Two weekends ago some friends and I took a nine-hour drive to the southern tip of North Carolina for a week of sunshine, warm ocean, and some much-needed R and R. I rode down with my buddy Keely, who brought to the table an old Saab that gets great MPG’s, an IPod with the new Roots album on it, and a head unusually well packed with ideas about sports. When casual conversation took us as far as it could (Northern Virginia) we moved into an NBA fantasy draft. Our drafting principle was this; the teams we’d picked would actually play—well imaginarily–but we had to pick them as though they would play. So you didn’t want to just gun for big names and big numbers. The goal was to construct the best team possible– not just an All-Star team. After a hard fought rock-paper-scissors contest to secure the first pick we dove in and the names started flying off the board.
And then after a while, the names stopped flying.
Keely had frozen up. He was sitting on his pick and was a versatile three shy of filling out his starting lineup (CP3, Wade, Duncan, Howard), but he was stumped. He had scorers. He had a distributor. He had a take charge, crunch time guy. What he needed was a glue guy. Someone who could burn at several spots and defend, hopefully multiple positions. Handle the ball if need be. Hit an open jumper. Press.
But who? There aren’t a lot of guys in the Association that fit the profile. After five minutes of quiet contemplation he took the cowards way out and drafted Melo. Fair enough, I thought, a three’s a three. But something nagged at me, tip of my brain, until we can a couple more miles and the root of the nag showed itself. There had been a perfect fit for him waiting on the board. A guy who brought everything to the table his team lacked. A guy with the versatility to lend a hand wherever one was needed. A guy who plays on both ends of the court. A guy with a difficult name to spell.
That guy is Andre Iguodala. I was struck by the implications of this. Wow, I thought, Andre Iguodala should have gotten picked to play on one of two imaginary super-teams my friend and I made up on a car ride while we were delirious from NoDoz and Red Bull. He’s that good?
So while I doubt this is exactly the way these teams get picked, what I’m saying I get Andre making the final 15 (and eventually the final 12) for Team USA. What I don’t get is that other people don’t get it.