Talking Turkey

It was a good ass week for hoops last week. The Warriors somehow managed to wow me again, Kentucky hit the nation with the nastiest 1-2 combo I’ve seen since Lennox Lewis was boxing, and the NBA Rookie of the Year award has become a two person race.

I peeped the Champions Classic on Tuesday night and was rather impressed with what I saw. It was a basically a pair of Wackarnold’s All American games. After watching the Kentucky-Duke game, the KU-Sparty game was a serious letdown.

Bill Self still loves to keep his best shooters on the bench and clog the lanes with big men. I don’t understand why Brannen Greene (as of now suspended for 6 games) or Svi Mykhailiuk are not on the floor at all times to keep defenses honest.

If I’m playing Kansas I’ll take my chances with Frank Mason, Devonte Graham, and Wayne Selden shooting from behind the arc. Perry Ellis is a good shooter, but you are doing teams a favor by having him 18-25 feet away from the basket. Maybe he does become a Lamarcus Aldridge clone on the next level, but he is not there yet.

Big ups to Denzel Valentine (triple double), who was the only redeeming aspect of that game. Shit was weaker than a Drake diss record.

Kentucky continues to be a professional basketball camp. If I was an 17 year old stud about to choose a college, the only thing that would keep me from signing with the UK would be their historic legacy of racism. But a night on the town with Ashley Judd’s old ass may be enough to sway a brutha. Speaking inf Kentucky players, peep this article by former national (and NBA )champion Nazr Mohammed.

The Kentucky backcourt of Tyler Ulis ,and Jamal Murray is the best in the country (no disrespect to Ron Baker and Fred Van Fleet).

Speaking of that Duke-Kentucky game, I’ve figured out the formula for the Dukies winning a title. Last year’s title game was easily the blackest roster I’ve seen since I’ve been a hoops fan. Anytime they have had more than four white guys getting major minutes, you can pretty much pencil them in as first weekend flame out.

Grayson Allen had a good weekend up in New York, but you saw what happened on Tuesday when he played against future professionals (2-11 with 6 pts). I saw Bobby Hurley play at Duke, and Allen is no Bobby Hurley. I’d say he’s a “Wojo” with hops and a better shot (no disrespect to “Wojo” or to short white guys—some of my best friends are short and white).

And before you say something about the 2010-2011 team, when they beat Butler; that was a down year for college hoops.

Watching college hoops reminded me of why I prefer NBA ball though. College hoops is so sloppy, coach dominated, and frankly, just an inferior product. The gap between college hoop and pro ball is huge. I basically watch for scouting purposes alone. If you wanted to put money on how many college games I’ll watch this year, I’d bet -25. Call your bookie now.

Now, onto the pros:

 

Monday

Some good ass games to start the week with

New York-Miami

The hype on Kristaps Porzingis is getting loud. Playing in a buzz heavy city like New York lends favor for a guy like Porzingis. I hope Justice Winslow is using this as fuel to show out against the Knickerbockers. The media is dying to give Porzingis a nickname and they are reaching. Frankly his last name alone is better than “KP” (there is already a KD why add confusion?), “The Zinger”, or “Rook.” Its much easier for me to yell “Porzingis” when homie is going Fed in a big game. Reminds me of basketball bromance with Sabonis. The syllables just roll off the tongue.

San Antonio- Phoenix

Any other year, the Spurs would be number one option, but with League Pass, the urgency isn’t as strong. I can’t say enough about how much I want to see how they match up with the Dubs. More on them later though.

Sacramento vs. Charlotte will be worth checking out. Rondo is putting up triple doubles faster than you can say Russell Westbrook. I still fux with Rondo, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

This Detroit-Milwaukee game is the perfect example of why I love the condensed game feature on NBA league pass. It’ll be interesting, but not exactly beautiful. Kind of like “ugly” women in New York–still exotic enough to make it worth checking out.

 

Tuesday

Chicago-Portland will be the best game of the night, but the Golden State-Lakers game will be the best blow out game you’ve ever seen.

