Monday, October 26, 2009

910 Conversation: Pacific Division


The truth is: any Don Nelson team has some intrigue. Any Stephen Jackson team has some intrigue. And, so far, any Stephen Curry team has some intrigue. Those are the facts.

Intrigue, if translated into the language of Jay Bilas, is upside, potential, intangibles. So we’re calling this Bay Area team The Jay Bilas All-Stars. Anyone who’s ever watched the NBA Draft or a college game called by Bilas has heard his staggeringly encyclopedic arsenal of noncommittal superlatives- great length, intangibles, upside, athleticism, recovery. We decided that these- the admittedly intriguing roster of the Golden State Warriors- are the kinds of players that inspire Bilas to run, not walk, to the thesaurus. We'll be looking for signs of Bilas-ness* in the Warriors.

*The irony that the two (arguably) most important players on this team (Jackson, Monta Ellis) never went to college yet the team is nicknamed after a college hoops aficionado like Bilas is unavoidable. But we’ll press on. I mean, we’ll tip some balls (Biedrins), make some hard cuts, bring some energy (Turiaf), provide instant offense (Curry), and hopefully have some good second jumpability if our first jumps fail.

Oh, the optimism that’s wafting through the L.A. air. Two teams that made the MLB league championships (may they rest in peace). Two teams that could make some noise in the NBA this year, with one sporting the ridiculously odds-on favorite for Rookie Of The Year. The praise is flowing like Botox. The hype is buzzing like a liposuction machine. This is L.A. to the seedy, heartless core.

But, underneath it all, people are nervous. They may not admit it; they may not want to even acknowledge that they’re denying it. But’s it’s there. The uneasiness. The doubts. They don’t trust anything that has Clippers written on it. And who can blame them? It’s a stench that won’t leave no matter how many times you scrub it. Players come to the Clippers with hope only to leave with “the stink.” Is this the season? Can Griffin & Co. become the official Exorcisers Of The Stink?

Well, to paraphrase ol’ Half Dollar, get wins or die trying. Our role? We’ll provide the visual aid. There’s one way to remove a stink with the potency and vintage of the Clippers' strain. Stay tuned this season to see if this year’s lucky Clips have the answer.


What's left to say about the Lake Show? Artest is a super interesting wild card in the mold of a more offensively-talented Rodman, which Zenphil has experience with.* Odom was a wise re-signing and looks almost sane in the formidably crazy shadow of RonRon. Their wing defense will be formidable as will their swagger. Gasol is by far the world's best Jar Jar Binks impersonator/power forward. Bynum is set to break out for the 10th straight season. They might miss Ariza. They might not. But their core is pretty wicked, as every prognostiblogger has said ad nauseum.

*I do have a theory that Artest’s uniform # (37) is not, as he says, a tribute to Michael Jackson, but rather a fittingly odd/backwards assertion of his goal this season: 73 wins. Break the record. Just this week, he was quoted saying that this team was one of the best ever assembled. If you think ambitious dudes like Kobe, Phil, Artest, etc don’t have history in their sights, you need to pay more attention to the cheesy X hat Phil wore after he broke Red Auerbach’s record. For their sake, I hope the pursuit of history doesn’t obscure their view of what it takes to just win the 2010 title. Maybe they should call Tom Brady, Belichick, et al for some pointers. Speaking of distractions **

**Hate to offer up the actual storyline in a footnote, but it does seem culturally appropriate. We’re going to track how often a Laker is a distraction to a Kardashian. Very simple. In fact, this is probably a good time to welcome my wife to the blog. She’ll be our Kardashian beat researcher. Like Jeff Tweedy, I have no reservations about her ability to keep us at least as in-the-know as those hacks at TMZ.


I love Steve Nash. I do. Let’s just get that little tidbit of journalistic objectivity out of the way.

I’m bummed that his title hopes are probably washed away. This season, for the Suns, the only thing we’ll track is how many ideas of Nash’s Shaq rips off.

So far (retroactive justice): 1. The reality show that Steve Nash would’ve been infinitely better at. 2. Go to a rival team to get back at a former team that loved you but couldn't keep you.


So little faith do we at The Black Converse have in this year’s Kings that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is.

On Friday, January 29, the Sacramento Kings make their last visit to Salt Lake City. A ticket up in the cheapest seats starts at $10 but– after all the ridiculous tacked-on fees– is $21.50 per person. We’ll say the Kings get $1.50/win. So, if the Kings have won 14 games at that point (basically the midpoint of the season), we’ll buy the seats and weather a Kings game. To give you an idea of what they’re up against, last season they finished 17-65. A reasonable 11-game improvement (new coach, stay healthy, keep star happy) will shut us up.

See you January 29, Sacramento?

(In a further note, if they hit 20 wins by that game, we’ll buy the next tier of seats. 25 and we go lower bowl.)

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