The NBA Is Back! Time For Some Shit Talking!

The NBA season kicks off tonight as LeBron attempts to become a gotdamn Super Saiyan again and obliterate every gotdamn opponent in his path. I haven’t said anything about LeBron since I wrote some dumb shit about him accepting blame for his role in cultivating Cleveland’s glaring weaknesses. The Warriors were up 3-to-1 in the Finals when I wrote that. I thought the series was over. EVERYONE THOUGHT IT WAS OVER! I’m pretty sure the folks over at Under Armour were printing “Curry Is The 2nd Coming” t-shirts to commemorate the baby-faced assassin’s back-to-back title run. Ayesha was just waiting to unleash their bad-ass, annoying child on the podium so my ears could bleed. Little did I know Draymond would do some Draymond shit — like punch LeBron in his meat sack — after LeBron did some LeBron shit — like rub his meat sack on Draymond’s head — earning a pivotal Game 5 suspension.

I also didn’t realize Steph Curry’s and Klay Thompson’s light-skinnedness would cause them to be bitch-made, self-destructive assholes, incapable of hitting the very shots that earned them the nickname of “Splash Brothers.” And I had no Earthly clue Kyrie Irving was really about that buckets life after dressing up in a fat suit and some makeup to peddle Pepsi’s sugar water. I was wrong. LeBron James made sure of that.

Anywho, things are a little bit different this time around. The Warriors went out and paid Kevin Durant a bunch of money to essentially make their team a real-life cheat code. Golden State’s vaunted “Death Lineup” swaps out Harrison Barnes — who apparently was found in Dallas after Steve Kerr reported him missing during the NBA Finals — for Durantula. And if the preseason is any indication, it’s going to be a fucking nightmare for every team that doesn’t call Oracle Arena home. I usually don’t put much stock in preseason basketball, mostly because it’s more useless than preseason football.

But during the time Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Durant, and Green have shared the floor they have ransacked e’erbody. See Exhibit A here. Durant has shown an uncanny tenacity on the defensive end of the floor while still harnessing one of the most lethal offensive arsenals in the league. That’s only going to give Steph and Klay (aka Jon B.) more space to shoot as if they even need it. Andre is still a playmaking machine, and although Draymond continues to recklessly perform flying lotus kicks while grabbing rebounds, he’s still the best two-way, plus-minus player in the league. Steve Kerr is both smart enough and accomplished enough to lead this team to a redeeming championship. Plus he has one of the most talented coaching staffs at his disposal after replacing Luke Walton with seasoned veteran coach Mike Brown.

Golden State’s reserves got better too with the addition of David West, Zaza Pachulia, and “Shaqtin’ A Fool All-Star” JaVale McGhee. Let’s not forget about Shaun Livingston and Ian Clark, the best backcourt reserves to the best starting backcourt in the NBA. The Warriors, barring injury and utter fuckery, are almost guaranteed to return to the NBA Finals en route to destroying the lofty records they set just one year ago. Hell, maybe they’ll win 80 games, although that’s probably preposterous.

There are some other interesting storylines league-wide as the West is full of intrigue. Will the Clippers finally realize their full potential and give Paul Pierce a proper send off with a trip to the Western Conference Finals? How much does Russ hate Durant and how violently will he play now that he’s the only Alpha Dog in OKC? Now that Tim Duncan is off to crease his Girbaud jeans, how will Pop maximize and develop the two-headed monster of Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge? Can Harden possibly play less defense this year? And are the Trailblazers the younger version of the Warriors?

The East is far less interesting. The Bulls shipped Mr. Glass (D. Rose) and an awkward big man with two left feet (J. Noah) to the Knicks and added a guard who can’t shoot outside of 10-feet (Michael Carter-Williams) and a past-their-prime D. Wade and Rajon Rondo. If Chicago would have signed Wade and Rondo 5 years ago then maybe it’d mean something. It doesn’t. Madison Square Garden is now home to a bunch of ball-dominant shooters, one of whom doesn’t seem to understand the concept of sexual consent (D. Rose). And the Raptors are still paying Aubrey Graham to be their hype man. The only team reasonably capable of challenging LeBron and Co. are the Pacers — after adding Jeff Teague, Al Jefferson, and Monta Ellis — and the Celtics, who may or may not be supremely overrated.

All that said, we’re probably going to witness a Cavs vs. Warriors trilogy in the Finals. We likely know what’s going to happen which makes this upcoming regular-season almost pointless to watch. It’s not nearly as bad as Roger Goodell’s NFL, but it’s still kinda pointless. The only way this NBA season is going to be enjoyable is if the Warriors talk shit every gotdamn game. I mean Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnet amounts of shit. Just because they can, and there’s not a gotdamn thing anyone can do about it. At least until June.

