I wonder how workers’ unions do their job in the States. Watching these Knicks games I can’t help but being reminded how sad the unions situation is in Italy.
I have been the CEO of a very small company and a board member of a quite larger one (>140 employees), so from time to time I had to deal with union representatives, and I found a constant in all of my five years holding those positions: unions manifested themselves only when it was time to ward the bad workers. When I say “bad workers”, I’m not talking about people whose output was not up to par because of their own limits or aptitude; I’m talking about the slackers who were safely employed and were exploiting the fact that in Italy it’s pretty much impossibile to fire someone who has a permanent contract. You see, here unions don’t actively seek to help guys who don’t slack. They pretty much always end up finding a job by themselves, and as soon as a good boss happens on their way they’re pretty much set, since that boss will certainly recognize the good value they bring to the company.
The others, though? They’re the butter and bread of the unions. Unions need money to live, and those slackers need to squeeze every last drop from their “worker rights” to enjoy whatever is it that they’re doing that’s not work. (Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Solonic tyrant: I always cared for the well-being of my employees just like now I care for the well-being of my clients. I’m a vocal supporter of the original idea of unions. I’m also very much a vocal non-supporter of whomever basically steals money not showing up to do their job). So the unions see in them the best clients they can get: guys who will certainly pay them in order to work the least and being protected while doing nothing.
To give you an idea: once we had a worker who at some point decided he didn’t want to do the job he was doing. We came with two different job profiles we could have offered him, but he refused for undisclosed reasons. Anyway, hell bent on never returning to his titular job, soon after that he faked a soccer-like flop/injury, widening a bit his right leg while passing beside a (not loose) spare tire in our warehouse. He collided lightly with the tire and then proceeded to roll over on the floor as if someone shot him in the leg. Although the security cameras recorded everything and the dynamic of the incident was very clear, he found a complacent physician (whose name was provided by the union) who said he was not able to get to work for at least six months. Under the table, union reps were telling us that he wanted another type of job, and if that job came along maybe his injury would go through a miracle recovery. Suffice to say that I left that company more than a year later and he never got to work until I was there. I guess every workplace has his Kawhi.
That said, that’s how I feel when I see Lance, DeAndre, Mudiay and Vonleh getting significant minutes this late in the season. I would never suggest Lance is a slacker, and probably neither of the other three is, but what’s the point in playing mostly useless expiring guys in mid March for a super tanking team? Especially when all of them, save probably for Lance, are real hindrances to our resident wunderkind? I don’t hold it personally against anyone. But what’s the point in yanking Mitch in the fourth because he picked up his fifth foul? You’re trying to save his energy and his last foul for what? For when you’re going to the restaurant after the game? What’s the point in playing the expiring Mudiay so much, when it’s clear he can’t really steer the wheel for a team? Mud played a quite efficient offensive game (21 points on 14 shots, 4 assists and only a turnover, his best game in a while), but he can’t pass the damn ball to any spot from 16 feet in, rendering whatever rim running center is playing with him muffled. Mudiay rocks an AST% or 23.9. At the moment there are 57 players (having played at least 100 minutes) with a higher number. Some among them: Joe Ingles (ok), the decomposing coil of Jose Calderon (what), noted Knicks-killer TJ McConnell (huh), an ancient Jamal Crawford (gross), Kadeem Allen (ahem), Matthew Dellavedova (come on). In short: why do you keep playing this guy, especially with a budding star in the making that only needs to get the ball lobbed at him. and don’t actually reward the guys that are trying to uhhhh play basketball? I’ll never understand this facet of the Fiz season.
A few quick notes, as good and bad make no sense anymore these days:
– The game was terrible to watch. This was the first non Dominican Republic related time this season where I skipped some parts. It was too much to take in. That said, we almost won. I guess Indiana will make a valiant effort to get into the playoffs as a top-4 seed, then roll around and die in the first round. Poor Dipo.
– DeAndre Jordan is a surprisingly smart passer. With a capable offensive coach, he might have at least two of those Kyle O’Quinn backdoor assists every game. With some more effort from the coaching staff Jordan might have recorded a triple double. Such a shame his rim-protecting effort has totally waned. Anyway, a barely defending DJ is miles and miles better than whatever it was that Kanter was doing.
– As I said, Mudiay had his best game since coming back. He even passed the ball to Mitch inside once (of course Mitch delivered). In his last 10 games, his shooting averages aren’t even that bad: 44.5/43.3/70.7. He also shot just 1.7 free throws per game and had more turnovers (2.9) than assists (2.8). His overall WS/48 is 0.029. Blargh.
– Over the same span, Smith is shooting a terrible 40.8/30.6/59.1. He shot 2.2 free throws per game (too few) but he dished 6.0 apg to 2.5 turnovers per game. Also a cool 1.2 steals per game. Even while playing badly, he’s a much superior team orchestrator than Mudiay. He’s playing like shit lately, though.
– I like that Knox is capable of hitting more than half his shots every ten games or so. I also like in an ironic way the fact that when he goes after boards on defense he displays an herculean-like effort when there is nobody around. I don’t like anything else. This is a supposedly athletic kid who let Bogdanovic blow by him for a simple layup. Bogdanovic is a good player, but Bojan moves around at the same speed of a dying roomba. Draw your own conclusions.
– Bogdanovic came into the league as a possibly balding 25 year old (his hair looked very thin and spotty). Kudos to him about having mostly kept all of those hair. I am a bit envious (and I guess Evan Fournier and Cody Zeller – and soon Trae Young – share my feelings).
– Of course Thad Young hit a corner three. Thad hitting a corner three from the left side against us is like those strange sounds that Timbaland used to sneak into his productions. Distinctive, underrated, annoying.
– I don’t know how, but Mitch is upping his already otherworldly BLK% in this span. If the season ended today, he’d have the highest BLK% ever in the history of the league for players with at least 900 minutes played. The highest EVER. I don’t know how to emphasize that more.
– Wait I do. THE HIGHEST EVER.
That’s all, another slog absurdly giving birth to 1300+ words. I have to make sure Lady Farfa is not slipping me drugs under the table.
See you on Friday!