Jesus that was a long offseason. I can’t tell you how happy I was to see people live-Tweeting the Celtics playing a goddamn game in Turkey. Sure, it’s a goddamn game in Turkey, but at least it is basketball!
Slowly though, as preseason games have continued, that exuberance has been tempered as I remember that it is the preseason. When the Warriors took on the Lakers the other night, they faced the fearsome starting five of Nash, Bryant, Peace, Gasol…and Sacre? According to Wikipedia, Robert Sacre is a “Canadian professional basketball player” and is a member of the Canadian national basketball team”. I wonder if Sacre and Nash giggle on road trips while eating Poutine and listening to Drake.
The preseason can give you a funny, inflated view of what is yet to come. The Warriors are 2-0, having beat the Lakers and Jazz, and our rookies look good! But really, the most important number is 12: the number of minutes Stephen Curry on his surgically-repaired ankle before pulling himself out of the game. 6-1 turnover ratio!! Is he actually injured? Was it just a precautionary measure? Will he be able to play through that pain and soreness in three weeks? Who knows, it’s the damn preseason.
The preseason is also the home to my favorite sports cliché, the “he’s in the best shape of his life” sound bite. Enes Kanter weighs 8 lbs. less than last season and looks stronger? If only that included added coordination and he might be able to pull off the worm! Stephen Curry looks like he went to a gun show and traded in his pistols for some gats. He’ll be unstoppable going to the hole now, unless, you know, HIS ANKLE DOESN’T DISINTEGRATE WITH LATERAL MOVEMENT!
We’re also starting to hear some funny things from the beat reporters, as it’s not just players’ hoop game that isn’t in regular season form, but their media game. We start off with the relatively tame: Deron Williams signed with the Nets over the Mavericks because Mark Cuban didn’t show up to a meeting to swaddle Williams. On the one hand, Williams is patently absurd. He is a grown man that is signing a maximum contract, why would feeling “wanted” trump things like pay, ability to win, training staff etc. On the other hand, as Larry Coon’s recent column (ESPN Insider) demonstrates, because of the salary cap many NBA players are paid less than their full market value. Within that context, it appears that intangible benefits like “feeling loved” really matter.
On the more meaningful end of things, Rudy Gay calls out Chris Paul and the rest of the Clippers! Flop city bitch, flop flop city! Of course, Gay’s quote about Paul is pretty ambiguous: “I mean I love him but I don’t like him anymore.” What the hell does that mean? Was Gay confused as to the topic of the interview and thought it was “lame lines you tell a girl when you don’t want to date her anymore but you don’t have the balls to truly break up with her”? Thankfully, Memphis’ first game of the season is against the Clippers, where we will see hate (or mild dislike, or something) and David Stern’s new anti-flopping rule collide! Must see TV I think.
If all that didn’t seem coherent, duh, you’re right. There is just so much high-quality preseason news coming out and, like those players, I’m still in preseason form. Frankly, the fact that there are no typos in this piece (for the love of God let there be no typos) means that I am, in injury-talk parlance, a few weeks ahead of schedule.
If you’re wondering if this all means something, the answer is, maybe, but probably not. Sure, the preseason is somewhat predictive of regular season to come, but there is a myriad of more predictive factors, notably last season’s results. We can’t go so far as to say it doesn’t mean anything, so you should care a little bit about your team not picking up that preseason donut, but I wouldn’t schvitz too much. Just enjoy the fact that BASKETBALL IS BACK!