Updated: Apr 4, 2020
By: Derrick Sholes
Finally. The 82-game regular season is mercifully over so let’s pretend I hadn’t mentally checked out three weeks ago as we quickly run through the last bit of regular season randomness before the playoffs begin this weekend:
We’re saying goodbye to 14 teams until fall so here are a few things I’m going to miss over the summer: Hornets’ play-by-play guy Eric Collins’ “KEMBA!” yells, these Andrew Wiggins braids, in-season Kings chaos, Metta World Peace 4th quarter minutes for us tank enthusiasts, intentionally avoiding the Pistons, Whiteside’s career-year in assists (0.8), Embiid shenanigans, Joel Meyers, the Wolves cool new logo that looks like the rich man’s logo to the team’s SB Nation blog, Jokic dimes, seeing Towns in person that started his three-month tear aka putting the entire league on notice for his future MVP season(s) and reverse-jinxing the Nets pick and the Celtics’ 25% lottery odds of getting the no. 1 overall pick.
Things I won’t miss this summer: Tom Thibodeau yelling, Lakers play-by-play guy Bill MacDonald’s awfulness, people not making the efforts to pronounce European players names correctly, the DNP-Rest narrative, Embiid injuries, the Knicks in general (aside from broken Carmelo Anthony), Towns emotion fusing itself into Clippers-esque whining, whatever the hell Orlando is doing, players wearing Adidas Crazy Explosives, Mark Cuban trolling Russell Westbrook along with his overprotectiveness of Dirk Nowitzki, Brandon Knight’s six-pack antagonizing me and sleeve jerseys.
Taking a 24-second violation at the end of games: this bullet point was originally cut from Vol. 1, so it’s only right it became a thing down the stretch. I understand if the game is in hand, and the team seconds away from victory has the ball with a difference of a few ticks on the shot clock and game clock shouldn’t shoot anymore because it shows up the losing team. I get it, I get it, I get it. However, no one wants to admit it’s easier to run a quick little play to just get the shot at the rim, which will prevent a stoppage possibly forcing officials to get bench players, coaches and miscellaneous off the court to play a couple more meaningless seconds makes the most sense. We’d save so much time, plus not have to dig up old plays to show the hypocrisy of reacting teams and players such as the Raptors and Brandon Jennings taking shots while up big late when they didn’t need to like the fine people over at NBA Reddit did.
Popovich’s difficulty trading for Kawhi Leanard: Can’t recall how many times I’ve had to hear some announce team – local or national – share the anecdote of Gregg Popovich trading away George Hill for Kawhi this season and how difficult it was. I feel like I hear it every other time I turn on a Spurs game, which make some sense when the Spurs local announce team is one of the five most unlistenable crews and normal people avoid them at all cost. I understand Hill was one of his favorite players and he traded a starter for a rookie on draft night but it feels too much, especially when Popovich can be considered an antagonizer for 1) how he treats sideline reporters and 2) because he’s to blame for the players resting problem Adam Silver has to run to his owners to get under control. I’m not sure if it’s Spurs propaganda or the media running with one of the few Popovich stories that humanize him and they choose to run it into the ground but I’ve grown tired of hearing this story.
My All-NBA Dude-Crush Team: A few weeks ago on ESPN’s TrueHoop mailbag podcast, they rattled off a list of most attractive NBA players from presumably casual women fans. Some were surprises, some made sense, but it made me think who in the NBA I think are attractive. Since NBA Awards on many minds this time of year, I decided to create a 5-man team of NBA players I find respectively attractive to the point if my (hypothetical) girlfriend and I were out and encountered one of these guys, I’d surely grab her hand, hold it tighter if already holding it, place my arm around her, direct her attention away from one of these five guys, or all of the above like normal insecure men out in public do (Don’t act like you’ve never seen it). Frontcourt consists of The Stifle Tower Rudy Gobert in the middle, with Suns rookie Marquese Chriss and Wave Papi himself Kelly Oubre Jr., along with Patty Mills and the token white guy Gordan Hayword to round out the backcourt. Wave Papi is the MVP. Stay away from my (hypothetical) girlfriend, Kelly.
Playoff Preview: I’m not the biggest fan of postseason predictions for two reasons 1) everyone does it and 2) the internet is just a wonderfully barbaric place to mock people for being wrong for a prediction even if the team you picked wins the series in a different amount of games than you picked. You’re going to be ridiculed for being wrong even if picking the right outcome, which is peak Internet I’ll pass on. Rockets-Thunder should be fun for obvious reasons, Clippers-Jazz will surely be interesting, and I’ll also have my eye on Raptors-Bucks. My one semi-take going into the playoffs: I wouldn’t be surprised if Toronto beats Cleveland in the semis. I not picking the Raps in a potential conference finals rematch (because I learned my lesson from those Pacers teams earlier in the decade) but if it happens, I won’t be shocked like the rest of the world would be.
Anti-NBA Awards Show: I just don’t understand. Why do other leagues want to be like the NFL so much? Just because they garner the most money still during a time when everyone should know by now most of that money isn’t conscience-free with all the problems they’re dealing with now, why would the NBA be taking any kind of notes whatsoever on how the NFL does business right now. Even their less problematic activities aren’t exciting and their ratings dipped this past season. So why is the NBA trying to make an NBA Award Show a thing again? They really think this is what we want? Have they done a quick Twitter search check for NBA Awards Show tweets? It’s bad enough they’re completely changing the awards process we’ve been so accustomed to during the playoffs and making us wait until after the Draft, but doing so and giving us more of the TNT guys when we’re sick of them by All-Star Weekend for a summer rating bump screams Roger Goodell. And to add insult to injury, we just witnessed the greatest MVP race in NBA history and desperately yearn for closure after the constant arguing over this intentionally ambiguous award day in and day out over the last several months. Award shows are always a look into the ugly depths of our inner psyche (as modern award shows have perfected the last decade), and the NBA getting in on it is one of the worst decisions they’ve made. I’m rooting for Woj and Shams to sabotage it. And speaking of MVP…
It took me until the final Sunday of the season, but my MVP is………………………………………………………………………………………