Ask a Son, vol. 2-The all-HATH edition

Mailbag time, baby!

I enjoy answering the questions. I mean, I’ll answer them all with the same amount of thought and detail, but the wackier, the better. I’ll be handling all these, since Wes is on the Bud Lite party cruise until next week.-JH.

———

Which players will be affected positively and negatively by their stint on their respective Olympic teams? For example, a lot of talk was made about players like Kevin Durant making huge strides due to the World Championships. ~Ricky Y.

Not sure I believe in that too much. I mean, Kevin Durant’s performance at the World Championships was probably the result of his continuing evolution as a player more than any kind magical National team pixie dust or whatever. If there is anything to be gained from these types of situations, it’s probably in the “learning the tricks of the trade” area. It’s accepted now as common knowledge that LeBron’s experience playing with Kobe was where he first truly learned of Kobe’s work ethic and what it really took to get over the hump.

So with that said, I think the pups are the ones who benefit the most. Giving Anthony Davis early exposure to that type of talent can only be a good thing. As far as wildcards go, I’ll take James Harden. perhaps the had an impromptu support group meeting for guys who have folded up like a wet taco in big moments. Looking at that roster, that includes a good number of them.

Yo, can someone give me the low down on John Salley? Was he just the luckiest journeyman in the world who actually sucked. Or did he have some secret skills that only the most savvy of basketball observers could spot?~Nabil S.

He was actually a very valuable backup for the Bad Boy Pistons’ teams. An agile center who could rebound and blocks shots. His personality and charisma kept him in the league alot longer than his actual skills ever would have, but he’s was actually a valuable member of those Detroit title teams.

Of course, when I think of John Salley, I’ll always remember his flavor Flav hype man moment at the beginning of the lakers’ epic 4th Quarter comeback against the Blazers in the 2000 Wester Conference Finals.

Not even totally sure why I think that’s so funny. I just do.

Is this year the year we see the raptors make the playoffs?~Jack T.

I’ll be rooting for it. The Raptors have one of the best fan bases in the NBA despite not ever really being given shit to be happy about. I was crossing my fingers for them on the Steve Nash front, but i’d be lying if i said i wasn’t happy with how that turned out.

Hey, they might be makin’ moves. I love the Lowry trade for them, since he’s a point guard that can get out on the break and make shit happen and they’ve got the athletes to run with him. Alot will ride on the health of Andrea Bargnani and the whether or not Jonas Valanciunas is any good, but I think they might actually have something here.

Looks to me like the bottom two seeds in the East will be there for the taking. Maybe the Raps will grab one of them.

Should the Lakers host their own Big 4 coming out pep rally?~Chrissie C.

This is my kind of question, right here.

Of course they should. Trust me, this is not only what every Basketball fan in the world is praying for, but what they need.

The first (and last) time we’ll ever see this kind of thing.

Alas, it breaks my heart to say this, but there’s just no way in hell Kobe is gonna let this happen on his watch, and don’t get it twisted, it’s still his watch. Here’s the thing, though: It’s not even gonna be necessary. This team is already gonna get hated to death on it’s own merits. If you are a laker fan, you’re gonna need some titanium earplugs to drown that shit out.

What, you haven’t already heard every criticism/far flung pipe dream re: the Lakers’ imminent demise? I have. Everything from “Nash can’t play D!” to “Koeb won’t play share the spotlight” to “Dwight will make a play to get Kobe traded” and anything else you can throw at the wall.

here’s what it boils down to: 2013 is going to be a great time to be a fan of the lakers if you have thick skin and/or aren’t easily drawn into stupid arguments.

Otherwise, it’s gonna be a real pain in your ass. Trust me on this, it’s gonna be brutal.

Which teams are most likely to surprise or disappoint this year?~Mike C.

Well, judging by the reaction to the Dwight Howard trade, I’d say everyone seems to be selling the 76ers way, way short. There’s no doubting that the East got a hell of alot tougher this summer, but the 76 ers have a dog in the fight now that they have Bynum, especially since he’s already making noise about an extension there. All he wanted was a team to call his own and now it appears he has one. Pair him with Jrue Holiday, Thad Young and Evan Turner and you have the makings of something real and just as importantly, young and relatively inexpensive, at least for now. With a little luck on the health side, I think Philly wins 50 games for the first time since Allen Iverson led them to the Finals in 2001.

As far as disappointments go, I’ll go with the Nets. There’s going to be a mountain of hype on that team and at least early on, I think they struggle. When you really take a close look at this team, it’s not exactly what you think.

This picture was taken after the Sixers got Andrew Bynum but before Doug Collins called Mike Brown for the lowdown.

Truth is, after all the hype and whatnot, this is essentially the same team that sucked eggs last season, with Joe Johnson being the only significant addition. Even with all the media attention and money spent, all they did was pay thru the nose to retain their players and add one borderline all-star who may or may not be past his prime.

Deron Williams has already proven that he can go into coast mode on a bad team, and if Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace get hit with early injuries, this whole thing has the chance to go to shit in a hurry.

Healthy, they could be beastly, but since when was good health ever guaranteed in the NBA?

Who is more likely to bolt Los Angeles after the season, Chris Paul or Dwight Howard?~Dan P.

Neither. I mean, I think they are both staying put. Of course, there’s always the  chance that they team up and go somewhere like Dallas, but that’s an awfully long shot as of today. Both are gonna be hard pressed to find better places to play, and both are going to have to be willing to walk away from the 30 million extra dollars they can get re-signing with their current team.

Yep, I fully expect these two to be the poster boys for the Battle of Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.

Who is better in a year Warriors, Bobcats, or Hornets?~Jeff N.

I’d rank ’em thusly:

1) Warriors 2) Hornets 3) Bobcats

Nobody told him there’d be days like these.

You know, in three years I probably say New Orleans, but for a year from now I’d take the GSW’s, and as luck would have it, getting Jarrett Jack from NO in an absolutely puzzling deal is at least some part of the reason. The Warriors are going to have a pretty deep, professional team for the next few years, at least offensively speaking. Yeah, their cap situation is going to be a total fucking mess when the dreaded luxury tax kicks in two years from now, but that’s a bridge they’ll have to cross when they come to it. New Orleans has the makings of a wonderful team, with some serious scoring punch out of Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and possible Austin Rivers, and a defensive foundation in Anthony Davis.

For now though, their bench is doodoo, they appear to be counting on Rivers to man the point (yikes)and the depth isn’t there. Give them a few years to develop Davis and spend some money on a few more quality players, and they’ll be good to go.

Poor Charlotte. Almost forgot about them.

As of today, their three best players are Ben Gordon, Kemba Walker and rookie Michael Gilchrist.

They suck, and they’ll continue to suck for several years, if not longer. Nothing else needs to be said.

 

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