When I was young I used to love Choose Your Own Adventure books. Bantam Books printed 185 of them between 1979 and 1998 by a panoply of different authors and I must have read damn near every one of the 108 published by 1990. The books would allow the reader to make choices as he read them and the eventual outcome would be dictated by the choices the reader made.
Figuring you can open the trap door easily enough later, you continue down into the basement of the house. The staircase is rickety; its wooden supports are rotted. Proceeding carefully, you reach the dirt floor of the basement. A little light comes in through several windows high above. The windows are slits, too narrow to climb through, even if you could reach them. Except for a few pieces of old furniture, a furnace, and overhead pipes and wires, the basement seems bare. Then from somewhere in the shadows, you hear the meowing of a cat.
If you try to find the cat, go to page 53
If you head back up the stairs, go to page 62
There would be multiple endings based on the decisions made throughout the course of the book. Usually there were several desirable outcomes, to varying degrees, and several undesirable outcomes, up to (and including) death. I would take an initial run through the book and see where it led me. After this incipient stage I would proceed to go through every different decision in the book to learn all possible outcomes. Sometimes it was really hard not to peek ahead and control my kismet. Other times I would "die" and simply go back to the previous decision, like a reset button for a revisionist history. Some of the titles of this series included The Cave of Time, The Mystery of Chimney Rock, The Case of the Silk King, and How to Rebuild the Floundering Suns.
I'm giving a boxed set of these timeless classics to my eleven year old daughter for Christmas this year. I'm sure she will be more engrossed by them than the new Galaxy S3 I'm giving her... The last title is for someone else, though (I will leave you to surmise who that could possibly be).
Here are some excerpts from this titillating adventure in franchise building...
Contract negotiations have bogged down and it is apparent that a team fresh off a Western Conference finals appearance must be broken up to save the fans from multiple years of missing the playoffs in the coming seasons. Despite a very fair contract offer, Amar'e Stoudemire has just left the franchise for the guarantee of $100 million dollars from the New York Knicks.
If you panic and bring in Turkoglu, Childress and Warrick, you are an idiot - go to the 13th pick on pg. 5
If you choose a plan that isn't destined for catastrophic failure, go to a playoff appearance on pg. 6
On your way to the 13th pick, you are struck by an afflatus that the mental lapse which made Turkoglu a Sun was a scourge upon humanity that must be corrected. Not only does he look like a pizza delivery guy, but he plays like one too.
If you trade him and Jason Richardson for Marcin Gortat and a body bag with a cadaver that resembles former NBA player Vince Carter, proceed to the 13th pick on pg. 7
If you find another team to take Hedon't without giving up the team's best scorer, that is not possible; no one else is that stupid - choose the other selection.
The team is struggling during the lockout shortened season. The same cast of characters that failed to make the playoffs the previous year are struggling to do so again. It is painfully obvious (as it has been for some time) that a full rebuild is necessary.
If you stay on the treadmill of mediocrity and keep Steve Nash (who should have been traded the previous year), while losing both the ability to work out a more mutually beneficial situation for Nash and the franchise which doesn't result in him becoming a Laker AND screwing yourself in the draft order to prevent the team from taking a player (Lillard, Rivers, etc.) you really want, proceed to the 13th pick and take Kendall Marshall on pg. 9
If you trade Nash and quite possibly put the franchise in a better situation than it now stands, go to pg. 13
The highly anticipated offseason has finally arrived. The virtue of patience stands ready to be rewarded. Visions of superstars are dancing in your head. Promises of the vast improvements that will be facilitated by the flexibility and cap space the team has created gambol to and fro. One sided trades traipse through your dreams at night.
If you make a farce of an attempt to sign Eric Gordon and trade Nash to the Lakers, go to pg. 24
If you attempt to make moves that don't make your fans cringe, cry, laugh and stab things, go to pg. 33
There is still cap space burning a hole in your pocket and a salary floor to consider. The team's most glaring need is at the shooting guard position. Plan A failed spectacularly. People in the front office can't agree on the direction of the team, but plan B must be enacted anyway (even though there really isn't a plan B [or a plan A for that matter]).
If you claim Luis Scola on amnesty waivers and sign Michael Beasley, go to a 7-13 start on pg. 34
If you entered the offseason with a plan that would actually work and wasn't completely reactionary, go to pg. 42
The culmination of a series of negligently inept moves have led to the team being 7-13 to start the season. The team can't get good and refuses to be bad (although further evidence of your inadequate job performance suggests the team might be headed there anyway). Claims of "more talent" have shockingly resulted in "less wins." Pundits predict ineluctable doom. To the chagrin of some, and mockery of others, the team has resorted to gimmicks one would expect from a AA farm league team to promote the "quality" of the product. It has been a long time since the future appeared this tenebrous.
If you stay the course, you are fired - go to pg. 44
If you try to atone for your transgressions, go to ......
The Suns front office must choose what to do next. Dwelling on the past does them no good. There is no revisionist history. They can't flip back the pages of time in an effort to produce more positive outcomes. They can't peek ahead to find something that will actually work for a change. Have
all many of the recent choices been bad? Yes. Is there still a chance that future choices can be better? That's the adventure yet to be seen.
And that's where the hope of Suns fans must lie, because the pattern of previous choices leads to only one outcome....
*Not an actual Choose Your Own Adventure book
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