Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Big Easy Gets One Game To Watch

So the NBA, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to show its staying power in New Orleans by giving the 2014 All Star Game to the Crescent City. And all I can think of is... wow, what an obvious sop to the Expo -- err, I mean Hornets.

And sure, the Bugs are going to get new owners before then, with Saints owner Tom Benson looking to take things over from the extraordinarily hateful George Shinn. And sure, it doesn't take *that* much to get a tolerable team in town; all you need, really, is a once in a decade level player, kind of like, well, Chris Paul.

And that's the problem, isn't it? The Bugs had their once in a decade guy, just like they once had Baron Davis. And they moved them both for pennies on the dollar, and there's just something that spits in the eye of karma to imagine that a third transformative point guard is coming their way any time soon.

The last truly good Sixers point guard, a clear top 10 guy, was Mo Cheeks when I was a child. Johnny Dawkins and Eric Snow had moments, and Jrue Holliday or Evan Turner might finally end the drought. Allen Iverson wasn't a point, whether he lined up there or not, and Andre Miller's got heart to spare, but doesn't really transform anything.

The Bugs, of course, had the best in the business in Paul, a guy that's dragging the Clippers to a high berth, who is making DeAndre Jordan look miles better than he is, who gives the Clips hope that they really do not deserve. And the Bugs moved him, despite the fact that he never quit on them, because they knew they had more than a fair chance to get nothing if they kept him. And nothing is what Eric Gordon looks to be amounting to, and no one is thinking that kindly of Chris Freaking Kamen.

Once more, the fundamental inequality of cities comes into play here. Had Paul been drafted as a Knick, he'd be there for as long as the franchise wanted him. Same if he went to LA, New York, Chicago, Miami, Dallas or Boston, the most favored nations in a league that subverts its salary cap with subterfuge.

So, sure, enjoy what some call the black Superbowl. It's a city that knows how to host, and should be in the mix for any marquee event like this one. Maybe they'll even fix the dunk contest by then, or figured out a way to make defense happen in the first 44 minutes.

But know this: unless Benson brings untold acumen and dollars to the table, or the Bugs get lucky in ways that stagger the imagination, there's not going to be a meaningful game played before that one. Or, well, anytime soon after...

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