Oh, how I've missed you, Yao Ming
(Via @jose3030)
(Video version at Deadspin)

We're only one night into the season, and I'm already yawning and feeling braindead while writing this. Good to see I'm already in midseason form! Lots of material today, let's get to it.

Brief footbawful crossover: Lovie Smith sucks. Per Mike Lombardi, "Smith is among the worst replay-challenge coaches in the NFL; since 2009, only four of his 16 challenges have been overturned." Also, Lovie's logic for his botched challenge/no challenge sequence this past Sunday is pretty much the definition of footbawful.

And one last brief thing before get to the pics and previews. Here are a couple of my favorite NBA-related Twitter posts of the day.

Bobby_BigWheel: I switched from Celtics-Heat to the season premiere of 16 and Pregnant. I wanted to see more scoring.

bruce_arthur: At a Knicks shootaround. Seeing Eddy Curry is like spotting a whale, in more ways than one.

Worst of the Night in Pictures:

20101026-pau-gasol-yao-ming
I reiterate: oh, how I've missed you, Yao Ming


20101026-lebron-james-paul-pierce
It may look like an awkward position for man love, but LeBron and Paul Pierce certainly seem to be enjoying it


20101026-paul-pierce-layup
Our first photographic evidence of _efense this season!


20101026-steve-blake-brad-miller
(nature documentary guy voice)
"When threatened with competition, the rare White Basketball Player will bare his teeth to show dominance"


Nationally Televised Games:

Bulls at Thunder, ESPN, 8pm: I'm glad this game is on national TV. Kevin Durant is appointment television viewing, as you have hopefully figured out by now. And I'm excited to see the revamped roster in action for the Bulls. You can read Bawful's full game preview at By the Horns since I'm sure he knows much more about the Bulls than I do.

Trail Blazers at Clippers, ESPN, 10:30pm: The Clippers on national TV? That's so sad, it can make an adorable bunny facepalm.

See what you've done, Donald Sterling? You should be ashamed.

Who else should be ashamed? Greg Oden, because his favorite TV shows include 90210 and Gossip Girls. No 58 year old man should watch those shows.

All The Other Games:

Celtics at Cavaliers, 7pm: The Celtics took down Cleveland's most hated man last night. Standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd, anyone? You know that's going to be the highlight of their season. Also, recommended reading: Trey Kirby from The Basketball Jones recently posted about Dan Gilbert's infamous Comic Sans letter that he does not regret.

Pistons at Nets, 7pm: You may be wondering why I didn't call them the Nyets. Well, I figured it's a new season and all, they deserve a fresh start, right? I mean, sure, they have a chance to suck again very soon, but they're going to start with a home win against the woeful Pistons, so I don't feel comfortable making fun of them until they lose.

Heat at 76ers, 7pm: Per the STATS LLC preview of this game, "The Sixers need forward Elton Brand to finally break out after two disappointing seasons since coming over from the Los Angeles Clippers." Yeah, good luck with that, Philly.

Knicks at Raptors, 7pm: Oh, Toronto. Over in hockey land, the Maple Leafs are -- beyond any reasonable explanation -- not godawful this year so far. Thankfully the Craptors are capable of carrying on the tradition of failure for what has lately been Loser City. Look, I don't want Toronto to continue to suck at basketball. I have nothing against their fans. However, I despise the Leafs, so I'll take what I can get right now. And when your team is based around Andrea Bargnani...

Bucks at Hornets, 8pm: Are we still supposed to Fear the Deer? I'm sorry, but I don't trust any Scott Skiles-coached team after the honeymoon period is over and the players start to resent him.

Kings at Timberwolves, 8pm: Oof. Ugly game. However, the constant potential for DeMarcus Cousins to lose his cool and strangle somebody makes pretty much every Purple Paupers game this year worth watching. (I look forward to him getting eight hundred technical fouls for my fantasy team this year while being a double-double machine.)

