Thursday, January 29, 2009

What is a Nextian?

Some people over the years have asked me "what is a Nextian?" Aside from the obvious derivation from a former Women's 'Professional' Basketball league slogan that won't be mentioned, a true Nextian is much more. We Nextians dislike women's professional basketball, but hold nothing against the women's college game. We follow NBA action with job harming fervor. We manage fantasy NBA squads and live or die by figuring out which NBA'ers are indeed Next.

Knowing what happens Next in life is a skill that few have had, currently have, or will have. It's the skill many claim but not many can actually pull off. The Vegas dickholes on early Saturday morning talk radio say they know the sure-fire lock of the week. But that's not Next. That's just a bunch of algorithmic mathemagical BS that's played against the spread. True Nextians know what will happen when someone is finally given a chance. They invest little cost in their choices which make the potential and eventual return that much greater and more exciting. Getting Kobe with the 3rd overall pick is not Nextian. It's common sense. Grabbing Bargnani off the waivers a week before Jermaine O'Neal got hurt just because you knew he was playing like shit is Next. Having the forsight to draft Chris Duhon or Paul Millsap in the 12th round is really fucking Next.

While ESPN searches for who's "Now" (LeBron and Tiger), they cannot do more than guess who is Next. Nextians throw the annual "Who's Next?" issue of ESPN Mag in the trash/recycle bin.

Numbers do not tell you who's Next. Next starts and ends with style. Which player's game exudes the confident flair that just seems extra ordinary? We're talkin' deuce chills when you see the guy ball. It's a sense of "holy crap" you get when you watch someone stroke their paintbrush. Think Ramon Sessions dishing out solid dimes with gusto. Think about the first time you saw Monta Ellis dominate someone off the dribble. Josh Smiff? Crash Wallace? You knew they were Next. D'Andre Jordan sucks even though he got 20 boards against the Warriors. Eddie House is a douche even though he's hit a bunch of threes lately. These guys are in no way Next. Getting 20 boards vs. the worst defensive team in the league makes you good, but not Next. Having three All Stars hit you with open looks from the arch doesn't make you great. Shit, even JJ Reddick can shoot the ball. I once saw this old guy make 100 free throws in a row while giving a speech about life at Stanford basketball camp when I was 12. That guy was more "douche" than "Next".

So there you have it. This post which I worked on at various points during the week is strikingly similar to Bill Simmons article about the Underrated but don't let that deter you from our definition. One of us will be an NBA scout some day. Or maybe we won't.

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