What happens when football is over and wake up to realize you’re missing one of the best seasons in NBA history? You start emailing to get caught up with friends. Take a spin inside the minds of Good Men Project Sports, as they riff from the NBA to Downton Abby to Seinfeld.
Sports Editors Wai Sallas and Michael Kasdan open a window into the workings of their collective minds as they wind their way through a discussion that starts with the 2015 NBA season and goes to a great many other places. Welcome To The Terror Dome:
I don’t know if you know this, but the NBA season started last October and I think there must be some mistake. I looked at the conference standings as the league heads into the All-Star break and The Atlanta Hawks are leading the East, followed by Toronto and Washington! Golden State has only nine losses and is 23-2 at home. What in the name of Giannis Antetokounmpo is going on in basketball this year?”
Welcome back Wai van Winkle,
Glad you woke up from your football-induced slumber. It must be that Goodell – like Colonel Sanders – puts addictive chemicals in his product that makes people crave it to the exclusion of all other good things.
Don’t worry, some things are exactly the same. The Knicks, for example, are The Suck. They are so bad in fact, that the New York Times released their Knicks beat writer from his post and are allowing him to travel the country in search of actual good basketball. The Sixers are in what seems like Year Seven of their “tank so we can get a high draft pick” strategy.
But to a certain extent the times are a-changin’ in The Association. A new brand of player, heralded by KD, is now emerging. Anthony Davis is leading the way. As is your boy, The Greek Freak.
As you noted, strange things are a foot at the Circle K. The Atlanta Hawks are channeling the spirit of Boris Diaw and have morphed into San Antonio Spurs East. And the Warriors are a Beast. It’s better than the days of Run TMC. Steph Curry is an MVP candidate, absolutely lethal, and is poised to be the (baby)face of the NBA. His back-court partner Klay Thompson has already gone Reggie Miller this season with a 37 point quarter (!!) earlier this season.
As some guy’s barber said: “Klay Thompson’s the best shooter in the NBA, but he’s not even the best shooter on his own team.”
Yup. It sure is confusing.
I can almost envision Goodell with a sinister mustache clutching his hands as he watches his plan unfold.
So are the Knicks joining Tankathon 2015? Is it just a two man race for futility between the Sixers and the Knicks?
Speaking of futility, Atlanta hasn’t witnessed a title in one of the four major leagues since 1995, Oakland since 1989. Can one of then actually throw caution to the wind, and actually win the whole dang thing?
And should I be worried about the rapture?
My vision is less sinister mustache guy and more Mr. Burns. “Excellent, Smithers. Exxxxxcellent.”
What’s that you say? Raptors?
I know! It’s crazy. Canada! Relevant for the first time since T Mac and Vinsanity. (Actually they weren’t all that relevant then.)
Oh. You said “rapture.”
I’m going to table the question about Knicks/Sixers race to the bottom. It’s too darned depressing. As a Knicks fan, the highlight of the season is getting an actual lottery pick that they own. And don’t even get me started on Dolan. Help me Adam Silver. You’re our only hope.
1989. Wow. That was the Bash Brothers A’s. The dynasty that wasn’t.
And the 1995 Braves. That would be the “Chick’s Dig The Long Ball” pitching staff of Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz. Mmmm.
Oh wait. Was there a basketball related question pending?
You really want your brain to go into knots, follow this train:
The ’89 A’s ushered in the steroid era, which elevated the popularity of baseball. The biggest names from that era were Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens. Bonds went to Arizona State.
Golden State’s head coach Steve Kerr went to Bonds’ Rival school University of Arizona, and played with former MLB player Kenny Lofton. Lofton played for the Atlanta Braves in ’97, but more importantly played for the Indians in ’95. The Indians lost to Atlanta in the ’95 World Series.
This world man, it’s all connected, man.
Wow. I think you just invented Six Degrees of Kenny Lofton. Kevin Bacon just called. He wants his game back . . .
But I digress. Who do you like as we get ready to start the second half? If gambling were legal, who’s the smart money on?
So many thoughts.
Out of the East, I like the Bulls and Love the Flying Lebrons. See what I did there? Love. Kevin Love! But more importantly, Kyrie Irving is coming into his own.
The West? So many possibilities. The below the radar Spurs will be there. The Beard is having an MVP quality offensive season in Houston. It would be good if he would occasionally play defense. But Dwight Howard can erase a lot of mistakes. And then you have the Blazers. Lillard may be the most clutch player in the League. The Grizzlies. The Clippers (that Blake Griffin injury could hurt).
NBA Action. It’s Faaaaaaantastic. No steroids. No concussions. A new Era of super stars seamlessly sliding in. International appeal. The beat goes on . . .
Mr. Silver is sitting on a goldmine. What could possibly go wrong?
You may have just released the ultimate jinx. Get ready for a lot of sternly written emails. No pun intended.
(And that pun was completely intended. The ghost of David Stern is always watching over all NBA related endeavors…so take heed.)
So based on your expert analysis, almost half the teams in the NBA have a chance of winning it all except the Hawks and Dubs.
Well. Right. I forgot about those two. Short term memory problem.
Take heart in the fact that in terms of sports predictions I’m reliably always wrong. It’s like George Costanza. Do the opposite.
So basically I’ve just guaranteed a Warriors vs. Hawks Finals matchup.
It only makes sense. The NBA is never a league where a team comes out of nowhere to win it all. In the 80s and 90s, Pistons paid their dues to the Celtics, Bulls paid their dues to the Pistons. In the late nineties, the Lakers couldn’t get past the Jazz before winning three straight. I think the Rip Hamilton/Chauncey Billups Pistons played in something around 27 Eastern Conference Championship games (approximate number). Every team since has flirted with a championship before finally winning it all.
See. Exactly. That’s what I meant.
So would a Hawks-Warriors Finals be the most improbable Finals ever? And at the same time the least watched series in the modern era? And if it does happen, should I invest in gold?
Adam Silver would do everything in his power to stop it. It could not be.
Downton Abby would slaughter it in the ratings. “The Dowager! She’s Faaaantastic!”
Speaking of Downton, that Mr. Bates is getting to be a bit too sinister for my comfort level. I’m starting to think there was a Goodell-sanctioned bounty on Mr. Green and Mr. Bates was complicit.
Although, a Golden State-Chicago Finals would be a ratings bonanza!
Downton would get smashed much like Mr. Mosley in Season Three’s cricket match.
Uh oh. I played the Downton card without really knowing anything about the show. Truth be told, I don’t watch. I just like Maggie Smith. I’m too busy editing Sports posts for The Good Men Project on Sunday evenings. Ack. I’ve been exposed.
Gathering myself again to say hopefully smart basketball things…
Things just got awkward. Now I’ve been exposed for watching a soap opera disguised as a drama.
As you were.
Is this the best first half of basketball since the Magic, Larry & Michael roamed the hardwood?
I feel like I’ve missed something truly great, like The Contest episode of Seinfeld.
“It’s not you it’s me.” Look up *that* episode of Seinfeld.
I’m not prepared to make grandiose statements like that. I can’t even remember 1/10th of the incredible games, series, and plays I’ve seen since that Magic-Larry-Michael era.
But the NBA is clearly in good hands. A strong crop of new stars. Oodles of talent and athleticism top to bottom, for the most part. Strong stewardship at the top.
Warriors vs. Hawks in the Finals? I’ll be there watching.
I’m in. The excitement for the NBA is real. And it’s spectacular.
Photo Credit: reddit.com