Delayed Gratification

Before we get into this year’s highly anticipated NBA Finals. I’d like to give a shout out to the Boston Celtics and San Antonio for having successful seasons. Although I think the Celtics didn’t work hard enough to get Demarcus Cousins or Jimmy Butler on the team this year, I’m not so sure that would have been worth two more wins in this year’s conference finals. I am curious if they are going to run it back with the addition of another young lottery pick are trade their number one pick for some vet pieces to help Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say they overachieved this year with their current roster. Whatever Danny Ainge decides to do this off-season, it will be tough to mess this off-season up for the Celtics. They have a lot of good options.

The Spurs will have a challenging off-season themselves, as there are a few questions that must be answered for them to sustain their run of excellence for the next few seasons. Though it seems like Dejounte Murray is poised to be the point guard of the future, I think it would behoove the Spurs to sign a veteran to serve as a bridge for Murray era. There are a number of free agent point guards the Spurs could sign on the cheap who could help mentor the young prodigy as he grows into his role as a floor leader. I personally am rooting for a George Hill/Gregg Popovich reunion next season.

Jonathan Simmons may have played his last game in a Spurs uniform, as his payday is right down the road waiting for him once the free agency period starts. He is a restricted free agent, but if a team offers him a ton of money to go play for them, San Antonio might let him walk. This would be unfortunate because I’ve been one of Juice Man’s biggest fans and I’d love to see him back on the team. For what’s out there at the wing position, he could turn out to be a good investment.

I would be surprised if Patty Mills plays for the team next year. He is an unrestricted free agent and some marginal team is probably going to be foolish enough to drop some major dough on a player who isn’t good enough to be a starting point guard for a contending team. Kawhi’s injury in Game 1 last round turned the conference finals into a pre season tryouts. Spurs players were just playing for their jobs after it was clear they were not going to advance.

Looking down the road, the Spurs are going to need some young front court players as Lamarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol are clearly on the wrong side of their careers and can’t be depended on to carry a team if Leonard was unavailable for some reason. Kyle Anderson hasn’t improved all that much since he first got into the league three years ago, and it may be time to start looking for Danny Green’s eventual replacement. Green does some things well (like stopping 3-on-1 fast breaks)  and some things not so well (like dribbling). He is like that boyfriend some women have that does just enough to get dumped. She doesn’t break up with him, but she thinks about it seriously at least once every 3 months. 4 years later, both parties are wondering where this thing is going.

Outside of Kawhi and Murray, there are a lot of questions to be answered this off-season. A lot of critics think this is beginning of the end of the Spurs dynasty, but I think this is just a transition period. Either way, this off season will be the critical point we look back on five years from now when accessing the prime of Kawhi Leonard’s career.

 

FINALS PREDICTIONS

You must excuse me if I seem bored with the Cavs-Warriors threematch, but at this point it seems pretty anti-climatic. Besides the first 30 minutes of game 1 of Spurs-Warriors, there has been little doubt who would be in the NBA Finals. Neither team was tested on their way to the final round, and there was a part of me that was disappointed that Cleveland dropped a game against Boston. It would have been cool to see both teams head into the Finals 12-0. Alas, this is the best the 2017 season could give to us fans.

3 Keys to the series:

Draymond Green/ Andre Iguodala vs. Lebron

Lebron is going to get his no matter what, but Green and Iggy are going to have to figure out a way to slow him down, make him work for points, and not get into foul trouble. Refs tend to swallow their whistles when Lebron creates contact by dipping his shoulders into people’s chest and using his off-hand to push into guys. If there is a foul called, it’s usually on the defensive player somehow. Rasheed Wallace put it best when he said, “These guys (Kobe, Shaq, Lebron) are supposed to be the best right? So why do they need more help if they are so good?” That is exactly why I @bucks with Sheed even if he is fibbing about making up the phrase “Ball Don’t Lie”.

Role Players

We haven’t seen this kind of star power on both Finals teams since the 2013 and 2014 Spurs-Heat matchups, and before that, the Celtics-Lakers rivalry in the 80’s. However, anyone who knows anything about NBA basketball knows that its the how role players play that will determine who wins these playoff games.

It isn’t crazy to expect big numbers from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Steph Curry, but you never know what you are going to get from Kevin Love and Klay Thompson on the offensive end (although both can easily put up 40 points in the blink of the eye). The difference between the two players is that Love is an average defender at best, while Thompson is the best defensive 2 guard in the league. To think that both players are afterthoughts shows you how good both teams are.

Look for the Kardashian curse to rear its ugly head this series as Tristan Thompson should have a big series against this thin front court of Golden State–but he won’t. I can’t ever quantify these suspicions with anything but intuition, but wasn’t I right about James Harden swoon last year because he was dating Khloe? I’m just saying.

Golden State has the better bench of the two teams with guys like Javale McGee, Shaun Livingston, Andre Iguodala all making important contributions with the second unit. Ian Clark and Patrick McCaw can be counted on to steal some minutes at the guard spots. Don’t forget that Mike Brown (?) can always count on David West or Matt Barnes to provide some toughness whenever that is needed.

The Cavaliers have a lot of washed dudes coming off the bench, like old ass Kyle Korver, Deron Williams, Richard Jefferson, and Derrick Williams.

Defense

For all the talk about their offense, Warriors had one of the best defenses in the NBA this year. The Cavaliers? Not so much. There was even a time period where their defensive rating was 30th in the league. They haven’t exactly faced any offensive juggernauts this post season, so people have been tricked into thinking that they “flipped that switch.”

The Warriors are phenomenal at finding the “mouse in the house” and exposing it again and again. Outside of Tristan Thompson, Lebron James, and sometimes Iman Shumpert, is there anyone on that Cleveland roster that will scare the Warriors? J.R. Smith can bring it on  occasion, but he can just as easily space out at anytime. The rest of the team is compiled of average defenders. The Spurs were a top 5 team in defense and you saw what happened to them, and before you say “but Kawhi Leonard was hurt” please realize that it would have taken EVERYTHING to go right for the Spurs to even have a chance at winning last round.

People tend to think this has the makings of a classic, but I don’t see it. Star power aside for Cleveland, they are ill-equipped to deal with one of the best offenses in NBA history. Warriors in five, and the only reason I’m not predicting a sweep is out of respect to Lebron. I may sound as crazy as I did when I said the Spurs would beat Golden State last round, but you saw what happened that first 30 minutes before Kawhi got hurt (like what I did right there?). There could have been a number of reasons why San Antonio was dominating before that take down by Zaza, but before that infamous play, I wasn’t looking so crazy now was I? If both teams remain healthy the entire series, the Warriors will clinch it five games and it may not even be that close. And oh yeah, Draymond Green is going to win the Finals MVP, just like I predicted in the season preview.

