After a summer of bad PR, lawsuits, counter law suits and terms I never want to hear again like BRI(Basketball Related Income) and competitive balance the National Basketball Association is back.
The next 120 days could be some of the craziest basketball we've ever seen. Remember the last shortened season we had in 1999 involved beer bellies, aging knees and Charles Barkley's now famous quote, "I can't play three days in a row, I can't have sex three days in a row." Unless it was that one prostitute who gave him the best BJ evaaa! http://deadspin.com/5121873/charles-barkley-i-was-gonna-drive-around-the-corner-and-get-a-blow-job-
66 games in 120 days. That's madness. All teams will be playing three games in a row at some point in the season and most teams will have to play 7 games in 9 nights. WHAT?!? Do you realize how much bad basketball we're going to see? I can hardly wait.
The compressed schedule is going to have a huge affect on the older teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Mavericks and Spurs who all rely on key players that also double as AARP members. There's a small possibility that Kevin Garnett will be coming out with Adidas licensced crutches by the middle of the season. *Cut to Greg Oden nodding*
I don't know if the advent of Twitter, Facebook and everyone having their own blogspot helps make the NBA more interesting to follow but the past three years have been incredible if you're an NBA junkie. We had Pre-LeBron Decision, The Decision: The Aftermatch and now the 66 games in 120 days madness. It all feels like a Christopher Nolan triology.
Without further adieu it's time for me to put my money where my mouth is and make some predictions that will absolutely blow in my face. Pause that sentence 2 times.
Let's break up the teams into the divisions they fall under.
The Anthony Davis Uni-Brow Division
30. Toronto Raptors
Even though the Raptors are my team and they are destined to suck it up this year I am super excited to watch them stink it up.
The Raptors were busier than usual in Free Agency this year signing Toronto native Jamal Magloire, Aaron Gray, Gary Forbes, Rasul Butler and Anthony Carter. That's 4 of the worst players in the NBA. For the first time in a long time General Manager Bryan Colangelo looks like he knows what he's doing.
This is a team destined to win only 10-15 games and most Raptor fans are elated. We're even planning to wear camo style jerseys to signify all the tanking we're going to do. http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/7377848/toronto-raptors-wear-camouflage-jerseys-honor-military
29. Charlotte Bobcats
Michael Jordan is doing everything in his power to turn into a WWE style bad guy. From deciding to go with the Hitler mustache to leading the small market NBA owners to break the backs of the NBPA to his most recent Ebenezer Scrooge moment laughing while sneakerheads killed, trampled and maimed each other for the latest release of the Air Jordan Concords.
P.S. the Bobcats are relying on Corey Maggete and some kid named Bismack Biyombo. Please contract this team already.
28. Cleveland Cavaliers
Poor Kyrie Irving.
27. New Orleans Hornets
26. Utah Jazz
First year we won't see Jerry Sloan patrolling the sidelines in Salt Lake. Derrick Favors could be the most improved player this year.
The No Direction Division
25. Detroit Pistons
What is Joe Dumars doing? How is he not fired yet? Is he made of teflon?
24. Milawaukee Bucks
Is this the year Scott Skiles kills Brandon Jennings or is this the year Brandon Jennings kills Scott Skiles.
The School of Bad Body Language Division
23. Sacremento Kings
The Kings should be a very entertaining team this year. They have Tyreke Evans, Demarcus Cousins, The Jimmer and the Maloof Brothers who have smaller pockets than a gang of midgets in a South London comprehensive.
Really looking forward to Tyreke Evans and Demarcus Cousins's bad body languge rub off on Golden boy Jimmer Fredette.
22. Washington Wizards
Javale McGee sees Cousins and Evans bad body language and raises them two. The Wizards are a must watch this year on the account of John Wall inexplicably hitting the dougie whenever he feels the need to and Jan Vesley's girlfriend.
21. Golden State Warriors
MONTA ELLIS + STEPHEN CURRY + MARK JACKSON = MAMA THERE GOES THAT MAN!