Speaking of the Warriors, Last Week’s Good Ass Game of the Week, lived up to the hype. Even though Golden State was down, they never panicked. Draymond Green’s three at the end of the 3rd period may as well have been the game winner. His reaction after he hit it, just showed how much swag they have right now.

I love how confident they are. Last year they thought they were good, but this year they know they are good. It is making all the difference in the way they prepare for games.

In Phil Jackson’s “Eleven Rings” (a great read), he talks about the 5 stages of tribal culture.

Level 1 is “All Life Sucks.” The best example of this are franchises like the Kings, and the 76ers.

Level 2 is “My life Sucks” This would be the Clippers right up to the point of them drafting “Beige” Griffin.

Level 3 is “I’m great and your’re not.” Kobe era Lakers without Phil.

Level 4 “We’re Great” Spurs.

Level 5 “Life is Great.” Innocent Wonderment. Talk is about infinite potential and making history. The tribe is in competition with what is possible, not another tribe. Think the 72 win Bulls.

 

Level 5 is where the Warriors are right now. They know they are special, and young enough to enjoy the newness of it all. They are having fun, which makes it fun to watch them. I haven’t seen this kind of buzz surrounding a team’s offense since the showtime Lakers. It is fitting that they can tie the record for best start to a season by beating them on Tuesday.

Wednesday

Cleveland-Toronto

I hope this is a second round matchup in the playoffs.

Atlanta-Minnesota 

Trust me. By the way. I love me some Karl Anthony Towns. He plays D, he has a good post game, and he can pass. I’m just sayin’

Sacramento-Milwaukee

The highlights alone will be worth watching.

Miami-Detroit

Hassan Whiteside will be the starting big man for the Eastern Conference All Stars.

Dallas-San Antonio (GOOD ASS GAME OF THE WEEK)

Can you say live tweet session? #FULLSASS

Thursday

This some good ass Turkey.

Friday

Sacramento vs. Minnesota

Some young talent in this one.

Golden State vs. Phoenix

Suns will hang with them for about 2 -3 quarters before Dubs run away from them. Records will be broken.

Detroit vs. Oklahoma City

The return of Reggie.

 

Saturday

Atlanta vs. San Antonio  will be something like this.

Sunday

Minnesota-Los Angeles 

If you really need to tap that vein.

 

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Peace.

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Easin’ into the Grind

I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to watch NBA this season. The number of games I want to catch up on are piling up. The bandwidth at my local Starbucks is weak, and I’m afraid that if I get internet at my house that I’ll become a hermit. By December, I’ll be a bit more adjusted, and will have caught my breath by winter break. I plan to devote at least 5-6 hours a day during this period to watching basketball. Only 4 more weeks until this is a reality. The marquee “Good Ass Game of the Week” matchups have been as good as advertised, but the biggest surprise to me is how much better ball is in the Eastern Conference. The quality of play is improved, and instead of 89-76 games, teams are actually scoring into the 100’s.

All that being said, I still fux with the Western Conference teams more heavily than the East–no doubt. Right now my favorite squads to watch are the Warriors (unreal the kind of ball they are playing. I don’t think an offense has generated this kind of round-the-league since the Showtime era Lakers), the Bulls (can actually stretch the floor with shooters), the Teen Wolves (could conceivably have two of the best 2 way players in the league someday with Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins–I’ve watched more games by them this year than I have in the entire KG “Big Ticket” era), Kings (those throwback powder blue jerseys are sick), and of course the Spurs.

This week Kawhi supplanted Kevin Durant as my favorite player in the NBA. Curry stays on at #2, while KD slips to three. Steph and KD are both electrifying to watch, but Leonard is slowly building up his case for being the best 2 way player in the game (after Lebron of course). But Lebron won’t be around forever, and we’re only 3-4 seasons away from Lebron’s body betraying him, making him merely great rather than otherworldly. Who’ll supplant Lebron? Well it could be any of these guys in no particular order:

Andrew Wiggins

Victor Oladipo

Jimmy Butler

Kawhi Leonard

Anthony Davis

Paul George

Anthony Towns

The NBA product is in good hands for the next 8-10 years. Let’s get to these games:

Monday

Portland-San Antonio 

This will be close for about 3 and a half quarters if we are lucky. Seriously though, if you like to watch good defenders, and you haven’t been watching Kawhi, do yourself a favor and peep. First hit is free, after that…….

