2016-2017 Season Preview: Top 26 Storylines Part One

[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, 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.

Amin Elhassan fullsizerender-4

ESPN’s most merciless twitter troll is a must follow this season.

Amin is great not only for his tendency to roast any unlucky soul stupid enough to tweet some dumb shit, but also for his great insight into how things operate behind the NBA scenes. Having worked in both the Knicks and Suns front office before his stop at ESPN, Elhassan is a wealth of insider knowledge.

What I love most about him is that he does not hold back in any of his funny–but often wickedly straight forward analysis. His creation of the #Pitino game is one the more underappreciated social media phenomenons you’ll experience during playoff elimination games. #Pitino game is just as a part of the playoff pageantry as TNT’s Gone Fishing segments, but more interactive and way more clever. 

Buddy Hield

fullsizerender-2

Back in 2015 he simply slid into place. Buddy Buddy Buddy All up in my face.

Is Buddy Hield the Real Deal Holyfield? Inquiring minds want to know. It is a little too early to anoint him as the sidekick to Anthony Davis, but if Hield shoots as well as his reputation suggests, then this could be a good working relationship for the two. Hield wasn’t exactly a defensive stopper in college, but that hasn’t kept James Harden from receiving tons of (mostly deserved) accolades. He could be a nice small ball option for Pelican’s coach, Alvin Gentry, who is looking at a very thin back court-especially with Jrue Holiday absent from the team for personal reasons. 

Celtics Are Legit Contenders

Had the C’s managed to get Horford and Durant this off-season, you could have  penciled them in for the NBA Finals (and I doubt anyone one would have argued with you). As it stands, they only have two reliable scorers, Isiah Thomas and Horford (who has never averaged a 20 and 10 at any point in his career). Isiah Thomas is great at getting his own shot, but he isn’t much of a distributor.

Avery Bradley is an all NBA defender, but anything he gives you on offense is considered icing on the cake (Bruce Bowen 2.0?), and their outside shooting is too reliant upon Kelly Olynk shooting a high percentage. I think they are still two really good players away, or one superstar and a role player (probably a backup pg) away from being in the conversation to knock off the Lebrons for the Eastern Conference crown.

Draymond Green

image1-1

Steph Curry may be the league MVP, but I think the team MVP for the Golden State Warriors is Draymond Green. Klay Thompson, Curry, and Green are all irreplaceable, but the intangibles that Dray provide for that team are immeasurable. The league’s decision to suspend him changed the course of that series, as the Warriors were dead in the water after game 5. Regardless, had Dray kept his head, the hometown of Jive Ass Don King would still be without a title today. 

Had we laid money on “Finals player most likely to send pictures of their ding-dong to all their Snapchat followers”, most people would have place their bets on J.R. Smith. I think the public opinion of Draymond Green will be cemented for the rest of his career, according to how he performs both on and off the court this season. The Warriors need his fire, but he has to learn to harness it if they are going to get back to the Finals.

Everybody Eats This Season 

The NBA has never been a better league to play in. Owners are making money hand over fist. The league just signed a lucrative television deal that allows even scrubs *ahem* players like Matthew Dellavedova to cash in a meal ticket. Allen Crabbe made 70 million to stay in Portland.

The Grizzlies’ Mike Conley leveraged his way into a 153 million dollar contract and for a couple of months, was the highest paid player in league history. This year’s 90 million dollar salary cap is only going to get larger (reportedly $118 million next season), so dudes are about to get paid. Now that everybody is eating, let’s start taking bets on who will eat themselves out of the league.

Finals Rematch (Again)

We can just stop this right now huh? No need to even play the season out. Forget preseason. Let’s put it on simulation mode like NBA Live 95? Barring any major injuries, I don’t see how anyone out west beats Golden State, or anyone out east beating Lebron.

I’m looking forward to the rubber match between these two teams. Kevin Durant is going to be the deadliest 4th option you’ve ever seen in the NBA Finals. The running thread all season will be “If Lebron beats the GSW super team will he be the greatest?” or “Will this championship validate KD’s career even though he joined a super team?” I personally don’t blame Durant or the Warriors for signing him. I bet it sucks losing to Lebron, but I bet it sucks even more losing to him after getting spotted a 3-1 series lead. This is the best reoccurring story line since Lakers vs.Celtics last decade. Stay tuned.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Playing The Point 

image1

I’m not saying the Bucks will be in the Eastern Conference Finals. I’m not saying that I think they will get back in the playoffs. I’m not even saying they will be fun to watch, but there will be at least 20 nights this season where Giannis does something to make Sportscenter top 10 highlights. 

Harrison Barnes: The 94 Million Dollar Man

I personally think Barnes will do well in Dallas. The city has a way of being a decent stop for exorbitantly rich black athletes (if they perform decently ). Of course, you have to wonder what is considered reasonable expectations for a contract like the one Barnes signed. For what it is worth Mavs fans, he will be a better investment than Roy Tarpley, Cherokee Parks, Erick Dampier and Shawn Bradley all put together. He can’t be any worse………right?

Iggy’s back  

fullsizerender-6

No I am not talking about the Nick Young’s ex fiancee’s booty (although it makes for an interesting google search #therabbithole). If Andre Iguodala is unhealthy, forget about the Warriors getting a chip for Kevin Durant. Iggy is one of their best defenders, and he was the guy who guarded both Durant and Lebron down the stretch of last year’s playoffs. By the time games 6 and 7 of the Finals came around, he was gassed (who is to say that a healthy Iggy doesn’t try and dunk the ball on that infamous Lebron chase down block?). 

