 51% from the field and is currently 12th in PER (Player Efficiency Rating) in the entire league. He's also no slacker in PERM (Player Efficiency Rating, Morally), currently sitting at 2nd behind the man who has run away with the PERM lead, Andrew Bynum. Jimmer famously attended Mormon stronghold BYU where he won the Naismith Player of The Year Award and led his community through such wholesome activities as "not drinking coffee", always wearing shirts with sleeves, and keeping that handsome face of his clean-shaven. Just look at him, up there, smiling as he prepares to set his teammates up or take a shot only if necessary in the flow of the game. It warms my heart... sorry, I drifted off for a moment there, cadets.
Anyway, some may complain about small sample size: "But Alex, what about the sample size in which Jimmer has been successful?" First of all, friend - this is Small Market Monday, not Small Sample Size Sunday, so I don't wanna hear all that mathematical mumbo-jumbo. Jimmer Fredette gave those minutes to his teammates to encourage team cohesion, and he did so even knowing that big-market shills for teams like the Clippers, jealous for playing time, would use his sacrifice against him in the MVP race. It's laughable to use it against him, and it's laughable that you think you understand sample size better than the 12th-most efficient player in the league. Until you bring a heartfelt discussion to the table, the Jumpin' Jimmer MVP hypetrain rolls on.
Small Market Mondays Game of the Night
Last week's game of the night was an absolute thriller of a match-up between the Bucks and Bobcats, one in which the 'Cats rallied back in the 4th quarter to win the game by a tightly contested 4 points. The biggest storyline of the night has to be the victorious team's leading scorer, Ramon Sessions, who - in a shameless quest for rings - left the .500 Lakers to join a winning squad in the Charlotte Bobcats. Razor Ramon paced the Kitties with 23 points off the bench, leaving Lakers fans everywhere to wonder if current starting point guard Darius Morris could score 23 points in a career. Just another big market to small market success story!
We have a heck of a slate in the world of basketball tonight, amigos. Perhaps my only regret about the evening's schedule is that our glorious Pacers don't play until tomorrow night, but that's for good reason - they need all the rest they can get to keep up with those hellacious Lakers tomorrow night. Our game of the night tonight has to be the San Antonio Spurs taking on the Washington Wizards, as it's a clash not only between basketball teams, but between ideologies as well. The successful CEO Spurs are taking on the hapless, winless minimum wage Wizards. Now, the Spurs have the second best record in the league and the Wizards have the worst - if you subscribe to the beliefs of some *cough, socialists, *cough* in this country, you'd think that the Wizards should occupy the Spurs team and force them to give up a hard-earned win to them for no reason at all.
But, thankfully, this is America where we put our success in our own hands. Look for the Spurs to teach the Wizards about small market values like picking yourself up by your bootstraps, supply side capitalism, and good old Ayn Randian individualism. Sure, the Wizards are missing their best player to injury ("Galt's Gulch" always sounded like some weird kidney ailment), but Tim Duncan tore his meniscus back in 2000 and look at the Spurs now! Multiple championships later, they've given up on making excuses and instead just make success for themselves. They built this paradise of unselfish passing on their own, without any help. Hopefully they'll teach the Wizards how to as well tonight.