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Should We Start Blaming LeBron?

The NBA Finals return to Cleveland tomorrow with the Warriors comfortably harnessing 2-0 series lead. The Cavs will look to rebound and hold serve at home, but given the result of the first two contests, the chances of a Warriors repeat has transitioned from, “Will they win two in a row?” to “How many games will it take them to close out this series?” to “Just how bad are the Cavaliers?” to “Is this even worth watching anymore?” within most social circles.

The Cavaliers’ roster isn’t talented enough to compete on the same level as their Western Conference counterparts.

Aside from maybe LeBron James (I must emphasize maybe because he’s been outplayed by Andre Iguodala on both ends of the floor), the Warriors have demonstrated their vast superiority over the Cavs in every way, and at every position imaginable. That includes players, coaches, the front office, owners, ball boys, custodians, and even thirsty fans.

James & Co. may have steamrolled their way to The Finals without much resistance from the Eastern Conference,  but at this point it’s hard to imagine them advancing past the rebuilding Trailblazers if they played in the west.

The Cavs’ dismal performance has also unearthed some interesting personal questions, such as:

  1. Is Kyrie Irving a superstar? (Skip Bayless says yes, but he’s said some pretty dumb shit over the years.)
  2. Is LeBron’s game limited?
  3. Is Tyrone Lue still suffering from the effects of Iverson stepping over him? (Is he, though? Because he’s coaching like it!)
  4. Did J.R. Smith suddenly forget how to shoot?
  5. When should we declare Kevin Love a missing person?
  6. Did those Uncle Drew Pepsi commercials mislead us into thinking Kyrie and Love were really about that buckets life?
  7. Will LeBron ever follow the Cavs Twitter account again?

Find out on the next episode of Dragon Ball Z! (I know, this is overused and incredibly corny, but I still enjoy doing it.)

One question that I legitimately have is how much blame LeBron should shoulder for this year’s Finals debacle. Barring a monumental turnaround, James’ performance will be futilely dissected by paid talking heads to exhaustion. (Prepare for an incoherent Stephen A. Smith rant daily until the start of the upcoming NFL season.)

Some will label him the Peyton Manning of basketball. Others will continue to discredit his accolades with cretinous comparisons to Michael Jordan. (Seriously, stop this shit. It doesn’t make sense.)

But aside from on-court performance, I’m more interested in observing LeBron’s role in assembling this inept (ok, they’re not that bad, are they?) roster, and possibly, the coaching staff. David Griffin may be the GM, but James’ fingerprints are evident in every facet of the Cavs organization.

From roster decisions (I still have no idea how Tristan Thompson is making $82 million over five years) to coaching moves (Blatt, I’m sorry it had to be you, G), James’ preferences are king, even if Griffin (and James) refuse to acknowledge it publicly. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if the team’s uniforms aren’t cleared through Bron Bron before each game. (Remember that time he tore up his sleeves mid game? Has he worn sleeved jerseys since?)

The Cavs are clearly doing everything in their power to keep their hometown superstar happy, and I don’t blame them. They’re hell bent on avoiding another 2010 catastrophe (no one wants to witness another Dan Gilbert temper tantrum and jersey burning rituals). But at what cost?

At LeBron’s behest, the Cavs have over-invested in a power forward to just rebound (Tristan Thompson), traded away a promising wing player for a power forward who only shoots and rebounds (Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love), given away assets for two inconsistent role players (draft picks for Shumpert and Smith), and fired a veteran coach in favor of a rookie. Not to mention they’ve devoted unnecessary playing to Matthew Dellavadova, the league’s dirtiest, most maladroit player. (Seriously, why the fuck is he even in the NBA? He fucking sucks. Are there some advanced statistics that I’m missing proving otherwise? Because the eye test says under no circumstance should you ever pick this dude up, even at a rec center.)

I’m sure LeBron’s return to Cleveland, for as heartfelt as it was, came with very specific stipulations and a metric-ass ton of control, especially after Dan Gilbert’s tasteless, vitriolic tirade (it was pretty terrible). And I certainly understand James’ lack of confidence in Griffin’s ability equip him with a championship caliber supporting cast (relax LeBron, no one is going to sign Shaq for the veteran’s minimum anymore).

But whatever the case, the Cavs mortgaging their entire future hasn’t resulted in another ring for King James, and it isn’t likely to. Only now, it’s probably his fault.