Friday, April 18, 2008
Wizards Playoff Preview: COLD GETTIN' DUMB
Hey party people, it's Wizards playoff season, and you know what that means (as based on the past two seasons), it's time for Lebron and his roster of referee friends to make their way through the speed bump that is the Wizards towards his endless anointing via the NBA marketing machinery, right? Well according to Wilbon (WILBON!) that is wrong. QUICK, take one guess who might agree with the onery occassional-carer of DC sports: that's right, us. Wizards. Sweep. You know the drill. Except this time, the humor and irony that trying hard to find the silver lining in a season torn from us by a non-playoff-participating Jordanairre's statistic amassing legs is not the basis behind this post. No, the Wizards will sweep because the Wizards are a better team. And Lebron, and his newly added clatch of crusty old floppers are barely treading water since they were thrown together as if they were methadone attempting to break a smack addiction (something native Clevelanders may know about). The team has just gone from mediocre to extra mediocre, while the Wiz have risen high!
It's nice to be so unlike last year, when people were giving the Wiz-Cavs series the same amount of attention they gave quarterlife during it's epic one episode run. In fact many are calling this series the Envy-Eli Porter MC battle of the east in both it's competitiveness and it's inclusion of rap and hilarity. We too are excited about the potential rap battle between DeShawn "Man" Stevenson's new bff, Souljah Boy, and Lebron's tired old father figure fogey-type bff, Jay-Z. Now, Bobtimist has been known to bump one or four of Jay-Z's eight number one albums from time to time in "the whip," but ever since the much publicized lame Lebron comparison between his old idol (who actually experienced success without the aid of record company official types abetting his rise to prominence through the non-calling of industry rules) and how he is like MC Joe Camel while DeShawn is like Souljah Boy, because he isn't as important, talented, or necessary, I have been upset with the misperception. Unlike "Man's" brilliant player analysis, Lebron is wrong.
When making a metaphor, as many rappers do from time to time, one must find some sort of congruence on both sides of the "like" and in the case of DeShawn Stevenson's play, he is not congruent to the teenage fad dance creating, likely-forgotten-three-months-from-now, flash-in-the-pan rapper Souljah Boy. If you look at "Man's" career (and fellow blogger-types, please stop calling him D-Steve, that sounds like a terrible nickname the IT department would give their newest database management administrator David Stevens after his third straight homerun during the company softball team's two-game winning streak) you will see that he was never "like" a one-hit phenomenon who will subsequently fade out into a career of Indian Reservation Casino performances and VH1 talking head gigs.
Although "Man" began in a phenom-sort of way, coming straight out of high school to the league, winning legendary dunk contests at Mickey-D's All-American games, he ended up losing touch with the mainstream golden oldies Stockton and Malone in these formative stages, but he put in endless work, eventually landing in the perfect situation in Washington where in his two years of steadfast improvement, he has flourished as both a defensive pest and a spot shooter (career-highs in three pointers two consecutive years). If any rapper type could be compared to "Man", a practice performed better on many-a blog sites, I think the New York rapper AZ (not to be confused with Jay-Z) would be a better comparison. AZ began as the phenom sort, stealing the show from Nas during "Life's a B1%ch" and instead of forming into the mainstream rap-god everyone saw in him, he settled into a steady stream of solid releases. AZ even goes so far as to lash out at the supposed big guns, like he did when he went after 50 Cent on the "Royal Salute" track.
Which brings us to the other side of this analogy, and who better to compare Lebron to than 50. Insane hype before the first full-length album/season, a steady string of well-received materials but an overall disdain for anything truly spectacular, lots of style, yet little substance, quite literally a douche bag, -- seems a lot more congruous than Jay-Z, who has put in a lion share more work, and provided many more quality releases (unlike Lebrick's last release vs. the Wiz --clank!), than 50 ever will. A more apt comparison to Jay-Z would be someone like, as Jigga often mentions, Michael Jordan, who touched the untouchable reached the unreachable blah blah blah for so long before wilting into a terrible general manager. (The jury is out whether Jigga's reign as the Def Jam CEO = Michael's years in Washington).
So I would say that Lebron, in addition to being overrated, is obviously wrong in his actual rating abilities. So with "Man" trying to hook Souljah Boy up with tickets and a game-worn for the series and the Optimilitia hopefully energizing the lame-according-to-Ivan-Carter crowds with their steady chants of "OVER-RATED" during free throws, it's obvious that the Wizards have the right idea when it comes to getting into someone's head (unlike one jerk-hole-ish way to get inside someone's head that should have been assessed with a technical, but I digress).
So does that make the Wizards the "dumbest team in the history of civilization," as stated by the autobiography-writing, and re-writing Charles Barkely? Only in the sense that they are COLD GETTIN' DUMB on the court during this series. As relentless as Kurtis Mantronik's bassline was in that stellar Just-Ice gem, the Wiz will be relentlessly attacking the basket, this time with healthy, talented, superstars, not crochety pieces on the washed-up side of their careers. Caron Butler: back after nursing a sore knee and the notion that he is injury-prone. Antawn Jamison: also returning from bumps and bruises after manly performances against the elite. Gilbert Arenas: another returner from injury who only sealed the Wiz's playoff positioning with a classic fourth quarter against the Sixers last week. Antonio Daniels: soldiering through a torn wrist ligament towards another strong playoff series. Brendan Haywood: Career highs in everything. The bench rotation: Songaila, Mason, Blatche, the kids. All a huuuuge improvement over disasters of yesteryears.
No need for snark, this is series is sweep material, Right? YAH TRICK YAAAAHH!