Now that Durant is a teammate, there is no one in the west (outside of Kawhi Leonard) to push him defensively. Theoretically, he should be fresh for his Finals dance with Lebron. Then again, 30-year-old backs are more fickle than 23-year-old girlfriends. You never know how things will flare up from night to night. 

 

The 3 J’s (reboot)

My dude Joakim Noah is back in his hometown playing for the Knicks. No matter how he does on the floor, homie is going to be slaying it off the court. It is good to see Jeff Hornacek get another head coaching shot. He got a raw deal in Phoenix. Robert Sarver pulled the old bait and switch with Hornacek. The Suns front office didn’t bring back key players, but kept expecting the same results . It was unfair to everyone involved; Hornacek, the players, the fans, and League Pass subscribers who were unexpectedly treated to a near playoff run in 2014.

As for Phil, no one could figure out why the hell he hired Derek Fisher; but he corrected that mistake by firing D-Fish midway through the season. This is his third and most pivotal season as Knicks GM, because if they suck again this year, it will be tough to lure free agents to sign with the club next season. 

Are they going to make the playoffs? Maybe, if 40 wins is enough to get in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Courtney Lee was a good pickup, and Derrick Rose may be able to add some punch if he can find the basketball court, and stay out of the criminal court. Rose thinks they have a super team in New York, but kind of like the word consent,there may be some confusion as to what the definition of a super team is.

40 wins for this roster would be the equivalent of making the Finals. I’d play with them on NBA2K, because you don’t really need subs on a video game, but in real life, their bench is thin. Pencil them in for 30 wins.

Klay “ I’m Not Sacrificing Shit” Thompson

fullsizerender-3

I’ll fight anyone who says he isn’t the best 2 guard in the league. He may not be able to attack the rim like Demar Derozan (apparently the 46th best player in the NBA), but the man is the best defensive 2 guard; and his shot is wet. He is Ron Harper with a knock down J. Klay Thompson only benefits from the arrival of Kevin Durant.

TO BE CONTINUED:

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Finish Line

Here we are at the finish line. If the season ended today, the first round would look like this:

Eastern Conference

Cleveland vs Indiana

Toronto vs. Detroit

Atlanta vs. Charlotte

Boston vs. Miami

Western Conference

Golden State vs. Utah (please Hoops Gods, for the love of everything sacred about basketball, don’t let the Rockets get in)

San Antonio vs. Dallas

Oklahoma City vs. Memphis

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland

Wednesday is the last day of the regular season. By Thursday the playoff matchups will be set, and by then it will be fairly easy to predict what the Finals matchup will look like. At this point, Golden State vs. Cleveland seems to be a forgone conclusion, but anything can happen in 2 months of playoff ball.

Spurs fans should pray that someone beats up, or knocks off the Warriors before a potential playoff meeting, because that is a really bad matchup for them. The length and athleticism on Golden State is just too much for San Antonio. Watching them play reminds me of the Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight. Lewis was too fast, too strong, for the past his prime Tyson.

The Warriors have a far superior backcourt, and the slim advantages that the Spurs have in depth and coaching aren’t enough to overcome that mismatch (Not to mention that Harrison Barnes is a huge x factor to plan against, Barnes is about to get PAID).

Despite the postseason outcome becoming fairly apparent way early in the season, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what this year brought. The Timberwolves were a nice little story despite the Flip Saunders tragedy. Karl Anthony Towns is going to be a force to reckon with, and Andrew Wiggins can be the Kobe to his Shaquille (but without the fight for Alpha dog status). The Spurs had a very fun and memorable season and despite what happens going forward, it will be remembered as a success.

There was a lot of goofy shit that happened off the court that isn’t worth getting into, but it did affect the on the court product for the Lakers, Clippers, Sixers, the Cavaliers, and the Kings. People who expected the Pelicans and Bucks to improve upon last year’s success were disappointed.  Hopefully next year will be just as exciting on the court, but with less off the court b.s. My wish list? Alright, twist my arm.

  1. Shabazz  Muhammad to the Mavericks. I think he and  Rick Carlisle would be good for each other.
  2. Tom Thibodeau to Sacramento. All I want in this life is to see Ben Mclemore and “Boogie Down” Cousins to play for a real coach.That Kings team was too talented to not make the playoffs this year. #dysfunctionjunction
  3. Kevin Durant to Golden State and Harrison Barnes to Portland. Aren’t you just a little curious? Despite what people think, I’m not sure KD is obsessed with getting his touches. I bet he’d be satisfied with an 11 for 15 line and a legitimate chance at a chip. For some reason I think Barnes with Damien Lillard and C.J. McCollum would be a great trio to build around. All you would need to do was add a rim protector and suddenly they are a contender.
  4. Thomas Robinson to the Spurs. T-Rob has not gotten a fair shake in this league yet. I think Gregg Popovich could use a guy like that. Imagine Dejuan Blair, but with knees.
  5. Shelvin Mack and Gordon Heyward to Boston. I know it is unrealistic, but I can’t be the only one fantasizing about them reuniting with Brad Stevens. The “Salt Lake City Punks” would be crazy to give up Heyward. It is in Utah’s contract to always have a white superstar for their franchise, and Heyward is that face. gordon-hayward-nba-utah-jazz-golden-state-warriors5

If at least one of these things occurs, I will consider the 2017 season a success.

I’m not sure how many of you have subscribed to Shea Serrano‘s Basketball and (Other Things) Newsletter, but I would recommend you peep game. Last week’s “Assault on Precinct 1” issue was easily one of the funniest things I have come across this year. It was so good that it inspired me to do an ESPN REMIX using the exact same premise. You can’t be the “World Wide Leader” without having snitches, police, double agents, and confessions. So according to the format provided by Serrano, just who on ESPN is police?

