Weakside Eyes: The Art In Basketball

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Published: July 12, 2013
ArtDunk

Image courtesy of John Robinson at Street Credible Art

Basketball Riffs

“Just as in life, basketball has its moments of chaos . . . you need to adapt to them”

The New Orleans Pelicans have improved themselves in a most vital area of play in the NBA. Evans, Holiday, and Gordon will allow the Pelican to better enjoy the “unscripted moments,” the situations in a game when pure basketball instinct and skill allow a player to hang a blank canvas and toss his own color pattern on it or like a talented, creative musician that at times will venture off and create his own line of notes and musical riffs, allow the artistic process to flow.

In other words, Evans, Holiday, and Gordon can connect their own dots and “create on their own.” No set play is required. When chaos evolves in a ball game, they can separate themselves from the crowd and “get their own stuff.” They can improvise while others must stick to the script. These skills were so needed by the Pelicans that not addressing them would have been like standing in the middle of a circular firing squad: everyone would suffer, especially the guy that can’t shoot straight.

The Artistic Side

“Sometimes a heavy load of manure must be shoveled against your stats or reasoning”

In this day and age of in-depth “stat work,” be very careful that while swimming in that deep pool of rates and numbers that the artistic side of the game is not ignored. Some are so intrigued by stats like rebounding rates and several others that they never totally grasp the beauty of a play, the how and why a player is doing what he does. The game becomes a collection of numbers, and one never comprehends, nor will they ever be able to explain, why certain things happen during the course of a game.

The beauty of the game is in the performance, the move that blows your mind, the rebound that’s secured way above, where mere men cannot fly . . . the sweetness of the jumper with technique so perfect it doesn’t seem fair, the advancement of the ball in one of those snapshot perfect fast breaks, the perfect scoring pass . . . you get the picture. Don’t allow yourself to be made dizzy with just advanced statistical math; at times, it’s just best to sit back and enjoy the entertainment, the beauty of the game.

What Does Not Move Is Dead

“The defense played like a hawk pecked out its eyeballs”

Let’s not hoodwink our intelligence: the Pelicans’ defense doesn’t require me to breakout any defensive chart or trend board to tell you it “needs some work.” The defensive rotations were stuck in mud, the quick thinking required to read and react to pick and rolls, ball reversals, help situations, closeouts, and weak side actions were executed on a delay switch . . . it always seemed to be a step behind the action. As much potential as Anthony Davis has, his defensive play requires more tutoring. Believe me, there are others who are just as guilty. This season the Pelicans’ defense needs to show more teeth, more bite, and less gums. Your defense in the NBA is only as good as your rotating defenders; the Pelicans must understand that.

“Tough teams can endure the scrutiny of others”


Gerry V is a 21-year NBA analyst, 17-year talk radio host, a 16-year coach, and current anchor for “Fox 8 New Orleans Morning Edition”, 5 a.m. – 9 a.m. and “Fox 8 News at Noon.” Follow Gerry V on twitter (@GVTalk).

1 comments
Caffeinedisaster
Caffeinedisaster

I'm very interested to see how well Jrue/Gordon/Tyreke create their own shots.

I've been watching some highlights of them all.

They all have excellent handles.  Tyreke uses the spin move to get free most of the time while Gordon/Holiday prefer the crossover.

I REALLY want to see one of them create and get the other 2 going, much like a "anything you can do I can do better" 1-upsmanship (word?).

Lots of fun basketball and ESPN highlight coverage this year (and most importantly, more wins).