Twas the night before tip off, and it’s about fucking time!
For too damn long I listened to the 1% whine.
But the lockout is over, and I’m giddy beyond belief!
This has been a long offseason, filled with boredom and grief.
With sixteen less games on the season to be played
Health, talent and consistency will matter much, I’m afraid.
Some teams will have it, but others will not.
To those teams, Harrison Barnes will represent the Jackpot.
But there will be stalwarts — aye, more than a few.
And they aren’t just located in Miami and Los Angeles, too.
Small markets have retooled, and they’re ready to fight!
Playoff seeds will be murky until the very last night.
So bough up your holly, and jingle all the way?
I’m a Jew, Jim, not an expert at Christmas, okay?
Just hang around for a minute, and listen to this:
A season preview poem, written (drunk) by The Diss.
The balance of power has shifted to the East
With two legit contenders, and several competitive beasts.
While many teams will claim to have a fair shot
Only two are legitimate. The others are not.
The Atlantic Division’s franchises are the NBA’s most storied
With teams like the Celtics and Knicks considered most gloried
There are other basketball teams in the division; yes, this is true.
But in terms of relevant ones, we should only consider two.
The Celtics are one, for behind the Big Three
The Celtics have built a new modern day legacy.
They’ll still have their scowls, but here’s a prediction not-so-bold:
Their contending days are over. They’re just too old.
This year, in the Atlantic, I love New York.
Because it won’t just be Amare and Melo doin’ work.
The Knicks picked up Tyson to be the man in the middle.
For rivals, beating New York’s frontline will be a riddle.
However, lest we forget, ‘cross the Hudson
The soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets will hustlin’
To resign D-Will, their Superstar-elect
His long-term contract will finally bring that team respect.
As for Toronto and Philly, there’s not much to say.
Philly should be good enough to make the playoffs. Hooray!
Toronto will suck, but no one’s gonna hate.
The Maple Leafs are playing hockey this season, and they’re great!
The Central Division is a one horse race
With the most intriguing question being: who’ll win second place?
It’ll be interesting to watch these teams jockey around
While Chicago holds a fifteen game lead over these clowns.
Da Bulls will creme de la creme once again.
Lead by D-Rose, Coach Thibs, and their band of friends.
They’ll try to avenge their loss to Miami from last year
With more experience, and Rip Hamilton, they’ll have less to fear.
After that, the Central drops off quick.
For second place, I guess Indy’s a safe pick.
David West and George Hill were nice acquisitions.
They’ll allow Hibbert, Collison and Granger to excel at their natural positions.
But after that, it’s sort of anyone’s guess
Milwaukee making the playoffs? Don’t hold your breath.
Cleveland continues to go nowhere fast.
And it’s been some time since Detroit ran out of gas.
And finally we turn to the Southeast’s best.
Another division featuring one star and all the rest.
The Southeast used to be a competitive affair
But shifting balances of power will produce some compelling fare.
Just like last year, here’s a point I’ll re-teach:
The division’s best team is located in South Beach.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it really matters not.
Miami has more talent than anyone else has got.
With Wade fully healthy and LeBron mentally tough
And Chris Bosh, with new muscles, definitely looking buff
I fear the second-year power of the Miami Heat
In the Eastern Conference, they are undoubtedly the team to beat.
After that, there’s some question about Number Two.
Orlando has an argument, and Atlanta does too.
Atlanta gets the razor’s edge, though not because they’re that good.
It’s mostly because Dwight Howard really wants out of his old hood.
So Atlanta will finish second, and the Magic a close third,
Though that prediction may honestly be for the birds.
For if Dwight’s talents go to another state,
The Magic are a lottery team. Please make no mistake.
Washington and Charlotte won’t make much noise.
MJ would love if Harrison Barnes joined his boys.
John Wall will have a nice sophomore season in DC
But they suck, so you’ll never see them on TV.
And now we turn our attention to the West.
Where many good teams play — but are they the best?
With as many as three contenders to consider here,
Let me pause for a moment so I can open a beer.
Let’s start with the Northwest Division, because you see,
The Northwest Division is as compelling as can be.
