Sure it’s like a week or so late. As I sit here writing this, I’m literally standing in Target with a giant stuffed unicorn head and a Kristaps Porizingis jersey in my cart, putting together my Halloween costume.
Last year we were a couple of days late, so we’re trending towards getting this out at Thanksgiving next year and then in 2020, by Christmas), but come on. We have kids and family obligations and jobs and stuff. And we’re Knicks and Clippers fans, for chrissakes; when we started this column, we were still watching the World Series. Especially Wai.
But let’s do this. Because NBA action IS fantastic.
So Wai, can you take us away and kick us off? We will get to our players and teams to watch, sleeper picks, MVP and rookie picks, and sure-to-be-wrong-but-we-won’t-
(Last year, Wai predicted THE CLIPPERS would win. Even though I told him about the Warriors and reminded him several times that Durant went there. Oops. I went back and checked).
Look, I realize the NBA season started a couple weeks ago but it started a couple weeks ago!
The NBA in all its glorified wisdom moved the start of the season a couple weeks ahead of time to limit 4 games in five nights and back-to-back road games…and what happened. They are going up against The Greatest World Series of All-Time. Every game is a nail biter, every inning twists and turns more than Charles Oakley’s fight with James Dolan. After five games, nobody knows anything except the balls are juiced. yeah that’s right I said it. The only reason Houston has a 3 games to 2 lead in the World Series is because MLB decided it needed to spice things up a bit and give an even bigger advantage to the most offensive dynamic team in baseball history. We’ve had two epic games (Games 2 and 5), two historic pitching battles (Games 1 and 4), two games in October that started over 100 degrees. This thing has it all!
As a Dodger fan, I can’t contain my anxiety, excitement and overall hatred of the suspense. It was much better when Los Angeles hadn’t been in the World Series in 29 years and I could just enjoy the series as a normal fan fantasizing about what could have been. This is terrible.
(Editor’s Spoiler Alert: They lose, Wai. Sorry.)
Anyways, Cleveland and Golden State are struggling to start the year (typical).
The Clippers are off to a hot start (of course).
We’ve seen one of the most gruesome injuries ever–the image haunts my brain.
And there’s a unicorn taking the NBA by storm…except that unicorn isn’t in New York, but rather Milwaukee. The Greek Freak, Giannis Antetoukompo (spelling?) is here and I believe, I don’t have confirmation, but I believe they have already engraved his name on the MVP trophy.
I love the T-Wolves to make the playoffs, get ousted in the first round but come back next year to battle Golden State for the Western Conference crown.
I think Philly will win around 35 games, just miss the playoffs, but the process has been started and it’s time to start trusting it.
Blake Griffin will challenge Giannis for MVP and have a 25-10-6 type line for the season.
The Clippers will surprise everyone and finish with a top 4 seed only to lose in the first round once Griffin has his annual season-ending postseason injury.
The Raptors will plummet. The Bucks will rise.
DeAngelo Russell will have a breakout season but no one will notice because he’s playing in Brooklyn.
Ben Simmons will win rookie of the year and be the most exciting youngster to come out of Philly since AI.
Cavs will make a mid-season trade win the East and face Golden State…again.
Warriors win. again.
It will be as expected but unlike the NFL, every night will provide us with earth shattering, mind bending, rim-rocking entertainment, which will lead the NBA to surpass the NFL in popularity which will be the biggest upset of all.
What do you think Mike?
Oh, look, we’re doing an NBA Preview Column, and a Wold Series Column breaks out! That said, holy cow, Game 5. Good lord, was that a baseball game.
As for your NBA related points:
Yes – Giannis Antetekonpou (spelling?) is being fitted for his MVP Trophy; he has elevated his game even further. A 6 foot 11 guy who can get from one end of the court to the other in two strides, and now absolutely chiseled by the way, running the point for Jason Kidd and he can even shot?! Unfair.
But its not like we didn’t see this coming. And by “we,” of course, I mean me. Let’s take a quick look back, shall we, to last year’s column:
Wai: The Clippers will win the NBA Title! 2017 would be “The Year of the Clippers,” he said.
Kasdan: “I’m also hoping that with a full year of the Let the 6 foot 11 Greek Freak run the Point Experiment, this will be the Year of Giannis Antetokounpo.”
Wow. How about THAT?
At any rate, let’s not rob Kristaps Porzingis of his nickname quite yet, because there is a Unicorn Rising in New York City. Over 30 points in 5 of 6 games? Threes from the logo. Shake and bake moves on the baseline that are sending Walt Clyde Frazier into zen states of rhyming. Blocking shots with reckless abandon. Leading a Knicks team that just beat Cleveland on the road and then Denver at home? Me likey. Ewing Theory, anyone? Well, it probably won’t last, but right now … it’s FAN-tastic!
I also like Ben Simmons and The Process to team to do some nice things in The City of Brotherly Love. And can we pause for a moment to talk about just how much fun Joel Embiid is. He showed up at the World Series wearing full Dodgers uniform and then rooted for the Astros. He’s decimating Hassan Whiteside…in the paint..and then on Twitter. Dude is just loving life. Good energy. Good juju.
As for who will win – the Warriors – its really too early to say – the Warriors. I mean the thing I love about the NBA in 2017-2018 is – the Warriors – parity. The Warriors are slumping a little bit, but I love the addition of Bell – the rookie who defends, rebounds and can jump out of the gym. They’re probably right the ship – the Warriors.
