The NBA is 10 weeks into it’s 2014-2015 season. It has been another completely fascinating season for an fascinating league. The storylines are thicker than a rapper’s booty model girlfriend and the characters have continued to be so rife with ridiculousness that you can’t possibly capture it all in a (*Author’s note: undoubtedly too-long) post. So I’ll just try to touch on my favorite things in the NBA so far this season.
New York Knickerbotchers
In spite of landing a highly sought-after GM (*Author’s note: none other than the master of Zen himself, Phil Jackson) and getting a new coach (none other than the utterly un-sought-after Derek Fisher) the Knicks have become an abomination. There hasn’t been something this ugly occurring in New York City since this scene from Friday the 13th VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.
If you’re searching for Derek Fisher? You better check the bottom of the Eastern conference where the Knicks have prepared to cellar-dwell in a tank-off battle royale with the Philadelphia 76ers. They’ve traded away any possible assets to the team, dumping JR Smith to the Cleveland Cavaliers (*Author’s note: more on that later) and generally slashing and burning their way through their roster like it’s Peruvian rain forest in the way of “progress.”
What has Carmelo Anthony done, watching his team disintegrate from between his once-clenched fists like sand from an hour glass? In the most Carmelo way possible: by scoring a lot and wearing weird hats that look like they were designed by Michael Jordan’s stylist.
Carmelo’s hat, which can only be described as acid-washed Willy Wonka Couture, has for sure been the Knick’s MVP this year.
The Browhairmian Rhapsody
While you may not be able to tell if Anthony Davis is furrowing his eyebrow, or if he is actually letting his lower forehead region play host to a caterpillar gang-bang, one thing you cannot mistake? How far his game has come this year. The 3rd year man out of New Orleans is having an absurd year. Here are his stats from this season.
(*Author’s note: I’ve added in some key points here in a crappy, moronic attempt to draw a dude with a unibrow. See?
Swaggy Giveth and Swaggy Taketh Away
In spite of playing what, at times, completely devolves into D-League basketball, the Los Angeles Lakers have remained supremely watchable. Unlike all the 30 spray-tanned contestants that came ball-gowning out of their limosines on this week’s The Bachelor, though, I’m here for all the wrong reasons. I’m watching the Lakers to see if Kobe will defiantly try to treat father time like he’s Smush Parker. I’m watching to see if Swaggy P will continue his assault on the record books (*Author’s note: for most delightfully insane quotes) and I’m watching to see if I can appropriately shout out “Sacre Bleeeechhh” when Robert Sacre gets used in the paint.
The Lakers are, in short, a train wreck. But they’re not a sad, depressing, black and white trainwreck. They’re a climactic, Hollywood, Imax catastrophe that begs us to watch. The catalyst? Who else. Swaggy P. Or, for those of you without a pack-a-day Twitter habit who aren’t fiendishly looking to shoot up with NBA pop culture references as soon as you find a vein, I’m talking about Nick Young. He dresses in pants that are – I’m not joking, here – called “Crotch Droppers” (*Author’s note: seen below)
dates a hyper-successful female rapper, and somehow has the courage (*Author’s note: read: Swag and/or stupidity) to call out Kobe Bryant when he feels it’s necessary.
Hell, he celebrates missed 3-pointers, and ranks himself as the best 3-Point shooter. Ever.
He and Harvard grad Jeremy Lin routinely have insane conversations that leave you wondering if Swaggy is really clever or completely out of his mind. The answer might be both. That’s what makes this Lakers team so interesting: I just wrote about a dude whose nickname is “Swaggy” instead of Kobe Bryant. In the mean time, I’ll keep tuning in to the Lakers’ games when I can. They’re the SyFy channel movie of the NBA. They’re horrendous. They’re awful. And yet I revel in their trashy goodness because it’s better than flipping the channel elsewhere and watching the soul-crushing depression that we call “The News.”
Kerr & Curry
Nope. That’s not the name of TNT buddy cop drama. At least not yet.(*Author’s note: keep your eyes peeled, though, because I would bet TNT has something similar to that exact name in pre-production right now.)
Curry is something of an offensive savant. It doesn’t quite do him justice to just say that he’s “good” or “really f-ing good.” There’s something different about his game, somehow, in a way that can make even the most long-winded writers (*Author’s note: See: me) struggle to quite put their wording to it. It’s almost like you’re watching a genius compose a piece of music. There’s so much at play, his crazy handles, his constantly probing court vision, and his hair-trigger release that allows him to get balls out of his hands faster than a hooker with police lights suddenly appearing in her John’s rearview. There’s a next-levelness to Steph Curry’s game that has enabled him to be orchestral in his running of an offense. At once, scoring, distributing, and doing things in a wholly unique and unconventional way. He’s why the warriors are must-watch TV. He’s why I’ll find myself cracking a late-night caffeine-in-a-can so that I can watch him play.
And Steve Kerr appears to be exactly the right fit for this supremely talented Warriors team. He’s done a masterful job of balancing egos on a young team with a ton of talent and has gotten this team to buy into a defensive concept that has them looking like legitimate title contenders. Klay Thompson has continued his Team USA fueled growth into becoming one of the best scorers in the game. Unleashed in a fun, free-wheeling offense, and somehow still buying in on defense, Thompson appears to have been worth that dump-truck of money the Warriors tipped onto his lawn with all the grace of my 2-year-old Tonka-trucking it up.
It turns out that everybody does, in fact, Love Draymond as Draymond Green has also rocketed up the developmental ladder, finding himself in the midst of a stunning breakout year. Kerr and Curry, Draymond and Klay. The W’s went from a super-fun Michael Bay action movie (*Author’s note: a ton of flash and sizzle without ever really becoming something special) and have morphed themselves into a Christopher Nolan super-hero movie; substance and style all rolled into a scintillating package and given a terrible Christian Bale-beard on Andrew Bogut.
Blatt to the Future
As soon as LeBron decided to un-take his talents from South Beach it became clear that the Cleveland Cavaliers were to be his team. Not GM David Griffin or Comic Sans manifesto-maestro, Dan Gilbert. No. This was about one thing and one thing only, and it was about that right from the start. Keeping LeBron James happy. So it’s been fascinating to watch the Cavs struggle to find their way. They’ve traded and bartered, begged and borrowed and stolen. They’re like that guy who’s treading water really hard and hasn’t drowned yet, but you find yourself what will happen when the lactic acid starts to creep into their proverbial limbs.
The Cavs have lost 9 of their last 11. King James’ body is currently be usurped by the 40,000 minutes that have been put onto his young knees and Kevin Love looks like he might not have been worth trading Andrew Wiggins (*Author’s note: a thought that seemed preposterous a few months ago). Will the Cavs be okay? I think so. Will they be good? Who the hell knows. LeBron hasn’t quite been himself this year, that much appears to be true. Kyrie Irving has been playing more like start-of-the-pickup-game Uncle Drew than post-Pepsi-Max Uncle Drew and LeBron has been whispering sweet nothings into former teammates’ ears about getting the band back together.
The Cavs have been scrambling to make things work and make them work now.
They traded for Timofey Mozgov, got rid of Dion Waiters, and landed JR Smith and the copious flat top of Iman Shumpert. Will these tweaks pay off? Can LeBron get his body right in time to make a push through the lackluster Eastern conference? Does JR Smith remind anyone else of DeLonte West (*Author’s note: and does this terrify LeBron beyond all measure?). I can’t wait to keep watching to see if these questions can get answered.
In a league never short on storylines, these have been some of my favorites so far. What about you? What have you liked or hated so far about this incredibly fun NBA season?