Opinions. Everyone has them. The internet is proof of that much. When it came to writing another NBA preview I could have done what everyone does, or done something wacky like the time I tried comparing teams to old rap albums.
At the end of the day, I opted to save some time (and sanity) by just focusing on what I know about the upcoming season. That is to say, what I think I know.
This is part one. There will be more.
The Sixers are an affront to competitive sports (and their GM will ultimately fail)
Don’t we all want this to backfire? Is there really any science, or grace, to actively constructing the shittiest roster you can while drafting injured (or otherwise unavailable) guys lower than they would go otherwise? Seems to me, all you need is a owner thick enough to go for this bullshit and you are set, with presumably a five year window to suck ass before you actually start yielding results. Is this really something we should celebrate? Isn’t it the least bit derpy to be saying shit like “Sam Hinkie won the New Orleans trade!”, when we still have zero idea what kind of players Nerlens Noel and Dario Saric are going to be at the NBA level? Should we really be doing anything but turning our backs on a franchise that won three games in a row to start the season, all against playoff teams (including the defending champs), then did everything in their power to sabotage that momentum because it was “screwing up their plan!”???
Yeah. Fuck those dicks.
There is rebuilding, then there is re-tooling, then there is whatever the fuck this is supposed to be. If they are going to outright sabotage three consecutive seasons, what would be considered sufficient payoff? To me, anything less than a title contender means this was a waste of time and a big ole’ cup of piss in the face of the Philly fans who, last I heard, aren’t fond of drinking piss.
The Hawks are overhyped
A few things here. First, I understand the weight that the Gregg Popovich tree of ever-flowing wisdom carries around the league. I get it. And I know that the Hawks played without Al Horford Last year. I also watched the entire Pacer series ( I should get a medal for this) so I sort of understand where the optimism is coming from.
Problem is, this team ain’t that good. Yeah, yeah, Spurs’ system, balance the floor with shooters and guys who play the right way blah, blah fucking blah. Al good in theory, but back here on planet earth, this is still a team that starts Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll, and has to rely on Al Horford, a dude who missed 71 games three years ago and over fifty last year.
Hey, I’m not saying the Hawks don’t have a good coach or the right system in place. I’m not. What I am saying is, the talent level just isn’t there. The second unit is currently made up of Shelvin Mack, Thabo Sefolosha, Kent Bazemore, Mike Scott and Pero Antic. That ain’t good, folks.
One more thing. Going 7 games with the April 2014 version of the Indiana Pacers is about as impressive as getting free tickets to a 76er game, so calm the fuck down already about what it means for the bright future of the Hawks!
This is a 40-42 win team, maybe less if Horford gets hurt again and/or Paul Millsap’s expiring contract is traded to a contender.
The Knicks will overachieve because Phil Jackson is running that team
Hey, does anyone remember when Phil came back to the Lakers and Kobe won 45 games (and the MVP) with a supporting cast of Smush Parker, Lamar Odom, Kwame Brown, Chris Mihm and Brian Cook? I do.
Oh yeah, does anyone remember when Phil Jackson won those 11 Titles? I do.
Oooh, does anyone remember that Phil Jackson team that finished under .500?
Yes, I know he’s not coaching the Knicks, but he is in spirit, and he’s in charge of putting together the personnel to fit his custom-made system. I’ll put my money on him making it work, even with the handful of misfit toys on that roster. It’s Phil fucking Jackson, dude. If you can’t put your faith in him, who can you?
The Suns will be better, not worse
Nobody saw the Suns coming last year, yet everyone seems to be doubling down on that mistake by proclaiming they will take a step back this year. Not sure if anyone was actually paying attention to the actual reasons they were so good, so let me lay it out for you. Ryan Mcdonough, new fangled whiz kid GM that he is, came up with a vision and brought that bitch to life in the span of one year. He wanted to play uptempo and feature speed and youth (which is the easiest way to be decent-to-good in the NBA, even with marginal talent), so he hired a coach (Jeff Hornacek) who wanted to play that way. He stole, STOLE I SAY, Eric Bledsoe for nothing more than the cost of a bloated Jared Dudley. Yeah. Read that again, slowly. He swindled the Pacers big time, getting Miles Plumlee, Gerald Green AND a fucking first round pick for a slightly washed up Luis Scola. Plumlee and Green combined to average 24 and 11 for the Suns last year, mostly because they are phenomenal athletes who thrived in a system designed to suit their strengths. He hornswoggled the Wizards for a first round pick and cap relief, all for the right to overpay Marcin Gortat, then turned said cap relief into Isiah Thomas this summer.
He did all of that in one year.
Now, it’s encore time. The Suns, who already played in 5th gear all last year, have now added the 5’9 speed demon Thomas to their back court of Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, and don’t be surprised if they stick all three of them on the court at the same time for stretches. The Suns go 10 deep with young athletes, have shooters everywhere, and here’s the best part: They have a fuckload of draft picks with which to either add more depth or acquire a star big man.
And yet, with all of this momentum people think they are gonna win less?
This team won 48 games with a brand new roster and half a season out of Bledsoe. All they lost from last years’ team was Channing Frye, who, regardless of what you may have heard, can and will be replaced. This team is the future, baby. Embrace it. Be in on the ground floor and shit. Don’t be one of those fools who shows up late to the party, staring at the empty bottles of booze and cursing yourself for spending an hour looking in the mirror.
I know it’s the western conference, and I know it seems crazy, but this team is gonna win 55 games, somehow. I just know it.