The NBA season is fast approaching. For my 11 loyal readers that means one thing: prepare to be swept away in a spam-tsunami of NBA-related posts, dumb jokes, and LeBron hating. With the tipoff for the best sport in the world slated to happen on Halloween night, it’s high time we look at some of the fascinating storylines for this upcoming NBA season. This post will probably be far, far too long anyway, so here we go. . .
Can the Heat Repeat?
The Heat seemed to figure it all out last year. Dwyane Wade realized that he wasn’t the #1 gyu (*Author’s note: typo intentional) on the Heat, The Veboshiraptor battled through injuries down the stretch, everyone cussed out Mario Chalmers constantly, and Mike Miller inexplicably turned into a whiter, more trailer-trash-looking Reggie Miller in the NBA Finals. And LeBron? Well, he played power forward. He played point guard. He played center. He damn near served the $17 dollar hot dogs in the Miami Heat concession stand. And he was the best player at each spot.
I know the trendy pick is to always compare the latest, greatest, NBA superstar to the gold standard of such things, whose name doesn’t even need to be mentioned her for most of you to get it, but LeBron is really turning into a kind of brave new world of NBA superstar. He looks like he should be in the starting lineup for the Monstars. Make no mistake about it, though, I still hate him. I’m in awe of LeBron like citizens in an oppressed country are in awe of their dictator. I really don’t have a choice but to acknowledge who’s in charge of the league right now. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want some insurgents to come and overthrow the despotic James right off his throne.
A Facelift in L.A.? No way. . .not in that town.
In a town where natural beauty, graceful aging, and inner beauty matter most, the Los Angeles Lakers have decided to get a little work done. In a Bruce Jennerian facelift, the Lakers have made drastic overhauls to their team that should pay huge dividends. They landed Dwight Howard, easily the biggest move of the offseason, with the intent to convince the superstar center to stick around for good. They also got whiter, older, and more Canadian at the point guard position. I know, I know. That doesn’t usually engender a lot of confidence when you throw those three things together discussing basketball. But, in this once case, it was a gigantic pickup for the team. Steve Nash, 2-time MVP and a perennial guy-everyone-wants-to-play-with first teamer, has joined up with his one-time Western conference foes in the pursuit of a last run for an NBA title (*Author’s note: and to be closer to his kids during a potentially ugly divorce case. Allegedly.)
Will Howard continue to whine, sob, and blunder his way through the league as he so often did last year? Or will this change of scenery, and coaching staff, do him some good? I’m not a huge Howard fan, but love the fact that he makes the Lakers tougher defensively around the rim, playing the role of a more athletic Andrew Bynum. You have to assume that someone as gifted as Nash, someone with the ability to turn Marcin Gortat and a bunch of scrubs into a .500 ball club in the competitive Western conference, can find ways to keep Gasol, Howard, and most importantly Kobe Bryant happy.
Nash is old, though. He’ll turn 39 during this season , which in basketball years is close to 102, but if the Lakers can get good minutes out of him each night they should be a force offensively. If Howard can accept his role on the team and protect the hoop with all the ferocity that has earned him three Defensive Player of the Year awards, they should be much improved defensively. Now, if only Pau would just get a haircut.
(*Author’s note: potential nicknames for Dwight Howard tangent in 3…2…1…
- Sweet Dream, or a beautiful Dwightmare
- Dwihard With a Vengeance
- Howard the Dunk (instead of Howard the Duck)
- Reign Wilson (The guy who plays Dwight Schrute on The Office is named Rainn Wilson)
- Dwilight: Breaking Dawn
The Lakers’ starting lineup will have 33 combined All-Star appearances. And they might not be the favorites in the West. (*Author’s note: I’ll touch on the other teams out in that division a little later)
Who Will Rise to Twitter Dominance?
Will it Be Swaggy P (AKA Nick Young) or will Boogie Cousins (AKA Demarcus Cousins) continue to hold down the #1 spot? Will some newer, dumber, player step up to fill the void? We need more Twitter handles, NBA players. Step your game up.
Celtics Keep a Private Jet
RIP “Boston 3-Party.” Your awesome nickname will be missed. After losing Ray Allen, the Celts have managed to keep their mercurial superstar Rajon Rondo and added Jason “The Jet” Terry to their lineup. Terry was an integral part in the Dallas Maverick’s NBA title two years ago and can be an excellent scorer and 3-point shooter when he’s hot. He’ll mix well with the veteran lineup and should bring some energy to the team that’s fiery but in control. The Celts didn’t get any younger with this move, however, and are watching their title door slowly close. With their talent level and veteran experience, however, if these guys stay healthy (*Author’s note: a big “if” in an 82-game season) that door could slow down to Indiana Jones boobie-trap-sprung-by-accident-in-a-dark-cave speeds.
Shaquille O’Neal: Shark-Jumping Stunt Specialist
If you love the NBA, you love Charles Barkley, Kenny “the Jet” Smith, and Ernie Johnson. Their playful interactions, insightful analysis, and fearlessness in critiquing current players when it’s needed are all integral parts of what make their broadcasts so much fun. The contrived, forced enjoyment of NFL pregame and postgame shows is something I completely loathe. For most NFL pre/post game shows they toss 11 guys behind a desk, giggling like they’re tweenage girls who’ve been huffing Nitrous Oxide, each trying to out-celebrity the other analysts and they take something away from the game.
Shaquille O’Neal’s all 11 of those guys rolled into one. His presence, and moderator Ernie Johnson’s forced attempts to include him in the breakdown of games, hangs around the show’s neck like a 7’0”, 350 lb. weight. He’s as articulate as Tarzan and generally mumbles his way through broadcasts like a strange combination of Barry White and Shy Ronnie from Saturday Night Live’s digital shorts. I still love Inside the NBA. But Shaq definitely jumped the shark the moment he sat his diesel-sized ass down on the set.
What Other Dumb Stuff Can JaVale McGee do?
I feel like this could be a gameshow. Every time JaVale suits up and steps onto the court for the Denver Nuggets this year, contestants would chips to place on various Bingo-styled spaces labeled with predictions like: “Will refer to himself in the 3rd person” and “will tweet a pre-game picture of himself shirtless” and “will try to dunk from the three-point line during a fastbreak” and whomever ended up with the most amount of correct predictions would win. Sure it’s basically harder to accurately predict than a Russian Roulette game in a Taiwanese opium den, but let’s be honest: if you’re not tuning in to watch JaVale McGee every night you’re missing out. He’s completely and thoroughly watchable in exactly the same way as Flavor of Love was watchable in the mid-2000s.
To Be Continued. . .