Trade Machine Division
20. New Jersey Nets
19. Houston Rockets
Daryl Morey was close to landing Pau Gasol and Nene earlier this month. Where do they go from here?
18. Phoneix Suns
STOP HOLDING STEVE NASH HOSTAGE! For the love of God someone rescue him from the beautiful weather of Arizona please.
Fringe Playoff Teams
17. Minnesota Timberwolves
The country will fall in love with Ricky Rubio. Look at that haircut. Read his hilarious Twitter feed and who's not going to root for the Rubio + Love buddy cop/bromance that's going to take place in Minny?
Plus Michael Beasley and Derrick Williams on the court at the same time.
16. Denver Nuggets
Even with 3 of their best players Wilson Chandler, JR Smith and Kenyon Martin stuck in China this looks like a playoff team. They're deep and they have contuinity.
Oh shit! Took me to team 16 for me to drop the first "contunity" blast of the year. Contuinity is making a comeback this year bitches.
15. Atlanta Hawks
They signed Jerry Stackhouse and Tracy McGrady this month. Yeah. Moving on.
14. Orlando Magic
I'll be honest. I don't know where to rank the Magic right now. One day they're trading Dwight Howard the next day they're not. Why doesn't he want to go to Chicago? He could form the best 1-2 punch in the league and be guaranteed to play games deep into June.
Is this the first time a Superstar ever demanded a trade to New Jersey? WTF is going on?
High School Sweethearts
13. Philadelphia Sixers
The cute girl in High School who treated everyone nice and had a great rack but doesn't put out. That's the Sixers. They have some nice pieces, good coaching but they'll never be able to compete with the big boys.
12. Portland Trailblazers
See Sixers. Let's all take a moment to remember Brandon Roy. The closest thing to NBA's Icarus we've seen since Len Bias.
I will always remember his last great NBA moment. Where he beat the eventual champions by himself on no knees.
11. Indiana Pacers
Gotdamn this team is deep and Frank Vogel is my Coach of the Year. This year's Grizzlies?
The AARP Division
10. Boston Celtics
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the Kendrick Perkins/Jeff Green trade last year and now Jeff Green is out for the year and about to go through open heart surgery.
Doc Rivers is one of the best coaches in the NBA but the Kevin Garnett Era Celtics are on their last leg. I wonder how Rajon Rondo will play after his name was floated around in every NBA trade this year.
Don't rule out a Rondo for Nash type deal from Danny Ainge. The Celtics transformation to "Space Cowboys" would be complete.
9. San Antonio Spurs
The oldest team in the NBA was eliminated in the 1st Round last year by the hungrier, younger, more athletic Grizzlies. The compressed schedule doesn't really help Tim Duncan and the boys. Another early exit could lead Popovich to retire.
8. Los Angeles Lakers
Who's excited for Divorced Kobe? *Raises hand* Kobe Haters could be in for the best season ever. Kobe's another year older. Pau Gasol is still dealing with the emasculation of last year's playoffs and Andrew Bynum still has creaky knees.
This is a team that can self destruct under the leadership of Mike Brown. Sidenote: I'm really going to miss Phil Jackson's snide comments in the media. We miss you Zen. Can't wait to see you in New York next year.
The Lakers are relying on Derek Fisher who's 259 in dog years. To get that number you extrapolate Fisher's real age which is 37 and you times it by 7. They're also relying on a guy named Metta World Peace and a cast member of "Basketball Wives."
This won't end well for anybody especially Kobe. Oh and he tore ligaments in his wrist in a meaningless pre-season game. Jesus!
Jail Bait Division
7. New York Knicks
The Knicks are the girl who went on European trip between 11th and 12th grade summer and came back a different girl but still is considered jail bait.
Signing Tyson Chandler and another a full year of Carmelo Anthony will only do good but they're backcourt consists of a guy named Iman Shupert, Landry Fields and Baron Davis. Yeah that Baron Davis.