Are Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith police?  Typically in comic books, graphic novels, Edgar Allen Poe short stories, movies and television shows, the police are depicted as inept, bumbling and comical—“so dumb that they have to be told to come out of the rain” as an English professor once told me. Bayless and Smith, if they are cops, would be likened to the Smitty and Hoppy characters from Sanford and Son. Bayless and Smith are mostly on some harmless buffonery in ESPN’s attempt to get ratings. I guess it works. People watch them and let themselves worked up. Do they mislead people to get ratings? Do they take quotes out of context and run with them? Oh you betcha. Do they say things they really don’t believe just to stir up controversy? Absolutely. They are definitely the “Po-Po.”

Is Bill Simmons the police? You ever see those cop shows, where there is a detective who always thinks he is the smartest guy in the room? You know– the cop who does things according to his rules, they call them “rogue cops.” That is Simmons. Simmons thought he was Dirty Harry, but went out more like Officer McNulty from the Wire.  Simmons got wind of the corruption in City Hall and threatened to expose it. Tired of the office politics at his particular station, Simmons goes rogue once too many times, and gets shown his walking papers. The police chief, John Skipper said “Gimme your badge Simmons. You’re done here. Consider yourself retired, you can cash in your pension at the district offices.” Then Simmons was like ” Fuck this department. You know where you would be without me? You’d still be showing Roy Firestone interviews on ESPN2, on the 4pm time slot, if it weren’t for my brilliant police work.” Then on his way out, he slams the office door so hard that the glass shatters everywhere. Skipper’s personal assistant immediately tries using his stack of paperwork for a dustpan as Simmons walked past him, but Skipper tells him to just leave it. Simmons then waits outside the station for his Uber before the scene cuts to a commercial. So yes. Bill Simmons was once police. Now he is not. He’s more like a private detective now.

Is Dan Lebatard the police? Yes, but in the way that David Simon was police. Simply putting reporting crime in hopes of weaving together a tale that will someday get him a tv deal.

Is Zach Lowe the police? No. Even in a fictional world, Zach Lowe is a reporter who just wants to do good work and go home to his family. He is thorough, and methodical and enjoys his job. He is a man above the corruption and politics. He usually asks the right questions that hint at plot twists, and reveals. In a police movie, he would be the reporter who got himself kidnapped because he got a little too close to the truth.

Is Jason Whitlock police? HA! Have you seen Jason Whitlock? He wouldn’t be able to pass the physical exam. If he were police, he’d be an extra on a Police Academy remake. That being said, Jason Whitlock has a reputation of being a hater, and a suspected snitch.

Is Adam Schefter police? Man. What do you think? Is there anybody on that staff with more eyes and ears on the streets than Adam Schefter? Schefter is the kind of cop whose motto is you are only as good of police as your informants.” Hell yeah he police.

Other notable ESPN police:

Amin Elhassan- Yes. A dirty one. Officer Friendly from Master P’s “I’m Bout it” movie. He is every black cop you’ve ever seen (on tv or in real life) who is an asshole for no reason at all. That being said, a great twitter follow. The man is such a fantastic shit to everyone (to be fair he’s bombarded with tons of idiotic tweets) that it is impossible to take your eyes off his timeline, but it may be better just to avoid this guy altogether if you to. 

David Jacoby –Maybe he is, or maybe he isn’t. But anybody who claims to love hip hop and says they don’t know about Nelly’s “Tip Drill” video, is in my mind suspect. “Pleasssssse. Check him for a wire or an ear piece.”

Notable Non-Police:

Jalen Rose– Just that dude from the neighborhood who knows everything that is going down before it even happens. Homie is like Huggy Bear from the Starsky and Hutch series. He may work with police, but he ain’t police. Also check out his autobiography, “Got to Give the People What They Want.” It is a pretty entertaining read. I’ll be doing a book review on it later this week on the site.

5f6a7a0fc47ed54a4252a001a224b2ed

Bomani Jones– HELLLLLLLLLLL NO!

jones

 

Big ups to Shea Serrano, one of my favorite writers right now, who I hope isn’t offended that I borrowed his format and ran with it. As a hip hop fan (whose book I will be purchasing this week sometime), I hope he thinks of this as someone freestyling over a beat he made hot, as opposed to straight biting his style (Call me crazy, but I think we may be able to get him on the Full Sass Podcast someday).

Good Ass Games of the Week are posted below, and remember folks, “Be careful out there.”

 

Peace,

BM

#fullsass #thisagoodassgame

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

 

Good Ass Games of The Week:

 

Monday

Dallas-Utah 

Somebody has to play the Spurs, and somebody has to play the Warriors.  This game is basically flipping a coin to determine their team’s playoff fate.

Charlotte-Boston

Both teams are just jockeying for seedings, but no matter the result, it looks like those first round matchups out east are pretty much set.

 

“Tap That Vein” Tuesday

Memphis- Los Angeles Clippers 

This may be a preview. We may see these teams face off in the playoffs. This is like getting a first round bye for whoever gets to play Memphis. They got decimated with injuries this year and still made the playoffs. #respect

Oklahoma City- San Antonio

I doubt either team will play their starters, but it is always fun to watch the Spurs bench whup on the other teams’ reserve players.

 

Wednesday

Spurs-Dallas

Dallas will try to win this game and still may get blown out.

Memphis-Golden State (Good Ass Game of The Week)

This could be win number 73 or this could be win number 72. We’ll see how San Antonio plays things tonight against the Dubs.

 

END OF SEASON. NEXT WEEK: FULLSASS PLAYOFF PREVIEW

 

 

SXSW and Other Matters

It’ s spring break for your boy, and I’ll be making my annual trip to Austin, Texas for a little fun, sun, and hopefully no guns. I wish you a week of Good Ass Games.