Have a good week.

 

BM

 

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

 

Observations From a Dimly Lit Living Room

Are you entertained? Well neither am I honestly. The Eastern Conference playoff has been as trash as I thought it would be. The Cavs look like they are going to sweep their way to the Finals and everyone is going fight to suck the media teat of Lebron James when they haven’t even had to break a sweat yet. I can’t wait til they get exposed in the NBA Finals. For all the Lebron dominance talk, he’d be lucky to get a top four seed if they had to go through the teams out west. #fraudulent

Let us pour one out for veteran Tony Parker as his career might have come to an end this week on a not so freak accident. You know it’s a bad injury if someone gets hurt on a non-contact injury. It happened to Kobe. I remember when Vinny Testaverde ruptured his Achilles back in ’99 for the Jets, and you knew from the look on Parker’s face that his season was over.

Salutes to Tony though for showing that just because you are washed, doesn’t mean you can’t still be effective when your team really needs it. Seeing him rupture his quad though put a scare in me, because I definitely don’t want to go out like that. I’d rather walk away knowing I had a little left in the tank than to be carried off the pickup courts. Besides, I don’t have insurance. I can’t afford to miss work because I got hurt playing a basketball game. Tony Parker’s injury only further reinforces the fact that I need to retire from full court ball soon because I’m almost 40, and there is no doubt in my mind that I’m washed.

But before we write off the Spurs, the Tony Parker injury may actually be a blessing in disguise. Tony was on the verge of getting his fruit cocktail taken from him the deeper the Spurs went into the playoffs. It was no secret that he was becoming a defensive liability, and his presence on the court was creating some mismatches in the Rockets favor (so what do you think was going to happen if/when they faced the Warriors?).

Although I wouldn’t wish injury to anyone (outside of Lebron, Grayson Allen, Gerald Henderson or Dahntay Jones), this is good for the Spurs because Gregg Popovich can’t lean on Parker for heavy minutes down the stretch. Pops has to go to the more inexperienced, but more athletic guards on the bench. Jonathan Simmons, Dejounte Murray, Kyle Anderson, and Manu Ginobili match up way better with the long Warriors guards than Patty Mills or Parker. They may actually have a chance now to win a couple of games in the Western Conference Finals.

As for the Rockets, just when I was ready to think better of James Harden, he goes and does James Harden things. He just can’t help himself. He is unequivocally a crybaby ass #Buster who would rather play to the refs than play legit basketball. He’s like the guy you play in pickup ball who calls fouls about a half second after they realize they are going to miss a layup. Dude is all smoke and mirrors. I respect nothing about his basketball game. And to all you trolls and haters who flooded my phone with text messages because you’d written the Spurs off after that abysmal game one, go eat a d**k in the design in the Rockets logo.

Rockets are still garbage, and watching this series only reminded me of why I stopped watching Rockets games in the first place. They are fucking annoying! I don’t know how Patrick Beverley made it this far in life being the asshole he is. I bet his parents wanted to choke him as a teenager. Look at this childhood picture.pb_2

That is the face of a sneaky-as-fuck kid. I bet his parents had at least three conversations with him about how stealing from your family is wrong. Beverley and Harden alone are enough to want to throw a shoe at the television, but then Sam Dekker’s image comes onto the screen and I immediately want to mush his entitled face into a brick wall. I’m going to enjoy watching them get sent fishing.

Congratulations to the Toronto Rappers Raptors for having another wonderfully mediocre season. By 5:00 pm eastern time they will be swept and planning their summer vacations to Greece, Libya, and Croatia. Their “superstars” Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry are actually just really good players who need a real superstar to lead their team to a Finals appearance. I still think Demar is the second best shooting guard in the league, but remember when people were trying to say Kyle Lowry was a top 3 point guard in the east? NOT  SO FAST MY FRIEND!!!

Utah-Golden State has shaken out exactly as I expected. Utah has competed, but there is only so much you can do against the Warriors. They are stacked. You’d have to go all the way back to the 80’s Lakers and Celtics teams to see a time when four superstars played on the same team. This Warriors team isn’t even humming yet and teams can’t keep up with them. Just you wait. That first quarter in the final game of the Blazers series was just a little taste of what they are capable of doing. In the meantime, its been fun making “Quin Snyder looks like someone who jerks off with Icy Hot” jokes (shout out to Aaron McGruder). Their off-season will be starting around Tuesday morning at 12:01 CST. daria-screen-1-499x380

As for the Boston-Washington series, its been ugly, but it’s also been heated. Some writers have even gone as far to say that this series has a 90’s feel to it. When two sneaky dirty teams face off in the playoffs, some fuck shit is bound to pop off. And wherever there is fuckshit happening, you best believe the fuck boys are in the vicinity. I actually gained a little respect for Kelly Oubre, even though his reaction was a typical emo light-skinned guy reaction. Had he been smarter about it, he would just given Kelly Olynyck a nice elbow to the grill gut when no one was looking (if you’re gonna get suspended you may as well get your money’s worth).

Olynck has become Frank Brickowski 2.0, hiding behind his Opie Cunningham. friendly Canadian neighbor facade, but is one of the dirtiest players in the NBA. Its hard rooting FOR the Cleveland Cavaliers, but there is a small part of me that will enjoy them exposing the Boston Celtics’ flaws next round (sorry Mikey)–mostly because I’m mad that Danny Ainge didn’t try to make a run at the Eastern Conference title this year (Jimmy Butler or Paul George would have been the needle mover they needed to knock off Lebron). You can talk all you want about not mortgaging the future by trying to win a title this year, but the truth is you never know what is going to happen down the road. Who would have thought we’d see Harden, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka playing in the playoffs but on four different teams?

Celtics-Cavs and Spurs-Warriors is probably the best scenario we could have imagined for the Conference Finals. Enjoy this week of hoop!

BM

 

[Update at 1:17 pm] Whoops! Almost forgot to shout out the dudes over at TRUEHOOP who’ve undergone some massive changes over at the four lettered network. I’m very happy that Big Wos and Amin are still on the air keeping it street. #Respect

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

YFWION?

The NBA All Star Game is only a couple of weeks away, and twitter is abuzz with corny gimmicks to help fans vote on who they want to see in the game. For some reason it took a really long time for the league to figure out that the average NBA fan doesnn’t know shit about the game (Shout out to the people still voting for Yao Ming). As much as I like Zaza Pachulia, there is no way he should be playing on All Star Weekend (neither should Dwayne Wade and his 18.8 pts a game scoring average).

