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Stampler's NBA Preview Spectacular, Part II: The Worst of the West

Fresh off my Giants euphoria, I spent Sunday morning watching football. The Eagles lost a game they were winning by nine points in the fourth quarter and they fumbled the ball at the one-yard line when they could've put the game away. The Niners lost their starting quarterback and blew a 20-13 lead to a team that was previously winless. It was a rainy miserably day, and my friend Katie, who joined me at the bar as a favor, hardly drank anything and clearly would've preferred to be in her bed sleeping.

I think what I'm trying to say is Saturday was significantly more fun than Sunday, and I have a feeling Monday and Tuesday will stink too.

Onto the previews! But first, read this, if you haven't already. I thought it was well done.

9. Memphis Grizzlies

PG             Mike Conley       Acie Law      Greivis Vasquez

SG             O.J. Mayo            Tony Allen     Damien Wilkins

SF              Rudy Gay         Sam Young   DeMarre Carroll   Xavier Henry

PF              Zach Randolph   Darrell Arthur

C               Marc Gasol      Hasheem Thabeet     Hamed Haddadi

Memphis Tigers choke away Championship Game (via BourneCubed)

I couldn't think of anything for Memphis. I wasn't about to subject you to Elvis Presley. But see kids, free throws matter. It was fun to see John Calipari blow it.

I have a confession. I secretly think fairly highly of the Grizzles. Yeah, I know, I know, Randolph could snap at any moment and murder a couple of people in the stands, and Thabeet is looking like a huge bust and Conley is one of the worst starting points in the league... wait what was I saying?

Ah, screw it, I don't care. I still like 'em.

To my surprise, the partnership of Mayo and Gay worked a lot smoother than I figured it would. Same with Randolph and Gasol. It doesn't appear as though these guys openly despise one another, which is like half the battle in the NBA. Maybe Conley isn't much of a player, but he seems to make sure everyone gets their requisite number of touches without much bellyaching, and there's something to be said for that. If that guy could shoot at all, or even finish layups more consistently, this would be a really dangerous starting five.

Randolph is what he is, and I'm not sure how much more Gay or Mayo will improve, but Gasol sill has a couple of levels in him if he gets serious. You can almost sense he's not sure how much of himself to invest, like he's smart enough to know with the league's economic situation that the team could be disbanded at any moment. It's not that I think he dislikes his teammates, but he knows what happened with his brother so I'm sure he's leery. I thought Gasol would be a little better in the World Championships, but that Spain team had all kinds of problems.

I liked a couple of sneaky moves they made in the off-season. Tony Allen is a great defender if his head is right. Will he play hard here now that he doesn't have Boston's veterans riding his ass? I know most of the scouts think Vasquez will never do anything in the league because he's slower than molasses, but I think he's got some heart and some balls and I think he'll make it in the league as a rotation guy at least. Wilkins is a guy who can heat up at any time and get you 15 off the bench. I watched Young play a little with Blair a couple years back in the NCAA tournament, and he's not terrible. If Thabeet can give them ANYTHING on defense, it should be a decent bench.

I've got Memphis just barely missing the playoffs, but they could easily make it. Will Yao hold up the whole year for Houston? What about Al Jefferson in Utah? There are vulnerable teams out there. If the Grizzlies were in the East, they'd probably be a five seed.

This team has something going. Damn shame they're not gonna exist by 2012.

Three Fearless Predictions:

1. They'll beat Miami and the Lakers at home.

2. Management will force the coach to play Thabeet until he proves he sucks.

3. Thanks to Jason Kidd, Conley won't be the worst point guard in the division.

10. Denver Nuggets

PG           Chauncey Billups     Ty Lawson        Anthony Carter

SG           Arron Afflalo           J.R. Smith

SF            Carmelo Anthony   Renaldo Balkman

PF            Al Harrington        Kenyon Martin     Shelden Williams

C             Nene Hilario          Chris Andersen

Body Art 6/7 (via shapeshiftNation)

Tell me Chris Andersen wouldn't fire up a joint and sit FASCINATED at hours of these tattoo documentaries. You can't.

The 49ers will be playing Denver in London next Sunday in an effort to promote the NFL abroad. The 49ers are 1-6 and will be without starting quarterback Alex Smith, because he separated his (non-throwing) shoulder today. Denver is 2-5 and got rolled by the freakin' Raiders, at home no less, 59-14. I think what I'm trying to say is I can't imagine any Londoners giving up watching Chelsea or Arsenal next week to take in some wretched colonial bastardization of rugby. I also can't imagine any 49ers fans being upset if the team just decided to stay in England and never came back.

