You’ve been improving steadily. Do you arrive to Turkey at your best moment?
“I believe I’m more at ease now. I know what I can give. I don’t try to invent anything. Before, I tried to do a lot of things and ended up blocked. I enjoy playing and I want to play. When I get the feeling I’m participating, I feel comfortable and time runs fast (…)”.
This is how it finished a recent interview to Carlitos in Clarin, the most important newspaper down here in Argentina. His answer reminded me of a recent comment in the who will be the starting SF post where unklchuk said that Delfino is an egg that hatched, intending there was little space for him to progress.
This made me think of his whole career.
When he first appeared In Argentina, many fans thought he would be a Ginobili-like player: he was an elegant swingman and had an interesting selection of moves: he could shoot threes, but also assist, penetrate and dunk. This situation, I think, ended confusing people about what to expect from him (and maybe confusing him as well). When some of those expectations weren’t quickly met, he was finally perceived as a talented bur erratic player, capable of great moments (check his 18 points in a row for Argentina winning to Greece in last’s Olympic Games) but inconsistent in the final run. Or even worse: a sort of never be promise.
If you want an example of this point of view, just check what Latin D, an Argentinean writer at Pounding The Rock Spur’s blog, wrote just about a year ago.
“Carlos is a player I've seen play for many years, and it's this simple: he sucks. Granted, he has a lot of talent - but no heart. On any given night he can be a white Michael Jordan, doing anything and everything, and then he'll disappear for a five-game stretch and you will be left scratching your head in confusion. He's the only Argentine player I know that can finish at the rim with nearly as much skill as Manu, but don't worry, he won't. Instead he'll take countless ill-advised threes and try to win the game with as little effort as possible. As I said before, he sucks, and he's probably the reason the Bucks might not make the playoffs… “
Obviously I don’t agree with him, and I find special joy that the Bucks finally made the playoffs. So getting back to Delfino and unklchuk comment, is he an egg that's hatched?
Well, yes and no.
In the yes part I think he has matured and that he finally has find his identity as a player, so to speak. His trying no more to be Ginobili and his game has become about to be a bit of everything, strongly oriented to favor his teammatesroles and skills, as any Buck fan saw last season. In his better moments he could carry the ball, develop an effective pick and rolling with Bogut, and be a key piece when the team decided to move around the ball. And he ended the season scoring his threes when they were most needed. As some stated here, he found a place being like a sort of glue in the team’s general functioning.
The “no” part has more to do with my hopes and are still to be proved. I believe Delfino will continue to gain confidence and his new approach to his game will improve even more. He always had the skills and he now seems he now what do do with them. And he has finally come to the point where he needs to define the kind of player he’ll be from here until he retires.
Next World Cup will surely show what this will be: as I’ve been saying, there are a lot of expectations here about his performance. There is a feeling that this may be Argentina’s last chance to win something big before its golden generation (Ginobili, Oberto, Nocioni , Scola) is finally gone. And for Delfino, the youngest of them all, may be also his last chance of making a major contribution to the better basketball team in Argentina's history.
If he proves his detractors wrong and does not suck, I think much of Buck's ambitions for next season will be empowered.
P.S; A couple of days ago Delfino ended a training camp for kids in Santa Fe, the city where he is from. Here you can see some nice pictures of it.