As a Lakers fan, it pains me to say this, but the Clippers are going to be a juggernaut sooner rather than later. I’m a firm believer in the notion that success comes from the top. Well, the Clippers have an owner who is smart (Harvard BA), brilliant (dropped out of Stanford to join Microsoft), rich ($33.1 billion net worth), and passionate.
In addition, he brought in Jerry West this year, the literal GOAT, to serve as a consultant. The last team to hire West as a consultant was the Golden State Warriors. That worked out pretty well. I still can’t believe West is with the Clippers, as he really should be a Lakers for life. I’m sad now. Anyways, he knows basketball and has such a great eye for talent.
Two or three times a month, I take my kids to the local yogurt shop. It’s crazy the flavors they have these days: black forest cake, caramel macadamia, cinnamon coconut, guava grapefruit sorbet, etc. Man, when I was a kid, there was no fancy shmancy yogurt. We had ice cream. Flavors? Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. The classics. Now, any store you go into, there will always be vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavors placed among the almond midnight mochas, cookies & creams, and alphonso mango tarts. Why? Although not sexy and often overlooked, they get the job done and still taste damn good. That’s how I feel about the Memphis Grizzlies. They play a boring, methodical style of basketball and don’t have star power, although Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are really good players. With that said, all they’ve done is make the playoffs for seven consecutive years.
Even though I’m a Lakers fan, I’ve always had an odd fascination with the Trail Blazers. Is it the logo? If you look at it long enough it starts to spin, move, and slowly suck you in. Is it the fact that they drafted Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan? You know when you drive by someone that got into an accident? Is that from a state of concern or morbid curiosity? I think those two things had something to do with it, but it’s the 1999 “Jail Blazers” that always fascinated me. The Lakers beat them that year in the Western Conference Finals, but that team was so stacked and truly had a DGAF attitude. Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon from UNLV. Brian Grant. A young Jermaine O’Neal. Scottie Pippen, granted the expired version but still drinkable. Arvydas Sabonis. Really wished he had come to the states in his prime. He was Jokic before Jokic. Detlef Schrempf and Steve Smith. Deadly shooters. Damon Stoudamire aka Mighty Mouse. Rasheed Wallace was unguardable. The height extension he got on his shot made it unblockable. Bonzi Wells. So strong, both mentally and physically. A straight bull in a china shop. I loved how they never backed down and were tough as shit. They smoked weed. Seriously, what’s wrong with that? When I smoked weed, the basket looked like it was 10 feet wide. Isn’t that a good thing? The worst thing I did on weed was buy too many twinkies. Anyways, I apologize for that trip down memory lane. Both myself and the Trail Blazers have come a long way since those days.
I love Denver. The downtown district is vibrant and urban, yet it’s nestled on a river in close proximity to the Rocky Mountains. Such a clean and scenic place. Maybe I didn’t go to the “right” areas. Or would it be the “wrong” ones? Anyways, weed is legal and it’s the easiest and most comfortable place to join the “Mile-High Club.” What more could a man or woman ask for? I also love, love, love their basketball team. If you perused my rankings….shameless plug….you’d know my love for all Nuggets players. Well, Denver was founded in 1858 by a group of gold prospectors, so it only makes sense that Denver shall be a place to mine fantasy gold for the 2017 basketball season.
There was a time when fans actually brought cowbells into a NBA stadium. Back in 2003, Phil Jackson called Sacramento “an old cow town.” As a result, fans proceeded to bring cowbells to home games and provide a truly unique home court advantage,
We haven’t heard much about it lately because, well frankly, the team has sucked. And who has the energy to lug a cowbell into a stadium and ring it when there are very few things to cheer about? They have not won 40 games in a season since Metta World Peace played for the Kings and was named Ron Artest. Man, I totally forgot he played two years in Sacramento. Crazy. Anyways, things are slowly transforming. The team opened Golden 1 Center last year, installed a three-foot-tall cowbell on the wall, and have changed their logo. I love the logo. The lions and the color scheme make me think of the Decepticons from the Transformers and the Voltron lions. The most shocking development has been the positive feedback from the basketball community about their personnel moves. When’s the last time that’s happened?
In Thibs We Trust? Tom Thibodeau was hired in April of 2016 to become the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Timberwolves. Prior to his arrival, the team had not had a winning record since the days of Kevin Garnett. All newude. My favorite commercial of all time. Anyways, defense has been an issue for this team and Thibs is known as a defensive coach. During his five-year coaching stint with the Chicago Bulls, the team was ranked 1st, 1st, 5th, 2nd, and 11th in defensive efficiency. So, of course in Thibs’ first year, the defense got worse. This dynamic reminds me of Brian Billick, a head coach in the National Football League. Billick was known as an offensive guru and got his head coaching job on this premise. “Our team can’t score, so let’s hire a coach that can fix that,” said the owner of the team….probably. Anyways, Billick tried to sprinkle his offensive magic on the team, but you know what? He realized that he is indeed not a magician and that there are things called players. Coaches can put players in the best positions to succeed but, at the end of the day, players make the coach. Billick was smart enough to realize that the strength of the team was on defense, so he placated to that strength and eventually won a Super Bowl as a result. Will Thibs be as flexible? He was out of coaching for a year and travelled the basketball landscape taking notes so….Read on to find out what I think.
26, 17, 21, and 27. Those are the number of wins the Lakers have accumulated in each of the last four seasons. For perspective, if you include the Minneapolis days, the franchise has played 69 seasons and only had two seasons with less than 30 wins. If you up the bar to 40 wins, there were only 12 seasons, and that includes the two aforementioned seasons and the lockout-shortened season of 1998. But fear not Lakers fans. Things look to be headed in the right direction with Luke Walton as head coach, Rob Pelinka as general manager, and Lonzo Ball the new face of the franchise. Just wait until Lebron James and Paul George join the squad next season!