Now because my job(s) are a joke, I don't travel to away games. And even though technically the England tilt counts as a home game on the schedule, my bosses sure as shit wouldn't fly me to England either.

Not that I'm complaining. It's kind of a sweet deal for me. I can spend the week working from my apartment instead of commuting an hour and back, I save the time, I save the gas money, I don't have to interview any players (THEY'RE SO BORING) and I can watch my Giants play in the World Series at 5 p.m. from a variety of local bars instead of some pub in England at midnight. I think I might have lucked out here.

Anyway, I admit, I'm picking the Nugs this far down mostly because I strongly suspect that neither Carmelo nor Chauncey will be there the whole year. However there's also the very real fact that I am biased and I just plain dislike this team strongly. My rational brain cannot accept a team with K-Mart and J.R. Smith on it being at all successful. Besides, Nene is always hurt.

Ooh! I just realized they signed Harrington, who was my Knicks fan pal Roh's second most despised player, after Eddy Curry. Looks like we've got ourselves a hat trick of mental midgets, The Three Clusterfucketeers, if you will. Harrington is a dope of such epic proportions that even after he singlehandedly gave away a game against the Clippers for hanging on the rim and earning himself a technical, he did the exact same thing the NEXT TIME they played the Clippers. Either he's one of the stupidest humans on the planet, or he was betting on the money line. There really isn't a third explanation.

So, of course, the Nuggets signed him.

This team needs to be blown up.

Three fearless predictions:

1. They will lead the league in technicals.

2. Neither Anthony nor Billups will finish the season as Nuggets.

3. At various points of the season just about everybody on the team will proposition Shelden Williams' wife behind his back. Locker room hilarity will ensue.

11. New Orleans Hornets

PG          Chris Paul            Jerryd Bayless   Curtis Jerrells                    

SG          Marco Belinelli  Marcus Thornton             Willie Green                      

SF           Trevor Ariza        Peja Stojakovic Quincy Pondexter                          

PF           David West         Jason Smith        Joe Alexander   Pops Mensah-Bonsu     

C             Emeka Okafor   Aaron Gray         D.J. Mbenga

[Game 7] Manu Ginobilli(26 pts) exterminates Hornets (HOT!!) (via p0lar)

Oddly enough, I don't remember anything about the 2008 season after this game. Weird, right?

Just thinking about the city of New Orleans makes me feel old. The city used to be known for debauchery, restaurants and gals showing their boobs. Now it's known for a flood, vampires and their football team. Hell, I remember when people called the Saints the "Aints" and fans used to come to games with paper bags on their heads.

I... um, have no point. Except that if the league actually contracts, the likelihood of the Hornets being one of the teams is 99 percent, with it going to 100 percent if they have to trade Paul. I certainly won't miss them, and I doubt anyone else would either.

Have I mentioned Chris Paul is a punk? Because Chris Paul is a punk. Can you imagine if he, Carmelo and Amar'e were all on the Knicks together? I'm not saying they'd be as unlikeable as Miami, but damn, I would totally hate me some Knicks.

Outside of him they have the always annoying David West, the humble but mostly ineffective Emeka Okafor, the wimpy Peja Stojakovic, and Marco Bellinelli at shooting guard? Really? That can't be good. I guess they're gonna drive and kick with Paul for threes then. Looks like a pretty soft squad to me.

They acquired Trevor Ariza in a trade after he bombed with the Rockets, but outside of one two month stretch where he got shooting threes during the playoffs two years ago, he's never been what you would call a marksman from three. Plus, he has like no handle. None. He cannot create any shots for himself. 

The NOOCH also picked up Vanilla Sky, who'll never play, and the comically misspelled Jerryd Bayless from Portland. He's alright. Lots of perimeter folks here, but I don't see much size, rebounding on the roster. I suppose trying to outscore people is the idea, but in the crazy deep Western Conference, it's not gonna work often enough.

Not that I know what I'm talking about, mind you. Any of the top dozen here can make the playoffs.

