By: Blake Probert
There are only a few things guaranteed to send me off the deep end; that can elicit a swift and acrimonious rebuttal from me. They essentially boil down to:
- Any criticism of Pearl Jam
- Any criticism of Russell Westbrook
- Saying anything remotely kind about Kevin Durant
- Calling the NBA boring
That’s right, nearly 1,000 words passionately defending Tom Brady and it’s not even a top five trigger issue for me. Plenty of stuff gets me going, but those are the big five. So, when one of my colleagues here at BanterCamp implies that no one is hyped for the upcoming NBA season, well…the battle lines get drawn. It’s time for a good ol’ fashion Captain America vs. Iron Man style teammate fight.
Let us start by getting what should already be obvious out of the way. Hopefully, you gathered something important from points two and three on the list above:
I hope Kevin Durant falls down a well.
KD and I went through a bitter divorce on July 4, 2016 and only one of us knows about it. The Oklahoma City Thunder fan in me is incapable of responding rationally to anything Durant and the Warriors do. I sports hate them. All of them. But, as much as I desperately want them to fail, they provide something all the best stories need: a great antagonist.
Yes, the Warriors are the favorites. Sure, adding Boogie Cousins made me sick to my stomach; even if he’s healing from an injury few come all the way back from. There is no reason to believe Golden State won’t go on to win another title, assuming they’re healthy. It’s true.
If you’re a fan of anyone other than GS though, you’re dying to see it happen, right? Yearning for someone to put together the players and strategy to topple this evil empire? Praying that they fall victim to infighting that cripples their season and leads to schadenfreude so delicious you could serve it for dessert? I’m personally willing to trade possessions, limbs and years off my life for it.
The thing is, there are teams capable of doing it, even if they’re few and far between. The Boston Celtics can’t match the Warriors in star power, but they have the depth and wing defenders to cause GS a lot of issues. My beloved Thunder have assembled a very intriguing core built around defense, Paul George and all of Russell Westbrook’s fury. Hell, the Rockets are still kicking around, down in Texas. Even if I hate the majority of their moves in the off season, they had the Warriors on the ropes last year and still employ the reigning MVP, James Harden.
The Warriors and the teams vying to take them down is just one story line in a league full of them though. The NBA is such an entertaining league because it is driven by the personalities of its diverse cast of stars. I dare say it’s the best league because its stars wield the most power of any professional sport…that feels like a great tease for something else you want to write, Blake. It sure does, Other Blake.
I’m 500+ words into a “bit” about hyping the NBA up and I haven’t even mentioned that the world’s best basketball player joined the Association’s most famous franchise for God’s sake. That feels like it might be an intriguing thing to watch play out. Quick rundown of other dope things to keep an eye on this year:
- Kawhi Leonard in Toronto/the Raptors’ quest to resign him
- Kristaps Porzingas returning from injury in NYC
- Giannis Antetokounmpo’s rise to legit MVP candidate
- What do the Pelicans do with Anthony Davis
- Does Jimmy Butler get traded
- How much better can the 76er’s get
- Can the Spurs’ infrastructure withstand losing the aforementioned Kawhi
And that’s just the most basic stuff I can think of. NBA dorks like me want to see what young teams like Denver and Phoenix look like. We want to hear whispers about expansion teams in Seattle and Kansas City. We want to watch Dirk Nowitzki mentor young Luca Doncic in Dallas and see guys throw shade on Twitter. Seriously, NBA Twitter is some of the best entertainment that exists… and there’s a hundred other things and players that aren’t a big deal to the outside world yet.
So, unnamed person (maybe I can get him out of hiding so he can publicly claim responsibility for this atrocious point of view), enjoy giving basketball the cold shoulder during October and November. Those months aren’t for you anyway. They’re for us nerds. We’ll watch the teams gel and the story lines develop until Christmas Day because that’s when the season really fires up for you “normies”. Once it does though, everyone better hold on to their hats. This figures to be a very entertaining year.
Quick PS to everyone who’s going to complain about how they don’t play defense in the NBA during the regular season, or hasn’t watched a game since Michael Jordan retired.
To point one, I say this– You adopted this take 10 or more years ago and its short-hand for “I don’t actually watch any NBA games.” Of course guys coast a bit on some plays or even some nights. Congrats on giving 110% at your job every single minute of every single day, you ja-broni.
As for point two, well… why don’t you just quiet down with your old man takes, grandpa.