Peace,

BM

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

#fullsass #thisagoodassgame

Monday

 

Dallas-Charlotte

Portland-Oklahoma City

 

Tuesday

 

Los Angeles Clippers-San Antonio

 

 

Wednesday

 

Oklahoma City-Boston

Orlando-Charlotte

Dallas-Cleveland

 

Thursday

 

Toronto-Indiana

Portland-San Antonio

 

Friday

 

Boston-Toronto

Golden State-Dallas

 

Saturday

 

Golden State-San Antonio (Good Ass Game of the Week)

 

Sunday

 

Portland-Dallas

Ready? Break!!!!

920x920

 

I apologize for letting you down hoop heads. I took the weekend off to record a new episode of Fullsass, and decided to post today rather than Monday or Tuesday, since there were no slated NBA games until Thursday. There were some college contests the last couple of nights, but not what I would call good ass games (though Iowa State and Baylor was about as good as a college game could get).

Before get into this week’s good ass games, I just want to go on record and say Aaron Gordon got robbed. No disrespect to Zach LaVine–his dunks were on point, but saying Aaron Gordon’s dunks were on the same level as LaVine’s, discredits the difficulty and creativity that went into Gordon’s display. When Gordon dunked over that mascot on the hoverboard, he should have gotten straight 15’s. You be the judge.

As for the game itself, well its weird to say this, but watching three straight alley-oops thrown off the backboard can get a little…..tiresome?? All Star games sometimes play out like BET hip hop cyphers, huge and overblown, vulgar, repetitive and sloppy, but also kind of exciting at times.

I watched the first half with some friends, and no one argued against doing something else for the second half of the game. As much as I like Toronto, there is no way in hell I’d want to be up there this time of the year. It looked like everyone enjoyed themselves, and thanks to a longer break, I was able to recover from my long weekend.

I spent a lot of time thinking about this upcoming deadline. There are some role players around the league that could have a serious impact on the few contenders. Jeff Teague, Joe Johnson, P.J. Tucker, and Markieff Morris could really make a difference down the stretch if they go to the right team.

Outside of OKC, Golden State, Cleveland, and San Antonio, there aren’t any other teams who can realistically win it this year. Unless the players moved are game changers, it seems like it would be best to stand pat on any major moves (though I would love to see a Blake Griffin for Carmelo Anthony).

I plan to watch more games this second half (Although I’m certainly getting my money’s worth on League Pass); in particularly Utah, Portland, Boston, Toronto, and Denver. These teams are certainly better this year, and could make some noise in the years to come.

Now that all that is out of the way, let’s get to these good ass games:

 

 

Monday

Nada Wey.

 

 

Tuesday

Texas 85 West Virginia 78

Baylor 100 Iowa State 91

Don’t be disappointed if you missed these games. You can re-watch them on ESPN if you are really jonesing. I’ve watched about 5 full college games and only 1 of them lived up to the hype. That being said……..

 

Wednesday

Duke-North Carolina (Good Ass Game of the Week)

This is worth watching for the atmosphere alone. The first of this 2 game series is in Chapel Hill, and I have a feeling this will be as good as the time Austin Rivers hit that shot at the buzzer to upset the Tarheels. Plus, its Michael Jordan’s birthday. michael-jordan-sam-perkins2

 

 

Thursday

 

Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio

Spurs still on the road. Clippers still without Blake.

By the way,  “Verse of the Year” so far goes to Kendrick Lamar on “No more parties in L.A.” He and Kanye did justice to that beat. #MURDEREDIT

 

 

Friday

 

 

Golden State- Portland

This may be a blowout, but you know C.J. and Dame will come with it. 2 years from now, if things continue to go well for both teams, this could be the Western Conference Finals.

 

 

 

Saturday

 

Milwaukee-Atlanta

New York-Minnesota Rising Stars Game Part Duex.

Los Angeles Clippers-Golden State 

This would be the “Good Ass Game of the Week” if Blake were healthy. Clippers may be able to hang with the Dubs for 3 quarters before it gets busted open.

 

 

Sunday

 

Utah vs. Portland

I think I would have a lot more respect for the Utah franchise changed their name. How many times have you heard people say, “There’s no jazz in Utah.”? Please! Send the name back to New Orleans (The Pelicans name may be exhibit #1 in Tom Benson’s capacity dispute case) and take on a more apt nickname. The Utah snowboarders, the Salt Lake City Punk with Matthew Lillard as an ambassador, or maybe even the Utah Squares…….Bring the Jazz back to New Orleans!

 

Cleveland vs. Oklahoma City

I’m curious what is going to happen between now and Sunday. Both teams need to bolster their bench. Otherwise,this game will only be as good as the role players’ contribution.

 

black-mamba

 

The Kobe countdown has officially begun. This is the last half of his final year. Enjoy it you Black Mamba sycophants. It’s about to be over. I wonder if he’ll be an analyst, and work with one of the major networks. I can imagine what that first year of retirement will be like. Can you imagine being a house guest at his spot and waking up with Kobe standing over you at 3:45 in the morning?

Kobe: “Sup dawg? You tryna hit these weights with me? There’s this 16 year old who wants to work out at UCLA.”

Friend: “Man we just went to bed 3 hours ago.”

Kobe: “C’mon bro. We gotta beat this traffic. After we get through working out. We’ll pick up the girls and go get some pizza.”

Friend: “Pizza Buona?”

Kobe: [laughs] “Nah man. We gotta fly out to Italy actually. It’ll be dope. On the way there we gotta stop in Germany to get my knee drained. C’mon dawg. We’ll only be gone for a few days.”

Friend: [sighs] “Fine. I’m getting up.”