Three Fearless Predictions:

1. Chris Paul will pout.

2. Chris Paul will pretend like he wants to fight some big stiff on another team before being "pulled back."

3. Chris Paul will not be pleased with the league's mandate on refs to call more T's.

12. Los Angeles Clippers

PG          Baron Davis    Eric Bledsoe

SG          Eric Gordon     Randy Foye   Rasual Butler  Willie Warren

SF          Ryan Gomes   Al-Farauq Aminu   Marcus Blakely

PF          Blake Griffin      Craig Smith     Brian Cook

C           Chris Kaman      DeAndre Jordan  Jarron Collins

EXCLUSIVE: Baron Davis on Jenny Craig interview (via nlsplog)

It is never, ever, EVER a good thing for your point guard to promote a weight loss company. I heard it didn't take for Boom Dizzle. I hope he blows up to 330 pounds and eats himself out of the league. It was a travesty how he quit on the Warriors to be some Hollywood nitwit. The only good thing about that whole situation was that Elton Brand screwed him after Davis screwed the bay area, and left him, essentially, without a team in LA. Not that Davis cares anyway. He just wants to be in the pictures.

Can you believe, if not for a couple bounces of the ball here and there, that the Spurs could've played the Clips in the WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS in 2006? It really wasn't that long ago, but it seems impossible right? Well, it almost happened. Man, we would've torn through those guys.

Anyway, because of Simmons, I know way more than I care to about the Clippers. I wish there was a button on my head I could press to flush out all of this useless knowledge, because aside from their three or four games with the Spurs, I fail to see how they could be relevant to the NBA season. Unless Gordon makes like eight threes a game, these guys don't won't have enough outside shooting to compete. Every time Davis jacks another three, it's a win for the defense. The bench is a bunch of whodats and never weres. It's probably not true, but it feels like half of the roster is comprised of ex-Timberwolves. I don't know who Al-Farauq Aminu is, but I already feel bad for him because I sense lots of dimwits out there will make inappropriate anti-Muslim jokes about his name. Eh, then again most of the anti-Muslim crowd aren't exactly big NBA fans to begin with.

My bigger issue with the Clippers is that I think I dislike Blake Griffin. Not for anything he's said and done personally. I don't know a whole lot about him. He just looks like a bully to me. Like a human version of a Simpsons character. As a nerd, I instinctively dislike bullies, though I think Griffin will be a hell of a player.

This team is doomed. I hope they blow out Boston again though and ruin The Sports Guy's night.

Three Fearless Predictions:

1. Griffin will win a belated Rookie of the Year award.

2. Opposing point guards will score on Davis mercilessly.

3. I will wind up reading too much about this random, rudderless team.

13. Sacramento Kings

PG            Beno Udrih             Luther Head         Pooh Jeter

SG            Tyreke Evans         Francisco Garcia  Antoine Wright

SF             Donte Greene       Omri Casspi

PF            Carl Landry             Jason Thompson   Darnell Jackson   Hassan Whiteside

C              DeMarcus Cousins  Samuel Dalembert

 

Watch only the first 2:00 or so. Or the whole thing. Or none of it. Really, you have all the power here.

The Rock Sings and Disses Stone Cold & Sacramento fans ... (via dta333)

Now the video above promotes two entities I have little regard for, "professional" wrestling and the Lakers. And like most heaven-bound people I was indeed rooting for those Kings teams to knock out LA in the playoffs when the Spurs couldn't. But that Rock fellow was certainly right about one thing: Sacramento is a shithole no one should ever visit, under any circumstances. I don't understand why anyone would willingly live there. Admittedly, I don't understand a whole lot, even most of the things I think I do.

Still, why are the Maloof brothers so insistent about wanting to keep a team there? These guys already own a casino in Vegas, right? Wouldn't it be logical to move that franchise over there? It would certainly lure some free agents and get the league some exposure, no? I'm also of the opinion that Vegas is not just some tourist destination making it impossible for a pro team there to develop a loyal following. Those UNLV teams back in the day had plenty of support when they were good. Frankly, having an NBA team to watch for three hours might be good for those gambling addicts. Keep 'em out of the casinos when they're running cold.

We could rename the team the Las Vegas Coolers or the Las Vegas Budgets.

Seriously, I'm sick and tired of David Stern whining about money all the time. You wanna make some money, bub? Put a team in Vegas. They would put butts in the seats and the team would have the biggest home court advantage in the league because visiting teams would get completely TRASHED the night before games. God, can you IMAGINE all the sordid disasters that could happen? I get giggly just thinking about it. I think visiting coaches would demand any road game involving Vegas to either be the front end or back end of a back-to-back. Just get in and out of there, as fast as possible.

