Years ago, when I was playing a lot of NHL/NBA games, I thought it was a little silly that a player could customize in-game players, but not in-game coaches: after all, the (video)game itself casts the controller-holder as essentially a GM/coach figure, controlling all the players. It just seemed like a weird misplacement of identification.Which is to say: everybody who likes pro sports is probably pretty clear that they absolutely cannot compete in any meaningful way with the players*, but they mostly tend to believe that they could coach or run a team adequately, and certainly better than whichever gang of idiots seems to be in charge of their favored squad.
*(Ignoring here professional idiots like Bill Simmons, who seems to believe he could beat WNBA players at basketball.
Confidential to professional idiot Bill Simmons on this point: no way, no day, chump.)
- Time passes and the passage of time almost never makes a player better.
- Never fall in love with the most productive players on a bad team.
The second rule is much easier. It says simply "if the guy's so fucking good, how come his team sucked?".The answer is usually "Well, it's a team game. He's good, but needed support. On our (better) team, he'll be even better and he'll help us win even more.". But--this is my central claim--that's fucking bullshit.
I'm writing this in my normal conditions of privation. Therefore, I'm not going to do the actual research. I'm just going to posit this as an axiom:
Guys who put up big numbers on bad teams almost never go on to put up big numbers on good teams.
That means not only do you not trade for a guy who was a big wheel on a shit team, if you're that shit team, you don't want to commit to building around the guy. What's to build around? --If he were any good, you'd be good already, not building!This brings us to J-M Liles, who was just traded to Toronto for essentially absolutely fucking nothing. A second-round pick. Well--let's assess: is a second-round pick likely to be an NHL player? Sure. Not a safe bet, but a good bet. Is that second-round pick likely to be a 40-point defenseman? Don't bet on it.
And rumours swirl around Paul Stastny: current
stooge face of management Joe Sakic (hallowed be his name) declined to name him as a major building block for the future; he's definitely overpaid; he's incredibly competent but far from a marketing dreamboat; his dad's a fucking clown; he's had two bad years in a row.
Not to be too strident, but not all that many 10-to-15 first-round picks turn into All-Star centers.Savvy readers will have noted a subtle change in orientation over the course of this post: early on, I was all like "don't double down on good players on bad teams" and now I'm all "trading our most productive D-man for a second-round pick was bad business and trading our best all-around center is likely to be bad business too, dawg".
I don't have a super-strong defense for this apparent inconsistency. I understand if a reader* might say "your position is apparently the good player on another guy's team sucks eggs; the good player on your team must never be sold off for unproven commodities.".
*(Forgive me this assy affectation. I know full fucking well even the other contributors to this blog don't read this, much less anybody else. Sometimes, I have to pretend otherwise to (a) justify the time I spend on this crap to myself and supplementarily (b) keep myself from slinging my belt over the shower curtain rod.)
Maybe it's consistent in that like a mediocre goalie, I'm just playing the odds: most guys don't get significantly better over time; young guys are all things being equal better at playing and cheaper than old guys; rare commodities like All-Star centers and D-men who put up 40 points are rare and not to be traded for common commodities like second-round picks (30 per year)...Enough. I am no GM, I know this. It's a fool who falls in love with big numbers on shit teams, and I know this too. But if I can't fall in love with somebody on a bad team, then who am I supposed to root for?