Here is a thing that happens way too often in the NBA: Two teams with stars at the same position face each other and, instead of the cool stars checking each other, so that they are competing directly at both ends of the floor, the coaches assign various other designated defenders to do the job of getting crossed-over and crumpled up and trashed, while the stars spend the defensive half of their respective evenings replying to text messages in the vague vicinity of non-shooting bozos.
Yes, this is “smart” “tactics” because it lets the engines of offense avoid foul trouble and fatigue so that they can save their full exertion for doing cool buckets. And also, yes, defenses do so much switching nowadays that initial matchups are nearly meaningless except as they determine which series of screens will scramble them. Fine, fine.
It’s also horse crap! The promise of a series like Warriors-Rockets (which begins tonight), with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on one side and James Harden and Chris Paul on the other, is these four monsters (plus Kevin Durant, for whom the Rockets, like the rest of the NBA, can offer no real counterpart) versus each other. This is what the people (me) demand: That when Curry splashes a 30-footer in some hapless idiot’s face, that idiot will be Chris Paul and not Luc Mbah a frickin’ Moute! That when Harden uses a slick crossover to melt some dude’s kneebones before hitting him with the step-back for three, the sad-sack bonking his teeth off the floor will be Klay Thompson, and not Quinn Cook! That when I do a search on our wire photography subscription sites for game-action photos of Harden and Curry matched up against each other, there will be some good ones from more recently than 2016!
Therefore I am calling on the Warriors and Rockets to have their cool players actually defend the other team’s cool players. And then also, when the cool players actually do get matched up with the other cool players, I am calling upon the Warriors and Rockets not to run the cool players through 75 ball-screens so that they wind up switched onto friggin’ David West instead of somebody cool. Just let the cool players try to trash each other. This blog is over.