It may not seem like it, considering the Indian summer we’ve had in Chicago, but the NBA season is right around the corner. I know most hoops fans would argue that the season started back in July when LeQuit James took his talents to South Beach. I’m sure there was more than one player who immediately set his sights on taking down the 3 douche lords in Miami. With the season upon us, I’ve decided to compile a list of the top 23(are you surprised I came up with that number?) players-storylines-teams for the 2010-2011 NBA season. I’m trying to get every NBA fan to loathe the Miami Heat, so as you read this, just picture LeQuit at “The Decision.” I’m convinced you’ll equal my level of disgust by the time we get to number 16.
23. ESPN Starting “The Heat Index” Website
As if “the worldwide leader” wasn’t over the top enough, they are subjecting real NBA fans to their typical over the top garbage with this new website. They are having Jemele Hill follow the team off the court, John Hollinger and his asinine PER stat bore us to death with idiotic numbers. They even hired that slob Brian Windhorst who’s followed LeQuit like a lap dog for the last 7 years. The Boo-Yaa network has never stooped so low. It’s an insult to every other team in the league. Hey ESPN, thanks for providing Kobe with even more motivation. Can some computer hacker please hack into “the Heat index” and make sure every laptop gets a virus upon entering that age? That’s not too much to ask is it?
Side Note: Hollinger is the same guy who claimed the OKC Thunder with Kevin Durant off the floor and ranked John Wall out of the top 100 players in college basketball last season. Keep doing your thing, John.
22. The Young Sacramento Kings
It’s hard to get noticed in Sac-Town, but that should change this year. Tyreke Evans is a potential top 10 player in the league, and DeMarcus Cousins has all world potential if he keeps his head on straight. Jason Thompson can be a solid stretch 4 to play off Cousins and Omri Casspi has a lot of talent at the 3 spot. Paul Westphal will have to mold this into more than a collection of talent, but the base is there. It will all come down to Cousins though. If he matures on and off the court, he has the ability to dominate the center position. That remains a huge question mark. Evans may not be a true point guard, but he is the definition of a combo guard. He has 24-7-7 potential for this exciting young team.
21. Michael Jordan Returns In NBA2K11
I don’t need to say much if you have played this game. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? Do you not know that you can relive all of MJ’s greatest moments? Do you not know that you can play with some of the best teams in NBA history? Feel free to stop reading this right now and go pick it up. I won’t hold it against you.
20. Can Dwight Howard Lead the Magic To A Title?
I was happy to learn that Howard spent time this summer working with Hakeem Olajuwon. I criticized him for not playing in the FIBA world championships and, rightfully, so. If he could have one go- to move in the post I wouldn’t mind, but he hasn’t. He has looked better offensively so far in the preseason, and will need to develop two moves to become a player that can lead a team to a title. If this is the player Howard will always be, he will be viewed as a disappointment. He has entirely too much physical ability to not dominate people like ’96 Shaq did. He’ll never reach ’00 Shaq level, but then again, who will?
19. The New York Media
I can ramble on for 3,500 words on these ass-hats, but I’ll hold off…..for now. The way they handled themselves “pre decision” was an embarrassment(I’m looking at you Frank Isola). They assumed because New York was, well, “New York” that LeQuit was going to sign with the lowly Knicks. When he didn’t, they ripped him for being afraid of the big stage of New York and Madison Square Garden. I’ll agree that James wanted no part of that media circus, but to think that he was afraid of the big stage is ridiculous. Hey Isola, he didn’t go there because the Knicks have a dog shit roster and a coach who enjoys teaching defense as much as a colonoscopy. Big stage my ass. And screw Spike Lee for thinking the same thing. Here’s the reality; today’s players want nothing to do with that team, market, owner, and media. By creating the monster that is New York sports, you’ve turned off pretty much every NBA player. Before you say “well, Amare signed here”, remember that the desperate Knicks were the only team who didn’t require him to insure his surgically repaired knee. That’s why he took the hideous $100 million contract. Enjoy that in two years when Amare needs another microfracture knee surgery.
18. The Remains Of The Raptors & Cavs
If you want early money on who will have the 1st pick in the 2011 NBA draft, here are your top options(along with the T-Wolves). The Raptors have a team of soft big men and wing players, and the Cavs have….um, well nothing. It’s not a stretch to think that either of these bum squads will have a legitimate chance to break the ’73 76ers record of 9-73. That’s saying a lot, but check out those rosters real quick. Just don’t do it immediately after you eat.
17. Are the Spurs Finally Finished?
I’ve written them off for the last two years. Tim Duncan has reportedly lost 15 pounds and looks to be in great shape. Like Charles Barkley said….”Old players don’t get healthy, they die.” Well said, Chuck. Duncan has reached that point in his career. He has played in 1,093 games including playoffs entering this season. He has played 40,499 minutes in his career including playoffs. Wear and tear has caught up with The Big Fundamental. It’s not his fault, it’s just what happens to NBA players. This team will make the playoffs, but the time has come to break this team up and start over. We’ll get to a potential Tony Parker trade in a minute. Have you gone and picked up NBA2K11 yet? What? What are you waiting for?!
