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!"
Remember Smash Mouth's smash hit "All Star"? Having made that song my life's motto many moons ago, I was incredibly disappointed recently when I learned that the absolute poetry which legendary frontman Steve Harwell blessed our lives with isn't 100% true.
With All-Star Game voting concluding recently, I had latched on to one lyric in particular - only shooting stars break the mold. What an astute metaphor that was for the wonderful game of basketball, I thought. Only rising small market superstars could break the big market mold. I knew that the unholy liberal elite New England media stranglehold was going to incessantly push for stat-padder and all-around petulant child Rajon Rondo to start in the All-Star Game. I also knew that small market darling and future greatest point guard of all-time Kyrie Irving was much more deserving than Mr. Rondo as is evident by a quick look at their Player Efficiency Ratings: Kyrie is 2th among all point guards in the East, behind only Kyle Lowry who has played 329 minutes less than Kyrie, whereas Rondo is 6th among Eastern conference point guards. This is surely incontrovertible evidence, right? Wrong.
You see, I forgot to factor in the fact that those uppity liberal elites would stop at nothing to win! The All-Star Game is a popularity contest voted on by the unwashed masses and who else but big marketeers would have millions of these cretins in their city? As you probably know by now, Rajon Rondo will be starting for the East in this year's All-Star Game and not Kyrie Irving. Smash Mouth lied to me. Smash Mouth lied to us all. I've been spending the weekend making all of my friends promise not to eat anything associated with Guy Fieri or listen to Insane Clown Posse records (which, granted, no one should be doing in the first place) because of the resemblance they all bear with the Mouth's lead singer. But I guess only one thing truly matters now:
Hey Rondo, you're an all-star.
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The State of The Small Market Union (Sponsored by The Memphis School of Modern Dance)
In this section last week I told you young guns to look out for Denver, Utah, and San Antonio at home in the upcoming week and as always the Arnoninator (that's me with a cool Schwarzenegger twist, get it!?) got it right. The Nuggets went 3-1, the Jazz went 2-0, and the Spurs went 2-0. What's more impressive is the teams they accomplished this against -- the Jazz beat the reigning champion Heat, the Nuggets beat the reigning Western champion Thunder, and the Spurs beat the reigning grittiness champion Grizzlies. Home is where the heart is, my friends, and we small marketeers have more than enough heart.
In related news, the model small market franchise Indiana Pacers have snuck into the 3rd seed in the East without their biggest star, Granny Danger (who is unrelated to all those unfortunate actresses playing grandmas in danger everywhere in LifeAlert commercials). They play their next 4 on the road however, surely a devilish scheme by David Stern himself to derail the Champacers on their quest for moral and NBA victory. Never fear, though -- the Pacers will make it to the Eastern Conference Championship... at the very least.
Sammy's Sack Racing Presents: "The King Of The League!" Jimmer Fredette MVP Watch
The Stormin' Mormon has looked more like the Dormant Mormon as of late, surely a reaction to the news that he is going to be relocated to hippy pot-smoking paradise Seattle next season. How do you expect someone with the moral fiber of one Mr. Jimmer Fredette to enjoy himself on days off in a town where all the locals do is sip caffeine-filled lattes (the only energy worth having is that which God's love inspires you with!) and make snarky comments about people without Macbooks in their local Starbucks? As we all know, Jimmer is still an ardent Windows ME user. He likes telling people it stands for "Mormon Empathy" before he shows them the righteousness of Joseph Hezekiah Smith's original teachings. One must hope that Jimmer doesn't have a Mike Dunleavy-esque fall from grace due to this troubling news, but we're going to have to keep an eye out for a possible new MVP candidate -- I've got my eye on you, Chandler Parsons.
Small Market Mondays Game of the Night
Today's Martin Luther King day, friends! We get to celebrate the contributions of the greatest Americans of all time by watching basketball from 10AM to 10PM (if you're on the Best Coast, that is... SUCK IT BIG MARKET LEAST COAST). Unfortunately, the game of the night will be the first game on the day's slate - the Champacers take on the gritty Grizzlies in a showdown sure to feature brilliant rebounding and beautifully drawn inbound plays. Words can't describe my love for the double-screen half-court pirouetting mid-range pump fake play which Indiana coach Frank Vogel calls at least once a game after a particularly strategic timeout. And don't get me started on Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins' famous "Who Let The Dogs Out" play where Marc Gasol just reads Tony Allen's Twitter feed out loud to Zach Randolph's defender as Mike Conley simultaneously barks at him which frees Randolph to intentionally brick a Z-pointer that he sprints after and cleans up for the Z-Bound.
One more note - even though it's not a Small Market game in the least you have my permission to watch the Lakers travel to Chicago and lose yet again. I'll be damned if there's anything more hilarious than any arrogant dream big market dream team having a sub-.500 record halfway through the season. I have a dream. I have a dream that big market teams will one day play in a league where they will not be judged by the number of their superstars but by the number of their wins. And when that day comes, we can all get together to laugh at the Lakers together regardless of race, creed, or color. Amen.