Kobe: “Good. Bring your winter jacket too. I booked us a rock climbing lesson for when we hit Iceland on the way back.”

Dude has no chill.

 

It will be an interesting week full of good ass games. Enjoy the trading deadline. Hopefully some stuff pops off.

 

Peace,

BM

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

@clickpicka79

YAY AREA!!!!

It was a festive weekend out in the Bay Area. The Super Bowl was in San Jose, and all the celebs and big time ballers were in town to take it in. When you’re rolling in dough it makes sense to peep the “Good Ass Game of the Week.”

Just because a game is close doesn’t mean it was a “Good Ass Game.” The “Roaracle” was strangely silent Saturday night, and it took me half the game to figure out why. I was thinking the game would be ridiculously hype, but then I realized that a lot of the real fans got priced out. The average ticket price online for Warriors-Thunder was $1400 bones (rumor was that it was easier getting into the Super Bowl).

With Drake, Bey-Z, K-Dot, Pharrell, and Wallace from “The Wire” in attendance, the game took on the feel of an event than a regular season game (Beyonce dropping her new video and tour announcement only added to the hysteria). I have a friend who went to both games (I’m giving him some time to cool off because he is a Panther’s fan), and he said it felt like he was at the Staples Center Arena. It was weird for sure, because I’m not used to it being so quiet there. Someone on twitter said it was only a preview of what games will be like when they move across the bridge.  God I hope not.

calddtywaaaba6b_zpslqwn62yj

The game itself was decent. A lot of people are ready to say the Thunder can run with the Warriors. I’m not one of those people. Its weird to say this, because Steph Curry almost had a triple-double, but the Warriors backcourt struggled a bit; offensively. Curry missed 16 shots, and he and Klay Thompson were a combined 2-15 from the 3 point line.

I’m not saying that the Thunder can’t get lucky and win one or two games in a seven game series, but it is laughable to come away from that game with any sense of a moral victory.

By the way, I find the fake indignation coming out of the Thunder locker room laughable. The Thunder have casually become of the more busterish teams in the NBA. When I hear Durant and Westbrook say things like, “We’re not scared of the Spurs or the Warriors” I just shake my head. No one expects NBA players to be intimidated by anyone else’s team  in the league, but can we just at least be honest?

Admitting there are some fundamental problems in the way your team plays isn’t being weak–it’s just being real. How can you say stuff like that with a straight face, when your bench was outscored 42-17? The Thunder can go into the next game against the Warriors with that same attitude,but the next time Dion Waiters is the leader in +/- ratio with a +1 rating , the result will probably be a blowout.

This week’s slate of games:

 

Monday

 

Sacramento-Cleveland

Tonight’s pick to click in the NBA. Besides the various in game matchups between Rondo and Kyrie, Boogie and anybody Cleveland throws out there, this game becomes even more intriguing because this may be George Karl’s last as the Sacramento head coach. By week’s end, Karl could be joining Jeff Hornacek, David Blatt, and as of today, Derek Fisher on the unemployment line. The Kings are a bit messy right now.

OU-Texas (Good ass game of the week)

I think this will be the hypest game of the week from a crowd standpoint. Oklahomans have a lot of panhandle envy, and the only reason they are relevant in sports is beacuse they get all the Texas players not good enough to stay in state. This (for good reason) creates a lot of resentment. I can’t tell you how many Okies hate Texas and Texas teams (outside of the Cowboys–they love the ‘Boys) but have spent little time in the Lone Star State . Most Texans barely bat an eye at this.

The dismissive attitudes that Texans have towards Oklahoma only adds to the resentment. Having lived in both states for a number of years, I can honestly say that Wacklahoma is only vaguely different from Texas. Texas is only better because it is bigger and has more money. They are almost the  same place politically, and if you took away Austin, then Texas would really suck. I’d still take San Marcos and Denton over any college town in Oklahoma though. OU sucks, and you won’t catch me going to Stillwater after the sun goes down. #Hookem

 

Tuesday

 

San Antonio-Miami

The beginning of the Rodeo trip for the Spurs. Usually this 8 or 9 road game swing is indicative of what kind of team San Antonio has. No Timmy. No Manu (poor guy) for at least a month, and Tony Parker is looking his age. The young guns are going to have step up if the Spurs are going to make the Western Conference Finals.

 

Warriors-Rockets

I don’t know how the Warriors even take these guys seriously. You know a team is busterish when their own fans don’t defend their players. They know what it is (right Phil?).

 

Wednesday

 

 

Charlotte-Indiana

Mildly competitive, this will be one of the best Eastern Conference games you will watch this week.

 

San Antonio-Orlando

This could be one of those L’s that Pops penciled in on the calendar. The good news is that Boban may get some serious run that night.

Toronto-Minnesota

This will be the Rookie-Sophomore and Slam Dunk Contest all rolled up into one game. Also, I didn’t realize that Kyle Lowry has been in the league so long. It must be that baby face of his.

Los Angeles (Clippers) -Boston

Get that shit out!!!!” Celtics might fuck around and get a #2 or #3 seed in the East.

Golden State-Phoenix

Its a long season and you gotta take things one blowout at a time.

Houston-Portland

Man, Portland has been a lot more entertaining to watch than I gave them credit for. It is a slippery slope with west coast basketball. One day you’re staying up later than normal to watch C.J. and Dame get buckets, then before you know it you’re dropping all your  plans to watch Oregon and Washington fight it out for the Pac10 Pac12 title.

 

 

“Tap that vein Thursday”

 

 

Thunder-Pelicans

I don’t even think I can stomach this one. I’d like to talk you into it, but as your attorney I advise you to use this as a catch up evening.