Hawks at Grizzlies, 8pm: Our first chance to see Larry Drew's new offensive scheme for the Hawks should be interesting. I don't expect much from the Hawks this year, but... "Memphis is 2-13 all-time in season openers, and has dropped nine straight since defeating Seattle to begin the 2000-01 season."

Bobcats at Mavericks, 8:30pm: Did you know Larry Brown is 70? That's almost as impressive as the Mavs winning 50+ games for 10 straight seasons, yet continually being worthless in the playoffs. Also, again citing the STATS LLC game preview, "The Bobcats, who waived Dampier and his $13 million non-guaranteed contract, still have a dynamic frontcourt with Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw." I think that sentence pretty much says it all.

Pacers at Spurs, 8:30pm: I will be the first to admit that the Spurs are getting old in a hurry (that's about the only thing they can do in a hurry at this point...). However, they just absolutely own the Pacers right now. The last time the Pacers won a game at San Antonio? January 4, 2002. That's just turrible.

Jazz at Nuggets, 9pm: An undertalented, overperforming Jazz team rocking their new old-school logo versus a sulking Melo? Awesome.

Rockets at Warriors, 10:30pm: As shared by AnacondaHL: "Have this pic courtesy of Jeremy Lin for tonight's BAD." And there you go. Lookin' good, Mr. Lin.

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29 Comments:
Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Are we still supposed to Fear the Deer? I'm sorry, but I don't trust any Scott Skiles-coached team after the honeymoon period is over and the players start to resent him."

Bawful, a little more analysis is wanted from fans of the team directly to the north of you who are also fans of your site.

You may very well be correct in this, but in defense of Skiles, those players that have quit on him included Kidd, Penny, Deng, Gordon, and Ty Thomas. Not exactly what anyone would call "coachable".

Like I said, time may prove you right, but until then can we get some analysis? If it comes to fruition you can give us a big fat "I told you so". Until then, he's a good coach who gets results on the defensive end.

But after just giving him an extension, the organization is telling the players that he is going nowhere in the immediate future. Anyone who isn't with the program won't be with the team very long.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
LOL @ Bosh desperately avoiding another knee to the groin.

I think you ragged on a lot of the wrong teams here, Dan. The Knickerbockers are one of the few teams in the league the Craptors are likely to beat, the woeful Hornets are likely to get their arses handed to them by the Bucks,the Kings might not actually be terrible this year while the Timberpoops will suck harder than a room full of Lakers fans, and I honestly think the Jazz are actually beter than they were last year, especially if D-Will is actually 100%.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
That bunny has already seen into the future, making that pose after Blake's next season ending injury.

Anonymous Barry said...
How about that Barkley quote before the Heat/Celtics game (I paraphrase):

"What is the Charles Barkley secret [to weight loss] ?

"If it tastes good, I spit it out"

Ah Chuck, how I love thee.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
And AnacondaHL calls me a troll.

Did Steve Nash really say recently that he doesn't expect the Suns to make the playoffs this year? They were talking about that on the Basketball Jones, but I didn't see the interview.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Waahhh I'm such a victim and a Lakers fan too waahhh

And no, he's being misquoted. Nash said he understands that an outsider would bet against the Suns making the payoffs.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
I found the direct quote: "To be honest, if I was outside this picture and a betting man, I would probably pick us to be outside of the playoffs considering all the changes and the new guys." You're actually soft-pedaling it, AnacondaHL. He's not saying he could understand why someone would make that bet, he's saying that's how he would bet if he wasn't on the team (and if he was someone who made bets).

Is he trying to motivate his team by saying something like that, or is he frustrated with how everything appears (in his mind, anyway) to be going downhill for them? I'd say it's the latter, based on this quote: "It's hard as a competitor to convince yourself every day all summer and then through the preseason that you're going to get back to where you were and hopefully take the next step, and then you realize that camp is starting all over again and it's not quite as linear as you made it out to yourself all summer."

