Kevin Porter Jr. and the death of the truth

I think I’m losing my mind.

I’m not hearing voices, but I think I must be reading them. Is this how dormant schizophrenia reveals itself in 2022?

Because I know I didn’t read what I thought I read last week.

It’s impossible. Nobody with the mental capacity to even form a sentence could say that Kevin Porter Jr. was better than LaMelo Ball. 

Yet, that was the topic of the day on Rockets Twitter last week. Well, maybe “debate” is generous. Realistically, a few zealots made the claim that Porter Jr was comparable to, if not outright better than Ball. 

He’s not. I shouldn’t need to present a single statistic to bolster that claim. It is obviously and unequivocally true. 

I’m just going to breeze through this. In 2021-22, Ball was the unquestioned offensive engine of the league’s 9th-ranked attack. By contrast, Kevin Porter Jr. narrowly led the league’s 26th-ranked offense in usage. 

I’m not spending any more time on the numbers than that. I could spend all day on Bball Index, and so could you. I’m sure you’d come up with a few “well, actually” opportunities. Listen to me. 

Get a hold of yourself. 

LaMelo Ball was the earth, moon, and sun for a top 10 offense. If Kevin Porter Jr. was as good as him, the Rockets would be better. 

I can’t even believe I’ve even gotten this far. Everyone who knows the NBA and isn’t a Rockets fan knows LaMelo Ball is better than Kevin Porter Jr. It is, simply, true. 

Let’s talk about the truth. 

Is anything true? 

Water is more watery than dirt. Dirt is dirtier than water (even when it’s dirty). 

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigalo was never going to win an Oscar for Best Picture, and it didn’t deserve to. 

Capitalism is corrupt and dehumanizes the average citizen living under it. 

There are layers of truth, undoubtedly. If you think dirt is more like water than water itself, you’re incapable of having a conversation. With that said, please link me to your blog. 

If you think Deuce Bigalow is a classic film, you’re probably a hipster who thinks he’s unlocked some kind of criteria that others just don’t, and can’t, understand. You’re wrong, but I can’t prove it. 

If you think capitalism promotes the advancement of our species, and can be a good thing with certain modifications or regulations, I respect your opinion. I’m not quite sure where I stand, personally. 

The claim that Kevin Porter Jr. is better than LaMelo Ball falls somewhere between water = dirt, and Deuce Bigalow = Citizen Kane. Of course, you know how the claim will be justified: 

“It’s my opinion”. 

Let’s talk about opinions. 

Your opinion might suck

Nothing is provable. The sky is blue, right? Well, how do you know that what you perceive as blue is the same as what I perceive as blue? What if your blue is my magenta? 

Still, some claims are more verifiable than others. The NBA provides statistics. We have some means of measuring players against each other. Some comparisons, of course, are so narrow that subjectivity comes into play. 

I prefer Bam Adebayo to Domantas Sabonis, because I value two-way play. With that said, if you prefer Sabonis because he’s a more skilled offensive player, you can make the case that offense is more important than defense. The statistics say that they’re close enough to justify either position. 

You can’t just, if you have any concerns about intellectual honesty, say that Kevin Porter Jr. is better than LaMelo Ball. Of course, that’s part of the problem: that’s all you do. 

You just say it 

Gaslighting: More than just a buzzword

“Kevin Porter Jr. is him”.

“KPJ clears”.

“Name one thing LaMelo Ball does that KPJ can’t do”. 

My friends, this is gaslighting. This is the NBA Twitter equivalent of telling your girlfriend she’s being crazy when she wants you to come to her parent’s house for dinner. 

I like Kevin Porter Jr. I think he can be an integral part of this team’s core. I think there are 2 paths that are most likely: perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate, or a low(ish) usage starter who’s largely responsible for catching and shooting, and attacking closeouts. 

Either way, we’re talking about a valuable player. He’s also talented enough to surpass either projection, but if he reaches LaMelo Ball’s level, it will be one of the more shocking developments in recent NBA memory. 

Why do I care? I shouldn’t. On the other hand, why should anyone care about anything outside of their immediate survival?

This is deeper than basketball. It’s about the smarmy, irony-ridden way that the internet encourages us to talk to each other. It’s about the obfuscation of reality – the realization that we can say anything, and the things that realization leads us into saying.

The truth is fraught with subjectivity, but we need a basic framework of what’s true or false in order to have meaningful conversations. I can’t prove that I’m seeing the same blue you see when we’re looking at the sky, but we agree to take that for granted because we are social creatures and we need to agree on something.

I love the Rockets, but more importantly, I love basketball. Still, more than either of those things, I love the truth: 

And you guys are killing it. 

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