 

All Star Weekend

Refer to last week’s post if you are on the fence about this weekend’s activities. I’ll be taking the weekend off from watching basketball in order to catch up with old friends. I suggest you do the same. I’d rather play a pickup game than watch one.

 

Buster (s) of the Week Award goes to the Carolina Panthers offense. Wow. They really spit the bit. Not to take anything away from the Denver Broncos defense–they were animals– but how can you not make any adjustments to get Cam out of the pocket?

The amount of mental errors they made in the biggest game of their lives, was unfortunate. Fumbles, false starts, drops, interceptions, and sacks will do any team in, but this was the wrong time to do that. The last game of the season is supposed to be your best game.

As John Wooden says, “being at your best when your best is needed” is part of being a champion. Too bad. The Panthers’ players will feel nothing but regret when they think about this season, and know they were better than the Broncos–who did just enough on offense to help that savage D. They had a great defensive game plan. On offense, they were meh (Carolina’sD played well.Special teams–not so much).

Honorable mention still goes to Pete Carroll who didn’t give the ball to Beast Mode in last year’s Super Bowl, and now Marshawn Lynch is retiring. Ya’ll some bitches too Seahawks. Don’t think I forgot about ya’ll because the Panther’s played like some busters in a weak ass Super Bowl. That game ending interception was Wackarnold’s for real. Anyway, have a good week, and enjoy the All Star break. If you fumble the ball in life, at least try to get it back. Don’t just stare at your mistakes like you are stuck on stupid.

 

Peace,

BM

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

@clickpicka79

#thisagoodassgame #fullsass

 

 

 

(Separation)Tried to Told Ya’ll

Thursday’s Finals preview between the Cavaliers and Spurs gave us a glimpse into what we can expect in June (Next Monday will give us a glimpse into what we can expect during the Western Conference Finals if the Warriors and Spurs meet). I am convinced that there is no way that Lebron James woke up Friday morning and thought to himself,”We have the horses to beat San Antonio or Golden State in the Finals.”

Like most teams, the Cleveland  1-5 starting lineup can run with anyone. You can roll out Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Lebron James, and 2 role players against any team, and 9 times out of 10 will result in a W.

What the average fan doesn’t realize is that championships are won with players 4 through 9. Once teams are deep into the playoffs, the 1-3 matchups are more often than not nuetralized by the other team’s superstars.

This will be Cleveland’s fatal flaw if they run out the same role players for the NBA Finals. Matthew Dellavedova is a decent player, but his deficiencies get exposed if he is on the court for longer than 15-20 minutes a game.

If this were 2002, I’d be impressed with Richard Jefferson coming off the bench for the Cavs. I’m not sure if Timofey Mosgov is hurt or not, but he hasn’t been playing all that well either. He’s only averaging 4 rebounds in 15 minutes, the last 10 games he has played.

The Cavs frontcourt thins out after Lebron and Tristan Thompson, and Kevin Love looked like a major defensive liability the other night against the Spurs.  If the Cavs are serious about winning in June, they will need to make a deal or two during February.

It was a good week for Los Spurs however; their home winning streak is still intact. They are also on a 10 game tear after smashing on the Mavericks last night.

If anyone is equipped to knock off the defending champs, it is San Antonio. They are deep in the back court, their front court has David West coming off the bench (who by the way really changed the game once he came onto the court against Cleveland on Thursday. I’m a huge fan of West).

Never forget the ever refined Boris Diaw on the second unit. Not only does he rebound, pass well, and can score anytime he wants, but the man keeps an expresso machine in his locker. Jordan made people want to be better ballplayers. Diaw makes me want to be a better man. He is like the Gordon Parks of hoops.

I understimated how good the backcourt for the Spurs would play. They are deep and at times long. Jonathan Simmons and Kyle Anderson complement Patty Mills quite well on the wings.

And of course, my pick for this season’s MVP, Kawi Leonard played a spectacular 2nd half against Lebron on Thursday. James still put up his stats, but he had to put in some serious work to get 22 points. Kawhi is the only player I can think of who can hold Lebron under 30 semi-consistently.

The Spurs are lucky to have such depth, to the point wherre Tim Duncan and Lamarcus Aldridge don’t have to get 20 and 10 every night for a win. Having that kind of depth lends to a well rested team come playoffs. A lot can happen between now and then, but I’m hoping for everyone’s sake that all of the elite teams have their superstars when the big money games begin.

To be continued.

This Week’s Good Ass Games:

 

 

Monday (Good Ass Game of the Week)

 

Golden State-Cleveland

This will be a good test for the Warriors, who to me, seem a little bored the last couple of weeks. Ever since they lost their first game, the aura of invinciblity around them has popped. They are like Super Mario after he loses his invincibility star. I doubt this will be as bad as the Christmas game.

 

 

“Tap That Vein” Tuesday

 

Oklahoma City-Denver

I watched my first Denver Nuggets game of the year last night, and somehow forgot that Mark Malone was their coach. They play an entertaining brand of ball. Despite playing in hoops obscurity, Kenneth Faried is still bodying dudes. Will Barton had some highlight worthy plays last night against the Pacers.

Malone seems to bringing along the youngster Mudiay, and Randy Foye hit a couple of timely shots. They may get murked by the Thunder, but I think this will be a better game than Milwaukee against Miami.

Speaking of Oklahoma City, I finally got to see them in person this year. Russell Westbrook got ejected in the 2nd quarter, but it didn’t matter. The Mavericks sat all five of their starters. The Mavs are a pretty thin team this year, especially in the front court, and they got drubbed.

Dion Waiters was feeling himself too, slicing to the rim during garbage time and post dunk posing for the crowd. The problem with that he did this during a live ball, which led to a 5 on 4 fast break, and someone had to foul to stop the ball.