16. Breakthrough Players
I always love seeing young talent burst onto the scene, and that won’t change this season. Darren Collison gets a chance to run the show for the Pacers. I know what you’re saying, “the Pacers have another brother on their squad!” It’s about time because you had to feel for Danny Granger and Brandon Rush. You can’t win in the NBA with more than 4 white rotation guys on your team, you just can’t.
Russell Westbrook: How good will the Durant-Westbrook combo be?! Westbrook turned it on as the world championships progressed. It led some to think that OKC has not only the best player in the world, but possibly the best point guard as well.
Brandon Jennings: The Skiles effect will help the young Buck tremendously in year 2.
John Wall & JaVale McGee: If only the Wizards weren’t saddled with Gilbert Arenas’ carcass and horrific contract. I also have to mention that Agent Asshole faked an injury so Nick Young could start in his place. Look, I’m not gullible enough to think this is the first time an NBA player faked an injury. I’m just shocked Arenas is dumb enough to talk about it. I feel for you John Wall, I really do.
Evan Turner: Turner will grow tired of Doug Collins two years from now, but his game will grow under Collins’ tutelage.
15. Can Dirk Nowitzki Lead The Mavs To The Finals?
No. We learned in the ’06 finals that Dirk wasn’t a guy to lead you to a title. His window slammed shut in ’07 as “the MVP” got bounced in the first round by an 8 seed. It will be another disappointing end to the season for Mark Cuban’s annoying ass.
14. Blake Griffin Is Ready To Dominate & Win R.O.Y.
Unless, of course, the Clippers curse strikes again. Griffin is back to his explosive self this preseason and in prime position to win rookie of the year honors. Only two things can hold him back; Baron Davis’ selfishness and Vinny Del Moron’s coaching. Those are two massive hindrances for Griffin. If Baron is engaged and Vinny finds a coaching DVD, Griffin will have a fantastic season and average 16+ pts, 10+ reb, & 3 blocks.
13. Brooke Lopez Gives The Nets A Player To Build Around
Averaging 20 & 12 is definitely possible for the improving big man. He increased his points from 13 as a rookie to 18 last year, and he shoots 80% from the line(how many centers do that?). The Nets struck out in the LeQuit derby, but with Derrick Favors(I love this kid’s game), Devin Harris and Lopez, they have a nice future. I wouldn’t go after Carmelo if I’m them because Melo has let it be known he doesn’t want to sign an extension there. I’d go with what they have and, hopefully, grab another lottery pick next June. Does trading for Melo and giving up Harris and Favors bring you closer to a title? There are still too many holes on this team to make that move. Lopez has the potential to turn into a franchise player, but he’ll need Favors next to him and Harris getting him the ball.
12. Stephen Curry Gives Warriors Fans Hope For The Future
The only thing Warriors fans are more excited about is Don Nelson, finally, retreating back to Hawaii. Curry not only proved he can handle the point guard spot in the league, he showed he can thrive. Adding David Lee will only help him further develop. He will benefit from playing for Team USA like all of the young stars have before him. Averaging 20-7-5 is possible for Curry this season as long as Monta Ellis doesn’t hog the ball. With one of the best strokes in the league, Curry is tough for most guards to stop. He’s also a top 10 fantasy player for all of you fantasy hoop players out there.Yes, I still laugh at the Knicks not getting a point guard in the ’09 draft when there were 5 to be had. It remains comical.
11. Who Gets Traded & When?
Carmelo Anthony tops the potential trade list and it’s only a matter of time before he finds a new home. He still wants to be traded to New York or Chicago. Hey Pax, what are you waiting for?! Tony Parker is also a possibility, although not to the Knicks despite Parker’s wishes. Chris Paul could get moved as well if the Hornets play as poorly as they have in preseason. It’s always rumor central in the NBA, and expect those loud mouths in the New York media(see number 19 again) to put the Knicks right at the forefront of all of it.
10. Can Dwyane Wade Stay Healthy?
As a guy who loathes Wade as much as LeDiva, I’m hoping not. That’s cynical I know, but the way Wade played the Bulls this summer makes it acceptable. Wade is a conniving snake(much like Pat Riley) and karma has already caught up with him. The pounding he took early in his career will eventually take it’s toll, and I’m hoping the sooner the better. Sue me.
9. Will “Experts” Stop Calling Chris Bosh A Superstar?
You would think Bosh is Tim Duncan they way he’s been covered this summer. In reality he was the guy to get if you wanted Wade and or James. He openly quit on his Raptors teammates last season, and has appeared in 11 playoff games and won a whopping 3 of those playoff tilts. If that is the definition of a superstar, then this league is in trouble. He will live off the double teams of James & Wade, but stop calling him a franchise player. Real franchise players-superstars don’t quit. Yea LeDiva, I’m looking at you too. Don’t worry, we’re about to get to the biggest bitch in the league.
8. Do The Celtics Have One More Run In Them?
It’s all on Kevin Garnett. He won’t ever regain ’08 KG form, but if he is better than last year’s version, the Celtics can make another run. I’m also curious to see how Rajon Rondo uses his Team USA cut as motivation? He needs to continue leading this team and make it his.