They should be better but you can't really count on Mike D'Antoni or Amare Stoudemire's uninsured knee. Sorry @DezArnez.
6. Los Angeles Clippers
LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOB CITY! LOBSTEEEEEEER CITY! LOB ANGELES! LOBSET STRIP! Okay that's enough.
Wouldn't you be more excited about the Clippers if Chris Paul didn't come into camp looking like he ate Earl Boykins?
Still he's the best PG in the galaxy and he gets to play with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. For the first time ever the Clippers are going to be more exciting than the Lakers.
It's like when the ugly girl in "It Girl Club" starts doing X and is suddenly cooler to be around.
Donald Sterling what did you do to deserve this.
NOBODY BELIEVED IN US DIVISION
5. Dallas Mavericks
They lost Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, Peja Stojakovic and DeShawn Stevenson but they signed Vince Carter amd Delonte West while they traded for Lamar Odom and get back Roddy Beaubois from the IR.
Still that's a lot of old guys and I don't want to beat a dead horse but theyr'e playing 66 games in 120 days. There's a lot of mileage with Kidd, Nowitzki, Marion, Odom, Terry, Carter and Haywood.
The Contenders Divison
4. Memphis Grizzlies
Losing Darrell Arthur for the year hurts but the Grizzlies are for real. Lionel Hollins is one of the best coaches in the Association even if he prefers wearing Chopper Suits on the sidelines.
Zach Randolph has finally become more famous than Eddie on "Family Matters" and the Grizzlies get back their 2nd best player in Rudy Gay. I can't believe I'm writing this but the Chris Wallace Grizzlies are good enough to win the West.
3. Chicago Bulls
Theyr'e close. Ferry, ferry close my friends. Do they force the Magic to trade them Dwight Howard with a package that consists of Noah + Asik + Deng or do they stand pat and think another year in Coach Thibs led defense help them take the next step?
We didn't see Derrick Rose at all this offseason. While his peers were in every NBA rec league and making apperances at Lockout talks he completely fell off the map.
Will he look back after the NBA Finals and figure out Rose was in the gym during the past 5 months solidfying his long ball and working on his post game? We need answers Mr. 5 years/94 million. http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/chicago-bulls-reach-5-year-contract-extension-with-reigning-mvp-derrick-rose/2011/12/21/gIQArRFn9O_story.html?tid=pm_sports_pop
2. Oklahoma City Thunder
Here is what makes the Thunder a legit NBA title contender. They have good coaching. 2 NBA stars one teetering on the edge of Top 3 status. Very good defensive big men with Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Nazr Mohamed. They have legit bench players with James Harden, Eric Maynor and Da'Quan Cook and they have a defensive stopper with Thabo Sefloshofa.
Whether or not they win depends on how Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant co-exist this year. It's a big issue and one of the NBA's most intriguing storylines to follow this year.
The last time we had a shortened season another quiet young star from a small market team led his team to the title. Will history repeat itself?
The Favorite Divison
1. Miami Heat
Is anybody even talking about the Heat right now? All the attention is focused on whether or not Orlando trades Howard and the two L.A. teams.
The Heat are under the rader for the first time since, "I'm taking my talents to South Beach" and it's a very good thing for Erik Spoelstra and the Heat.
They won't get as much attention as they did last year which will allow LeBron James and Chris Bosh to relax.
They got better with Norris Cole(yes I believe in Norris Cole) and the signing of Shane Battier. At any point of the game the Heat can go with James-Wade-Battier-Haslem-Bosh lineup.
If they don't win this year they might never win it. Remember LeBron has an opt out after three years. Yeah that's right. Summer of LeBron: 2013 Edition!
Most Improved-Derrick Favors
Coach of the Year-Frank Vogel
Eastern Conference Finals
Miami Heat over the Chicago Bulls
Western Conference Finals
Oklahoma City Thunder over the Memphis Grizzlies
Miami Heat over the Oklahoma City Thunder