Much has been made of the parallels between Brandon Roy of the Portland Trailblazers, and Penny Hardaway in the late 90’s. Both had injuries derail their careers in their 5th season. Both were All Stars cut down in their prime. Both were about 6’7” and 215lbs. Even their stats are mind-bogglingly nearly identical. The prevailing assumption is that Roy, like Hardaway before him will never regain the glory and promise of his early years on the court.
Fortunately the similarities do not end there. And that leaves a glimmer of hope for Roy, as he may be able to learn from Hardaway’s mistakes and maintain a productive career for himself.
For all the hype and fanfare Penny garnered early in his career, he made enemies immediately with fans in Orlando as he was blamed for running Shaq out of town and labeled a prima donna. For all his court awareness Penny failed to realize his greatest attribute as a player was his dual threat as both playmaker and a scorer. Jack McCallum had immortalized Penny in Sports Illustrating calling him the only player in the league equally comfortable giving and receiving an alley-oop pass. But Penny was determined to emulate the reigning King of the league, Michael Jordan as a supreme scorer with an assassin’s mentality, who would simply take over games all by himself through sheer force of his own will. Penny abandoned the point guard position from which he had so confused NBA defenses with his playmaking and scoring abilities, to become a fulltime scorer. The theory was that he could be more aggressive without having to concern himself with running the team on the court. He could just be single-minded about putting the ball in the basket. Unfortunately the results were only a lower field-goal percentage and consecutive first round exits in the playoffs.
Sound Familiar Blazer Fans?
Amazingly Roy has followed an identical career trajectory. Although he was never listed as a PG, in essence he filled the roll with Steve Blake starting alongside him as primarily a spot up shooter. Roy was the primary ball handler and initiated the offense himself. But Roy also has sought to emulate the cold-bloodedness of the reigning NBA champions in Kobe Bryant. Roy’s playmaking mentality, which like Hardaway before him, made him such a difficult cover, not only for his individual defender but for the opposing team as a whole to gamelan for, was abandoned so that Roy could concentrate on being aggressive with his own offense. The dual threat was gone. His teammates struggled to find their own rhythm when Roy wasn’t on his. Yet Roy has struggled playing alongside a genuine PG in Andre Miller, lamenting that Dre doesn’t provide him the kick out option he needs to keep defenses honest. The irony is that Roy, just a Penny before him, cannot see the dependence of his game on his multi-facetedness, not on a system of singularly skilled shooters, keeping the defense honest for the one prolific scorer. Indeed the genius of both Penny and Roy was that they alone provided a system where singularly skilled shooters could be effective when kept honest by the multifaceted skill set of brilliant playmakers.
And so now that Roy is at this time essentially a hobbled old man, who has lost his explosiveness, the ThinkTank Panel (of One) humbly submits that Roy should move to PG. Become a facilitator. Being Brandon Roy he will still command defensive attention, attention greater than he probably deserves at this point. Keeping the defense honest, by remaining a playmaker seeking to involve the rest of the team. If nothing less Roy can reprise the role Steve Blake played alongside Roy himself in Portland.
Of course the best place to employ this tactic is off the bench. Roy has always been the “back up PG” by default, and it just makes sense to cast him in that role explicitly. He’ll save ware and tear in less minutes, and he won’t have to struggle to share the ball with Andre Miller. And of Course if he happens to get Hot, the Blazers can always feed the hot hand. Thus the injury reduced inconsistent Roy can be used efficiently to maximize his value to the team.
Some nights Roy will still go for 30, other nights he will only play a few minutes. But his value, as it ever has been, but now more than ever, is based on his versatility and craftiness, not on a single overpowering attribute. And now given his physical limitations due to injury, Roy has to be more versatile than ever in order to help his team win.
Penny never recovered his multifaceted playmaking approach to the game, and thus was never able to overcome his physical limitations. Roy still has the slimmest of chances, if only he can stop History from further repeating it’s self.
The ThinkTank Panel (of One) is a big fan of all things ironic. Therefore the ThinkTank Panel (of One) loves this blog post on how the word ironic is used incorrectly all the time.
The ThinkTank Panel (of One) has always been under the impression that the word “ironic” or irony refers to a contradiction or conflict, a paradox of sorts. For instance, an oxymoron in which you have 2 words of opposing meanings together such as sweet and bitter in the quintessential oxymoronic example, bittersweet is, by definiation ironic.
This blog post appeared on the website Dictionary.com. A quick search in the Dictionary.com dictionary for ironic yields the following entry:
containing or exemplifying irony: an ironic novel; an ironic remark.
coincidental; unexpected: It was ironic that I was seated next to my ex-husband at the dinner.
First of all “unexpected” is as sweepingly vague a definition as you could possibly get. It could mean anything, and therefore does us no good what-so-ever in narrowing down the proper usage of the word irony.
Nevermind that the blog post begins by saying that irony is not a coincidence, on the very same website that defines irony as “coincidental” A coincidence is a non-contradiction. In order to have a contradiction the elements at play must have some relationship to one another in order to come into conflict. The point of calling something a coincidence is to say that there is no relationship between the elements at play, the 2 events occurred simultaniously but completely seperately. For those of you in a statistics course; the coefficient r=0. There is no relationship, therefore no elements are in opposition or conflict. Ergo, by definition a coincidence is not irony. Now that is ironic!
The blog post goes on to give it’s own definitive definition of irony:
An ironic remark conveys a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning. So, in an ironic statement one thing is said, while another thing is meant.
For example, if you were trying to be ironic on a stormy, dreary day, you might say: “What glorious weather!”
The ThinkTank Panel (of One) and several other commenters on the blog post would consider that to be the definition of sarcasm. The fact that the blog post defines irony as sarcasm makes this a part/whole or chicken vs. the egg conundrum. Is irony sarcastic, or is sarcasm ironic? In the humble opinion of the ThinkTank Panel (ofOne) Sarcasm it’s self is ironic in that there is a contradiction between what is meant and the words that are actually spoken. But irony is not sarcastic because the conflict is appearant. Unless of course the word irony is used incorrectly, as the blog post says happens all too often, and the elements refered to are in fact not in conflict, and therefore the irony does not exist. The “use of the word ironic” in this situation could be construded as sarcastic, as the true condition of the elements is not irony but they were called irony anyway, which means that what was said was the opposite of what was meant. There is now conflict between the actual conditions that exist and the conditions that were declared to exist but actually do not exist. Ergo, the incorrect use of irony is in and of its self both ironic and sarcastic. Now that was unexpected!
Ergo, this blog post on irony is it’s self ironic, for as it attempted to curtail excessive use of the word ”ironic”, it defined irony as sarcasm. And sarcasm is a far more frequent occurance in everyday language than irony, thereby paving the way for an even greater abundance of “irony” usage in the common vernacular. The opposite of what the blog post author intended, has happened. Now that is ironic!
Now this ironic debate always convenes around 1 song. The ThinkTank Panel (of One) can't stand the song, or the singer, so you can take a listen and debate amoungst yourselves.