Between Miami’s two and a half “kings”, the Lakers quest for three consecutive rings, The Big Constipation and the rest of the entire Wu-Tang Clan in Boston, Durant’s ascension, Orlando’s perpetual Orlandoness, the uncertain futures of Carmelo and Chris Paul, and, unfortunately, the seemingly imminent lockout, I can’t remember an NBA season with as many genuinely compelling story lines and potential narratives.
Before watching the Heat open the year tonight at Boston, here’s 10 things you need to know about the upcoming NBA season.
1. Lebron James has a chance to simultaneously be the most overhyped and the most underrated player in the NBA
The myriad reasons why Lebron Ramone James is overhyped have been repeated, regurgitated, re-swallowed, and regurgitated again ad nauseum , and I feel no need to reiterate. (This commerical does a great job parodying it, though) At this point, screaming “Lebron” in a crowded building is likely to cause more mayhem than screaming “fire”.
But, somewhere between The Decision, the ongoing reaction(s) to The Decision, and the summer of Durant, people have seem to forgotten exactly how historically great of a basketball player Lebron has been. And, although I’m aware “overhyped” and “underrated” seem to contradict, when a 25 year old athlete with back to back MVP’s in his pocket is regarded by many as a “Robin” to another player’s “Batman” (My two words on that train of thought? Either “Nigga please” or “Nigga, STFU”), black becomes white, yin f*cks yang, and the extraordinarily overhyped becomes underrated.
2. If there was ever an NBA team that deserved the Hard Knocks treatment, it’s the 2010-2011 Boston Celtics
Between The Big Constipation’s (because at this point in his career, Shaq is basically just full of shit) hijinks, Paul Pierce’s strangely intriguing perpetual half beard, KG’s strangely intriguing perpetual Wesley Pipes impersonation, Nate Robinson doing Nate Robinson things, Big Baby’s breasts, Jesus, Delonte West’s on-going struggle with bipolar disorder, Delonte West’s on-going struggle with not taking Jesus’s surprisingly milfy mother out for a nice seafood dinner and never calling her again, Doc Rivers’ voice, Rajon Rondo’s indiscreet otherworldliness, and the fact that this might be the single richest team in the history of professional sports (if you’re bored and you feel like hating your life, do some research on how much money Shaq, KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Jermaine O’Neal have made in their careers) who wouldn’t watch an unscripted and uncensored behind the scenes documentary about this team????
3. Blake Griffin seems poised to replace Jason Kidd and Deron Williams as the league’s preeminent Mulatto-American superstar
Combining a level of above the rim violence not seen since pre-1994 Shawn Kemp with a level of stone-faced kamikaze not seen since pre-“My name is MY NAME!” Marlo Stanfield, Los Angeles Clippers rookie forward Blake Griffin is, to quote Nicki Minaj, a motherf*ckin monster, and only The Clippers Curse can stop his reign.
Also, it’s going to be quite interesting watching Clippers games this season and listening to analysts trip themselves up while trying to find someone to compare Griffin to. As any veteran sports follower knows, there seems to be an unspoken rule stating that white players can only be compared to other white players, and black players can only be compared to other black players. Case in point: Since Griffin is biracial, he’s usually compared to Carlos Boozer—the only other muscular and light-skinned all-star caliber power forward in the NBA—when his game is actually much more similar to Amare Stoudamaire’s.
This phenomenon also applies to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (usually compared to Reggie Miller—another thin, light skinned shooter—when his game is actually more similar to Steve Nash’s) and Memphis Grizzles center Hasheem Thabeet (usually compared to Dikembe Mutombo—another 7 foot plus, African shot-blocker—-when his game is actually more similar to a pile of horse shit’s)
4. You will see much, much more of Kevin Durant this season (on Sportcenter, in commercials, on magazine covers, etc), and you will be very bothered by the fact that he never seems to brush his hair
You’ll also see much more of the following players (in parentheses are things that will probably bother you about them)
Chris Bosh (his relatively unmasculine gait. he runs and looks exactly how you’d imagine a velocipede would run and look if it was from Texas and had an automatic 15 foot jumpshot)
Mike Miller (he never misses any shots, but he also never takes any shots. this will confuse and annoy you as much as it confuses and annoys me)
Russell Westbrook (how much better he is than Derrick Rose, and why you seem to be the only person who feels that way)
Steve Blake (the fact that you won’t be able to put your finger on why he looks like the type of white guy who only dates black women)
5. John Wall is more Dwyane Wade than Derrick Rose
From his ability to impact a game defensively and his deceptively long strides to his ability to shift his momentum on a dime and his innate sense of the moment, Washington Wizards rookie point guard John Wall reminds me much more of a younger D. Wade than the player he’s most compared to, (slightly overrated) Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose.