You know who the best gauge for determining who deserves to be an All-Star? OTHER PLAYERS. Forget the fans and forget the media (seriously why are they the ones who vote on all the awards?). All awards and all-star selection should be determined by the league’s players and coaches.

AP WARRIORS NUGGETS BASKETBALL S BKN USA CO

There are certain players who are balling out right now; making their games week to week Must See TV. I wanted to take the time to honor those in what will forever be named the “You Fux Wit Em Or NAH?” All Star teams. Here they are:

 

“Yea. I Fux Wit Em”

 

Isaiah Thomas 

I can’t tell you how boring Celtics games would be without this guy. They have no real playmakers that can consistently handle the ball and he has been carrying this team down the stretch of games, getting them buckets whenever the team needs one. Thomas had two monster 4th quarters this week against Washington and Atlanta. He is averaging almost 29 points a game and has had two 40 point games already this season. I fux with him. Just not before the 4th quarter. I can’t stomach a full game of the Celtics. Too much of a grind.

Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo

These two have been a dynamic duo this season and Bucks games have been more entertaining than expected because of them. Giannis is a sure-fire All Star this year, and Parker has recovered nicely from the season ending injury that he suffered his rookie year. I tried to told ya’ll at the beginning of the year that G stands Giannis.

Brandon Jennings

Something that has been lost amidst the Derek Rose drama is that the Knicks just may be better when Brandon Jennings is running the show in New York. His handles are better, his shot is much better, and he is a better passer. The ball does not move as well with Rose on the floor. Jennings has been a tad inconsistent, but then again so has his minutes. I seriously believe that Jeff Hornacek just isn’t using the Compton product as efficiently as he should be.

This year’s Spurs Roster

I’m not just saying this because I’m a Spurs fan. I don’t care how far in the playoffs they go, I love this current team. It is good to see David Lee prove to the rest of the league that he can still play. It is refreshing to be able to root for Pau Gasol–a player who would have been one of my favorites back in the late 2000’s had he not played for the Kobe era Lakers. Duane Dedmon has been better than anyone expected, and Davis Bertans has been a lovely surprise (we know at least one Latvian player will be in the playoffs this year). With Jonathan Simmons,  Patty Mills, and Manu Ginobili leading the second unit, the Spurs quietly have one of the best benches in the league.

Memphis Grizzlebees

Like I said before, I’ve been trying to write off Memphis for years, but they keep coming back as strong as ever. I’m sure you can think of 150 million arguments to counter with, but Mike Conley remains one of the most underrated point guards in the NBA. Outside of Chris Paul, I don’t think there is anyone who runs an offense and controls the tempo better.

Utah Jazz

A little goes a long way with this team. I wouldn’t advise anyone to watch more than one Jazz game per week, but they are pretty entertaining. Rudy Gobert is probably the Defensive Play of the Year. Gordon Heyward is living up to the hype, and Rodney Hood is an unsung assassin with a pure shooting touch. Also, they have the most awkwardly amusing fancams (known in my household as “Dab”cam) in the league.

 

Nah. I don’t Fuck wit those cats

 

Russell Westbrook and James Harden

People are tripping over themselves to rave about the once Illustrious Triple Double stat. Whatever. It’s basically a meaningless stat at this point. Sure these two fill up the stats sheet and it looks good on paper, but considering their usage rate (both avg between five and six turnovers a game), the stats aren’t as impressive when you watch these two point guards play for yourself. I’m just not into one-on-five basketball. Its sooooooooooooo 1990’s.

 

Demarcus Cousins

I used to fuck with this cat til he decided to sign a massive extension with the Sacramento Kings. I’ve defended him in the past, and he is still an enormous talent; however I can’t cape for him any longer. His decision to stay in Cowtown can’t be defended. If he wants to sit around and look sour because management won’t put a team around him, that is on him. He and Carmelo would rather count chips rather than count rings. I mean……..I guess.

Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers

Ugh. Years from now when they put up a Lebron James statue and talk about how incredible he was (probably the very same experts who shit on him for half of his career), I hope “they” don’t forget that Lebron played in the inferior Eastern Conference his entire career and had what equated to a three round bye from the year 2013 to the present. The drop off in competition from #1 to #8 is astounding. Watching Lebron in the playoffs against all these scrubs is almost as fun as watching pickup games at the neighborhood YMCA. No gracias.

Timberwolves’ Games 

If you are reading the box scores and suspect you are missing out, it only takes a few minutes of watching a T-wolves game to realize you are not. Aside from some Iso-jumpers and breakaway dunks, there isn’t much joy to be found in watching their games. It isn’t that they are bad (at 14-27, they are only 3.5 games from being an 8th seed), they are just too young. They find new ways to lose close games every week because they don’t know how to win on the NBA level yet. It also doesn’t help that on damn near every play, you can hear their coach barking like circus seal, and it doesn’t stop until the game is over. But enjoy those Andre Wiggins, Karl Anthony Towns and Zach Lavine highlights. Maybe one day they will all win together, but as I’ve said before, Minnesota will find a way to fuck this up.

The Toronto Rappers

This unwatchable team is the  Eastern Conference’s version of the Portland Trailblazers. It is painful enough watching these guys toss around  the basketball 16 seconds before a Kyle Lowry or Demar Derozan shot attempt. The real insult to injury is when a certain corny ass rapper sporting a Doris Burke sweatshirt and a toothpick is given a microphone to add stale commentary and lame jokes. Ease back bruv. I’m good on them.

Portland Trailblazers

Speaking of scrub ass teams. Call me when Paul Allen signs some talent to help out Dame Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Two-on-five basketball is only slightly better than one-on-five.

 

This week’s Clicks to Pick:

Monday

Cleveland at Golden State (Good Ass Game of the Week)

Lebron says the “Warriors are a really great team, but they are not our rivals.” We return to the scene of this block, and the beginning of the “Warriors blew a 3-1 Finals lead” meme.

Philadelphia at Milwaukee

Two of the best players from Africa square off here on Martin Luther “The King” Day in Giannis Antetokounmpo (The Nigerian ‘Nique) and Joel Embiid (The Carnival from Cameroon). Joel Embiid is a cat I definitely fuck with, and the 76ers are creeping into “I fux wit that team on a weekly basis” territory.

“Tap That Vein” Tuesday

Minnesota at San Antonio

A team I don’t fux wit vs. a team I fux with heavily. To quote Big Boi, “Somethings gotta giiivvveeee.”

Wednesday

Milwaukee at Houston

So many people are admitting their shock at James Harden’s production this season, but what is shocking to me that people are surprised. Two things happened to James that helped him from last season to this one: 1) he got rid of the dead weight that was Dwight Howard and the Kardashian clan and 2) he benefitted from the #D’Antoni effect.

