The modern NBA is a place where players follow the path of least resistance. Instead of overcoming the hurdles placed in their way, many of today’s best and most famous players prefer to forego overcoming obstacles and form so-called “super teams” which contain All-Star talent, MVP’s, and ROY’s.
This is a rather sleazy manner to get things done. It allows a player to take the fast track to championship glory while leaving his former team in the lurch. It means that teams who had once tasted the mere drips from the championship cup are pummelled off their plumage and end up on the bottom of their conference.
The usual excuse for such behaviour is that such is the nature of the “modern.” We all know, however, that such an assessment wouldn’t even cut the cake. They are merely following the path of least resistance.
The Toronto Raptors should not follow such a path. It may be smooth, with many benches to rest weary bodies upon, but it is short and ignoble. The Raptors should follow the path with the most thorns, the least benches, the most holes and pointed stones.
The Toronto Raptors should discard Hobbes and pick up their Thucydides: “But the prize for courage will surely be awarded most justly to those who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger”.
Instead of trading some of our developing players for the next best model, let the Raptors stay where they are. Let them keep their players right where they are.
It may very well be that the Raptors may not win a championship this year – yet what of it? Diamonds become clearer and more polished the more torture they are subjected to.
The Raptors young players, VanVleet, Powell, Davis II, will only get better the more they pit their wills against the odds of defeat. Powell and VanVleet have already tasted the sweet nectar of victory, and the Raptors’ last playoff run was the most difficult, most agonizing, and most heart wrenching the NBA had seen since 2011.
It was also the most rewarding.
It is a half-truth that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. NBA players know that once an Achilles tendon is harmed it never is the same as it once was before, but the mind, the willpower of the player truly committed to his craft and his team, is elastic, and can only be really injured if the player succumbs to the pressure of his opponents.
To quote Clausewitz, “Strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one’s balance in spite of them. Even with the violence of emotion, judgment and principle must still function like a ship’s compass, which records the slightest variations however rough the sea”.
To quote Thucydides, “But the prize for courage will surely be awarded most justly to those who best know the difference between hardship and pleasure and yet are never tempted to shrink from danger”.
To quote myself, do not take the easy road by trading away any players to secure lucre and largesse. Achieve victory not through sordid and greasy means but through dedication and perseverance.