(From the FanPosts. - TZ)
I find, as I grow older, it increasingly tough to tell whether my perception of certain cultural phenomenon dying out is legitimate or simply a byproduct of me aging out of a demographic that still cherishes them. If you asked me whether or not MTV has the same cultural pull now that it did a decade ago I would offer an unequivocal no. But the reality is that’s only because MTV no longer has the cultural pull on me personally that it did a decade ago. And that’s not an indictment of MTV’s cultural relevance, or lack thereof. It’s simply a statement on my aging. I bring this up because in the summer of 2006, after the Kings had spent three consecutive draft picks on scrawny scorers with shooting sensibilities, I found myself hoping the powers that be would create a poster that featured Martin, Garcia and Douby in western wear, with basketballs outstretched like pistols and over the three, in some frontier font, the phrase "Young Guns." This is an embarrassing admission. In part because I’m almost 30 and dreaming about novelty sports posters, and in part because I’m not entirely sure they still make novelty sports posters. I’d guess most of you know the type of poster to which I’m referring: Brian Bosworth holding the hand of a particularly curvy Dorothy, sneering below a "The Wizard of Bos" tagline. I’d imagine they went the way of Zubaz pants and those "…the Rest is Just Details" shirts, but I still really wanted that poster.
I was recently reminded of said poster because with the addition of Donte' Greene the Kings just grew simultaneously younger and gunnier. This could be a good thing. We’ve spent the past two and a half years mourning the death of the aesthetically appealing offense Artest's presence seemed to subvert. This could be a bad thing. The D League is littered with guys who assume their ability to score 26 points against Colgate in December means they’re collegiately underappreciated NBA starters. It’s unfair to put a lot of pressure on a 20 year old kid who was picked 28th despite his size, skill set and lottery pedigree. Inversely it’s precisely for those later reasons and that former outcome that it’s very fair to put a lot of pressure on a 20 year old kid who was picked 28th despite his size, skill set and lottery pedigree. If Donte' Greene becomes Donte' Greene, the kid who inspired the rapturous Carmelo Anthony comparisons and the sea of orange Don’te Leave t-shirts at the Carrier Dome then Petrie’s pulled a Petrie. All too often after thoughts in blockbuster trades become unexpected All Stars. But all too often after thoughts in blockbuster trades become after thoughts. And that seems to be the collision course of career paths with Greene. Either he fights through his accused basketball malaise and indifference and becomes Rashard Lewis 2.0 (and while Rashard Lewis will never justify his current contact, roughly the Gross Domestic Product of Belgium, there's no question his presence in Orlando expedited their rebuilding.) Or his insouciance and insistence on errant jump shots follows him from Syracuse and he becomes the perpetual third piece in expiring contract cash grabs the league over.
There is a tendency in the summer, thanks to its lack of relevant storylines and endless amounts of free time, for hoops fans to over think the importance of particular player moves and management decisions. And I don't dispute that what appears pertinent in July will almost certainly not be so in January. But Greene is an exception to this. If for no other reason than he represents what so many fans of rebuilding franchises hang their hats of hope on, potential. Syracuse fans shared those same sentiments for Greene last year. They got a third round NIT loss. The Kings will most certainly function if that's the Greene we get. But there is such a fine line between function and flourish. And no matter how melodramatic it sounds to say now, there is a very real chance Greene is that fine line.