What is the D’Antoni effect? Well ask players like Steve Nash ( back to back MVP’s), Jeremy Lin (the Linsanity season and the millions that followed can be directly linked to Mike D’Antoni–I mean has Lin been worth a damn since Mike D?) Chris Duhon, Raymond Felton and every other point guard who had inflated stats playing for the guy.

Oklahoma City at Golden State

This is a great week for Good Ass Games. Only two days removed from Cavs-Warriors, we get Warriors-Thunder, or as the media would rather call it, Russ vs. KD: part deux. The Warriors are only fun to watch when there is something at stake (real or imagined). Tune in.

“Tap That Vein Twice” Thursday

Minnesota at Los Angeles Clippers

ummmmmmmmm. I guess. Sometimes you gotta take the ugly girl home and be okay with it (just don’t let your roommates find out)

Friday

Portland at Philadelphia

This could either be a blowout, or this could be a good ass game that comes down to Lillard Time. Either way, I wonder if Alex Knapp is considering taking the train ride into Philly to watch this game. I wouldn’t blame him if he did.

Utah at Dallas

It is easy to sleep on the Mavericks, but one must keep in mind that they haven’t been healthy all year-long. Remember this for when they get on a roll in March and everyone starts writing their “Break up the Mavs” takes on why they are all of a sudden a dangerous team.

Saturday

San Antonio at Cleveland 

The NBA week is too good to us this week. This is the first marquee matchup for Los Spurs since the first game of the season. I’m really curious how this will go. Tristan Thompson will be hell to reckon with, and I worry if anyone will show up besides Kawhi Leonard and the coaching staff.

Portland at Boston (4th quarter only)

What a weekend to be a New Englander. You got the Steelers in town for the AFC championship game and this game the night before. “Illard vs. IT” If you aren’t a Celtics or Blazers fan, I suggest you don’t watch the whole thing. With the exception of some C.J. McCollum jumpers those first 3 quarters might be brutal.

Sunday

NFC and AFC Championship Games (No Good Ass Basketball Scheduled)

If it’s not a Steelers-Packers or Patriots-Packers rematch, I can guarantee you that I will be skipping the Super Bowl for something more productive. I still can’t believe the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff collectively blew that Packers game yesterday. I blame Jerry Jones for being impossible to work with, but I also blame myself even more for thinking Jason Garrett might be a better coach than I’ve been giving him credit for. Nah bro. He’s properly rated. Homie got outmatched by Mike McCarthy. GRRRRRRRRR!!!! I fucking hate football.

 

Have a good holiday.

 

BM

 profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

Reset

Happy New Year! It is good to be back stateside. Thanks to Aaron Ross, Alex Knapp, Devon Singrey and Jordan Paladino for filling in while I was away on a well needed vacation. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever come back, but Craig Stein and Lou Eastman hired a team of retired military vets  (some would call them mercenaries) to drag me from the deepest jungles of Bermuda. When they told me how much money the Full Sass offices spent on the operation,  I had no choice  but to return.

One of the few advantages of being tied up in an abandoned meat locker is that it affords you a lot of time to think. 2016 was a great reminder to just how flimsy life is. I’ve known this for quite a while; and sometimes it is easy to forget, but I remember now. At this point in our lives, nothing can be taken for granted. It is Full Sass or nothing from here on out.

Even though I haven’t been writing, I still kept loose tabs on hoops, and even managed to watch a few games on some illegal pirated streams. Unfortunately, I did hit a 2 week dead spot where I didn’t watch any games. I’ll admit that it hurt a little. I missed it.

The good news is that it is only January and we still have five months of  basketball left. Even if I did miss out on a #GoodAssGame on Christmas Day, there isn’t much is there to glean from watching the Cavs-Warriors in December other than the Warriors got beaten badly on the defensive glass. I will be updating the site regularly, with an occasional  guest post from the (un)usual suspects (The upside to NBA League Pass being so shitty this year is that I have not gotten to watch as many games this year, which may help keep me fresh for April and May when the real season starts).

We have a lot of season left and next week I will revisit which pre-season story lines  I thought were the most interesting. Despite my reservations I’m excited to be back and writing about hoops again.  We’ll finish the season (undoubtedly the final season of my beloved blog) strong and build some momentum for the untitled book looming on the horizon. But for today we’ll explore this week’s Clicks to Pick.

Clicks to Pick January 2nd to January 8th

 

Monday

 

Oklahoma City  at Milwaukee

Mr. Antetokounmpo (I will refrain from further using the popularized nickname “Greek Freak”, as I’ve realized it low-key discredits the man’s Nigerian heritage.) has done exactly what I thought he would, and Jabari Parker has been quietly impressive in his sophomore season. They are a superstar ballhandler/shooter away from making some serious noise in the east.

Mr. Triple Double himself, Russell Westbrook has forced himself into the MVP discussion with his play, as OKC would be a lottery pick without number zero running the point for their team. It should be an exciting game full of highlights.

 

Tuesday

 

Minnesota at Philadelphia (Good Ass Game of the Weak)

Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins reunite for an evening of contested jump shots and breakaway dunks. I would understand if you chose to just watch the 9 minute Youtube highlight clips rather than the entire game. Philly without Joel is BOO BOO!!!!! and from all the re-tweeted highlights and Vines, you would think Minnesota was actually winning games instead of  sitting at 11-23 and hovering near the bottom of the west.

Utah at Boston

Outside of Isiah Thomas, Boston is not a fun team to watch. But this will be competitive. I suggest you tune in for the second half when its 55-57 with 8:32 left in the 3rd quarter, and you’ve already done whatever last-minute thing that came up after you got home from work.

Memphis at Los Angeles Lakers

After a hot start, the Laker babies fell back to earth and started losing the games they were supposed to lose (and a few they should have easily won). In their defense, they have suffered some injuries to their two main ball handlers, Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell. This game intrigues me because I want to see how the Lakers will respond to the physical play of the Grizzlebees. Julius Randle and Zach Randolph might get into a tangle. Stay tuned.

Toronto vs San Antonio

Raptors games play out a lot like their team ambassador, Drake, and his mix tapes. Both get lots of hype from the press and fans, but when I watch a game or listen to Drake’s music I only think “is this it?” Thankfully Kawhi is can’t miss TV. Every night he does something incredible. He is quietly turning into something special.

 

Wednesday

 

Portland at Golden State

Alex Knapp predicted that the Blazers would regress this year and the only surprise to me is that no one else saw this coming. They had a bad free agency and in the West if you are not getting better, then it means you are getting worse. The Trailblazers did not get better going into this season therefore…………..

