Paul McGuire argued the contrary on these very pages last week, smartly concluding, “[e]very sound businessman knows that it is pointless to throw good money after bad, and this season is already lost.” And today, The Dream Shake concurred with that sentiment. I can’t explain why, but I disagree. Despite hours of self reflection (okay, maybe not hours), I realized I don’t really know why it is that I hope the team makes it into the playoffs. My thinking is completely irrational. As Paul and The Dream Shake outlined, missing the postseason directly benefits the team by virtue of acquiring the lottery pick asset. And my reasoning isn’t born from the same “only losers lay down!” faux bravado espoused by many Rockets fans in the pre-Harden days when the club was wandering in the doldrums of mediocrity. Horrifically, I think I might have just grown apathetic. Maybe I’m just burnt out, or in the midst of a mid-life crisis. I’m 31 now. Well, I’ll be 31 in a few months. I started this thing in 2009 and have written through a lot of ups and downs. I somehow lived through the Chris Bosh Crisis. I’ve been a Rockets fan since I was nine years old. I don’t think I care about team building at the moment, as I type this. I know none of this is smart. I’m actually sick of team building. I came into this year expecting to be able to come home from a long day of work and watch a contender. I didn’t get that. So now it’s back to the drawing board. I’m left a little jaded knowing the outcome from all of this is just going to be another Marcus Morris or Patrick Patterson. I’d rather just watch my team get stomped by the Warriors, if only because it’s the playoffs.
All of that being said, I do think there is intangible “semantic” value to making the playoffs, although of course I have no quantifiable evidence on that point. I think if hoping to pursue a free agent, whether it be Kevin Durant, or even just someone lower-tier like Harrison Barnes, there is an abstract distinction between the lottery and “making the playoffs” which seemingly constructs perception, even if in reality, there is little practical difference. Words mean everything in the derivation of narratives, and narratives mean everything when making a pitch. Derrick Rose in reality wasn’t any better than had the voters not hated Lebron, but society perceived him differently the following year because he was “the MVP.” I don’t know. But at the time of writing, I hope the Rockets get in.