With that being said, both Wall and Rose do share a spot on the starting line-up of the all-NBA team of “Players You Do Not Want To Put a Microphone in Front Of, Under Any Circumstances“. I won’t say that listening to both of these dudes speak is like listening to Waka Flocka Flames recite the Pledge of Allegiance…in German, but listening to both of these dudes speak is like listening to Waka Flocka Flames recite the Pledge of Allegiance…in German.
6. Carmelo Anthony’s wife, TV personality Alani “Lala” Vasquez, is (all of a sudden) extremely good-looking
I have no idea when, where, how, or why this happened. All I know is I accidentally happened upon an episode of “La La’s Full Court Wedding” last weekend, and I was shocked at how good looking Lala was. It’s not even that I thought Lala used to be an unattractive woman, but she mysteriously went from “She’s nice looking” to “If I didn’t know who she was, I’d be asking myself ‘Who the F*ck is that?‘ right now”
Just to see if I wasn’t imagining things, I asked Panama—who’s basically the black Simon Cowell when it comes to women’s physical attractiveness—if I was the only one who noticed this unforeseen and unprecedented development, and he agreed that she inexplicably got much, much more attractive seemingly overnight.
What makes this information relevant to an NBA preview?
Well, there’s been a rumor floating around all preseason that Carmelo Anthony wants out of Denver, and New York seems to be his preferred destination. Why New York? Well, aside from the fact that he’d be a perfect fit in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, Lala apparently wants to live in New York City because it would be easier for her to continue to be a relevant TV personality there than in Denver. And, after watching a few minutes of “La La’s Full Court Wedding“, trust me when I tell you that if Lala wants Melo to force a trade so they can move to New York City, Melo is definitely going to force a trade so they can move to New York City.
The Melo to NYC rumor actually segues to number seven…
7. Superteams—like the Heat, the Celtics, the Lakers, and the Knicks (if they manage to land both Melo and Chris Paul)—are good for the league.
While professional parity—the idea that any team in any season has a chance to compete for a playoff spot and/or championship—is one of the NFL’s calling cards, the NBA is a star-driven league that thrives when there is a distinct upperclass, a pseudo-competitive middle class, and a lower class that should basically just kill themselves. Basically, while the NFL sells itself as an 80’s era Soviet Union, the NBA strives to be, well, America.
But, although the Heat, the Lakers, the Celtics, the Magic, and the Thunder (yes, the Thunder) are the only teams with a chance in hell of winning a championship this year, there at least a dozen other lower to working middle-class teams still worth your attention. Of these, my favorites are the Spurs (because the best basketball player the city of Pittsburgh has produced in the last 30 years happens to play for them), the Kings (because of the single most intimidating guard I’ve seen in the NBA since Gary Payton), the Grizzlies (O.J. Mayo and I have a history), and the Cavs (ha! just seeing if you were still paying attention)
8. There’s a strong chance this NBA season will break all types of attendance, ratings, merchandise, and interest level records. There’s also a slight to strong likelihood that, following this outstanding season, the NBA might be dumb enough to have a lockout.
9. The Orlando Magic will continue to be the least exciting “exciting” team in the NBA
On paper, the Orlando Magic seem to have every characteristic you’d need when making a check list for an exciting NBA team.
A ridiculously athletic center/Jesus freak/porn star stalker who dunks everything and blocks shots into the third row? Check
An smorgasbord of three-point marksmen? Check
A charismatic, Philly-bred point guard with an And-1 caliber handle and a bevy of equally charismatic tattoos? Check
A “You know, he’s actually really not that bad” white guy from Duke? Check
Polish men who look like they can star in the sequel to High Tension? Check
A head coach who happens to look exactly like the most famous male porn star of all-time? Check
Yet, despite filling every conceivable “how to build an exciting team” box, the Magic remain one of the boringest teams in the NBA. This “good on paper” ness also applies to their seasons, as they’re the one team in the league that doesn’t seem to have any real flaws, but their lack of, I don’t know, something keeps them in a never-ending “win 60 games, get love from stat geeks and chicks obsessed with Superman’s arms, win a first round playoff series no one will watch, lose to the team that’ll eventually win the championship” loop that probably won’t change or end until Vince Carter’s hymen grows back.
10. The Lakers are still the favorites
As much as I’d like to see the Heat run roughshod through the entire league, I just can’t ignore the fact that the two-time defending champions actually got better. While Kobe continues his barely perceptible (but very real) decline, the parts surrounding the Black Mamba got much more fierce. The Ugliest Gasol brother is still the most skilled big man in the league, Andrew Bynum is still tall as f*ck, Ron Artest is still heavily medicated, and the severly underappreciated Lamar Odom is still married to the best looking man I’ve ever seen. I especially like the addition of Basketball Wivesbeater Matt Barnes, who’ll be a decided upgrade from the Vujacic/Walton buffet of shit they’ve included in their rotation for the past several years.
As much as it pains me to say it (seriously. my hand started convulsing while writing this sentence), all signs point to us saying “Queensbridge!!!” again in late June. I just hope the two kings and the komodo dragon can prove me wrong.