Miami at Sacramento

Boogie Cousins vs Hassan Whiteside. Observe with caution. It might get ugly.

Milwaukee at New York

This may be the best game of the night. Knicks games tend to be competitive f0r 3 quarters until they start making dumb plays. I did notice the other night against Houston that Coach Hornack started Derek Rose and Brandon Jennings in the backcourt. I hear Rondo may need a job soon, they should pick him up off waivers to run the second unit. They aren’t in a position to turn their nose up at any discarded players. Jokes aside, they are hovering around .500 which in New York is the equivalent of having the league’s best record and being in first place. EVERYTHING IS A BIGGER DEAL IN THE BIG APPLE!!!

Thursday

 

Oklahoma City-Houston (Good Ass Game of The Week)

Former teammates James Harden and  Russell Westbrook have been flat-out balling of late–with both of them putting up video game numbers. I think there is something to this, with hand checking rules being interpreted the way they are today, and with officials not calling traveling or palming, the offense have unfair advantages.

This reminds me of how the NFL instituted rules to help offenses put up points or how the MLB umpires just suddenly stopped calling high strikes in the 90’s, even though the official strike zone is from the armpits to the knees.

I personally don’t give a shit, but if traveling and palming is in the official rule book as violations, then they should be called as such. Otherwise just eliminate them if they no longer help the game. It just seems silly, almost as silly as Marijuana laws, but not quite.

 

Friday

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Clippers at Kings

This is a match up of  Godzilla vs. Mothra proportions  with DeAndre Jordan vs. Boogie Cousins. Expect a lot of bad body language, cursing, and ball sweat in this game. I wouldn’t plan a Friday night around it or anything, but if you find yourself with nothing else to do, throw it on.

 

Saturday

 

Utah at Minnesota

Utah has gone from chic League Pass geekdom to legitimate playoff contender. They wouldn’t beat the top 3 seeds in a seven game series, but they must be taken seriously on any given night. There are many whispers around the league that Gobert would be the leading candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year and they haven’t been at full strength all year.

Charlotte at San Antonio

Charlotte may be the most innocuous number four seed in recent memory. They might be able to take one game from the Cavaliers. Don’t put money on that, but if you do don’t blame me for losing your money. #triedtotoldyou.

Sunday

No Good Ass Games on the schedule for today. Read a book. Garden. Go for a run in the Greenbelt, but whatever you do, don’t watch the NFL WIld Card games. You’ll want those lost hours of your weekend back. There are so many other things you can be doing. Trust me, if there is one thing last year taught me, is that “Life is too short.”

 

BM

 profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at FullsassStudios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

Knapp Time: Alex’s Picks To Click For the Week of Nov.14th-20th

This A Good Ass Game will be run by carefully chosen special guests while Bobby Mickey is on vacation in Bermuda. This Week’s Clicks to Pick are brought to you by Alex Knapp. You can also check out Alex Knapp’s Weekly Hot Take Roundup here. #fullsasstakeover

 

 

MONDAY

Thunder @ Pistons 7:30pm EST

Record wise this is the best game of the night, and somehow the Pistons got off to a decent start despite missing their all-star PG, Reggie Jackson. I could see Westbrook going for 45 but the Pistons still wining this game. Should be fun to watch.
Mavs @ Knicks 7:30pm EST
Old man Dirk vs Young man Zinger. Worth a click.
Magic @ Pacers 7:00pm EST
Here are two young and fun east coast teams battling for a playoff spot. Each team needs to win this to prove to they belong in the playoffs.
Indiana is better but I think Orlando gets the win.

TUESDAY

Bulls @ Blazers 10:00 pm EST (NBA TV)
The jury is still out on the new-look Bulls. After a hot start they’ve stalled with 3 straight losses (can’t score sometimes).
When they shoot above 40% from 3pt land they win. When they shoot below 36% from 3pt land they lose. There is very little in-between.
Dame vs Rondo, C.J. vs Wade/Butler, Myers Leonard vs Doug McBuckets?!?!?!
Toronto @ Cleveland 7:30pm EST (NBA TV)
Oh you that lame kind of NBA fan who only watches “the best” teams play? That is sooooooo cool LAME.

WEDNESDAY

Golden State vs Toronto 7:00 pm & Memphis vs Los Angeles Clippers 9:30 pm
Both the ESPN matchups will likely be more blah then exciting. I can’t stand watching Toronto or Memphis. I hope KD and Curry go for 80 combined and Blake Griffin ends somebody career with an earth shattering dunk.
Rockets @ Thunder 8:00 pm EST
Harden vs Russ. Gonna be high scoring!!!
Bucks @ Hawks 7:30pm EST
If the ESPN games don’t hold your attention, then watch the Greek Freak play a squad with an actual good team defense. They will be a good test of his skill level. NBA nerds will get off watching how many different defensive looks coach Bud throws at him.

 THURSDAY 

Blazers @ Rockets 8:00pm EST
Both the TNT games kind of suck here too (Philadelphia vs. Minnesota; Los Angeles Clippers vs. Sacramento). You can call me a homer but I’d rather  watch Dame and Harden go buck wild on each other (neither of them can play a lick of defense).

FRIDAY (GOOD ASS GAME OF THE WEEK)

Warriors @ Celtics 8:00 pm EST (ESPN)
Celtics always want to beat this team, and coach Brad Stevens usually has a good enough–
creative game plan to make it fun and exciting. My money is on an overtime win by the Celtics.

SATURDAY (Go Do Something Fun)

Warriors @ Bucks 8:30pm EST
Maybe…
Hornets @ Pelicans 7:00pm EST
Watch “The Brow” drop 50 on Kemba and company.
They have no big man to guard him. Cody Zeller, Roy Hibbert, Marvin Williams? Get the fuck outta here with that weak shit.

SUNDAY 

I will be at the Blazers @ Nets game, so I hope it’s a blowout.
Other than that, this looks like a football day (Cowboys-Steelers; Patriots-Seahawks).
f16fe4_33a1706de82a46a9b053723415da08dc      Alex Knapp is a Portlander who has lived in Brooklyn, New York for the past 7 years. He is a filmmaker and actor currently working in HR to pay the bills. Alex is an avid NBA basketball fan who likely has an opinion on every team and every player, seriously – try him. You can check out his podcast with Anthony Levy, PDXPATS on iTunes. 
 

Finally Some Games That Count

Being the hoops junkie that I am, many people are surprised when I tell them that I don’t watch preseason NBA basketball. Sure it’s an early peek at the rookies and NBA retreads who are fighting to make the rosters, but I just (metaphorically) can’t get it up for games that don’t count for anything.

