When I was 14, I was convinced girls liked guys with pained and mysterious pasts. Every date I ever went on until I was 20, I managed to sneak in hints that I was somehow bruised and tormented with something that made me sensitive and mature and really “get” Belle & Sebastian albums. I didn’t, of course. I drank Slurpees and enjoyed MTV programming, but girls never knew that. They just knew that I could be really, really hurt and that they should be careful with me, because I was as fragile as a Faberge Egg.  Mo Williams? He also wants you to know that he’s as fragile as a Faberge Egg. He claimed this week that he nearly retired when he found out LeBron James was leaving for Miami. You have no idea how close, guys. Like, super close. Do you have any clue how many Belle and Sebastian albums he had to listen to before he was ready to emerge from his bedroom? Like a dozen. And I’m not even sure they’ve recorded that many albums.

I don’t believe for a second that Mo was any closer to retirement than a tiny-cutter is to slicing a vain. But from a fantasy perspective, you have to wonder about a guy who would create this fiction in the first place. If he said he pondered retirement after realizing he’d be on a team with Jamario Moon in its starting rotation, okay. Then I can understand his despair. But LeBron leaving? C’mon. Players play for three reasons: 1) the love of the game (which doesn’t change no matter who you play with), 2) fame and money (which can only increase for Williams by no longer sharing the spotlight with the most famous athlete on the planet), and 3) winning championships (something that wasn’t happening with LeBron on the team anyway).  Even if Mo really did have to walk the Earth like Kane from “Kung-Fu” before deciding not to quit at the prime age of 27, that just enhances my fear of a LeBron-less Williams. He played with the efficiency of a child being chased by geese when James was on the bench. I wouldn’t drop him in my rankings because of this, but I was weary of Mo before. This just ensures if it comes down to him and anyone else come draft day, I’m betting against Williams.

Here are some other guys who, as far as I know, never contemplated retirement because LeBron James no longer plays for Cleveland.

DeMarcus Cousins – Boogie dislocated his finger, took a nasty picture of it, tweeted it and said it ain’t a big deal. Look out NBA, there’s a bad man coming. Ain’t that right, Crooked Fingers?

Brad Miller – Sprained his ankle and will be out 10-14 days. Now if we could just get more Texans to wear more tattoos of literary characters and Teva sandals, Houston’s transformation into Portland will be complete.

Shawn Marion – He’ll see more time at PF this season so that Nowitzki doesn’t have to average 37.5 minutes a game again in 2010. But I want Dirk to play 37.5 mpg. Yeah, but you also want him to play all season too, which probably won’t happen if the 32-year-old clocks another 3,000 minute season. That’s not important. No. It’s key. Well played. This isn’t great news for Marion either. He played 27 percent of his minutes at the four and looked like a SF stuck playing PF. Shocker!

Greg Oden – Representatives of the Blazers say they’re hoping just to get 60-65 games out of Oden this season. Oden’s got everyone right where he wants them. Expectations are low, like limbo-winner low. People won’t even comment about his status for the start of the season. If ever there was a good time for EMOden to re-emerge from the void, it is now. He’s like the Count of Monte Cristo with fewer suicides and poisonings.

Earl Watson – Signed with Utah to backup Deron Williams should Williams need his back, um, upped. This is bad news for Sundiata Gaines and Ronnie Price who either both got bumped down the totem pole or added another mate to Utah’s polygamist backcourt.

Amir Johnson – You can thank Ed Davis for not being fully healthy until mid-November. This gives fantasy owners a full month to see if Johnson’s 121 career ORtg and 105 career DRtg is fo’real or if he’ll go back to being a nameless soldier on this hapless Raptors squad. You know what they say, “Amir today, pawn tomorrow.”

Andrew Bogut – I have good news and I have bad news. I also have a second bad news. Which do you want first? The bad news? Okay, which one? I know you said the bad news, but do you want the first bad news or the second bad news? No, there’s no order. It’s up to you, that’s why I’m asking. Why bother giving you a choice if there’s an order the newses need to be delivered in? Well, I’m sorry you have a headache. For what it’s worth, that was the first bad news. That you have a headache. I hope you wanted the first bad news first and the good news second, because that’s what’s going to happen. The good news is that I have something to make you forget all about that headache. Yay! And now here’s the second bad news: it appears as though Andrew Bogut will play the entire season with lingering arthritic feelings in his elbow and probably skip games here and there when the pain gets to be too much. The weather changes, his elbow might get sore. A hard foul? He might get sore. Corey Maggette skips another open opportunity to pass to him, he’ll be sore. Oh. He’ll be sore. If you want to drop him lower on your draft rankings, I wouldn’t be mad at’cha.