Anonymous Toby said...
Nash is probably doing a couple different things with that statement. By saying that, which in itself is candid and yet not outrageous, he lowers expectations, vents honest frustration at management and motivates his teammates. So when they do make the playoffs, he's once again the working-class hero/over-achiever he wants to be seen as. And I'm not saying he's not hard working or isn't one of the best pg's in the league but he knows exactly what he's doing. I do think he is being honest but he wouldn't say that without a thought to reaction or outcome.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
I found the direct quote: "To be honest, if I was outside this picture and a betting man, I would probably pick us to be outside of the playoffs considering all the changes and the new guys." You're actually soft-pedaling it, AnacondaHL. He's not saying he could understand why someone would make that bet, he's saying that's how he would bet if he wasn't on the team (and if he was someone who made bets).

Sorry, Yams, but AnacondaHL is correct. Nash was either misquoted or he miscommunicated what he was actually thinking. He tried to set the record straight on his Twitter account. I quote:

"RT @SLAMonline: Nash Doesn’t Expect Suns to Make the Playoffs http://dlvr.it/7WFCP (Not true, but I understand why outsiders think we won't)"

So there you have it, from the mouth of the man himself. The assertion that he doesn't think the Suns will make the playoffs is "not true."

As for the rest, I'm sure he's not entirely happy about how the team has been restructured, and he's being honest and reasonable about it...but not hopeless. He's not demanding trades or dissing the front office to randoms in a parking lot so they can record it on their video phones.

By all accounts, Nash works as hard in the offseason as anybody in the league, in part because his age and chronic back ailment demand it. He -- like everyone else -- realizes that the Suns are not as talented as the league's top teams, and I'm certain that makes it hard to go at it 100 percent every day.

But anyway, I countered your direct quote with a direct quote. Nash doesn't think his team will miss the playoffs, he merely understands why outsiders would bet against it.

Blogger Will said...
No one can accuse Yao of not knowing what "hand in face" means anymore.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Huh. Amar''''''e already has 4 defensive boards in the first quarter of the Knicks-Raptors game, quadrupling his output from the Suns' elimination game against the Lakers.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - Like I said the other day, I think you Kobe haters want to talk about him more than his fans do. Nash makes this comment to the media, but it's not newsworthy because I'm a Laker fan and Kobe is an asshole? For the record, I'm not trying to talk about Kobe or the Lakers, you are. Also for the record, I thought the way Kobe behaved in 2007 was deplorable, and as a Laker fan, believe me, it probably upset me more than it did you. If you're trying to push me into defending his actions back then, you're going after the wrong Laker fan.

In any event, I just was surprised Nash would have said something like that to the press, so that's why I asked, then I was curious to see what his actual quote was. I guess either he said the wrong thing or felt like he needed to back off his initial statement due to any negative attention it might have received. Of course Nash works hard in the offseason, I'm not disputing that. I'm not really claiming anything, was just curious about what sounded like a rather weird quote on the even of the season from the team's spokesperson. Again, I know you like the guy and yes, I do root for the Lakers, but Kobe Bryant didn't make Nash issue that statement to the press, so don't get mad at he or I just for noticing he said it.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Anonymous -- I don't have any hard analysis on the issue (Bawful has more first-hand experience with Skiles and his tenure with the Bulls, so he might be able to back me up or say I'm a fool), but I just wrote my opinion. Skiles' hard-ass "I will bench you if you look at me wrong" attitude can get results, but only with the right players and not over an extended period of time. In my opinion.


Czernobog: I think you ragged on a lot of the wrong teams here, Dan.
Probably so. However, I also don't necessarily make fun of the team I think will lose. There's a lot of games to write about this season. I gotta pace myself and just write whatever comes to mind sometimes. :)

The Knickerbockers are one of the few teams in the league the Craptors are likely to beat
I think the Knicks won't suck as much as last year, but they will still not be good. That being said, I foresee the Craptors being just unspeakably bad.

the woeful Hornets are likely to get their arses handed to them by the Bucks,
Very possible. Does anybody on the Hornets know how to play defense? Will Chris Paul murder his teammates before the end of the season?

the Kings might not actually be terrible this year
But they won't be good either. (The NBA: Where Mediocrity Happens!)

while the Timberpoops will suck harder than a room full of Lakers fans,
And we'll get to see them playing more uptempo ball while they do it. And $20 million contract for Darko Milicic is all I need to say about them really, right?

and I honestly think the Jazz are actually beter than they were last year, especially if D-Will is actually 100%.
I already said the Jazz are an over-performing team. They have Deron Williams and a shitload of role players, but they manage to win anyway. That's fantastic.