What does surprise me is how little I missed the NBA this off-season. Opinionated hot takes of Kevin Durant’s departure aside, there was little to glean from checking the web everyday for NBA news. I watched nearly 300 games last season, and by the time Golden State choked away the NBA Finals, I needed a break from watching basketball. I thoroughly enjoyed living like a normal person this summer.

I did a little bit of traveling, read a few (basketball) books, moved cities, found a new full-time job, and spent some time with my non-basketball friends and family. But all that shit is over come Tuesday night. The season is starting, and despite the inevitable Dubs-Cavs Finals on the horizon, it will be an enjoyable one to watch. While most people were chomping at the bit, I’m of the belief that the season is starting at EXACTLY the right time. In fact, it was only a couple of days ago that I realized that opening night was on Tuesday–the off-season just flew by.

The reason I watch so much basketball is so that you don’t have to. There are tons of games to comb through, but I’m willing to step on any potential land mines so you can live the normal life that I can only dream about. I could have used maybe one more week to get my life together, but no matter; the time has come for us to admire dunks, emit loud shrieks and weird squeals. So without further exposition, I give you the first Good Ass Games of the 2016-2017 NBA season. Buen Provecho.

          GOOD ASS GAMES OF THE WEEK

Monday

No games scheduled

Tuesday

Utah at Portland (Good Ass Game of The Week)

Expect to see me talk about Utah a lot this season. They have a bunch of interesting players on this year’s roster; including one of my favorites, the infamous Boris Diaw. Portland is already embarking on a Joey Harrington type MVP campaign for Mr. Damien Lillard. This is a late game, but the high I’ll be feeling on Wednesday morning will be worth the lack of sleep. If this don’t turn out to be a Good Ass Game, then my name ain’t Bobby Mickey.

San Antonio at Golden State

This game will be a nice snapshot of what Spurs fans have to look forward to this season. San Antonio will have a great season and will probably grab 50 wins. They will beat the teams they are supposed to, but they will get their asses handed to them by teams with top-tier point guards (they will especially feel the loss of Danny Green in this one). Wins against Cleveland and Golden State will be tough to come by.

Wednesday

Dallas at Indiana

I’m willing to bet any Mavs fan their favorite flavor of Gelato that the Mavs take their first L of the season. Any takers?

Charlotte at Milwaukee

This one is going to be a low-key Good Ass Game. If you miss it, at least watch the highlights. I bet there will be at least 3 top ten plays from this game alone.

Minnesota at Memphis

OOOOWEEEEEE! Teen Wolves go to the grindhouse. Who else is excited for the first appearance of the vein in Tom Thibodeau’s forehead? To quote the great Marv Albert, “YEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”

Sacramento at Phoenix 

File this under TAP THAT VEIN GAMES.

Thursday

Boston at Chicago

This game has the potential to be a snoozer, but I gotta know if this has all been an elaborate Machiavellian plan by Rajon Rondo to get close enough to Dwyane Wade for payback for that time Wade dislocated his arm. If you think I’m not hoping that Rondo gets his revenge, then you don’t understand the depths of my pettiness. I hope Rondo makes Wade’s life a living hell for the duration of this season.

San Antonio at Sacramento

One day, we may finally get to see Boogie Cousins play for a stable organization. Sacramento is still a shit show, but they have just enough good players to make you intrigued.

Los Angeles Clippers at Portland 

This is the real pick to click of the evening. It’s a TNT game, and a 9:30 tip-off. I’ll be lucky to  be able to watch any of this game. But you definitely should if you have cable and you like watching beige acrobatic dudes make fake tough guy faces.

Friday

Phoenix at Oklahoma City

Just for funzies, if you have nothing better to do around this time of the evening, I’d suggest watching the first half, hitting the liquor store, calling in a pickup order, and then getting back home in time to watch the 4th quarter.

Charlotte at Miami

There is a faint buzz surrounding the “Me So Hornets” (I’m sorry I had to) this season as they should be the favorites to win the Southeast division with or without a healthy Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Holy Shit! I think I’m starting to get excited about the season starting).

Los Angeles Lakers at Utah

In a first for this site, the Salt Lake City Punks have made the Good Ass Games of the Week three times in a week. What better way to spend a Friday night than ingesting legal substances and watching some west coast basketball.

Houston at Dallas

Let’s be honest Dallas fans. This is the year the bottom finally falls out. After years of post 2011 mediocrity, the Mavericks will finally be bad enough to land a lottery pick. Or will they? They are a difference making point guard away from giving teams trouble in April, but for some reason, people don’t like to come to Dallas. Is it because their genius head coach is an asshole? Or is it because the Mavs owner has been piecing together the kind of rosters that NFL Fantasy owners scramble through during bye weeks. Old man Dirk won’t be there for you forever Mark Cuban, the losses are going to come for you, and when they do, they are going to want some cocktail……….FRUIT!!!!!!

Saturday

Minnesota at Sacramento

I’m pretty sure this is an NBATV game so if there is a party or social function you’re getting pressure to attend, do that instead–especially if you have League Pass. This will be one of those games no one talks about, but then you check your Twitter feed, and there will be four or five GIF’s and Vines documenting sick dunks and crazy highlights.

Sunday

Golden State at Phoenix  

I’m curious about how the Suns will play this season. It is weird to see Earl Watson go balling for the UCLA Bruins to coaching an NBA team. It makes me feel old. This probably be the last time I mention the Phoenix Suns this season, unless it is to discuss trade possibilities. They have some young talent on this team, and may be where Utah was 2 seasons ago, unfortunately for Suns fans, ownership can get out of its own way. By February, you may see half of these players playing significant roles for playoff teams.

San Antonio at Miami 

We are finally going to find out if Erik Spoelstra is a good NBA coach. If the Heat win more than 42 games, he may be a candidate for NBA Coach of the Year.

Milwaukee at Detroit

No Reggie, no problem. This game may not get out of the low 90’s, but it should be competitive (in a Princeton-Boston College second round NIT game kind of way). This may be the earliest playoff preview we get this week.

BM

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com. 

2016-2017 Season Preview: Top 26 Storylines Part Two

[This preview also appears as a post on fullsass.com. What does Fullsass mean? Well check it out for yourself.] 

All Illustrations by Louis Eastman

We are only a few days away from the beginning of training camp, and it is time to dust off the cobwebs and fire it back up. Although the biggest story of the off-season was the Kevin Durant free agency, there are plenty of other story lines to follow this year. I’ve listed (from A-Z ) the ones that I find the most compelling for the 2016-2017 season.