OKC-Memphis

Always a good battle with these two teams. No Durant adds more pressure on the supporting cast to step it up, because you know Hustle Westbrook is going to fill the stat sheet.

“Tap That Vein” Tuesday

Minnesota-Miami 

Young guns. This will be a fun watch. I’m especially looking forward to the Towns-Whiteside face-off.

Toronto-Golden State

Warriors  gonna rock the “Throwbacks” that night. MMMMMPPPPPPPHHHHHHHH!!!!

[If College hoops gives you that buzz, then get on those Duke-Kentucky, Kansas-Michigan State games]

Wednesday

Sacramento-Atlanta

Even when the Kings get blown out, it lends for entertainment.

Dallas-Boston

This strikes me as the type of game one would live-tweet while watching.

Chicago-Phoenix

Suns just aren’t a hoops sexy team this year. It’ll still be a fun game though. Its good toe See Doug McDermott out on the court this year. Homie can ball.

Thursday

Sacramento-Miami

Cousins vs. Whiteside??? Insert “banging in the post” joke here. GO!!!

Milwaukee-Cleveland pt. Duex

The Bucks match up well with the Cavs. Imagine the length of Golden State without the outside shooting threats. That’s the Bucks.

Golden State vs. Lol Clippers “Good Ass Game of the Week”

Good night to make some chili on the crock pot, and stare at the computer (or tv) screen. Warriors have Bogut back for this one. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d put money on Blake Griffin getting a tech this game.

Friday

Detroit-Minnesota 

Some young talent in this one. Andre Drummond vs. Karl Anthony Towns. Remember when they said big men in the post were a dying breed?

Spurs-New Orleans

To quote the great Jordan Paladino, “New Orleans is trash.” The only way I’ll be watching the Pelicans again this year is if they play a marquee  game. I know its early in the season, but not only do they not look like they’ve gotten better, but it seems like they regressed. Its pretty disappointing.

Clippers-Portland

Lillard against Chris Paul sounds slightly amusing. Its hard to watch the Trailblazers even with their sick back court. When Lillard and McCollum are off the floor, it feels like I’m watching a pickup game at the Lewis and Clark Recreation Center–especially with Plumlee, Leonard, and Connaughton on the team.

Chicago-Golden State “Good Ass Game of the Week PART 2”

Last February’s affair was one of the “Good Ass Games of the Year” in my book. I have three words for you: HIGH LEVEL BASKETBALL. Plus two of my favorite college players from back in the day are now coaching against each other. That is correct, I am old enough to have seen the “The Mayor” play in college. #DON”THATECUZYOULATE

Saturday

Sacramento-Orlando

This week definitely has some bite to it. Good ass games every single night. Orlando is pesky. Scott Skiles knows how to get the young bucks fired up to play. Its the veterans who get tired of his overbearing style though. This is the perfect situation for him. In 4 years, maybe not. He is like the Buck Showalter of NBA coaches.

Memphis-San Antonio

Memphis looks a step behind this year. I’d be shocked if this were a double overtime affair like last season. Then again, so was this shot.

Sunday

Definitely the kind of setting that would precipitate a live-tweet session.

Big Ups of the Week to the person who designed this year’s Mavs’ jerseys. Those are the best looking ones I’ve seen in al the years they been rocking them shits.

I wish I could say the same for the Thunder jerseys. HELL NAW!!!

They would get the Buster of the Week Award in a regular week, but last week’s events (the bombings in Lebanon, and the shootings in Paris), have me thinking more sobering thoughts. In order for a tragedy of last week’s magnitude to occur, it takes multiple parties have to be complicit.

I’m not naive enough to think that international conflict can be avoided. Its unavoidable. But the fact that people can’t go to a movie, or see their favorite band without fear of being shot in a public place is discomforting. We have to figure out a way to be better people towards each other. There’s no way around it.

One minute you are ordering a dish in French for the first time, and in the next breath, there can be bullets whizzing by your head.Life really is that fragile.