7. Carmelo Anthony
The apple of every Knicks fans eye. After being left at the alter by the 3 douche lords, Knicks fans are praying that Melo will come to NY. He might if LaLa is running his career, but if he wants to win titles, why would he? Is a Melo-Amare pair good enough to win a title? That’s as likely as the Hornets sending CP3 to NY for a garbage package they’ll try and put together. Melo wants NY or Chicago, and it’s a matter of time before the Nuggets have to send him where he wants to go. Whatever they get in return will be better than losing him for nothing next summer or better than what the Raptors and Cavs got for their “superstars” this summer. The Nuggets will learn the hard way that the longer they wait, the less they’ll be offered for one of the game’s best 5 players.
6. Derrick Rose & Joakim Noah
The Bulls two best players have been outstanding so far in preseason. The Bulls finally have a coach in Tom Thibodeau, and it’s already paying off. They are a more organized team, a better defensive team, and a better passing team. It’s funny what a quality coach can bring, huh? Thibodeau’s no nonsense approach is blessing to any Bulls fan who has suffered through “the Vinny years.” Noah will show he was worth the $60 million dollar extension and Rose will become one of the ten best players in the league. I have him there already, but the national media will come around by the all-star game. Having said that(Larry David voice), this team is still stuck in basketball hell. They will be fun to watch, they will be better than last year’s version, but I wasn’t kidding when I called them the 2nd round Bulls. They need to find a way to acquire Carmelo if they want to compete for a title. Take a look at every NBA championship team since ’80. Except for the anomaly that was the ’04 Pistons, they all had two superstars. I’ll ask the question again…..what are you more likely to find, a defensive minded center who plays his ass off, or a 26 year old scoring machine who will guarantee you 28 a game? I’s not up for debate. Remember this Bulls fans who think Noah is Bill Russell…..The Bulls had a defensive minded center in Tyson Chandler. They do come around ya know. I love Noah, but to not want to give him up for Melo is almost as basketball stupid as the league’s new technical foul rule.
5. LeQuit James’ Legacy
James’ quest to become a global icon might still be possible, but he will never be considered an all time great player. How can he, the way he backed down from the pressure of leading a team to a title? He took the A-Rod way out. He joined a loaded team with dreams of fitting in with his friends and recreating the college experience he never had. Along the way, he ripped his hometown’s heart out, made NBA teams kiss his ass, killed his image, turned fans against him in one horrible hour, and played the race card after it all. Tell me, who had a worse summer than him? You couldn’t script becoming the biggest heel in the NBA if you tried. He may win titles in Miami, but he will have an empty feeling when he sits on his throne all by himself.
4. The Heat’s Expectations
They can say they aren’t the favorites, but when you have a championship party before you play a game, that goes out the window. The pressure has started already and that team feels it. James & Wade went at each other in camp like it was the finals, and the result was a hamstring injury to Wade that still has him out. James tightened up and left with a hamstring cramp as well. The pressure will only magnify, and it will be fascinating to see how they respond. Count me in the 99.6% of NBA fans rooting for a complete disaster. Even if healthy, I’m not buying this team as capable of beating the two-time defending champs in the finals. If they get that far.
3. Kobe’s Quest For Ring #6
You know that The Mamba watched James’ Decision and said to himself “okay, it’s on.” Not that he needed the extra motivation, but these are the things that keeps Bryant going. He wants that 6th ring as much as a guy wants to have sex with a girl that he’s taken out 4 separate times without getting any ass. He will never be Jordan’s equal as a player, but he’s already established himself as a top 10 player ever, and can seal his legacy as the 3rd best guard in NBA history.
2. Phil Jackson’s Attempt For A 4th 3-Peat
11 rings and counting for the greatest coach in NBA history. The thought of a 4th 3-peat is insane. We will never see a coach like Jackson again, and if this is his last hurrah, I’m sure he will go out on top. With the additions of Matt Barnes and Steve Blake, the Lakers are deeper than last year’s squad. If Andrew Bynum can get his head out of his ass, lookout. Only Dwyane Wade’s Miami Hate’s can make the two-time champs the underdog. The Zen Master has to love that.
1. Kevin Durant Is About To Take Over The League
You thought I would forget about my man crush, didn’t you? When I started making out this list, the first thing I did was put Durant at number 1. His performance in the world championships was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in international play. He carried the U.S. team, and made it look easy. The great thing about him is that he is the anti LeDiva James. James invited Durant out the night before the Heat-Thunder preseason game and Durant said “I don’t go out the night before a game.” That’s the difference right there. This kid is married to the game. There is no off the court garbage with him. He is all basketball all the time. Durant and Derrick Rose are the perfect face guys for the league going forward. The league could use it, after the tarnish that James, Bosh , & Wade put on it this summer. I also love that you aren’t hearing rumors about which big city he is looking to take his talents to. He fits in well in OKC, loves his teammates, embraces his alpha dog role, and knows that the grass isn’t always greener someplace else. He isn’t just the # 1 storyline on this NBA season. He is one of the faces of the league for the next decade. Real NBA fans should love that. Just sit back and enjoy The Durantula Ride.