P.S. There is NO WAY that guy was actually playing the guitar there. That shit was taped. His right hand never changed cords at all. Nothing in wrestling is real!

Anyway, I get that people are excited about Sacramento's young talent, but come on, let's get serious. No team with The Bean Burrito running the point and something called a Donte Greene at small forward is going to do anything. Why is my Jewish brother Casspi not starting? That's an outrage.

I guess their season will come down to how quickly Cousins figures out how to play, but I don't see him dominating right off the bat and I don't think he's got the teammates who will make it any easier for him to do so. I also don't see the makings of a squad that will care a whole lot about defense here, call me crazy. They should be able to "out-athletic" (just say out-black, Simmons, you know you want to) some teams, and they'll be pretty good on the boards I think, but I don't see these guys figuring out how to play as a team until maybe 2012 at the earliest.

The name that intrigues me of course is Pooh Jeter. I don't know a thing about him but obviously I hate his guts. Pooh Jeter, he's only gonna make 16 million next year instead of 23. Pooh Jeter he has to quit being a man whore and settle down with Minka Kelly. Pooh Jeter, he only has five rings instead of 48.

I hope Pooh Jeter gets humiliated by Beno so badly in practice that he decides to quit the game and become a towel boy instead.

Three Fearless Predictions:

1. The Sacramento Kings will not exist by 2015.

2. At some point Cousins does something that will embarrass the team.

3. I'll continue to make Pooh Jeter jokes.

14. Golden State Warriors

PG          Stephen Curry   Charlie Bell          Jeremy Lin                         

SG          Monta Ellis          Reggie Williams                                

SF           Dorell Wright     Vladimir Radmanovic      Rodney Carney                

PF           David Lee            Brandan Wright               Ekpe Udoh                         

C             Andris Biedrins  Louis Amundson              Dan Gadzuric

Giants win NLCS seen from Pete's Tavern (via brodogg1313)

Screw the Warriors. There's only one Bay Area team that matters, baby. Giants WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!11!!!1

These guys have given me a heart attack practically every day for the past three months.

THEY CAN'T HIT.

CAN. NOT. HIT.

Like at all.

Do you have any idea what it's like to have to win every game 3-2, 2-1, or 1-0? It'd be like asking the Spurs to win a NBA title by winning games 71-69 every night. Every pitch is just agonizing. I could watch the NLCS against the Phillies a hundred times and I'll never understand how they won it. The Phillies' pitchers are every bit as good as San Francisco's, if not better, and their lineup is about ten times as good.

Yet somehow the ragtag, no-hitting Giants are in the World Series against, of all teams, the freakin' Texas Rangers.

I swear to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, if this is another tease, so help me I may break into a playground and start slapping around innocent kids. Just one one goddamn time and you guys could go 0-162 every year for infinity and I won't care. JUST ONE GOD DAMMIT.

How can anyone pull against them? They even a Journey ripoff theme song!

Meanwhile, the Bay Area team I get paid to cover, the San Francisco 49ers, should have "Yakety Sax" playing over the loudspeakers during their games. They're just terrible, finding fun and new ways to lose weekly. And I have to write thousands of words per month about them nitwits. Mike Singletary's coaching makes me go to sleep at night thankful that I have The Superfluous G in my life.

Fine, fine, the Warriors. To borrow a line from Dave Chappelle, what's there to say about them that hasn't already been said about Afghanistan? 

I am absolutely delighted by their Curry-Ellis backcourt, if for no other reason than it will be awesome to watch Manu post somebody up in person. I saw Wright play a couple of times for Miami, and if he's not what scouts would call a JAG, I don't know who is. Lee has developed his offensive game tremendously since coming into the league, and he rebounds for days, but he's a sieve on the other end, which means he'll fit in nicely here. Biedrins, to me, is a real NBA tragedy, and I'm not just talking about his free throw stroke (HEY-O!). Not only have injuries diminished his career, but a guy who has the tools to be one of the great defensive stars of the league has been completely ruined just because he happened to be drafted by the wrong team. O' the things Pop could've done with Biedrins these past few years. Alas. 

