The current conventional wisdom regarding what fan response should be for the 2010-11 season is what I would call a tempered enthusiasm. This is altogether logical. That the Kings will be better than they’ve been the last few years, while encouraging, does not meant that the Kings will actually be any good, given just how objectively bad they’ve been the last few years. And while the roster is young and exciting and talented that talent is mercurial. As fans we should hope that what we see from REKE DMC and Doratio Kane and Omri and the rest indicates a certain lack of polish, a jangly edginess reminiscent of Axl Rose singing My Michelle. We’re aware were watching an unfinished product. We’re aware, for the near term, that the whole will probably not be equal to the sum of its parts.
So for now tempered enthusiasm is the name of the game. To which I humbly offer, f*ck that. Seriously. If we know this year is another year in the rebuilding process, if we know how steep the learning curve is, if we know Evans may need to take one or two steps back in order to make a giant leap forward, if we’re all a little bit intrigued about the potential possibilities of a Harrison Barnes, what’s wrong with being irrationally excited about this team? The problem with mediocrity, and mediocrity’s subsequent slip into irrelevance, is that it beats all of the enthusiasm and irrationality out of you as a fan. And the Kings have been worse than just bad the last five years, they’ve been boring. And that ennui after a decade where no roster had more oddball, eccentric, entertaining talent than Sacramento. I defy you to read the following list of names and not get caught in a maelstrom of boredom and befuddlement. Reggie Theus. Kenny Thomas. Kenny Natt. Eric Musselman. Shelden Williams. Kevin Martin. (note: Martin was a great player, a solid citizen, an overlooked revelation in the Artest era, but his personality was as fundamental as his game. Short of the pass between Brent Barry’s legs and the running layup in the Spurs’ playoff series very little Martin did really excited me. Maybe I’m a basketball cretin. But I was raised on Jason Williams, so f*ck off.)
Last year was another story. The story wasn’t Hoosiers (TM, Cliched Ricky Riley Cultural References Industries Inc.). But it was modestly more entertaining than anything that happened in Sacramento the 4 seasons prior. It would be stupid to say we cared again. None of us ever stopped caring. In fact, contrarily, our devotion to the team those years in the desert proved we probably care too much. How else would one interpret our myriad analyses of Spencer Hawes’ defensive “game” or Reggie Theus’ “coaching”? No, better than caring again, we were excited again. The 20, 5, 5 hunt, the taunting of Warrior fans for their nonsensical, Eddie Murphy referencing rationalizations for why Curry was the better rookie than Tyreke. We were having fun.
And we want to stop that now in the name of reality? Really? After this summer? After lucking into Cousins? After watching what happened to Cleveland? On the 5 year anniversary of Sactown Royalty? I, for one, say f*ck reality. Let’s give Section 214 every reason to break out Captain Hyperbole. Let’s piss off posters on other blogs with our rampant homerism. Let’s channel our inner KHTK caller. I’m not even being tongue in cheek. I’ve always praised us for being sophisticated fans, because we are. But I have memberships at three museums, including the MOMA, the Met and the Crocker, and you know what? Sophistication can be pretty f*cking boring sometimes. Let’s just have fun this year. Saying that doesn’t absolve us of our responsibilities as fans and bloggers to offer accurate, insightful, unvarnished analyses. It doesn’t mean we can’t be critical. But after an age where Orien Greene was once our season starting point guard is it so bad to want to run with anything that even rhymes with unbridled enthusiasm?
Besides enjoying ourselves this year will make us feel at least a little better when the Kings are welcoming basketball back to Kansas City next season.