My thoughts on each team in the NBA:

76ers: Jrue Holiday does not have anything close to elite potential. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you have Tremendous Upside Potential. I hate Bill Simmons, but that’s one of the things he really nailed.

Also: one of the most boring teams to watch offensively.

Toronto: Great coach in a terrible organization. Kyle Lowry is purty good.

Boston: I like teams that play hard. But the bench sucks, full of has-beens and never-was. Rondo-Bradley-Pierce-Bass-Garnett can compete with anyone. The bench is cover-your-eyes awful, though. Jason Terry is one of the most overrated players in the game. As a result the team remains dormant until the playoffs.

Brooklyn: The American Dream. How overrated is Deron Williams? The most recent comparable terrible season from an alleged star on a terrible team I can think of is Kobe in the Smush Parker/Chris Mihm era.

New York: The Wages of Wins projecting the Knicks to finish 1st in the Eastern Conference is the worst projection of anything I have ever seen. And they totally ignore it, too, as the author and creator of the projections says there are only three contending teams, two of which have < projected wins than the Knicks! That’s why I appreciate WoW: They are spot-on or abjectly terrible, and never in between.

That said, this team would be so interesting if they went Chandler-Melo-who cares-who cares-Lin. As soon as they let Lin go this team became dead to me.

Cleveland: Fly-over team.

Indiana: O-VER-RAT-ED! I could see them missing the playoffs. Definitely have 0 shot at contending for anything. Also really boring to watch for a team tagged as young and up-coming. Black hole offensive players; no one can pass! Awful bench. Fly-over team.

Chicago: The most underrated team in the L. I think they win the division. Their bench kinda sucks, but in Thibodeau I Trust. Rose is overrated; Deng and Noah are just as good, if not better (I’ll go with better) than him. Can’t wait for Noah to have a huge season! One of my favorite players. Unbelievable how jacked he got. Such a hard worker.

Detroit: Fly-over team. Brandon Knight sucks. Why do so many NBA teams stick with shitty PGs? I disagree with the perception that point guard is loaded. No, it’s still very top heavy. You have keepers like Dragic, Lowry, Conley and Lin, sure. I love those guys. But then you have guys who should be bench-warmers like Knight, Jennings, Ellis, Hill, Collison, Holiday, and Wall… Mediocre to slightly-above-average players who will all get paid well above the MLE.

Milwaukee: Fly-over team. Contract this franchise. Hope Luc Richard Mbah a Moute gets traded to a real team. One of my favorite players in the L.

Miami: Are the Finals here yet? Probably my favorite team and organization in the NBA right now.

Washington: Contract this team.

Atlanta: I dunno why but I like ’em. They just keep chuggin’ along. Plus they have Al Horford.

Charlotte]: The media is nothing but thinly-veiled propaganda, Exhibit #4080: Where are all the articles about how terrible Michael Jordan is at everything but the 20 years of his life he spent playing basketball, including anything relating to managing basketball? Hero worship sickens me.

Orlando: Dead to me.

Utah: One of the most exciting franchises in basketball. One of the few teams that keeps me around. I love Hayward, Kanter, Favors, Millsap. I want to see more of Burks.

Portland: I hated Lillard until I saw Wages of Wins likes him. WoW is pretty good on prospects. Maybe I’m wrong. I hated him ‘cuz Hollinger hates him, and brought up some good haterific points. Balancing the ledger is fun. LOL @ BEAT L.A.! chant. The Rose Garden will always bring some good haterade to the Lake Show. Batum is a good-looking young man.

Denver: Maybe WoW is right and George Karl is an idiot. Wilson Chandler always has and always will suck: can’t shoot, can’t pass and isn’t explosive enough to isolate. In other words, he’s Jeff Green.  Corey Brewer? I like Brewer as an end-of-the-rotation piece, but c’mon! I worry Andre Miller’s lost (another) step. If the Nuggets don’t play Faried 33-35+ mpg, the stathead love of them possibly getting top seed goes right out the window. This is my favorite regular-season team for this season.

The NBA is all about the pick-and-roll, right? How come big men (usually centers) who can’t finish don’t get hammered for that by “experts”? JaVale McGee seems like he has potential, but one of the big reasons he doesn’t is that he can’t finish. If he could, then a decent defender + mobile finisher would be a piece worth locking up. Because he can’t, you sell his upside to someone else or, if you have a HOF coach/organization/team, acquire him to coach him up. Hopefully Karl proves me wrong, but I doubt he can coach him up.

Personally, I would like to see the all-track NBA team. Go Favors-Faried-Iguodala-Gallo-Lawson as your five guys. Willingly get killed by the Andrew Bynums of the world inside. Play aggressive Memphis-like defense to generate as many easy buckets as possible. But do not help too much because you cannot give up too many 3s. Instead, give up more 2-point FGs in exchange for running down the court as fast as possible. Tire the Bynums out. They’re not in good enough shape to keep up.