Then about a minute later, this joker starts making snow angels on the court after getting fouled for an “And 1”. Dion Waiters strikes me as the type of dude who habitually leaves a woman hanging because he “got his.”  I mean, look at this cat.

 

the-cleveland-cavaliers-shocked-everyone-by-taking-dion-waiters-4th-overall-in-the-nba-draft

Good luck leaving your woman alone at the table if this guy is in the restaurant.

 

 

 

Wednesday

 

 

Golden State-Chicago

This will be some high level basketball. Golden State will either be licking their wounds after that Detroit loss and tear into the Bulls, or they will ride their momentum into tearing into the Bulls. I don’t care how many points Jimmy Buckets gets in a game (53 to be exact), I can’t bring myself to watch the 76ers.

Atlanta-Portland

Two teams I haven’t had a chance to watch enough. I may have to make time to peep. Lillard is balling right now. By the time you read this, he may be the conference player of the week.

Charlotte-Oklahoma City

Kemba vs. Russ. L.A. vs. New York. I expect this to be a decent run just from this matchup alone. I think it will at least be entertaining even if it isn’t close.

Minnesota-Dallas

This will be a fun one to watch, but it bums me out watching the Timberwolves. Like most young teams, they keep finding ways to lose. I’m still not convinced Zach Lavine is their third dude. There is a guy on my rec team who went to UCLA during the Lavine, Shabazz, Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson era.

When he told me that Lavine is an extraordinarily nice guy, I initially winced. I almost felt bad talking shit about him until I realized that I didn’t say anything over the line. It isn’t like I said I wanted to punch the dude in the face. I just want to see him pass more. Nothing personal.

 

 

Thursday

 

 

Clippers-Cavaliers

I have as much interest in this game as I had in watching the Steelers-Broncos yesterday. Kyrie vs. Chris Paul is a very seductive matchup though. I’d rather just watch highlights. Too much whining, and too many fouls, and too many scrubs at the end of the bench.

Atlanta-Sacramento

Even if the Kings landed the number 1 pick, I’m not sure they would do the right thing with it. I’d rather see them get knocked out in the playoffs than Utah. Who doesn’t want to see Boogie and Rondo in the first round? It would be a fun and new narrative no?

 

Friday

 

Indiana-Golden State

A good week to watch the Warriors. They’ll have to be attentive this week, because they could easily take a couple of L’s if they try going half sass on this road trip.

Oklahoma City-Dallas

I love me some J.J. Barea. Dude is fiery, and he refuses to get pushed around. At 5’8, I figured he was kind of a novelty act–basically a Puerto Rican Mugsy Bogues, but homey can ball. I love that he didn’t back down from Russell Westbrook’s horsehshit. Off the Court, Russ is closer to Kirk Cameron than he is Cam’ron. #faketoughguys

russell-westbrook-shirt

Los Angeles Clippers-Knicks

Don’t sleep on the Knicks. This will be a physical game. I hope it gets chippy.

 

Charlotte-Orlando

Kemba vs. Elfrid? I’ll take it.

 

 

Saturday

 

Chicago-Cleveland

You’ll get plenty of this matchup during the playoffs. If you have to choose between Friday and Saturday as your “date night”  I would advise you to go out Saturday.

 

 

Sunday

 

Dallas-Houston

Ugh. Poor Rockets fans. Making the playoffs is “Fool’s Gold.” Blow the team up. Just start over. Your window has closed.

Los Angeles Clippers-Toronto

Meh.

 

Enjoy your what is left of your holiday weekend. Championship weekend will be worth tuning into as well. Have fun this week.

 

Peace,

BM

#fullsass   #thisagoodassgame

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

@clickpicka79

Powerball

Things are pretty keyed up for a lot of people right now. NFL playoffs started on Saturday, and there are a couple of midwestern fanbases whose teams let them down in typical disappointing fashions.

As a (recovering) Cowboys fan it is hard to empathize with either Vikings or Bengals fans. Anyone who knew anything about the history of either franchise couldn’t have been surprised at the way both teams melted down in the clutch.

image-16_zpsb36114b7

In other news, by the end of the week, someone is going to win enough money to buy their own sports team (sounds like a great premise for a movie–NBA superfan wins a billion dolllars in the lottery and buys his favorite basketball franchise).

Last week had its share of the dramatic, I nailed the Good Ass Game of the Week pick with the OU-KU triple overtime game. Big ups to Buddy Hield, who put in some work on a team that really only goes 7 deep (46 points).

Big ups also to the Jayhawks upper classmen for stepping up during winning time. I’m not sure if any of them will get much run in the NBA (Selden maybe if he can prove to be a good perimeter defender–but I’m still not sold on his shooting), but they look like they are ready to make a legitimate run in March.

The game was everything I was hoping it would be, evoking memories of those old Big Mondays from the early 2000’s when the Big 12 was easily the best basketball conference in the country. It was an instant classic, and I was proud of the Allen Fieldhouse faithful for showing up and being loud.

I’ve been disappointed with the crowd participationover the last few years–even once being asked to sit down by an usher during an intense non-conference game against Georgetown a couple of years ago.

Everything about this night screamed #Good Ass Game, to the point where even the Jayhwaks fans had to give a standing ovation to Buddy Hield well after the end of the game. I don”t know how the Kentucky game can even come close to atmosphere in this contest–especially after seeing how weak they looked against LSU on Tuesday.

Speaking of LSU, I only got to se about 30 game time seconds of Ben Simmons, but I’m convinced he is the real deal. He might be a light skinned Lamar Odom (minus the pension for candy and dramatic Persian families).

He is so good that any of the following lottery teams: the Knicks, Hornets, Magic, Blazers, Kings, Teen Wolves, Pelicans, Suns, and Lakers, could end up in the playoffs if they draft him. He even has Magic Johnson’s endorsement.

