When I saw preseason basketball on NBATV last Friday night (76ers @ Pistons) I immediately had to change my boxers. Not only did the lockout make me yearn for professional basketball, it also made me realize that the season should start on Christmas every year. Players have long been clamoring for a shorter regular season, but it will never happen because, you know, revenue and shit. I’ve never been so hype for a game featuring Ben Gordon, Greg Monroe, Andre Iguodala, and Jrue Holiday. And we learned why the number 8 means so much to Ben Gordon. Anyways, let’s get down to this NBA 2011-2012 season preview.
We will be breaking down each team in the NBA and ranking them based on how good we think they will be this season, not necessarily where they will finish in the standings. NBA sources tell us it’s gonna be a fluky season this year.
*Disclaimer: “NBA sources” refers to information I have gathered via ESPN and the like.
**I put in some questions for you to respond to. Please entertain me.
15) LA Lakers… just kidding. Sacramento Kings
There are a lot of individual ballers I like on this team, but this whole isn’t the sum of its parts. They’ve got the who’s who of 2011 NCAA standouts with the Jimmer, Tyler Honeycutt, and Isaiah Thomas which is odd because they’re all undersized for their prospective positions. Plus they already have a loaded backcourt with Tyreke (who has a sprained left foot, same foot that limited him to 57 games last season), Marcus Thornton, John Salmons and Francisco Garcia, none of whom can play point guard. It’s gonna be a long shortened season in Sacramento. The only hope for this team is for Demarcus Cousins to become the NBA's version of Mario Balotelli. Sadly, all signs point to Cousin's beings calm and collected.
14) Utah Jazz
I thought Jamaal Tinsley was in jail until I heard that Utah signed him. Nevertheless, we’ll be hearing a lot from Al Jefferson this year, he’s now two years removed from knee surgery and should continue to ball, even with his significant other craving for NBA big man back fat. Look for Gordon Hayward to play an increased role in Utah's offense after a disappointing rookie year.
13) Phoenix Suns
Free Steve Nash! We hate to see great players waste their twilight on middling lottery teams but Nash wants to be all honorable and play through the rest of his contract, which is up after this year. Right now the starting lineup looks like Nash, Jared Dudley, Grant Hill, Channing Frye, and Marcin Gortat? The Fuck? There has to be some way we could reunite Nash with Mike “Defense? What’s that?” D’antoni, the man who got him two MVP awards. Come on Knickerbockers, you know you want him.
What do you think about Steve Nash’s situation, why isn’t he playing for a better team?
12) Minnesota Timberwolves
Now here’s a team a little more talented than people think. Despite GM David Kahn’s fetish with point guards (they’ve signed and/or drafted six point guards in three years) NBA sources tell me that the teams that will do well in the regular season will be well equipped with young fresh legs and depth on the bench. Here are the rotation players for the T’wolves this year: Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson, Anthony Randolph, Derrick Williams, JJ Barea, Luke Ridnour, Darko, Brad Miller, Martell Webster, and I almost forgot about Ricky Rubio. So what if most of these guys are rookies, second year players, or fringe starters, they’ve got depth! Don’t forget the impact head coach Rick Adelman will have on this young team.
11) Golden State Warriors
Couldn’t get Tyson Chandler, ditto for Nene, DeAndre Jordan and Marc Gasol. What’s the consolation? Say hello to your 2011-2012 starting center, Kwame Brown! OK maybe he's not starting but damn, Kwame Brown? How many teams must he underachieve for? He's proving that if your seven feet and you can run, you're guaranteed a lucrative NBA contract. This team has got some talent, Stephen Curry, Monta Ellis, Dorell Wright, David Lee (who started off last season poor but finished strong). Ekpe Udoh was the team’s best interior defender last year and he’s only getting better.
10) Houston Rockets
Here are the innocent bystanders that unfortunately got caught in David Stern’s cross-hairs. They’ve been stockpiling assets for years waiting for the right time to go big and become legit western conference contenders. When they finally got the deal they wanted, Bossman Stern did his best Lee Corso impersonation, “Not so fast my friend.” Tsk tsk. Still, there are a lot of solid guys on this roster and they should compete for a playoff spot again.
In light of the new information on Stern and how much he signed off on before the infamous “No Deal” move, how fishy is a situation where the league owns a franchise? The conflict of interest was so glaring that the Zenmaster himself questioned what would happen when Chris Paul inevitably said he wanted out. Why hasn’t he been reimbursed for being fined for that statement? Where is the justice? And what is your take on the myth that small market teams have no chance in today’s NBA?
9) Denver Nuggets
Can’t figure out what to think about this team. First things first, they need to resign Aaron Afflalo. On the plus side, they go two deep at every position. On the negative side, it’s a team of solid starters and role players. Unless you’re the 2001-2007 Pistons, that’s really not gonna get you anywhere. There is a rookie forward from Nigeria named Chukwudiebere Maduabum on this team. I have no idea who he is but I’m excited to see him get garbage time minutes. Other than that, this is an adequate team that will challenge for a playoff spot, only to get ram-sacked in the first round.