"Verily, who shalt be this Kobe?"
Exactly. He finally gets a team around him post-Shaq, then he's the MVP? You see who the dude above had to ball with? Fucking hell, man. No one loves playing with 20/20 hindsight more than sports fans -- I guess 30, 7 and 7 doesn't go as far as it used to. Okay, maybe Republicans if the Democratic clowns do indeed take the White House and veto-proof majorities in both chambers. Slash the military budget! Universal health care! No more police state! We've got a spine! Sorry, daydreaming again. But about politics? Come back naked ladies, come back!
And before anyone asks, no, I don't give a fuck that Ted Stevens got convicted. Let me know if Alaska reelects a felon. That would be comical. And about those would-be cracker assassins, I see a song in the future.
Everyone considered him the Cowart of the county.
He'd never stood one single time to prove the skinheads wrong.
His mama named him Danny, the folks just called him Nazi,
But something always told me crackers were reading Danny wrong.
Laugh, damn you, laugh.
Atlantic: The question for Boston is, can the defending champs match last year's intensity? Pay no attention to the loss of James Posey, they'll manage that just fine, but 66-16 won't happen again. The question for Toronto is can Jermaine O'Neal play enough meaningful minutes or is he destined to be a walking injury forevermore? If it's the former, they'll push the Celtics.
The question for Philadelphia picked up this year's version of Carlos Boozer and that'll have them fighting for a top-four seed. The Knicks finally did something right. I know that former superstars don't always make the best coaches or front office guys, but Isaiah Thomas was in a vomit-inducing class all his own. You do realize they're still paying Jerome James, right? Don't expect more than 30 wins this season, but at least they won't be a complete laughingstock. The Nets cleared a shitload of cap room to make a run at the monstrous 2010 free agent class. Good luck!
Central: Detroit has the most depth in the division and arguably in the league and will therefore finish on top again. Big fucking deal, you can keep your regular season titles. We've got the best player on planet earth and finally -- finally! -- someone other than LeBron or Z that can score. Praise be unto thee Mo Williams, for thy shalt score many balles in thy basket, ah-men. Boy, the Bulls sure did underachieve a wee bit, huh. The various laws of averages and affiliated corollaries indicate that they likely won't suck as much ass this time around; too much talent. Speaking of talent, the Pacers might have more than you think. If there's a sleeper playoff team in the east, it's these dudes. What about the Bucks? Between Michael Redd and Richard Jefferson and if the rest buy into Scott Skiles' defense first, second and third mentality, perhaps these guys are the sleeper playoff team.
Southeast: Dwight Howard is ridiculous, though I'd still love to see him snag an Olajuwon-esque assassin mentality. Remember when Hakeem destroyed MVP David Robinson in the Western finals? Hedo Turkoglu (can he duplicate last season?) and Rashard Lewis are definitely above average, but this is a one-and-done playoff team. Did the Heat really win the title only a couple of seasons ago? A healthy Dwayne Wade and Shawn Marion, despite having zero on the bench, should be enough to sneak into the playoffs, maybe -- assuming Wade doesn't get hurt and they're out of it so early they trade Shawn to the Lakers for a six-pack, a sandwich and a second round pick in 2012 -- even if Michael Beasley is indeed turning out to be a head case. Sorry Agent Zero, no chance to beat the Cavs yet again, but at least you'll have more time for your blog! Oh, D.J. Augustin, I feel bad for you. Hopefully for your sake, poor Raymond Felton will take all the Larry Brown brunt. Hope you enjoyed that little taste of the postseason, Atlanta. You'll miss Grecian Formula more than you think.
Southwest: Following in the footsteps of the 2006 Saints, the Hornets became America's team, and America found out that these guys are pretty good and that Chris Paul is fucking brilliant. Frontcourt depth is still thin, but they've got enough to hold off poor Houston, forever doomed to succumb to injury despite talent and guts all over the roster. Good luck with Artest, though. Oh, the Spurs, age is cruel, unavoidable. I still maintain that with a healthy Manu, they would have knocked off the Lakers, but not having done much to add depth, the title days may be done, although would it really surprise anyone that with a healthy Ginobili in May and June, they win the whole thing without having home court even once? Can't be done? Right. Speaking of done, the Mavericks window certainly is, but they'll be springtime fodder for someone. Young Memphis will have a horrid record, but O.J. Mayo, Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and Rudy Gay sure will be fun to watch.
Northwest: Hey Jazz, I think Kobe just made another free throw. Outside of Houston, the toughest team in the league, but I wonder if they're as tough in the noggin to get past the hype machine surrounding that team from Southern California. Yes, Oregon, your long Jail Blazer nightmare is over. 75-year old Greg Oden appears healthy, there's Roy and Aldridge and Outlaw and Fernandez. Good times. Not good times in Mile High. Now that Camby is gone, I'm hoping for a return to old school Nuggets ball, lots of 145-138 losses. Can Iverson chuck it up 2000 times? Minnesota won't be very good, but they're doing a decent job -- shocking, I know -- of rebuilding with Al Jefferson, Mike Miller and Kevin Love. It'd be nice if Randy Foye could remain healthy. Oklahoma City, take solace in the fact that you have a team, because it's going to be bad.
Pacific: Yes, with a healthy Bynum, the Lakers are going to go 73-9, yadda yadda yadda. I heard this shit in 2003-04 when Malone and Payton joined Shaq and Kobe. How did that turn out? Still, they'll be very good. I miss the Suns. The real ones, the NBA version of Air Coryell or those Warren Moon Oiler teams. Enough talent remains to steal a playoff series, but that's all. The Warriors? From, statistically, the greatest upset in NBA history to, within two short years, losing Baron and getting hit by the stupidity of last year's best player and probably missing the playoffs. How 'bout them Raiders? Baron Davis and Marcus Camby won't stay healthy, so the Clippers join Golden State on the golf course. Sacramento has Kevin Martin.
Eastern playoff teams: Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, Orlando, Philadelphia, Toronto, Miami, Washington.
Western playoff teams: L.A. Lakers, Utah, New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, Portland, Phoenix, Dallas.
NBA Finals: LeBron is on a mission. [insert sports cliché of your choice] With another scoring option at his disposal, The King overcomes a mediocre-at-best bench to lose in the Finals to -- barf -- the Lakers, whereby 87 quadrillion talking hairpieces proclaim the greatness of Kobe -- is he best ever? -- while conveniently ignoring his superior supporting cast and the near triple-double LeBron lays on his punk ass night after night.