Garbage Time: 2016-2017 NBA Season Preview

Sammy Younan

Girth Radio Presents…

The 71st season of the National Basketball Association begins on Tuesday October 25, 2016. KG, Kobe and Duncan are retired (you can toss Stoudemire into that mix and mercifully Mo Williams and Landry Fields are gone which…if you’ve seen em play is not a tragedy) so for the first time this’ll be a new look NBA.

I am ready! Are you?

Let’s start with the Champs: In 2015 the Warriors won a championship that my Garbage Time co-host Craig White readily marks with an asterisk because they didn’t defeat healthy teams. Tough but fair.

In 2016 the Cavs won an asterisk championship because Green was suspended in the Finals. I don’t care what he did or what you think he did…no player should be suspended in the playoffs and especially in the Finals. Fine him, apply the suspension during the reason season, make him do extra NBA Cares community service anything is possible save suspension. We can use more imagination on how we respond to infractions during the playoffs.

I expect the Cavs to go deep in the playoffs…probably represent the East in the Finals.

The East has improved which makes me happy the NBA ignored all the online chatter to make playoff changes. The East is still the Cavs’ to lose…however I’m looking forward to the Pacers play. Paul George was impressively angry in the playoffs against Toronto and I’m hoping this season he continues to build on that anger…especially into the playoffs.

As for the rest of the East…
Bulls have Butler, Rondo and DWade.
Knicks have DRose, Noah and Porzingis. Fine they also have Melo.
Both teams can potentially rumble. The sad thing is you hafta ask how much DWade and DRose have left.

Do I hafta bring up Raptors? As C Webb accurately summarized on Open Court: “Toronto is some ugly basketball during the playoffs. Are we gonna be honest? They don’t play well together; they don’t pass well together. I mean…they’re a good team because of default.” Snap. More? “When we’re watching the games last year…it’s disjointed, they play Hero Ball, their offensive scheme is not that good…” And scene!

Over to the Wild Wild West…

After winning 73 games which ain’t a thing without that ring the Warriors lost 7 players but gained KD. On September 2st KD was on Bill Simmons’ Any Given Wednesday and he’s got anger and fire. It’s not an easy skill to recycle anger into basketball prowess. Just ask LeBron James’ first year in Miami or Bruce Banner.

Also I’m not singing a solo here; I’m with the choir that criticizes KD for leaving OKC. Jordan struggled to get past the Pistons and the Knicks. Kobe struggled in the playoffs. Those struggles made those players better and ultimately made those teams better.

What’s fascinating about this dumb super-team era is that players are jumping to other teams to win championships. Money used to be a dominating factor back in the day for a player to jump ship. If players are this willing to endure scorn and ridicule (especially in the obnoxious social media era!) to go to another team to win championships then it clearly indicates rings matter.

Which effectively ends that debate…he’s a good player but didn’t win a ring. Or that Jordan has 6 and Kobe has 5…ummm, LeBron only has 3 so who is better? (Duncan retired with five championships which according to Sesame Street is more than LeBron’s 3.)

So let’s see what the Warriors do; All-Star Weekend is February 17-19, 2017. By then we should have an indication of what’s the what. You’re an idiot if you’re reading tea leaves in November or even December.

(Also don’t call yourself a journalist if you speculate on what KD’s saying and taking it back to Westbrook…for a quote. You suck at your job…you want metrics and hits; you want drama instead of ball and wins. Go work for TMZ. I don’t care what KD thinks about OKC and I don’t care how Westbrook feels. It’s done. Let’s see how OKC makes adjustments in a competitive West and let’s see if the Warriors can tap into their potential and either get to the finals or win a ring. If I wanted feelings I’d watch a romantic comedy not an NBA game).

In the West Minnesota Timberwolves have Coach Tibbs and that kid Townes…I dig him and wanna see more of what he can do. Trail Blazers are interesting. Clippers man this is it I dunno how they can keep coming up short and still feel good about themselves. Clippers are the new old OKC. Spurs…surreal because of Pop.

Other Intriguing Storylines…

The NBA’s use of analytics is cutting edge…though I’m waiting for it all to finally come together and build a proper champion. Golden State was close but not fully number-powered. Rockets and Mavs rely heavily on analytics but how many wins has that netted em?

Rather than handing LeBron championships I’d prefer Adam Silver finally address tanking. It’s as awful as “Hack-A-Shaq.” Philly is supposed to ooze with greatness by now and yet…the only time I’ve seen draft work be that “lucky” and effective is when the Magic netted Penny and Shaq (Orlando took 6 years to reach the Finals).

Let’s Get Down To Business…

The regular NBA season will end on April 12, 2017 and the playoffs will begin on April 15, 2017. This is when the real and only season that matters happens.

Winning is a consistent daily culture…every league has consistent champs…Lakers and Yankees for example, they make the trades, attract the talent, aggressively go after rings…Spurs do this well. Compare that to the Milwaukee Bucks…never gonna amount to anything. Denver Nuggets…useless. I dunno what they want but they don’t want to win. Wizards with Wall…clearly they’ve hit a wall.

In our lives success is nuanced it’s neither negative or positive; victories are not black and white. In sports it’s crystal: you’re either The Greatest or just another latest. Warriors face the same pressure…what’s the value of having such a dominant season if they fail to win a championship? Starting April 15 we’ll know the truth. I can’t wait.

Sammy Baltic Web

Sammy Younan @ W • T • F

Ziggy Was Here January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016

Also published on Medium.

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