Monday, October 17, 2005

Pacific Division Preview

By SonDog, who wishes he could actually play basketball

We'll start our look around the NBA by discussing a division that is by far the most competitive and strongest in the league. The best five teams in the history of basketball reside in the Pacific Division that is home to the mighty Kings of Sacramento, the always powerful Los Angeles Lakers, and the fastest show on hardwood in the Phoenix Suns.

(Editors Note: The main problem I have with the mainstream sports media is the East Coast bias. BH and I have ranted about this on numerous occasions. I swear, if I hear one more glowing report on the collective group of yahoos that is the New York Knicks, I will literally spontaneously combust. I've always wanted to have a forum where I could transmit an unconditional West Coast bias. Be prepared over the coming weeks to hear nothing but glowing reports about West Coast teams, with limited to sporadic coverage of any East Coast teams. Oh sure, I'll talk about them, but it will be with a painfully clear underlying of contempt and disinterest. Don't get me wrong, I'll enjoy watching the Yankees and Red Sox in the World Series... er, wait.)

1) Sacramento Kings: Much, much more on this squad during my Kings Season Preview. It's coming. Oh, yes, it's coming.

2) Phoenix Suns: Remember the alien-coming-out-of-the-stomach scene in the first Alien? Fans of the Phoenix Suns literally felt this pain in unison when they heard that super-human power forward Amare Stoudemire would be out for four months from the dreaded micro-fracture surgery. And by literally, I mean every inhabitant of the greater-Phoenix area literally lost their mind when they heard this news. They literally died. All of them.

For at least four months, the fastest show on hardwood will have two blown tires. Phoenix brought in a slew of veteran players this summer with the additions of Brian Grant, Kurt Thomas, and Raja Bell. All can play defense, while all are not as fast as they used to be on offense (to be generous).

Out are Quentin Richardson, his fiancé, Brandy, and Joe Johnson. The Johnson loss could be the biggest, especially with Stoudamire's injury. Then again, the loss of Brandy will create a huge impact in the always-popular "Eye Candy Visual Game" that you play with your buddies when you're at the arena (LeseDog just dumped my Jameson over my head).

Nevertheless, MVP Steve Nash (I still can't believe I have to say that) returns, as does The Matrix, Shawn Marion, so the tempo is bound to be up and entertaining.

Out on a limb: Stoudamire's rehab will be the dominant theme through the fall. Phoenix will miss his presence more than anybody wants to admit. They'll fall to the bottom half of the powerful Western Conference.

3) Golden State Warriors: Yes, it's true, there is still a team in Oakland, and they still call themselves the Warriors. With the longest playoff drought in the league, it's easy to forget that this team is relevant, but this year they just may shock people with what promises to be a team that can threaten Phoenix for the title of THE fastest show on hardwood.

However, there are more if's surrounding this team than a week 17 episode of 24 (the most underrated show on television). IF Baron Davis stays healthy... IF Jason Richarson and Davis can share the ball enough... IF Mike Dunleavy becomes the shooter everybody believes he's capable of being... IF Troy Murphy becomes a modern-day Kevin McHale... IF rookie Ike Diogu proves to be the Elton Brand-clone that all the draft-day pundits claimed he could be... IF Mickeal Pietrus becomes the lock-down defender that he's capable of becoming... IF General Manager Chris Mullin doesn't start drinking again... you get the point.

Truly, this will be one of the most exciting teams in the Western Conference. IF coach Mike Montgomery steps back and takes the reigns off of Davis and Richardson, the W's stand a good chance of ending the playoff drought.

Out on a Limb: Golden State will finish no lower than seventh in the West, and will lead the league in scoring in 2005/2006.

IF Jack Bauer can find the terrorist leader, then the Warriors may stand a chance of making the playoffs.

4) L.A. Lakers: How do you think the conversation between new/old/returning coach Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant went this summer? You KNOW Kobe was consulted on that decision, so you KNOW the two HAD TO talk before Jackson's re-hiring became official.

"So, Kobe, I guess you needed me after all, you ignorant fool. Tell you what. Remember, I coached Michael Jordan, and whether you want to believe it or not, you couldn't carry his jock strap. This season, why don't you just shut the fu..."

MJ, giving Phil props for punching Kobe in the face.

That's about all I have to say about the Lakers. I hate that team, with a passion. I hate everything about them. I hate Kobe, I hate Phil, I hate those banana yellow uniforms, I hate their fans, I hate Jack Nicholson, and I hate the fact that they're the only West Coast team television guys talk about.

No, wait, I want to mention one other thing. Can you imagine how big Lamar Odom's bong has to be to be able to play alongside Kobe? Really, that sucker has got to be huge. And you KNOW he sucks it like a vacuum. Did you notice last year how Odom had to put Visine in his eyes during every timeout? There's a reason for this, and it's not an allergic reaction to pollen. If he has yet to take an insurance policy out on that bong, he's making a huge mistake. I mean, that has to be his crown jewel. Lamar's career was about to take off after his only season in Miami. He had just teamed with rookie Dwayne Wade to form a powerful duo that was capable of many things. He was so capable, that he was the centerpiece in the Miami/LA-Shaq trade. You thought Lamar was just about to get his life together. Then, he got teamed with Kobe. Poor fella.

Lamar, before, during and after games.

Out on a Limb: Lamar pulls a Spreewell on Kobe by game 25, and Kobe gets prosecuted in Aspen come January. I really, really hate this team.


Sorry, force of habit.


I feel sorry for Elgin Baylor. He's moments away from being the first true professional to join the cast of The Surreal Life. Really, the man simply cannot still be sane. Working for owner Donald Sterling for all of these years has absolutely driven the Hall of Famer off a cliff. I mean, how can you explain signing Cuttino Mobley to a HUGE deal AND trading for Sam Cassell in the same off-season? My best guess is that he's now INTENTIONALLY trying to sabotage this team's financial future. He's had enough, and in his own way, he was able to convince Sterling that, "You know, Mobley could be the best 2-guard in the league, and Cassell really is a stand-up guy when you peel back the layers of the onion and get to know him. Honestly, this could take us straight to the top of the Pacific Division." I really, really want to know how Baylor made this happen if he wasn't just trying to make a funny for the Surreal Life cameras.

Out on a Limb: Sam Cassell plays the entire season without causing any incidents. Really, this is an enormous stretch.

Coming Soon: The Northwest Division (Denver, Portland, Utah, Minny, Seattle).

1 comment:

OZ said...

Phoenix will only barely be in playoff contention without Amare. That's a huge loss, unlike the celebration in Sac when they lost Webb to the same surgery. I will be monumentally disappointed if this negatively affects what was shaping up to be a miraculous career.

You overextended yourself on Golden State the minute you suggested Baron might not get injured. Are you smaoking out with Odom?