On the bench, I always thought Wright had a chance to be a player, but it looks like I got that wrong. Then again, I suppose I could blame coaching on him too. It's handy excuse for everyone. We're all familiar with Amundson's work with Phoenix, and I don't think I'm alone in wishing him a happy one-way ticket to oblivion. Bell's a decent enough backup point, but like most people in my neck of the woods I want to see as much of Jeremy Lin as possible. A genuine Chinese-American in the NBA? That's neat. And he's in the perfect region. If the Warriors had any marketing sense, he'd play 15 minutes a night, meaning he'll be sent to the D-League by Thursday.

The Dubs deserve kudos though for finally coming to their senses and sacking Don Nelson, who I've always said is the most overrated coach in NBA history and a guy who'd rather look smart and lose than conventional and win. Maybe they'll pick up some positive karma for sending his fat butt to Maui for good.

Three fearless predictions:

1. The Warriors will "try" on defense under Keith Smart.

2. Not that it'll make a lick of difference.

3. The Ellis-Curry backcourt will not last the whole year. Ellis will either be injured, traded or moved to a sixth man role.

15. Minnesota Timberwolves

PG          Luke Ridnour                     Sebastian Telfair               Jonny Flynn                       

SG          Wesley Johnson               Martell Webster               Wayne Ellington                              

SF           Michael Beasley               Corey Brewer    Lazar Hayward                  

PF           Kevin Love                          Anthony Tolliver                                              

C             Darko Milicic                       Nikola Pekovic   Kosta Koufos

Major League Clip "Who are theses F'n guys?" (via jeffsc83)

 

Okay, okay, I suppose I have heard of most of their roster. But I feel bad about it because most of them aren't worthy of my conscious awareness of their existence. I just really wanted to use this clip, so it was between them and Toronto and I already had the Scott Pilgrim story for them so... THAT'S YOUR SNEAK PEAK INTO THE WRITING PROCESS.

While we're talking about Minnesota, I suppose I should talk about the Brett Favre dong shot story, because honestly it fascinates me on so many levels. Not the part about a famous athlete wanting to cheat on his wife. That's boring. They all do that (except Manu, because he's perfect). No, it's bizarre because here he is, one of the most well known, wealthiest athletes in the country, and he is even more clueless about how to pick up a broad than I am. He's calling her on his cell phone and leaving voice mails asking her to "come over and chill?"

CHILL?

What the hell was he thinking?

"I know I'm 41-years old and a grandfather, so I've got to talk like these young kids today. I'll ask the little missy to chill with me." And I'll ask her out on the internets on that there My Space."

Good lord.

And then he takes it to a whole other level by sending her a photo of his winky, which is completely retarded to do under any circumstances, but more so when a) you're famous and b) it's to somebody who clearly is not interested in you.

In the interest of full disclosure, yes I have done that. But it was to somebody I was dating at the time. I even drew a smiley face on it.

I wish I was kidding.

Still, that's not the weirdest part of the story. On the first link you saw what Jenn Sterger looks like. It was a SFW picture, by the way, for you timid types. Here is what Mrs. Favre looks like.

Creepy right?

"It doesn't count as cheating, honey. I just wanted to be someone who looks exactly how you did 15 years ago before you had all those kids. And who had big fake boobs."

Speaking of boobs, how about that T-Wolves GM David Kahn, huh? I give up. I admit now that even Bill Freakin' Simmons would've been better than this guy. I mean good God, what is he doing out there? Signing Darko to be the starting center? Trading for a stoner power forward who can't shoot and putting him at the three?

How bad must Jonny Flynn, a guy who was drafted like sixth last year, be to be third string already behind Ridnour and Telfair? That's like being a third string QB behind Alex Smith and David Carr. Oof. Unless Wesley Johnson is the second coming of MJ, this team is gonna STINK.

Also, as Spurs fans, can y'all do me one favor? Can we please stop with the pity party for Kevin Love? Please. I realize he's a good player, he rebounds well, he gives nice interview, he makes cameos on Entourage and all that, but can we please stop feeling sorry for him that he has to play for Minnesota?

The guy's making more money than we can dream of, he probably has his pick of sexy Nordic groupies every night, he'll leave the team when his contract is up, and OH YEAH, HE CAN'T GUARD ANYBODY. If you want your team to be better fella, block a shot every once in a while, okay?

Three Fearless Predictions:

1. They will fire David Kahn by the end of the year.

2. Worst record in the NBA, mark it down.

3. They will not win the lottery.

This is fan-created content on PoundingtheRock.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff at Pounding the Rock.

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