This works because against 2/3 of the team you have a huge advantage anyway, since everyone is going small ball. You only need to devise killer tactics vs 1/3 of the league (or fewer).

T’Wolves: Oh yeah, forgot about them. Okay, the Nuggets and T’Wolves are my favorite regular-season teams. But they’re dead to me until Rubio/Love come back.

Thunder: One of the worst trades in NBA history.

Why would you trade Harden before Westbrook? The biggest black eye basketball has is how much it overrates scoring. I’ll call it the Jordan Effect, a purposefully misnomer of a name considering Jordan was the most efficient high-volume scorer in NBA history.

Ty Lawson is better than Russell Westbrook and he got $12 mil/year. Westbrook is getting 15.5 million per year. The perception is that Westbrook is an All-NBA 1st Team talent/performer, and if you believe that, economic realities make clear that any player worthy of the max is inevitably underpaid by the max, meaning Westbrook would be extremely easy to trade for a Deron Williams-like bounty.

(Again: Westbrook for Rondo. I keep coming back to this trade because it makes so much sense. Who says no? It works so well for both teams and their perceived (and real) needs.)

Harden is the perfect NBA scorer. He has the requisite athleticism, so you know he can up his usage. He’s shrewd enough to take the most efficient shots. And, most importantly, he is the best pick-and-roll ballhandler from the wing in the NBA. That is the most important part of the NBA! PICK AND ROLL! PICK AND ROLL IS EVERYTHING!

It is the one broken tactical aspect of the game. No amount of scheming can stop it when you have the requisite talent. And Harden is quite possibly the premier pick-and-roll creator in the game.

In one trade Sam Presti goes from “boy genius” to “full-of-himself overrated” while Daryl Morey regains the Stathead Crown that was in serious question. Aside from the terrible contract he handed out to Scola (and waiving Lin in the first place), he’s hit on a lot of moves lately.

More on the Thunder’s epic failure: False Economy.

Golden State: How terrible is Stephen Curry’s agent? How risk-averse is Stephen Curry? If you stay healthy you get the max. Guaranteed. You gain $16 million if you stay healthy. You lose, what, $21 million if you don’t? (I’ll project Steph to get the MLE for four years if he has ankle troubles similar to the past two seasons.)

Too bad David Lee is the worst player in the NBA.

Clippers: The biggest tease in the NBA. I don’t like blue balls, so I choose to ignore them. But what if… Eric Bledsoe is the most underrated player in the NBA right now. He’s taking over Harden’s crown. Has way more upside than Jrue Holiday, lemme tell ya.

Phoenix: Who cares?

Lakers: Any stathead knew the Lakers were LOL overrated, but wow, they’re even more overrated than we thought. Aren’t they 0-11, preseason included? Preseason matters. Mike Brown and Kobe are going to get exposed this season. The funny part is they could easily be the second-best postseason team if they just milked Nash/Gasol/Howard to death, putting Kobe out to pasture (relatively speaking), but the Jordan Effect permeates this franchise like a skunk’s perfume. It bears repeating: LOL.

Sacto: Contraction.

Spurs: It’s like watching a close, wise relative die. It’s graceful yet painful. R.I.P.

Oh, you mean the Thunder traded James Harden? rusrs.jpg

Okay, nevermind. The Spurs are the Western Conference favorite to win it all. Sweet!

Rockets: My third-favorite regular season team. Oh, who are we kidding, it goes like this:

0: Spurs: Always No. 1 as long as Poppovich-Duncan-Parker-GINOBILI!!!!11 are around.
1: Nuggets: The most realistic underdog story in the L.
2: T’Wolves: The second most realistic underdog story in the L.
3: Rockets: The third most realistic underdog story in the L.
4: Bulls: The fourth most… [insert pattern]
5: Jazz: [Insert pattern]

Mavs: Poor Dirk.

Hornets: Davis/Monty Williams get my dick hard. Alas, they too fall victim to the Jordan Effect (Gordon/Rivers). Gordon was the most obviously terrible max contract since Amare Stoudemire.

Grizzlies: The sixth most-likely underdog story in the L.

A major reason why the NBA is less fun to me the more I grow up and take off the rose-colored glasses: there is too much waste/inefficiency. Too many teams don’t give a shit about the product or are otherwise totally clueless, but they luck into such fun pieces to watch (Kyle Lowry) within possibly the worst organization in basketball. Things are so mish-mashed and disharmonious.

In the end regular season basketball becomes worthless to watch because there are no surprises. It’s just an endless distraction from reality. Even if a team does surprise, so what? If they’re in the Eastern Conference NBA, they’re not beating the Heat.

The Western Conference is actually wide open, so that’s interesting, but then say you follow the regular season. When you get to the playoffs, the whole script is flipped! What succeeds in the regular season is not what wins in the playoffs. The game is rigged. As Marla Daniels makes clear in The Wire, the only way to win is to not play the game.

See you guys in the playoffs. Maybe.