But should see stiff competition from the Spurs if Kawhi Leonard ever returns – nah – the Rockets – once Paul gets healthy – meh – and even the retooled Big Three OKC Thunder, with Russ, Paul George, and Hoody Melo – not a chance of beating the warriors. And then there’s the Cavs. They’re still going to be there – yeah maybe they’d have a chance with LeBron, Rose, and Wade if this were 2007, but its 2017, so…nope. Warriors. Warriors. Warriors.
The cool thing about the League is, there are some other non-Process-based young up and coming teams that are fun to watch – the Anthony Davis-Boogie Cousins Pelicans, the Minnesota T-Wolves, and the Greek Freak Bucks are a few that come to mind.
There is so much young talent in the NBA, for the first time since I can remember there is more buzz about professional basketball than there is about professional football. Robert Goodell’s mishandling of the league the last four years is finally starting to show–like an infection that has begun to spread. In the NBA, despite outspoken voices against the current administration from both coaches and players, there has been no blackballed collusion, no owners trying to undermine Adam Silver, no in-fighting between political stances in the locker room and no inmates. The biggest controversy off the court was actually on the court when Chicago’s Bobby Portis hit teammate Nicola Mirotic so hard he is considering leaving the NBA and going back to Europe. Even Lavar Ball has calmed down his antics.
Don’t think I ignored your so-called “prediction”! Prognosticating 2016-17 season as “The Year of Giannis Antetokounpo” does not carry over! You sound like a certain orange dumpling who says things with no fear of repercussions. Is someone going to have to delete your Twitter account for 11 minutes? There are rules here!
I will indulge your Porzingis hype. The guy looks to be completely comfortable taking the next step. My only issue is everytime he shifts his weight I expect him to crumble in a heap of peanut brittle. I’m really looking forward to the twilight years of the Porzingis era, when the wiry 7-3 stretch 4 is forced down on the block because he’s ballooned to a comfortable Mark Eaton-esque figure. Did you know Celtics coach Brad Stevens has the Porzingis stopper. His name is Marcus Smart. His height is 6-4. Until the Latvian can handle point guards Deeing him up, please reserve all fevered hype.
So we both see Cleveland and Golden State in the Finals. But who you got for the other awards? Most Improved. Sixth Man. MVP? When will LeBron take a selfie in the mirror and wax poetically about self-reflection? Who will be the first one to silence LaVar Ball?
I’m not sure that’s true. For all the talk about the NFL’s problems, from the anthem protests to head injuries to off the field incidents, they are still – by far – the most popular sport in the country, I believe. But for me, watching the nightly array of other-wordly athleticism and highlights and big fun personalities coming out of the NBA…it’s no contest! (Joel Embiid, come on down!)
Thank you for indulging me in the Porzingis hype. I’ll take my Unicorn thank-you-very-much.
I don’t know about Cleveland for the Finals. LeBron certainly served notice this week, with a dominating 57 point near triple double effort against the Wizards. But the supporting cast there — an old Rose, an old Wade, a so-so Love. I don’t know if its good enough. Not that there are any other powerhouses that look to be coming out of the East. I do enjoy the Wall-Beal Wizards, but they seem a few pieces away. And the Celtics will be there fighting, I guess. But I can’t get all that excited about them.
As for Golden State, they’re also off to a slow start, but they have all the pieces and then some, and I think they will get by the teams like Houston and OKC that added pieces, and the aging Spurs. Hard to assess the Spurs so far, since Kawhi Leonard has yet to play a game.
Here are some guys I like for most improved so far:
Victor Oladipo, who seems to be reborn on the Pacers.
Giannis, who is looking like the potential MVP is also massively improved.
Or how about, big man, Myles Turner, also out in Indiana. He looks special.
Sixth Man, I can’t really get excited about. There is no Detlef Schrempf or Vinnie ‘Microwave’ Johnson out there. Jamal Crawford? Iggy? I don’t know.
MVP: (1) Giannis; (2) LeBron; (3) Westbrook; (4) Harden.
Ball Silencer: N/A. There is no such person. Although, you know who’s doing a pretty good job? Lonzo, because he’s putting up some WEAK lines. Not a lot to talk about there 🙂
Hey, hey, hey…easy on the Lonzo hate. He’s just a kid who has a dad trying to steal some of his son’s limelight. Who among us hasn’t yelled at a female reporter to tell her “Stay in yo lane” only to then sell that line on a t-shirt for $20-$40. And as much as Lonzo’s lines aren’t earth-shattering, what is the expected averages for a rookie point guard. I think we both could say that starting rookie point guard is the hardest position in basketball. Having said that, Lonzo is still averaging 9, 6 and 7, the Lakers are 5-5 and look almost competitive. (please excuse me, I’m going to wash in tomato juice and kerosene, whilst mimicking Ace Ventura)
How about Boston? Should we just start calling Brad Stevens, Brad Stevopovich? Gordon Hayward goes down in quarter number one and his team has won eight in a row. They look like the best team in the East, and still have assets to trade should they decide to make a mid-season move. Wait, who am I kidding, Danny Ainge holds on to draft picks like Sloth covets Baby Ruths.
So we both say Golden State..hooray! We both kind of think Cleveland will represent the East, even though they win about as much as Trump does these days. The only thing we seem to disagree about is who is the Real Unicorn. Two grown men arguing about unicorns. Just how I like it.
Only time will tell, Michael.
It reminds me of that song, Wai. That one by TLC that was big back in 1994. “Don’t go chasing…Unicorns.”
Oh wait. It was waterfalls.
Anyway, I guess that’s
err – Watch.
Photo Credit: Associated Press/File