Did you miss Part One? Well catch back up here

 

The LOL Lakers are finally Kobe-free

Maybe Mr. Jellybean Jr. should have hung it up after that first Achilles tear back  in 2013, but I understand why he kept coming back. He was only 34, what else was he going to d0? Join a hipster bingo league? His hard work paid off handsomely because the Lakers gave him an extra 38 million to invest in drones, video games, or whatever is really wealthy people do when they get bored with being rich.

The Lakers will still have their growing pains, but at least they won’t be as pitiful as they have been in past years. With some young, talented wings in  Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram, and an occasionally dazzling point guard in D’Angelo Barksdale  Russell, they should  be competitive on a nightly basis.

I think Larry Nance Jr. will have some opportunities to get loose this season, and a locker room with Luol Deng, Thomas Robinson (hopefully), Tarik Black and Timofey Mosgov will have a positive impact on the younger players.

Luke Walton will actually get a chance to coach the team this year. I was never sold on Byron Scott as the head coach, but the organization put him in an unfair situation when they signed Kobe (after multiple surgeries) to that contract extension.

Manu Ginobili’s Swan Song?

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The 2016-2017 may be the last chance for Spurs fans to celebrate the phenomenal basketball career of Argentina national hero, Manu Ginobili. He won’t average 19 points for the season like he did in his prime, but you can expect at least 1-2 wow plays a game. He may be old, but the man still plays like a veteran magician.

Nerlens Noel and The Other Philly Bigs

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Sam Hinkie’s Matt Millen impersonation (drafting 3 big men in 3 straight years) probably  contributed to him being ushered out-of-town. I still have yet to read the rationale behind it, put so eloquently in his manifesto (and I probably never will), but apparently it was a good internet laugh for a day or three.

I think at his best, Nerlens becomes a Marcus Camby/Tyson Chandler type defensive specialist. He needs someone to get him the ball because he can’t create his own shot. Don’t be surprised if Noel is traded to a playoff contender near the February deadline. Philadelphia needs either assets or some wing/back court help if they are going to do anything positive in the next 4-5 years.

Joel Embiid, Noel’s backup is reportedly ready to begin his rookie campaign. I’m slightly skeptical that he will remain healthy since it hasn’t even been proven he can last a full season of NCAA hoops. Foot problems can be the death of big men’s careers, and I hope this is not the case for “Embiidst Mode”. Joel is a gifted player who has a lot to offer the game. It would be a shame if he didn’t get a chance to show off those gifts.

Ben Simmons is coming into the league with Lebron James level type of hype. Simmons is tall, athletic,and a gifted passer, but word on the street is that he lacks a jump shot. I’ve only watched a handful of LSU games last season, where Simmons was playing with scrubs, and he still handed out assists like cops be handing out beat downs.

Philly has not one transcendent ball handler on their roster, so expect the ball to run through Simmons hands more often than not. I think he will be the real deal, but I don’t think this is the right situation for him.

Jahlil Okafur’s sophomore season can’t be nearly as bad as his first year. I feel bad for the guy. He gets drafted by Philadelphia, a terrible God forsaken, racist sports city, and he loses more in the first month than he did his entire freshman season at Duke. The good news: 76ers surely win more than 10 games this season. The bad news: they will still end up in the lottery. But look on the bright side Sixers fans, you may end up with yet another number one pick next summer.

Oladipo Lands in Oklahoma 

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Victor makes a great back court mate for Russell Westbrook. Oladipo’s pressure on the defensive end will create a ton of fast break opportunities. He isn’t a great shooter yet, but anyone who saw him play for Tom Crean at Indiana, knows that he is a great defender and a high flyer. He ain’t no punk. Oklahoma City lost some talent, but they still will not be fun to play against –especially for teams coming off the front end of back-to-back scheduled games.

The Parsons-Timberlake Bromance

You mean you haven’t thought about this?  He’s probably already having dinner with Timberlake and Jessica Alba, bringing a different girlfriend over to their house every other week. Jessica be like, “Chandler, when you gonna finally settle down–meet you a nice girl? You know I have plenty of single friends in Hollywood.”

Justin cuts her off, “Uhhhh you don’t wanna mess with no Hollywood girls man.”

JA: “What’s wrong with Hollywood women Justin? I’m from Hollywood.”

JT:“Yea but you’re different baby.”

JA: “How?”

JT: “Well you know, the only difference between a lot of Hollywood women and NBA groupies is that Hollywood girls have a better acting resume–though I could argue that NBA groupies may be better actors.”

JA:“Wait what? Half the women you’ve messed with were from Hollywood or Mickey Mouse Club.”

JT: “Which is why I’m able to give an informed opin–never mind. Do what you want Chandler. You’re a grown man.” Jessica turns her back to take the dessert plates into the kitchen. J.T. shakes  his head feverishly and mouths“NO! Don’t do it.You’ll thank me later.”

By the way, am I the only one who thinks Chandler Parsons is destined to be either an agent, or a general manager, or maybe both? I bet he looks at Warriors GM, Bob Myers and thinks, “That is going to be me someday.”

Quinn Snyder’s Moment of Truth

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This is Quinn Snyder’s year to prove he belongs in the NBA as a head coach. I personally have mixed feelings about Snyder. Here is a guy who played at Duke and coached at Missouri, but was also a Gregg Popovich disciple. Maybe my dislike can be reduced to just not liking his face. I guess because he looks like he could’ve been Andrew McCarthey’s understudy in all those corny 80’s movies.

Unfortunately for me I will be seeing a lot of his face this season, as I plan to watch a good chunk of Jazz games. They are primed to take that next step of the young, pesky team that pushed their first round opponent to the brink of elimination. On paper there is no reason this team doesn’t make playoffs. The veteran signings of Boris Diaw, George Hill, and Joe Johnson should be the extra push in the right direction.

Russell Westbrook Unleashed

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A lot of people are excited to see Russell Westbrook win the scoring title, put up multiple 40 point games, amass a long reel’s worth of jaw dropping, head shaking highlights, and lose 40 plus games this season. I mean, I guess if you are into that sort of thing. By the way, major props to Russell Westbrook for speaking out about all these shootings. He isn’t hiding behind his “brand” he is saying what a lot of us feel (I’ve never felt more proud or terrified to be a black man in this country than I do right now). I appreciate Russ, and I’ll never (publicly) give him grief for doing #fucboishit again, but unless they get some outside shooting, there is going to be some ugly basketball played in the land of red dirt.

Spurs Enter The Post-Duncan Era

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I don’t know if I can put it better than my dude Robert McFail, who sums it up perfectly with this preseason preview of the Spurs. Yes the Spurs will still win, but it would take a series of extraordinary strokes of luck for a return to the NBA Finals. Spurs fans, it is time to start having realistic expectations. For the first time in a very long time, your team is in the “everybody else”category.