Simmons didn’t even get loose like he could have and they still beat Kentucky. That says a lot about both how god he is, and how weak Kentucky is playing right now. That being said, I’m still trying to get in the building come January 30th.

We are in for a treat this week. This week’s slate of basketball is going to be really good, and of course the Divisional Playoffs for that barbaric game with the oblong leather object begin on Saturday. So let’s get to it eh?

 

Monday

Golden State-Miami 

We finally get to see Draymond Green and Hassan Whiteside settle their debate over “smallball”. It should be good.

 

 

Tuesday

San Antonio-Detroit

Just the first of many tests this week for what I believe is the league’s best team. Detroit is going to give them some good run.

Boston-New York

We are a far cry from these days. But it will no doubt be a good ass game.

Cleveland-Dallas

Cleveland doing the Texas trifecta this week. Teams rarely come out of this unscathed. We’ll find out what kind of team they have after this week.

Oklahoma City-Minnesota

Just for Funzies….. I can almost guarantee that Zach Lavine is going to try and do too much in this game. I hope Russ takes his fellow alums out for dinner, and on the ride out to Mickey Mantles or KD’s, he plays Zach a song from the Yeezy catalog. Zach thinks he is ready, but he aint’ ready. It’s okay man, we’ve all been there.

 

Wednesday

Dallas-Oklahoma City

I’ll be in the building for this one. Normally I’d take a pass, but a buddy of mine happens to be passing through and really wanted to see the “Hustle Westbrook” live in the flesh. I can’t let him do that by himself can I? Those nosebleed seats can be tough to navigate at the “Peak.” Besides it’ll give us something else to talk about when he makes an appearance on the next episode of the “Full Sass Podcast.”

Atlanta-Charlotte

I of course won’t be able to watch this one, but it may be worth keeping an eye on in the 4th quarter.

 

Thursday (Good Ass Game of the Week)

San Antonio vs. Cleveland 

Drop everything for this one. I know what I said during the NBA preview, but this will probably be the NBA Finals preview. Kawhi vs. Lebron is worth the stop through alone. Unfortunately, there won’t be any garbage time. The Spurs are the only team I actually enjoy watching the bench guys during garbage time. I’m trying to tell you, this team is DEEP!!

 

Friday

Dallas-Chicago

Always a good time. You can double down on the Timberwolves-Thunder if you didn’t get enough on Tuesday. #tapthatvein

 

Saturday

New York-Memphis

Knicks have been balling of late, and they were a couple of inches away from ending the Spurs home winning streak the other night. I fux with the 3-6 Latvia. Porzingis is the real deal. Dude does not get fazed. He ready!!!!

fullsizerender-30-1-640x663

Golden State-Detroit

Man who am I kidding? The only reason to watch this game is to see what kind of crazy shit that “Curry the Conductor” orchestrates.

Sacramento-Los Angeles (Clippers)

Speaking of balling, Boogie “Down Productions” has been putting up some monster numbers. He is the best big man in the game. There really is no excuse for the Kings not making the playoffs. The 8th spot is up for grabs and it would be a shame if they didn’t take it. While my Full Sass partner, Craig Stein, loves the Orlando Magic, my surrogate team is the Kings.

I know. I know.  Rondo is a renowned homophobe, and Boogie is a malcontent, but what can I say? I’ve always had a soft spot for the problem children. Besides, next to the Pendejos Clippers, they look like choir boys. The Kings are at least amusing. The Clippers are just annoying.

 

Sunday

 

Dallas-San Antonio

This could very well be another playoff preview, but more importantly, I’ll probably be watching this one alongside other #fullsassers. This may call for a dual live tweet as the game progresses. I may be more excited for this one than I am about the #goodassgameoftheweek. 

Miami-Oklahoma City

I took a break from writing this post to tune into the last 7 minutes of the Trailblazers-Thunder game, and I’m glad I did. On one hand you could say OKC blew it down the stretch, or you could Lillard went into #illard mode and destroyed them with 7 second half three pointers. Earlier this week I said I didn’t think he was an All Star this year. I gladly take that back. “Video Game”Dame is no joke. Respect.

 

“Buster of the Week Award” could go to a lot of people this week. There were definitely a lot of candidates. Maybe this is not the platform to say something so #fullsass, but I’m going to give it to Mr. President Barack Obama.

I’ll admit that nothing about politics surprises me, but I must say that this push for gun control mystifies me. If Obama pushed half as hard against the obvious imbalances in our justice system as he has about gun control, I’d have more respect for his time in the White House.

I feel like we are ignoring this gigantic elephant in the room by ignoring the violence perpetrated by the police and “stand your ground” vigilantes.

“When guns are outlawed, only the Government will have guns. The Government – and a few outlaws. If that happens, you can count me among the outlaws.” Edward Abbey

I’m not saying I’m cool with “Open Carry” laws either. I was in Texas last week, and that was just as weird, trying to guess who was packing and who was not. Believe me I know where every exit is no matter if I’m in a restaurant or movie theatre.

As a black man in this country, it would be dangerous not to be hypersensitive about this issue. I think gun control is important, but to invite this discussion without also talking about (a sometimes overzealous) law enforcement’s access to guns is irresponsible. I think the Tamir Rice tragedy deserves just as much attenton as the Newton shootings.

#shootbasketsnotpeople

Honorable Mention: Paul LePage, Adam “PacMan” Jones, Vontaze Burfict, Adrian Peterson, Jeremy Hill, Blair Walsh

Enjoy all the games this week, and stay warm.

 

Peace,

BM

#fullsass #thisagoodassgame

thisagoodassgame@gmail.com

@clickpicka79