The NBA’s nearly back and it’s got us doing the church Nae Nae in anticipation. However, when we’re not showing praise for the game, we bide our team with basketball debates because that’s what hoops
nerds enthusiasts do. Take a look at our stances on everything from J.R. Smith’s place in the triangle to NorBeL’s hairline. Maybe Carlos Boozer can introduce him to his hair paint specialist?
1. Can Portland finally turn the corner this year or are they the Western Conference Hawks?
Damien Lillard’s a star now and LaMarcus Aldridge remains as an easy top five power forward. However, legacy issues with depth stomp out the Blazers’ aim to be contenders. Portland’s front office hasn’t made any roster changes to address the team’s league-worst bench ppg despite touting a league best ppg for starters. There’s also the case of Damien being a suspect defender so we have to wait and see if he can improve on that front.
Also Damien Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge rack up huge minutes the past two seasons: about 36 and 38 per game respectively. I’m not saying the long-term injury bug’s looming but Head Coach Terry Stotts has no plan B if they crash and burn.
The Blazers can’t look like the Hawks in a literal sense since they drafted a top point guard. Yet there’s an outside chance of them reaching the Conference Finals based on potential match ups and the fact that past teams have gone that far with less starting talent. LMA and Wesley Matthews are in the last year of their respective deals as well. So, while a tough, second round out looks right for Portland, some overachieving could make them raise a few eyebrows in May. — S. Cadet
2. Will you buy league pass to watch entertaining, bad teams like the Wolves and Bucks?
The casual fan may not give a damn about the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks but they’re more than enough for yours truly to invest in League Pass for the third straight year. Watching Jabari Park and Giannas Antetokounmpo form one of the taller (and more thrilling) young duos in the league while being coached by Bad Karma Kidd? Yes. YES, PLEASE.
Let’s not sleep on the three man fast break with Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine. They have the potential to make Minnesota residents forget Adrian Peterson had the worst 2014 for an NFL running back not named Ray Rice. — J. Tinsley
3. Guess the date by which the Lakers miss the playoffs.
October 28th because this is not a playoff team and not even close. Their improvements are marginal and both Carlos Boozer and Jeremey Lin are defensive sieves coming onto an already horrendous defensive team. This coupled with the fact that new coach Byron Scott has decided he doesn’t want his team shooting threes because he doesn’t like points or something and you have a receipt for disaster. They won 27 games last year in a year where it took 49 wins to grab the eighth seed in the West and 36 year old Kobe coming off two major injuries to the same leg isn’t adding 22 wins to their tally.
Laker fans, you silly rabbits you, I give you until April Fools day to pretend that the Lakers have a chance at seeing the playoffs this year. — Bansky