NBA Journey Week Eight: Basketball Players Don't Fight

The 2017-18 NBA season is well underway. There will be scores of articles about questioning good teams, declaring individual award races over, and the bickering over true shooting percentage and defensive rating. There is also a feeling surrounding this season that we're headed towards the inevitability of a Golden State Warriors championship. Thus, some of the fun is met with a bit of gloom. Cheer up, lover of hoops. Basketball is a sport in which the journey of the season is just as important as its destination in the Finals. Here at TSFJ, we're going to highlight some things and people the basketball realm can be excited for between now and June.

Song of The Week: 8Ball & MJG - "You Don't Want Drama"

We have passed the quarter pole of our NBA Journey. There are still four months left in the regular season, so the terrain we're metaphorically traversing will begin to incline. However, we will continue to move forward, for there will be great plays and exciting games along the path.

Competition is healthy. Pitting one's skills against another's is vital in life. Because of this necessary ideology, participants on opposing sides may carry feelings beyond just wanting to triumph over someone else. In short, not every competitor is going to like each other, and that is perfectly okay.

Dennis Smith Jr (left) jawing at Kyrie Irving. This is perfectly okay if no punches are thrown. (Clutch Points)

Polarizing (but loved by us at TSFJ) figure DeMarcus Cousins was involved in a couple heated exchanges, most notably with Warriors forward Kevin Durant. The conversation escalated so much that both players were ejected and security had to lock the hallway doors to ensure the two remained separated. Now surely, that is aesthetically poor for the NBA's image, and I certainly do not want violence in sports, but there is nothing wrong with two players disliking each other for a game or even longer.

One of the most annoying pieces of nostalgic rhetoric is yearning for the "good ol' days" where the game was more physical, as if unnecessarily hard fouls are synonymous with good basketball. That is an awful perspective, but I do like that public dislike is returning to the NBA. It actually makes players more relatable to know that underlying irritation and frustration with another player can surface in heated competition. Of course, cooler heads should always prevail. But trash talk is a wonderful and an integral part of the game. Sometimes, one needs to respect his opponent so much that he wants to utterly destroy him. We should be okay with that.

A little respectful disrespect is not a detriment to competition. Everyone isn't going to like everyone. (ESPN)

Shall we blurb?

  • Well, the Sixers finally traded Jahlil Okafor (and Nik Stauskas) to the Nets on Thursday. It is only fair to assume that someone in the Sixers' front office reads The Sports Fan Journal and agreed with me. Maybe Philly native Josh Naso put a word in. Either way, you're welcome.
  • I'm not sure if Victor Oladipo is glad to be away from Oklahoma City or if this is a massive but natural leap in his development as a player, but he has been phenomenal for the Indiana Pacers. Averaging over 23 points per game, and scoring a career-high 47 Sunday night against Denver, there is an undeniable growth in his ability.
  • Chris Paul is still undefeated as a member of the Houston Rockets. Winners of ten straight overall, the team has the best record in the Association. Yes, I know. We don't believe anyone can seriously challenge a healthy Golden State Warriors club. I'm just acknowledging how weirdly fun and potent Houston is right now.

Eight weeks in and we press forward. Happy NBA, folks.

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