#shoothoopsnotpeople

Peace.

BM

#thisagoodassgame # fullsass

@clickpicka79

Fullsass.com

bobbymickey@gmail.com

MOUSE IN THA HOUSE!

And just like that, the season is here. What a treat opening night was. The Spurs get their rings and eek out a one point victory against the Mavs in what definitely was a “Good Ass Game.” Both teams a little sluggish early on (My boy Boris A.K.A. “the Big Pastry” looked especially out of sync), but by the 3rd quarter they were grooving. For a brief second I wondered if the Mavs were going to ride Dirk’s hot hand all the way to a “W”, and they even had the final shot at the end.

Somehow they managed not to exploit the switch on the pick and roll, which left Danny Green guarding Dirk for about 5-7 seconds. Chandler Parsons chucked it up for one of his 8 misses (2-10 for the whole game) and the Spurs escaped what could have easily been an opening night defeat. Now I may be giving the Mavs too much credit here (San Antonio is a little banged up and missing their Finals MVP–Kawhi Leonard– with an eye infection), but this could easily be a Western Conference Finals preview–don’t sleep on that Rick Carlisle and Dirk tandem.
Kiss the Rings BITCH!!

I peeped the majority of the disastrous Lakers-Rockets game. If you like watching isolation sets and one on one ball, then this was the game for you (38 combined assists for both teams). Besides James Harden, the Rockets have no one who can consistently create points for the team. The only excitement throughout the game was the weird 5 minute stretch where Dwight and Kobe had a tiff, and then Julius Randle (get well soon man) broke his leg on a freak play. It was not the kind of game that left me with swooning with excitement.

One bright spot was seeing my man Tarik Black out there on the court in an NBA uniform. I think he will add a little class to that Houston Rockets locker room. Dude is seriously one of my favorite players to come out of Lawrence in a long time. With his positive outlook and great work ethic, he should never have trouble finding work in the league. Big Ups!

There are going to be some good ass games this week tho:

OKC vs. Portland (Illard vs. Westbrook)
Washington vs. Miami
Milwaukee vs. Charlotte
Lakers vs. Phoenix (I forgot how much I enjoy watching the Lakers lose. I find Kobe at this point in his career as entertaining as Barry Bonds’ own “%&$@ it” period near the end of his own career. I like that brutal honesty. I think its good for the game–keeps all these yahoo media types on their toes.

Golden State vs Sacramento
OKC vs. Clippers (Thunder will go 0-2 to begin the season but Russell Westbrook will have a combined 75 points for both nights)

Cleveland vs. Chicago Possibly a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals
Golden State vs. Portland (two of the best backcourts in the NBA facing off)
Dallas vs. New Orleans (Can there be too much hype surrounding Anthony Davis at this point?)

Memphis vs. Charlotte (Grimey!!!)
Chicago vs. Minnesota (I get headaches from watching Minnesota homegames–not from the players–but because that court is so damn ugly)

Lakers vs. Golden State (#asswhupping)

Charlotte vs. New York Knicks (Two of Brooklyn’s finest coming home. No way in hell I miss this one)

Milwaukee vs. Washington (why not?)

Free Trial with NBA League Pass so I will be on that tip. This is the year I finally purchase it for real. It is going to be hard keeping a girlfriend who doesn’t like hoop. She better be damn interesting–that’s all I’m saying.

Run That Shit Back!

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We back! The NBA pre-season is upon us, which means we are only 2 and a half weeks away from the ball being thrown up for realsssssssss.

I can sum up this upcoming season by grouping the teams into four categories of watchability:

a) “Don’t Waste my Time”

b) “I’ll watch depending on they are playing”

c) “Oooh they playing tonight? Let me see what I got going on.”

d) “Cancel all my plans. I’m staying in tonight.”

Basically teams fall into these categories by whether they got better, got worse, or stayed the same. Some teams were so wack last year they couldn’t help but improve. Others thought (rightly or wrongly) that no changes needed to be made. Let’s get to it, this thing is already going to be long enough.

As much as I love hoop, I will not spend too much time in front of the tube watching the following teams:

Celtics, Lakers, Pacers, Nets, Utah and the Atlanta Hawks.