Young up-and-comers in small market settings
With individual talent so good, it’ll surely cause bed wettings.
This crazy division will be lead by the Zombie Sonics
Who were not distracted by Durant-Westbrook alpha-dog histrionics
There’s a unity of purpose in O.K.C.:
NBA Championship, or bust. No other possibility.
The chances of them winning are solid as gold.
Ibaka, Harden and KP — none of those guys are old.
The rise of OKC will be happening very soon
And my money’s on Miami versus OKC come June.
There’s additional competition to consider in the Northwest
Though OKC’s much better than the rest
Denver had a chance, but due to lockout-related-causes
Most of their good players went overseas sans opt-out-clauses.
Utah is still reeling from the loss of Coach Sloan.
They’ll compete but miss the playoffs (listen to Jazz fans groan).
And Portland’s small ball will give teams the fits
Indeed, let’s hope no one else’s knees explode into bits.
And as my friend Alex pointed out, there’s reason for cheer
In Minnesota, as the Wolves may have a good year.
The playoffs are still probably a year or two off
And perhaps a few transactions (**cough** TRADE BEASLEY! **cough**)
The reality of the Pacific Division has been thrown asunder
With all attention on David Stern’s public relations blunder
CP3, briefly a Laker, is now a happy Clipper.
And Kobe, more than ever, is looking none too chipper.
For the first time in forever, there’s a rivalry in LA!
Imagine the media storm each time these teams play!
Jack Nicholson will support the Lakers for sure.
The Clippers need a celebrity. Perhaps Christiane Amanpour?
As for the standings — bandwagon jumping is shitty
But I’m betting my money on the team in Lob City.
CP3 and Blake are a match made in heaven.
And the Clips will compete in playoff rounds to seven.
The Lakers are #2, and I fear the implications.
Kobe’s unhappiness has caused spasms in the NBA nation.
Pau came in 2008, and now four seasons later
Kupchak may land Dwight, a prize that’s certifiably greater.
The other members of the Pacific are not playoff clubs,
Which is very sad, especially for the Golden State Dubs.
My hometown team is slowly en route to a better place
But this year won’t compete in the playoff race.
With the team finally sold, and new owners at the helm
It shouldn’t be too long before we reach a brand new realm
Of respectability and large market renown!
(By that time, our starting center won’t be Kwame Brown).
Phoenix and Sacto are in dire straits
Lead by owners who struggle to sell tickets at the gate.
Hey, Robert Sarver, quit thinkin’ ’bout your cash.
Do the right thing, and FREE STEVE NASH!
Finally, we discuss the clubs of the Southwest
Many fine specimens, including last year’s best.
The Dallas Mavericks, they who unseated the Heat.
Will now enter the season as the Team to Beat.
Indeed, Dallas gave up some important parts.
Stevenson, Chandler, Barea and Butler are starts.
However, Dirk won’t quit; this we now know.
It’ll be interesting to watch this championship team grow.
But Dallas is not alone in the Southwest division.
Memphis lurks in waiting, their players on a mission
To unseat the traditional powerhouses of the region
And play meaningful basketball late into the season.
Z-Bo, Gasol and Gay are certifiable bosses.
Yet Battier, Arthur and Vasquez are damaging losses.
But if O.J. Mayo steps up, and Conley too
The sky’s the limit for the boys in blue.
Houston and New Orleans will be gritty and fight
But they don’t have the talent to compete every single night.
New Orleans may compete for a low seed — maybe 7 or 8?
But they won’t have the finishers to truly be great.
So our analysis ends with the Spurs, and forgive the crass rhyme,
But the Men in Black have finally caught up with Father Time.
I expect a fine season, but when games matter in June
A lack of athleticism will begin the rebuilding process not a moment too soon.
And that’s the preview! It’s over at last!
The lockout is kaput, it’s a thing of the past!
We can now focus on the issues that matter:
Iso plays, box-and-one, rumors and trade chatter.
On Kobe! On Boozer! On Bosh and D-Wade!
On Melo! On KG! On Steph and Monta!
So this Christmas Eve, let me say to you all:
Happy fucking holidays. Let’s watch some ball.