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Thoughts and Observations
Feeling lazy this week. Attempted a podcast and scrapped it. Can’t come up with a coherent and compelling structure for some ideas on chrisliss.substack.com, so I figured I’d post some random, ill-informed thoughts on the NBA.
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The Nuggets swept the Lakers, and LeBron is contemplating retirement. It would be a good time for him to go out — still good, but post-peak. You don’t want to play out the string like Kobe or Jordan on the Wizards, and you absolutely do not want an embarrassing retirement tour.
LeBron is not my favorite personality — give me flat-earther Kyrie Irving over that sanctimonious midwit any day of the week. But his comments on Nikola Jokic after the sweep showed a different side: this wasn’t an obligatory ass-kissing to seem like a good sport or elder statesman. It was an all-time great basketball mind recognizing something real and expressing it clearly.
I know, I called him a midwit and an all-time great basketball mind in the same paragraph. There’s no contradiction — both things are true.
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Jokic’s team emerging from the West in a field loaded with the Steph Curry Warriors, LeBron and Anthony Davis Lakers and the Durant-Chris-Paul Suns feels like the end of an era. Foreign-born players are taking over — Giannis, Jokic, Luka Doncic, even the disappointing-in-the-playoffs Joel Embiid. Those were incidentally, the top four players by PER this year, and the American-born Nos. 5, 6 and 8-12 are all more than 30 years old. Only No. 7, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, is under 30, and he was actually born in Toronto. French-born Victor Wembanyama is on the way too.
That said, I don’t know much about the NBA anymore, so maybe there’s a whole crop of young home-grown players ready to take over, and I’m just not aware of how good they are yet. I’m just looking at a spread sheet like those dorks I rail against for NFL.
. . .
Things are looking up ever-so-slightly for my MLB teams. My managers are on it, and I’m starting to enjoy it again. As much as I decry baseball’s constant tinkering with the rules and parameters of the game, I’m enjoying the chaos it’s created in fantasy, especially because I don’t have to deal with it.