As a certain social philosopher likes to say, “NOT GONNA BE ABLE TO DO IT!” Not interested, not even a little bit.

How many uncontested layups will the Los Angeles Lakers give up this year? I’m willing to bet anyone that the Lakers will finish in the bottom five in defensive field goal percentage.
Kobe Bryant, Carlos Boozer, Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, Swaggy P………if Jordan hill is your best option on defense…should I even continue?

Let’s just hope Jack Nicholson has low expectations this year, because I’d hate to see the old man blow a gasket after seeing his beloved Lake show give up bucket after 4th quarter bucket. Good luck Byron Scott. Lakers need to be in rebuild mode. Talk about being in denial. The Lakers will be right back in the lottery. Mark my words.
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With the loss of Lance Stephenson, I had Indiana being in the lottery even BEFORE Paul George got himself fucked up during the FIBA scrimmages.

I like what Danny Ainge is doing out in Boston, but it will be a couple more years before I can be excited about sitting down to a Celtics game. We’re just not there yet.

Even if the Nets were good, it would be hard for me to support anything Russian owned while that shit is going on in the Ukraine.

UTAH???psssttttttt just change your team mascot already. Saying there is Jazz in Utah is like saying there are good looking women in Maine. I’m sure at one time or another both have existed in each state, but neither are home grown products. If I knew anything about Utah other than Mormons, reformed Mormons, the X-games, and weed, I could come up with something clever–but I can’t. Let’s just move on.

I HAVE A DREAM…….that someday Al Horford will play for a legitimate NBA contender. Go to Chicago Al!!! Team back up with Joakim Noah, I swear I won’t root against you two this time.

DEPENDS ON WHO THEY PLAY

Memphis, Houston, Pelicans, Pistons, Bulls (without D. Rose), Orlando, Denver, Milwaukee, Philly, Knicks, Miami

After a couple of years of squeaking into the playoffs, I think this is the year Memphis finally misses the cut. Phoenix is better, and the Grizzlies are older. I think the injury bug will hit a couple of key veterans. The Grindhouse will not be rocking next April if my suspicions are correct.

I don’t find James Harden or Dwight Howard the least bit of entertaining to watch. I can’t stand Patrick Beverly, and if I wanted to watch someone shoot 30 free throws I’d go to the YMCA and volunteer.

Other than Kid Rock, Jalen Rose, and Eminem, no one outside of the state of Michigan is interested in watching Detroit basketball.

The “Brow” is almost intriguing enough to tune in, but the rest of his team is garbage. Next!

Orlando almost has enough pieces to warrant more than a peek in at their games. One more year of the lottery should get them in position to contend for a playoff spot next year.

Denver has the “Manimal”, and a nasty backcourt of Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson. But really that is about it. But props to Brian Shaw for smashing on Madonna (a remarkable feat that doesn’t get enough attention) in her prime.

Will Jason Kidd be the first NBA player-coach to suit up since Dave Cowens? I think they the pieces to grab that 8th playoff spot. The Eastern conference is wack as hell, and both New York teams will be in the toilet (more on the Knicks in a second) this year. Someone has to grab that last spot–it may as well be them. Peep the roster if you don’t believe me.
Gonna see a lot of this this year
I’m not even remotely interested in Philadelphia until they get completely healthy.

All the players on the Knicks I wanna see play are deep on the bench. I just don’t see how that roster can make the playoffs–even in the East. I’m not entirely sold on D-Fish as a head coach–at least right now. I believe he will have a pretty big learning curve. I think they will miss the playoffs, but just barely. Also Amar’e Stoudemire makes the most money on the team this year, and may actually play the least amount of minutes.

Do you remember when Chris Bosh was the best player on his team in Toronto? Well if you don’t, then this Heat team will remind you of what that was like. Chris Bosh is going to put up some numbers this year, and the Heat will not be as bad as you think. Don’t be surprised if they play Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals.

OOOOOHHHH THEY PLAYING?

