Few people have fantasies about Rick Kamla and Eric Karabell. Sure, there is probably some deviant group on the Internet devoted specifically to that, but for the sake of everyone’s fragile imaginations, I will just focus on the time of year when we are forced to. Meaning, it is about a week until the NBA season tips off, and you know what that means? Time to get your NBA fantasy team set up!
Just to clarify, your NBA fantasy team is that sad little team you named after your favorite “Star Wars” creature, preceded with a fancy adjective and then added a z on the end of it. It is listed right under the fantasy football team you are more invested in. Do you see it now? The Spicy Jawaz? Good for you.
I have been playing fantasy basketball for quite some time. I was probably in high school when I started my first team, and I really thought it would be a good hobby for me. See, I had no real skills back then other than naming random bench players on the Atlanta Hawks like Hanno Möttölä – in fantasy sports that actually counts for something (the useless information, not Hanno’s 4.4 points per game). It turns out that fantasy basketball has actually done me more harm than good, as I have been prone to having decent regular seasons but lackluster postseasons. Like the northern California sports teams I root for, I am a choker. I can use that “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” cliché to describe most aspects of my life, but sticking to the subject, that is how it is for my fantasy NBA teams and I.
After all the years of fantasy disappointments you would think it would only increase my drive to succeed. Sports trains us to think that way since we have had to witness guys like Raymond Bourque and Alonzo Mourning put in years of effort and persistence to finally win championships. Sellouts. I have pretty much replaced effort and persistence with apathy and laziness. I figure if I cared a lot before and continued to lose, I should just do the opposite and maybe I’ll sleep my way to an undeserved championship (pretty sure some recent NBA championships have been won this way). If only John Stockton adopted this philosophy, maybe he wouldn’t be in a cabin somewhere in rural Utah collecting miniatures and making pipe bombs.
I thought not caring was a good idea until I was faced with my first fantasy draft of the season yesterday; I was a bigger deer in a headlight than Jeff Van Gundy facing a spray tan. Completely unprepared, I seemed to have a reason not to draft everybody and could not figure out who to take with my first pick. LeBron James Taken. Wade? Injury risk. Gilbert Arenas? Taken, and an injury risk. Dirk Nowitzki? Just not a fan. Kobe Bryant? Definitely won’t touch him with a 10-foot pole (putting it as nicely as I can; he is pretty much the Assad to my Curtis Manning). I panicked and took Chris Bosh number one, and even that was hard for me because watching him in preseason, I noticed that I really do not like the new hairstyle he’s working, and I’m sorry, but for me, it often comes down to hair (I say that holding a sign that says “Free Anderson Varejao”).
From Bosh down to Bostjan Nachbar, my beloved 13th man, I drafted a mediocre team and I am on a mediocre mission. I can only hope that all of you out there expend as little effort as possible in your fantasy drafts and then join my league and make my team look better.