Josh Howard – Coming off surgery to repair his torn ACL, the crappy Howard will likely miss the first month of the season. I know you’re all sad. Well, most of you anyway. That one guy in the back that looks like Nick Young got real giddy all of a sudden.

The Golden State Warriors – Go ahead and slide every fantasy option from the Warriors down a few notches now that Don Nelson is out. It’s like the Warriors are America in 1920 and the boom times of legal liquor are over. Especially ’cause Keith Smart seems more like Van Alden than Nucky Thompson. Is it too soon for that reference? I guess you guys aren’t ready for that. But your kids are gonna love it. (Two consecutive unrelated pop culture references: +1. I’m out.) /drops mic.

  1. Ro Bauti says:

    Boardwalk Empire is awesome. And Back to the Future references never fail. Also, from a non-fantasy perspective, thank the bball gods for Nelson’s retirement.

  2. d2bnz says:

    Adam , could you give us a run down on Jonas Jerebko ? he got a lot of minutes last year with Tayshaun down and I for one was mightily impressed , but most early season predictions seem to suggest that he will be buried on the Pistons bench……the reason I ask is that he appears to me as an all round contributor , worthy of a spot in a 20 team league.

  3. thepizzaman says:

    Great stuff Adam—any idea as of when the ESPN commentator leagues are going to form?

  4. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Ro Bauti: After a disappointing Season 1 of “Treme”, I think HBO might be onto something with “BE.”

    @d2bnz: I’ll go into more detail in the Pistons Team Preview, but Detroit didn’t do Jerebko any favors by signing McGrady and drafting Greg Monroe. J.J. split his time pretty evenly between SF and PF (46 percent and 44 percent respectively, with 10 percent at SG) and those are the two positions the Pistons tried to improve in the offseason. Between Prince, Mac and Daye, Jerebko is more likely to get play at PF. But the team also thinks Villanueva just had an off year and are going to want to burn Ben Wallace and Monroe together a fair amount. I think Jerebko will improve, but it will be done quietly with far fewer mpgs than the 28 he averaged last season.

    @thepizzaman: Look for an update Monday. I’m hoping to get it started very soon.

  5. d2bnz says:

    Am I seeing things or is “wildcat979” who has posted on boogiecousins’ dislocation look remarkably familiar ……K L

  6. Kyuss says:

    12-team roto league, 9categories
    I was offered Kirilenko for my Cousins. Should I take this deal? I’m thinking yes, especially if Kirilenko really ends up in Denver…

    My team: T.Evans, K.Martin, B.Davis, Granger, Odom, Horford, A.Bynum, Kaman, B.Gordon, Cousins, Childress, Prince, Beabouis

  7. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Kyuss: I’d say go for it, unless you’re worried about the health of your team overall. You’ve already got hurt magnets Martin, Davis, Granger, and Bynum. Not sure how you feel about adding another annually injured player.

  8. Kyuss says:

    Thanks! I am going for it. I will be looking to move Bynum and probably Davis anyway. I almost never draft Bynum, but he was there in the 6th round (67th pick). Will be looking for safer options for sure.

  9. Jt says:

    i’m in a 12 team, h2h, standard 9 cat league (13 man roster). I’ve been offered the following trade:

    I get: Jrue Holiday and DeMar DeRozan

    I give up: Sammy Dalembart and Mike Conely

    My big guys are Howard, Brook Lopez, and JeVale McGee, while my guards are felton, collison, and jrich. With Howard and lopez I’m not sure Dalembart is a must, but I do like Conely. Thoughts?

  10. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Jt: I’d pass. Jrue will likely be the best of the four players involved in this trade, but DeRozan is the worst and you’re more likely to need a solid third center and a serviceable third PG than a useless SG and No.2 or 3 PG.

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