Clippers, Bulls (with a healthy D. Rose), Raptors, Cleveland, Mavericks, Wizards, Hornets

These teams I wouldn’t exactly drop everything I’m doing, but I could be talked into meeting someone at the bar to watch any combination of these teams playing each other.

The Clippers were one of those teams that didn’t do much to get better or worse, but besides Jamal Crawford and Chris Paul, there aren’t any other guys who can create their own shot. Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan will be better this year, but barring a mid-season trade (and injuries to OKC and San Antonio), I don’t see how they make it out of the west. I do think they will have the best regular season record and will get home court in the playoffs, but that guarantees little against the Spurs and Thunder.

Bulls are deep this year. I’m salivating on watching Noah and Gasol run that Hi-Lo in the post. The Bulls have Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson, Aaron Brooks, Doug McDermott and Kirk Hinrich as good role players. I would pencil them as Eastern Conference champs were it not for a few lingering questions.

1) Is the Curse of Michael Jordan real?

Ever since the Jerry’s ran off Phil, Scottie and MJ, the Bulls have had nothing but bad luck. Eddie Curry…..trading Lamarcus Aldridge for Tyrus Thomas, the Jay Williams motorcycle accident, Derrick Rose getting hurt during garbage time of a playoff game—-oh wait that isn’t bad luck— those are the result of bad decisions aren’t they?

2) Will Tom Thibadeau finally learn from the Spurs model and figure out a way to spell his starters so the team can be fresh for the playoffs? Thibs just has a way of grinding his players down. I feel like this is an under reported item concerning his coaching style.

3) The big question of course is will Derrick Rose make it to the All-Star break? He is the difference between them getting knocked out in the first round, and them losing to the Spurs in the finals.

Raptors made no significant changes, which was a good decision. They re-signed Kyle Lowry, which is almost like getting a big name free agent. They could should easily win Atlantic division this year.

People are hype about Cleveland, (and the should be), but why aren’t people also acknowledging that besides their “Big 3”, Cleveland still has a number of questions. Just how much better is Lebron’s supporting cast in Cleveland than the one he left in South Beach? Was James Jones ever that good?
He old and Cleveland is COLD.

I could write that sentence again in regards to Mike Miller and Shawn Marion. All three of these guys are in their mid thirties and have had the luxury of playing in warmer climates for most of their careers. Sure the game is played indoors, but that has to have some affect on your psyche–especially in a shit hole town like Cleveland. It aint ‘Zona or Texas or Florida.

How many games will Kyrie Irving play this year? He hasn’t played a full season of basketball since he was in high school. I’m not saying he’s bad, I’m just suggesting he might be a little frail. I’m not judging (I’m someone who gets hurt playing everything). But we can’t pretend like Irving is a guy you can pencil in to be healthy at the end of the year. Perhaps this wouldn’t be that big of an issue had Cleveland not wasted that pick on Anthony Bennett.

They opted instead for Victor Oladipo, but who is to say they wouldn’t have had to trade him for Kevin Love (imagine what an addition that would have been for Minnesota)? regardless Lebron not only has his consistently monster numbers, but will earn the MVP because everyone else’s stats will inflate because of his presence on the court (especially the Wins column).

Dallas as a team that would drop in the west, but I took a look at the roster and realized that Raymond Felton was indeed NOT the starting point guard for the Mavericks (the Jeopardy answer would be “Who is Jameer Nelson?”). I like their squad, and as I have said before, Rick Carlisle is the 2nd best coach in the NBA. Nothing could surprise me concerning the Mavericks–including another Finals run.

I like the Wizards running the same team back with the addition of Paul Pierce. He will be a great presence for them in the locker room. They are a dangerous team that has a top five backcourt. They could easily be in the Eastern Conference Finals as well.

Lance Stephenson was a great pickup for the Hornets (feels so right doesn’t it? I miss calling them that). Charlotte will be more entertaining to watch this year, but they will still get bounced in the first or second round.

“Alright stop what you doing cuz I’m about to ruin……”

You know what it is….every day I will circle the games these teams are playing and will make damn sure I get to watch them–even if its on replay.

