Steve Novak is not quite like any other NBA player. This is what has made his career so strange and mostly undistinguished, but also the thing that makes him so confoundingly, deceptively and inspiringly like the rest of us.
The most exciting point in a football match comes when it dawns on you that neither team is in control of it, when both teams hit the sweet spot of incompetence: just about bad enough that every attack on them is potentially fatal; just about good enough that each can exploit the other's dozing immune system. When it's your own team, though, it's a lot more unsettling.
Saturday's game against Notre Dame was the latest in a long line of disappointments for USC, and more specifically, their woe-be-gotten coach, Lane Kiffin. Whether he's the walking embodiment of the Peter principle, a misunderstood genius or a combination of the two is anybody's guess. All that's for certain is that it's fun to watch the show.
Perry Jones III could be the next Tracy McGrady. He could also be the next Qyntel Woods. Or, barring all that, he could just be Perry Jones III, a player who can do a lot and has been through a lot, but who is now not nearly yet what he'll someday be.
Last weekend, Formula One racing returned to the United States in, of all places, Austin, Texas. The result was an epic self-satire of plutocratic excess, a boondoggle and, improbably, a pretty decent time.
John Lucas III has a distinguished NBA bloodline, and a body that's pretty much exactly wrong for basketball. He's in the NBA anyway, despite that or because of it, and his struggle both is and isn't about all that, and about us.
To untrained eye, it looks like a game nine-year-olds would dream up one bored summer day. But after watching the action for a few hours, seeing cyclists weave around the court in tight spirals and shovel off no-look passes, it becomes obvious that these are athletes who know exactly what they're doing. They are playing a sport that requires balance, coordination, and endurance. They are playing a sport that they think is poised for dramatic growth. They are playing a sport one veteran calls “perfect for our time and place". They are also playing a sport very few people know exists.
If it seems like JaVale McGee is playing a different type of basketball than everyone else in the NBA, it's because he is. McGee is playing his game, in his own strange way. It doesn't always make sense, but it sure is something to watch.