Anonymous Czernobog said...
OK, these guys probably made a whole lot of money anyway, but this deserves a mention:

http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/entertainment/thingstodo/2010/10/miami_heat_lose_but_hollywood.html

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Terrence Williams deserves a WOTN mention.
Dude grabbed a defensive rebound with the Nets up by 3 and was fouled with 1.6 seconds remaining. He just needed to hit one free throw to ice this thing, under the watchful eyes of the new owner. And he missed the both. At least he had a co-game high 3 turnovers

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
double yoo oh tee enn to the Celtics.

And Joakim Noah just got a dunk, assist Scalabrine. And "looking like Larry Legend" was just said by an ESPN announcer going into commercial.

Anonymous Heretic said...
Scal traveled on that play but the refs didn't call it, probably out of pity. Keep stumbling through the lane you ginger magnificent bastard!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Well it was almost a shame that Blake almost shattered his knees on his first points in the NBA, but holy fuck 6 minutes and I'm sold. Keep him healthy, and he saves the Clips from worst in the West.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Heat take out anger on Elton Brand's rotting corpse. King Crab still turnover prone.

And Amare was a turnover shy from a Triple Bumble! In a debut this has to be unprecedented.

Anonymous dave m said...
Not sure why the Clippers on national TV should sadden anybody. They routinely provide the best unintentional comedy in basketball and regardless, a high-fly linebacker is entertaining in of itself.

Blogger Mintz... said...
Dan B.

What do you have against the Leafs?!?
I'm not a huge hockey fan, but as a Torontonian I irrationally and unquestionably support them.
Sadly, I also love the Raptors.
And Jays...
And the TFC...

Oh god.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Damn, Reggie Evans channeled his inner Dennis Rodman with that 0pts/16rbs game. Maybe if he keeps it up, the Craptors might win a game before Thanksgiving. Maybe.

And yay, Bogut is back. And lol, the real John Salmons is back as well.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
You know, all that talk about Duncan the other day made me think about whether I'd really put him in my All Time Starting Five. I don't think I would. I think instead I'd use Bill Russell as a power forward alongside Kareem (or Shaq or Wilt, if you prefer) to put forth the best 5 players I could. Undersized as Russell was, he should be able to play the 4 in today's NBA.

That Celtics loss tonight I thought was pretty shocking. Is age a factor there with the back to back? I tend to think that most of what you see this early in the season has to be taken with a large grain of salt, and I try not to read too much into any win or loss.

I feel a little bad for Houston though, to be 0-2 after back to back losses by 2 and 4 points. I imagine Golden State is a tough, tough matchup for the Rockets (as they can be for anyone).

I expected more scoring out of D'Antoni's Knicks now that they've got Amar'e. That's such a bizarre roster they've got though. Pringles needs Nash in the worst way, methinks.

The Thunder worry me. And 18 assists for Jason Kidd tonight, topping what Rondo did last night (CP3 checked in with 16). Yikes.

Blogger The Dude Abides said...
@Yams: The Thunder don't worry me very much if the Lakers are healthy. They can just put Kobe on Westbrook and Blake/Fisher on Thabo, and Pau absolutely owns Jeff Green at both ends. If Bynum is on the floor, the only guy OKC has who can come close to guarding him is Krstic. Ibaka only worries me as a weak side shot blocker, and Durant will always have to work for his points against RonRon. OKC just doesn't match up well with the Lakers, especially after Phil figured out that Fisher couldn't guard Westbrook.

Blogger Dan B. said...
Mintz -- You poor man.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
My starting five would be Wilt, Kareem, Hakeem, Duncan, and Bill Russell at point.