Golden State made a controversial move in ousting Mark Jackson, but they couldn’t have made a less controversial hire in Steve Kerr. I think he will fit in fine with the front office, and will be a breath of fresh air for the franchise, believe it or not. Their season depends on how many games they can squeeze out of their front court players, David Lee and Andrew Bogut.

I’m also curious as to how well Harrison Barnes is integrated into the playing rotation. They need him to play as well as he did during the 2012 playoff run, if the Warriors are to take that next step. Continuity is a huge factor every year, and no major moves were made this off-season. The core remains intact with a couple of key additions in their back court. The Splash Brothers will actually get some rest if Leandro Barbosa, Shaun Livingston, and Brandon Rush can contribute off the bench.

Super Bowl champion Head Coach Jimmy Johnson used to say, “If you are not getting better, then you are getting worse.” This adage pretty much sums up what the Thunder did this off-season. They wasted this summer’s draft picks, lost their best perimeter defender in Thabo Sefalosha, and only managed to sign Anthony Morrow. That being said, the still have two of the best five players in the NBA. That alone will be good enough to get them to the Western Conference Finals. Steven Adams will be starting at center no later than the All Star Break.

Portland didn’t do much to improve either. Then again, any off-season moves to be made on that roster would’ve had negligible results (Is the difference between a 7 seed and a 5 seed in the west worth messing up team chemistry?) Portland’s bench is better based on another year’s experience for Thomas Robinson and C.J. McCollum.

Phoenix will for sure be in the playoffs. They re-signed Eric Bledsoe, bringing back the nastiest back court duo west of San Antonio and east of Nevada. They managed to draft Tyler Ennis, T.J Warren, and acquired Isiah Thomas. The Morris twins re-upped and so did P.J. Tucker’s drunk driving ass. They won’t be sneaking up on no one this year. They ready. Fools are gonna get banged on when they play the Suns.

The T-Cubs will be the newest fun team to watch this year. It is too bad Rick Adelman won’t be around to coach this team. I think this is the second coming of the Baby Bulls, and early 2000’s Sacramento Kings. Rubio finally has some guys to run with him. Look at who the Timberwolves have: Zach Levine, Shabazz Muhammad, Glenn Robinson III, Corey Brewer, Mo Williams, and my boy A. WIGGINSSSS!!!

Last year, the Wolves were 3rd ppg, 6th in rpg, 5th assist, 26th in points allowed. If they can even get into the top 20 in team defense, I think they can contend for a playoff spot until the final week of the regular season. I’m excited to see this team play. Andrew Wiggins wins Rookie of the Year award (even if he has to share it with Jabari Parker–I think getting shunned by the Cavs/Lebron will be the best thing to ever happen for his career–this is the chip on the shoulder he needed).

You know who didn’t have to do a damn thing this year? The NBA (World?) champion Spurs re-signed their role players and drafted triple-double machine, 6’9 PG Kyle Anderson from UCLA. I see this being a quiet title defense for the Spurs. Everyone is going bananas over the revamped Cavaliers, when the Spurs dismantled a team that currently looked better than what Cleveland is running out onto the court. I see the Spurs just chilling in the cut until their “Rodeo trip” and then landing a #3 seed in the playoffs. Health is the biggest factor for them. Their bench players will play just as big a role (probably a bigger role) as last year’s title run.

Anyway, enough with all the formalities. Time to put my name on the line.

MVP Lebron (of course)

Co-Rookies of the Year
Andrew Wiggins/Jabari Parker

Eastern Conference
1. Cleveland
2. Wizards
3. Raptors
4. Chicago
5. Miami
6. Charlotte
7. Milwaukee
8. Atlanta

Western Conference

1. Clippers
2. OKC
3. Spurs
4. Mavericks
5. Warriors
6. Phoenix
7. Portland
8. Houston

Western Conference Finals

Spurs over Oklahoma City (again)

Eastern Conference Finals

Cleveland over Washington

NBA Finals

Spurs over Cleveland to defend their title and shut down any remaining naysayers. Cleveland isn’t ready yet. This year will be a toss up in the East, but by 2015, it will be Cleveland and then everyone else. As evidenced by all the hype surrounding his return to Ohio, this is still Lebron’s league.