Thursday, February 24, 2011

NBA Action is Fantasyastic: Perception vs. Reality

Perception is reality is a fantasy. If a tree falls in the woods and no one knows about it, it still falls. Similarly, if the personal trainer at the gym smiles at you, it does not necessarily mean that she wants to work up a sweat with you, at least not the kind you are hoping for.

In other words:

If a tree (2) falls (2), then (=) there is a fallen tree (4). That is reality. If she smiles (2) at you (2), then (=) she must want to workout with you (4). That is perception, possibly reality, probably fantasy.

While a fallen tree must mean a tree fell, a smiling hottie does not necessarily mean a hot date is in store. She probably noticed you (2) staring her down for the past ten seconds (2) and just wanted to make sure you knew (2) that she knew (2) that you are a sad, creepy individual (2). She does this (=) by smiling (10).

These perceptions ultimately evolve into opinions, which are then offered and accepted without resistance by a large majority because more often than not, the numbers do not lie. Two plus two always has, and still does, equal four.

Without getting too deep, and in an effort to avoid a philosophy lesson, let’s just say that there are a lot of perceptions in sports.


The NBA trade deadline, along the major moves that have occurred recently with Carmelo Anthony and Deron Williams changing zip codes, provides a stage for varying opinions to flourish. Who got the best of the deal? How well will these players adapt to their new surroundings? How does my hair look?

Unfortunately, other than hindsight and a mirror, there is no dependable instrument that can answer these questions correctly. This is why we then turn to the numbers, the statistics. The numbers do not lie, right?

Oh but they do.

I have a choice between two PGs.

The first one averages 17.1 pts., 9 assts., 3.6 rebs., 1.8 stls., and 1.6 made 3 ptrs. per game while shooting 42% from the field and 87% from the stripe.

The second one sports averages of 16.6 pts., 5.4 assts., 2.5 rebs., 1.0 stls., and 2.0 made 3 ptrs. per game on 44% FG shooting and 93% FT shooting.

17 and 9? I’ll take PG #1 every day of the week. The shooting %s are similar enough and I get over a rebound and almost one more full steal per game. Where do I sign?

I agree. Give me PG #1. He’s obviously the better player.


I need a PG. I have a choice between Chauncey Billups and Raymond Felton.

Felton is a talented bulldog of a floor general whose collegiate success has yet to translate to professional dividends. He’s having a breakout year while he hopes to join the conversation of ‘best PG in the league’, but his leadership may leave something to be desired.

Billups is a Finals MVP who is as much a coach on the court as there is in the league. His Detroit Pistons were the class of the Eastern Conference for the middle part of last decade. He has led his squad to the conference finals seven of the past eight seasons, including seven straight from ’03 to ’09.

Felton is the young gun while Billups is the cagy vet.

I have championship aspirations with two bona fide superstars who combine to create possibly the best 1-2 scoring punch in the league, and I can choose Billups or Felton to lead them? Give me Chauncey every day of the week. The future is now (or next season), and Billups doesn’t need to be Mr. Big Shot anymore, just Mr. Big Brother. Where do I sign?

I agree. Give me Billups. He’s obviously the better player.


If I am putting together a fantasy team, give me Raymond Felton. However, in the real world with a real team that is ready to win now, give me Chauncey Billups.

Chris Paul? That would be a real fantasy.

At least that’s my perception.

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