Thibs’ Crazy Litter Of Teen Wolves

The Timberwolves are only slightly better than last year. Drafting Kris Dunn may signal the end of the Ricky Rubio experiment in Minnesota. Rubio should get on the phone with his agent and see if they can swing a deal to get him to Boston rather than a spot in Sacramento, Atlanta, or Philadelphia. Minnesota will be a tough team to beat night in and out, but they are young and still rebuilding. I bet the Knicks win more games than they do this year.

While I’m sure players like Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony Towns will be improved, they brought back pretty much the same team minus Kevin Garnett (who retired yesterday) and Nikola Pekovic (who may not ever play basketball again). Kansas Jayhawks fans will watch more Timberwolves games this season with the addition of Brandon Rush and Cole Aldrich, but that won’t necessarily translate to wins will it?

Uncle Drew Earns A Ring

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Kyrie Irving shut up all the haters (including me) when he balled out in the final 3 games of last year’s Finals. For the record, I’ve never said he wasn’t good. He just could never stay healthy. I’m still of the belief that last year was about as fluky of a title this side of 1999 (sorry Spurs fans–even you all admit that was the worst roster of all the championship seasons).

Now that Kyrie has that chip, let’s see if he will lose some competitive fire. Or will he ball even harder now that the pressure of winning a title is lifted? Will he shock the world and remain healthy for another full season? Last season, Clevelanders believed he would be the difference between another Finals L and some champagne, and I guess they were right.

 Vroom!!! Vroom!! (Go The Houston Rockets)

Pick up your door prize if you guessed that the letter V would be dedicated to the Houston Rockets. How do you appease a high volume scoring 2 guard who doesn’t like playing defense? You go out and you hire a coach who doesn’t give a shit about playing defense. This is a marriage made in NBA heaven for Mike D’Antoni and James Harden. There will be some games this season where they will score 132 points. The bad news is they will be giving up 145 points in those same games.

No Dwight Howard? No problem. Ryan Anderson will have multiple 30 point games. James Harden will score at least 60 in one game and have multiple 50 point games. Even Corey Brewer will break 30 points in a couple of games this year. The Rockets season will resemble an after-party thrown by Magic Johnson in the 1980’s, EVERYBODY GETS SOME!!!!

Waiters Island

Remember when I said that “everyone” in the NBA was eating? This is absolutely true. However some people are eating expensive grass-fed Chilean steaks from cows that were shipped to the U.S. before they were slaughtered, and some people, like Dion Waiters, are going to Sizzler.

Dion Waiters sat on a 1 year offer for 6.7 million dollars from the OKC Thunder for so long, that the organization rescinded it. Miami, blindsided by the Dwyane Wade departure, offered Waiters a 2 year contract worth 5.9 million (1st year worth 2.9 million with a second year player option).

I’m no mathematician, but isn’t  6.7 million is a larger sum than 2.9? You ever hear the phrase “He bet on himself and won”? Well no one is saying that about Dion Waiters. This scenario screams of two jilted lovers, fresh out of relationships, clinging to the first warm body they could get to move into their apartment with them.

Time will tell which as to which party “settled” the hardest. I think Waiters has to stay the full 2 years to make this worth his while. Imagine the phone calls Dion made when he fired entire entourage because he can’t pick up any checks this season (how much of that 2.9 million will be left after taxes and agent fees?). Funnily enough, this is exactly the kind of player that Miami Heat fans deserve. Maybe we’re witnessing karma for the Lebron years.

X’s and O’s

The NBA as a whole got better in the head coaching department. Frank Vogel is a solid replacement for Scotty Skiles. I think he’ll be worth an extra 5-7 wins for that franchise. Dave Joerger will be a good fit for Sacramento,  but their dysfunctional front office will find a way to mess that up. I’m still not sold on Tom Thibodeau as a long-term solution,only because I think he burns his players out.

The Knicks can’t help but get better under Jeff Hornacek, who hopefully won’t date his players’ ex-girlfriends like the previous coach. Scotty Brooks may or may not be better than Randy Wittman, but it is D.C. Those Wizards are going to do what Wizards do regardless of who is coaching them.

In Dallas, it feels like Mark Cuban and Rick Carlisle sit down at the beginning of every off-season to figure out a way to keep Carlisle mentally stimulated. “What is that Rick? You don’t feel challenged enough? Well how about we go into next season with only 1 small forward, and I’ll pay him a 100 million to keep our salary cap strapped? You’ll definitely win Coach of the Year with this lineup we’re trotting out.Be sure to thank me in your acceptance speech.”

Youth Movement

Out with the old and in with new right? KG, TD, and Kobe are done. Steve Nash is done. Vince Carter, Jason Terry, and Tony Parker are old. Jason Kidd is a head coach now. Remember that 2003 draft? Well those guys are veterans now, and many of them are on their way out of the league too. Guard play and small ball is the new emphasis of the NBA, which means its even more of a young person’s game.

It is hard to believe, but players like Demarcus Cousins, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook are barely into their primes. Once Lebron finally slows down, the league will belong to the picks from the previous 5 drafts (Devin Booker is getting all kinds of hype). Compared to the vacuum the Jordan era players left when they retired, NBA fans of today are pretty spoiled. The legends from my youth are done, but NBA basketball is still a good ass game.

Zach Lavine: Is He Good?

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It seems silly to judge a 3rd year player too harshly, but NBA fans will be watching Zach Lavine closely, if only to see how much he improved from last season. His decision-making last year was spotty at best, and teams dared him to settle for 3 pointers and jumpers. Will Lavine be the next Demar Derozan, or will be he more like Gerald Green? This season could give us a glimpse into Lavine’s (and Minnesota’s) future.

 

Season Predictions:

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams:

Cavs, Celtics, Pistons, Raptors,Hornets, Pacers, Bulls, Bucks

Western Conference Playoff Teams:

Warriors, Spurs, Trailblazers, Clippers, Rockets, Mavericks, Jazz, Thunder

 

Eastern Conference Finals:

Cavs vs. Pistons: Cavs in 5 games

Western Conference Finals:

Warriors vs. Thunder: Warriors in 6 games

NBA Finals:

Warriors vs. Cavs III: Warriors in 7 games

Finals MVP: Draymond Green

Regular Season MVP: Russell Westbrook

Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green

Rookie Of The Year: Ben Simmons

 

BM

 

 profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or venues to perform comedy, he can be found recording podcasts with Craig Stein at Fullsass Studios. Follow him on twitter @clickpicka79. For booking inquiries, send contact info to thisagoodassgame@gmail.com.