And also, anonymous, although the analogy is good let's not get crazy here. No one's touching Rodman's >1000 REB, >20% REB%, <400 PTS seasons.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Mr. Bawful - Like I said the other day, I think you Kobe haters want to talk about him more than his fans do.

Not really. Unless the words "anal rampage" get bandied about.

Nash makes this comment to the media, but it's not newsworthy because I'm a Laker fan and Kobe is an asshole?

It's not newsworthy because...it's not newsworthy. I read that quote before all the "Nash doesn't think the Suns will make the playoffs stories" were written, and it seemed pretty clear to me. A betting man would not pick the Suns to make the playoffs because the team is poorly constructed. Everybody already knew that. Nash was just conceding a popular fact.

For the record, I'm not trying to talk about Kobe or the Lakers, you are. Also for the record, I thought the way Kobe behaved in 2007 was deplorable, and as a Laker fan, believe me, it probably upset me more than it did you. If you're trying to push me into defending his actions back then, you're going after the wrong Laker fan.

No, I was only using that as an example of players being deeply and profoundly disturbed with the quality of their teammates and therefore their team's chances for competing for a championship. That's what a lot of people are trying to transform Nash's comments into. But those people are wrong.

In any event, I just was surprised Nash would have said something like that to the press, so that's why I asked, then I was curious to see what his actual quote was. I guess either he said the wrong thing or felt like he needed to back off his initial statement due to any negative attention it might have received.

See, I don't think that's the case. As I've already said, he stated the obvious: If he were a betting man OUTSIDE of the situation, he wouldn't bet on the Suns. The inference is that he's INSIDE the situation, and he would bet on them making the playoffs.

Nash has always been a straight shooter. He's not one of those athletes who makes brash or thoughtless comments and then has to back down. And he didn't in this case, which is why he responded to the overreactions to his comments with a typically understated "Not true, but I understand why outsiders think we won't."

Of course Nash works hard in the offseason, I'm not disputing that. I'm not really claiming anything, was just curious about what sounded like a rather weird quote on the even of the season from the team's spokesperson.

Here's how I took it (meaning the second "linear" comment). Players -- particularly players who want to compete for a title -- work hard over the summer with the intention of picking up where the team left off the previous season and building on what they had established. The 2009-10 Suns had a very good season, made the Western Conference Finals and were reasonably competitive with the eventual champs.

But that team doesn't exist anymore. The path is no longer linear. The roster was flipped and now the team has to build something entirely new, and there's no telling what that's going to be.

Again, I know you like the guy and yes, I do root for the Lakers, but Kobe Bryant didn't make Nash issue that statement to the press, so don't get mad at he or I just for noticing he said it.

It didn't feel like you were just noticing. It felt like you were misinterpreting what he said (perhaps by accident, not knowing what he said on his Twitter account) and assigning negative connotations to his statements that either weren't there or are not true.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
Mr. Bawful - I was genuinely just noticing. Honestly I hadn't heard anything about it until I saw them discussing it on The Basketball Jones yesterday, and Skeets (who is quite the Nash fan) was making a huge deal about it. He said something to the effect that he couldn't believe it wasn't getting more press, and that if someone like LeBron or Kobe had made a similar statement that it would be a huge story, but for some reason nobody seemed to care that Nash had said it. I was watching that as I was reading here, so I figured I'd ask our resident Suns fan about it, then I also looked up the quote. That was it. In any event, apparently some people in the basketball world felt it was newsworthy, that's why it was reported on. Right?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
In any event, apparently some people in the basketball world felt it was newsworthy, that's why it was reported on. Right?

It's newsworthy insomuch as it is a star and former MVP discussing (what he sees as) public perception of his team and acknowledging that there has been high personnel turnover of questionable quality. Again, this is all stuff that everybody else has been talking about...but it's a sin that Nash said it out loud?

Maybe if he'd dissed the team or management, or made vague comments about wanting to switch teams or be traded, that would be really juicy news. I really like Skeets, but he's off base on this one.

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