Players Win Games

In N.B.A. Basketball by Brock Bourgase

On Wednesday night, Dwyane Wade dropped 37 on the Raptors and LeBron James lit up the Mavericks for 46 points. Underlines the idea that players win games and explaining why college coaches recruit.

According to Albert Camus, the essential concept of existence is the struggle against mortality, a world not particularly suited to humans, and perhaps even mediocrity. Camus might have enjoyed the game, although it may have been frustrating to watch, it was probably a good effort for the Raptors, given their talent and the injury to Chris Bosh — is putting a ball in a hoop any less absurd or Sisyphean than devoting hours towards writing the perfect sentence or reading the train schedules even though one never travels?

Which is why the Raptors badly need a wing player. The heroics of Wade and James show that the Association is a league for guards and existential posts. If Mike James is the Raptors’ key free agent signing, nothing much will change. Bryan Colangelo will be condemned by the gods and Maple Leafs Sports and Entertain to roll a giant boulder up the hill during the day, only to watch it roll down at night and repeat the process the next day, until he acquires a 2 or 3 who can play with Bosh.

A point guard is nice, but not critical since you can fill the third point of the triangle with lots of different options. Mike James is a satisfactory point guard and spaces the floor well but he is not the only player who can fulfill this role, especially if he’ll cost a lot of money.

Unless the Raptors undertake something drastic to augment the current core (which is promising but ultimately limited), re-arranging the current players or replacing them with similar players will be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Not that the franchise is going under but if M.L.S.E. wishes to improve the experience of the Raptors’, they need to think bigger.

Perhaps missing the playoffs and competing for the last few playoff spots every few years is the best the Raptors can hope for. The Association isn’t really suited for them. Examples of this are the lottery rules from the mid 1990s, player stereotypes about Canada, and the value of the dollar (although the last one has improved and will continue to do so). Maybe the team should give up chasing abstract goals such as winning and focus on defining and improving themselves. This philosophy probably wouldn’t sell tickets (although the Leafs have proven otherwise since 1967) but it might be very rewarding.