For about a week now, I've been trying to figure out how to write exactly what Patrick Hayes wrote yesterday:
Writing about sports, in general, puts people in a tough position. Most writers who are truly passionate about the sports they cover -- and Schroeder is, if you read how diligently he covers the D-League -- have a weird balance to strike. On the one hand, as basketball fans, there's obviously a lot of admiration for athletes that can do things most of us sitting and watching would love to do. On the other, particularly in Schroeder's case where he's one of few news sources out there for D-League coverage, he has a responsibility to give honest assessments of what he sees. That's just part of building an audience -- if you're just writing nice stuff all the time, people are less likely to take you seriously as a credible source who has some knowledge.
Because I obviously have a rooting interest, it's hard for me to properly evaluate the chances, which is why I wanted to ask Schroeder a few questions -- he has much more knowledge on the subject and is extensively familiar with what teams look for when they make call-ups. While I was certainly, like most people, hoping to hear that Farmer is a shoe-in to get a call-up, I also appreciated Schroeder giving an honest assessment to a primarily Flint audience that wouldn't like parts of what he said.
In reality, there's no real formula for what NBA teams look for when scouring the D-League for prospects.
It's worth pointing out, I think, that Schroeder does not just give negative takes on Farmer. He's written positive things about him this season as well.
Emphasis is mine, but it's not a dig at Smilin' Steve Weinman, who unlike me is very nice and "a credible source with some knowledge."
I don't do a lot of things.
- I don't force anyone to read what I write and there are actually good alternatives if you're looking for solid writing on the D-League (I'm planning on making a blog roll or something someday, but until then, I'll point you to Weinman's D-League Digest, Matthew R. Brennan over at D-League.com, Kevin Henry's 66ers Nation, Matt Hubert at Blog Talk BayHawk and Jeff Potter's Blog, plus Matt Moore over at Hardwood Paroxysm when he's not busy contributing to the greatest NBA blogs on the internet). There are also great beat writers, specifically my main man in Dakota, Lou Babiarz. Other good people that cover the D-League via the newspaper include Sioux Falls' Terry Vandrovec, RGV's David Hinojosa and Erie's Duane Rankin.
- I don't influence anyone to decide to call-up a player or decide not to call-up a player based on my opinions alone. If anyone is doing that, I suggest they call me and offer me a job. If you believe that my opinion decides who's getting an NBA contract, you're wrong. I'm simply here to provide a service to people that don't get a chance to watch the D-League on a consistent basis, but would like to know what's going on. If readers do watch on a consistent basis, they probably have a similar opinion, though may not have some of the background and insight that I offer here. I'm not posting anything groundbreaking here, I'm just trying to get the D-League, and the great players that sacrifice huge overseas contracts for a shot at NBA glory, more publicity.
- I don't get paid by anyone to write here (well I do, but it isn't enough to skew my opinions and it isn't by anybody that has an interest in the D-League).
- I don't shy away from developing favorites. I'm human and so are the players in the D-League. I have friends around the league, both in front offices and on the court. This probably shouldn't surprise you, unless you're surprised that I have friends anywhere. In that case, touche.
- That said, I don't sugarcoat anything. I've made plenty of enemies. When you're being honest, that'll happen, I assume. I'd rather not have people against me simply because I have an unpopular opinion, but that's their call, not my own. I don't actively pick fights, regardless of what some people assume.
I do do some things:
- I do want people to make Ridiculous Upside their first stop for anything related to the D-League.
- I do try to be a credible source of information.
- I do bring to RU some of the greatest minds the D-League has to offer, whether it be the venerable Jon L, Mike "Little Bob Sura" Gansey or the numberous contributors that pop in once in awhile and offer a post - most recently fetch9's interview with Russell Robinson.
- I do try to be fair. To emphasize this, I'd like to point out that in an effort to give Desmon Farmer a chance to retort to my comments with more than a threat, I've sent a message to his agent, the Reno Bighorns and two separate commenters on Ridiculous Upside that seemed to be relatives. I've yet to get a response from any of them.
- I do bring the sarcasm. I know I'm not your favorite writer. I'm probably top three, however, if you read this far into the page.
- I'm always trying to improve and am open to any discussion regarding this topic.
Any questions / comments / concerns, fire away. I've posted my phone number on this site before (though it was in hopes that Rick Kamla would text me, to no avail) but since I probably will let it go to voicemail (bill collectors are crazy), I also invite you to email me (here), get at me on twitter or send me an anonymous question / comment / concern from here.