Friday, February 02, 2007

The Quiet American

No All-Star selection for my namesake, but, really, what can you do? The selections in the East weren't horrible, and the guards make for particularly stiff competition. Leaving aside everything else, if only for the no-look, behind-the-back backbreaker he had against us, J Kidd was a no brainer. You could moan about Vince--the 2nd player from a sub .500 team--but he was nearly voted in by the fans, so that could've been a sop to them. I don't think Rip scores as efficiently as Ben, but he's an older veteran who, at this point, probably has a better all-around game. With his injury earlier this year, Chauncey was probably the weakest selection, but again, he's a player who's been around the block. And, individually speaking, Redd (even with his injury) and Joe Johnson probably have as much of a right as Ben to bitch about being passed over.

It would be nice if this snub motivated Ben to greater heights, but a) I don't think it will motivate him and b) even if it does, it will be impossible to tell. Unlike the one-time self-ballot-stuffer, Ben doesn't seem to have a pathological need to have his excellence externally recognized, nor is he one to take umbrage at the smallest perceivable slights. Outwardly, he's cool, in the most literal, old-school sense, almost eerily secure in the knowledge that he is a bad ass, destined for greatness. (About his subpar game against the Clips, he simply shrugged and had this to say: "You're going to have nights like that. You just have to fight through.")

A lot of players say stuff like that, but you can tell that Ben really means it. Does he care if he starts or comes off the bench? Not really. He's going to get his nightly 20-plus either way. Is he going to be traded? Who cares? He can score points for any team in the NBA. Didn't get selected to the All-Star Game this year? So what? He'll be there next year. It's this exceptionally rare combination of detachment and supreme confidence that makes him deadly in the clutch and thus absolutely essential to this team. If he's included in any trade, for Gasol or even for Garnett, the Bulls will deeply regret it.


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