After a long off-season with some insane storylines: (*Author’s note: Bron-Bron goes back to Cleveland, Phil takes the helm in NYC, Kobe and Derrick Rose prepare for their returns, and the Cavaliers prove that they are the NBA equivalent to Meatloaf and will do anything for Love.) the NBA season has finally arrived. I’m sure, if you’re a hoophead like me, you’ve already pored over a 20 or more previews and watched as dozens of talking heads asked “The Important Questions” about this upcoming NBA season.
So I decided I’d take a little more outside the box approach. I’d take a look at five storylines that may or may not be flying underneath the radar and investigate them. Here are 5 questions that simply must be asked before the NBA season goes into day 2.
1. Whose hair will get talked about the most in Cleveland: LeBron James or Anderson Varejao?
Anderson Varejao has come strong with his token-black-guy-in-High-School-Musical hair for the past few seasons. Does it kind of look like the Brazilian hair version of the confetti that comes out of those toy champagne-poppers that people bust out for New Year’s Eve? Yeah. Does it flop oh-so-gloriously, like Pau Gasol trying to draw a charge in the low block? Definitely. Varejao’s stat line usually includes a triple double when he’s playing: points, rebounds, and times spent tossing his hair like model doing a “wind-blown” look in front of a power fan.
LeBron’s hair, like everything else about LeBron James, was highly scrutinized this offseason. If you think about LeBron’s hair like a Civil War battlefield (*Author’s note: you know, like a normal person) it seemed like the front lines of LeBron’s hair were gradually ceding precious ground to the inevitable reverse Kareem-ing that seemed to be happening. The head band on his dome kept moving back, gradually sliding towards making him look like he was wearing an NBA yarmulke that came with the sun roof option. But for a brief moment this year, Bron-Bron called for reinforcements.
He got hair plugs. His hairline made a dramatic, suicide charge, that had Twitter imploding in on itself like a dying supernova as LeBron suddenly looked like a new man. But then? Just like that: poof. The new hair was gone again. It had Nightcrawler’d (*Author’s note: the character from X-Men, not Jake Gyllenhall) out of the picture, teleporting off of LeBron’s dome. Did he unplug like a rapper doing an acoustic set on MTV? Had the Twitter backlash driven his new follicles to a full-on retreat? We may never know. But it’ll be something that’s totally worth watching.
2. Where will Kobe hide the body of Swaggy P after he inevitably murders him?
That the situation in LA is a mess is hardly a secret. I’m not sure if they’ve already copyrighted the term, “Blunderbuss” to describe how great Jerry’s son Jimmy has done running the franchise, but if they haven’t I’m going to send off a quick e-mail to the US Patent Office. What will make a disgustingly unwatchable Lakers team infinitely more watchable this year? The fact that Kobe Bryant is back.
And not only is Kobe back, but he’s in full on crotchety old man, I-don’t-give-a-fuck-because-I’m-a-veterans-veteran and make Rip van Winkle look like a rookie, mode. So what happens when Kobe, and all his mamba-venom, run into Swaggy P and all his long-two-point-jacking bravado? It could get ugly. Since Swaggy P is essentially a 3rd-world-poor man’s Kobe and he has become a pseudo-celeb based on the fact that he’s dating Iggy Azalea, it could lead to a fascinating power struggle.
But let’s be honest: the struggle won’t last long. We all know that Kobe’s competitiveness borders on homicidal. So when he ends up drowning Swaggy P in the training room cold tub, after the Swagster goes 4-19 from the field at some point this year, the question will be this: where will Kobe stash his body?
4 Potential hiding places:
- Wherever Jim Buss hides all of his “mistakes.”
- A dude like Jimmy Buss isn’t going to live a completely clean life. That much we can rightly assume. So what do his “handlers” do when the Blunderbuss fires off an errant round and they need to dispose of the evidence? I’m sure they have a secret passageway underneath the Staples center to spirit out bodies. And we know Kobe would have access to these.
- Smush Parker’s house.
- Kobe and Smush have had a simmering, sometimes boiling, feud. And what better way for psycho-Kobe to exact his revenge (*Author’s note: other than, you know, just having no one else on the planet give a damn about Smush Parker – which has already happened.) than by a classic Hollywood Noir frame-job.
- The Medieval German Castle Dungeon Laboratory where Kobe gets his strange knee injections.
- We know there’s something fishy going on there. ‘Roids? HGH? Is A-Rod just hanging out in there, in between fratting it up at college campuses around the nation? Simply put, we’ll never know. But, it sure seems like an ideal hiding place.
- Donald Sterling’s basement.
- Because everyone would just assume Sterling did it. I know I would.
3. Will the 76ers play so bad that we retro-actively are declared the losers of the Revolutionary War and we have to give back thirteen states to Great Britain?
There’s a legitimate chance. Have you seen their lineup? It’s a crew so Motley that Tommy Lee should be playing the drums. They’ve got guys you’ve never heard of. Young dudes who have names you can’t pronounce. Michael Carter-Williams is their best player and he has a name like a serial killer and shoots 40% from the field. While the team has a few young pieces with some upside, they appear to be doomed to another season so far at the bottom of the standings that they’re somewhere below the Earth’s crust. The one bonus? Nerlens Noel, rocking a flat top the size of a small mountain peak on his dome. (*Author’s note: and that’s trying really hard for a silver lining.)
4. Will Chris Bosh continue his slow metamorphosis into a Velociraptor before our very eyes?
(*Author’s note: It’s time for you to start lining up your Jurassic World jokes, Twitter. The season is back, the next installment of the Jurassic Park franchise is off and running, and Chris Bosh is probably going to continue Chris Boshing his way around the court. Personally, I don’t know if the Heat will let Bosh have enough time off from the team to finish shooting his scenes as a stunt double for the velociraptors, and that could lead to some conflict. Get. Your. Popcorn. Ready.)
5. Will reigning technical foul king Boogie Cousins get out-teched by Larry Sanders?
Boogie seems to have troubles with the refs. I’m not sure if this stems from the fact that he’s a post player who consistently thinks he’s getting hacked (*Author’s note: a hallmark of good NBA post players is their insistence that they’re being fouled and their willingness to get T-ed up for it. Hell, even not-good NBA post players get a lot of techs. See: Perkins, Kendrick.) or if he’s just got a lousy attitude, but whatever the reason, Boogs has lead the league in techs for 2 straight seasons and finished second 3 years ago to the aforementioned king of posturing/scowling, Perkins.
But someone is coming for Boogie’s belt. Someone equally tatted and equally trialed-and-tribulated by the officiating community. Someone who once racked up a whopping 14 T’s of his own 2 seasons ago in a mere 71 games and who will be an what appears to be a super frustrating scenario buried in the frozen tundra of Milwaukee. That’s right, baby! I’m talking about none other than Larry F-ing Sanders! If you doubt Mr. Sander’s ref-taunting technique, or don’t think anyone can hang with Boogie’s panache in the ref-flouting business: ladies and gentleman of the jury, please let me submit to you my favorite ejection of all time not involving an NBA fist fight.