Yes, it’s finally here. The inaugural mailbag. We’ll start off nice and easy with some questions from fellow DRaT founder Jacob Bikshorn.
How many games will Andrew Bynum play and what hair style will he wear for his return to the court? -Jacob in Long Grove, IL
This is a tough question to answer because I’m not a doctor and haven’t seen Andrew Bynum’s knees. My gut says he’ll play around half the season, so I’ll set my early prediction at 50 games. As for hair style, Bynum has proven that he’s willing to put some fucked up shit on his dome. I hope he just goes back to the buzz cut.
What year will the NBA PED scandal break? -Jacob in Long Grove, IL
This is a subject no one wants to talk about, but we can only put it off for so long. Bicky’s definitely right; some kind of NBA PED scandal will be upon us sooner rather than later. Well-known players like OJ Mayo, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu have all been suspended before and Kobe and Andrew Bynum have openly gotten weird blood-spinning treatments in Germany. Without a doubt, a significant percentage of NBA players are doping. Look, I’m no @OldManBikshorn. I’m not gonna tell you there’s a 50% chance LeBron is cheating (he’s not). But those fringe guys, fighting for long-term contracts and roster spots? Hell yeah. 2017.
Which NBA team is destined to relocate to Seattle? -Jacob in Long Grove IL
Hmm. The Kings have successfully stayed in Sacramento, so count them out. The Hornets would’ve been an intriguing option had David Stern ensured they weren’t going anywhere. I’d say perhaps the Bobcats, but MJ would never let that happen. Don’t kill the messenger, but does anyone care about the Milwaukee Bucks? They have a pretty tiny fan base, a small market and just a terrible team. Who’s down?
Does Derrick Rose drink beer? -Rachel in Potomac, MD
One of the residual effects of the David Kahn era (which the history books will call ‘The Dark Ages’) will be losing Kevin Love after Kahn failed to sign him to a max contract. If we assume he will leave the Land of 10,000 Lakes, where are potential landing spots for him. Is it a foregone conclusion that he’ll want to go back out west? -Sam in Minneapolis, MN
The key distinction here is not the money Love received but the option to leave Minnesota after year three of the deal. Minnesota did not have to do that and it’s gonna cause them a lot of headaches even if he stays. With this upcoming season being the third year, Love will have options. Outside of Minnesota, the team he’s been linked to most has actually been the Chicago Bulls. It’s no secret they’d love to pair Love and Derrick Rose, who train together, and Love has big markets on his mind. If he leaves, I’d look out for him in Chicago or perhaps the West Coast where he grew up (Lakers, Portland).
Is Jason Collins a:
C) Basketball Player
D) All of the above
-Lee in Buffalo Grove, IL
A and C. [Rest of paragraph redacted by editor]
How awkward is it in the Buss-Jackson household right now? There’s no way Jeanie Buss (or any Laker fan) believes Mike D’Antoni is the one to lead LA out of the abyss of salary cap purgatory; everyone wants Phil. How does their relationship survive? -Brett in Dallas, TX
The Buss-Jackson household fascinates me. For those unfamiliar, the late Dr. Jerry Buss has two kids who oversee Lakerland: Jim Buss, and Jeanie. Jim is the under-qualified operating owner of today’s Lakers who lost their first marquee free agent in franchise history. Jeanie is the kinda sexy business guru who also happens to have consensual sexual intercourse with coaching legend Phil Jackson. The Lakers jerked Jackson around before handing the keys to Mike D’Antoni without getting a response from Jackson, who was sleeping on it. Now, they suck, Dwight left, and Kobe’s rehabbing a major injury. And they still have that shitty coach. Honestly, Brett, I think LA is going to have to rebuild, so the time might’ve passed for Phil Jackson to take over. The Lakers suck, but Phil and Jeanie probably both agree at this point that someone besides D’Antoni and Jackson will bring them back to prominence.
Cotton candy or reeeeeeeeeeeheeeheeeheeeeeeeeeeeedddddd ropes? -Corey in Chicago
Top 3 basketball movies… Go!
3. Space Jam
Honorable Mention: Juwanna Man… Jk
-Lee in Buffalo Grove, IL
1. Space Jam (no question), 2. Semi-Pro, 3. Glory Road. Do love me some Juwanna Man though…njk.
You, Stavi, Bicky, and Geo have 6 months to train in the major professional team sport of your choice (for argument’s sake, you can multiply yourselves to fill out the correct number of players for whatever sport it is). At the end of the 6 months, you will play the defending champion in that sport. In which sport would the pros’ margin of victory be the lowest and why? Also, who is team DRaT’s MVP? -Aaron in NYC
I’m immediately going to rule out the NFL and the NBA. Simply put, we don’t have the size or athleticism to compete with the athletes from those leagues. Hockey is intriguing, but I don’t think any of us know how to skate. Kinda concerning. That’s why my answer is baseball. First, I’m pretty certain Stavi has some wicked pitches up his sleeve. If Geo(s) can come in and get a few outs, I’m confident enough in our pitching staff. Given six months to train, I think we’d be much more functional as baseball players than any other sport. All of us know how to field and hit, albeit not at a major league level. Furthermore, winning the World Series is extremely tough and the nature of the baseball playoffs mean it’s hard to create a dynasty in today’s game. Thus, the defending champ right now would be the San Francisco Giants, who currently have a similar record to the Chicago Cubs. In basketball, for example, you’re probably facing the Miami Heat or another elite, dynastic squad. Finally, I’m tabbing Stavi as the DRaT MVP. We’ll need to rely on his pitching, and I’m sure Steve could handle a bat. Don’t rule out Bicky, though, who was briefly unstoppable in little league as he surged through puberty (key word: briefly).
Here’s Bicky’s thoughts (note: I don’t think he realized Aaron asked for a major sport, but this is entertaining): I think the sport to get into would be curling. First off, the talent pool is pretty small. You’re looking at some Canadians and some weirdos in North Dakota. Second, it seems that little coordination is needed to play. A lot of the game is strategy based. This seems ideal for a team that would be 75% Jewish. Finally, it seems like one could probably curl and drink beer simultaneously, an impossible feet in most sports.
A curious mom wants to know who is the shortest player in the NBA and how does he manage to keep up with the competition. I remember some guy named Mugsy….And on the flipside, who is the tallest player and what strategies do teams use to play against him? xoxo, Mom
Hi, Mom. Right now the shortest player in the league is Nate Robinson, now a free agent but formerly Chicago’s own! At 5’8″, he was really exciting in D-Rose’s absence this season. You should know this stuff, Mom. Muggsy Bogues used to be the shortest player at a shocking 5’3″ (that’s your height!). The tallest player in the league is currently Hasheem Thabeet, at 7’3″. He’s pretty bad, so you don’t need a strategy. However, when teams face other, more skilled seven footers, they employ many tactics. The most common are double teaming the player so he has to pass, or intentionally fouling since these big men are often the worst free throw shooters. This strategy is nicknamed “Hack-a-Shaq” because of Shaquille O’Neal’s notoriously bad free throw shooting.
Is a comeback to Camp Chi inevitable in the summer of 2014? More realistically: Who do the Bulls go after in summer 2014? -David in Kansas City, KS
If I can’t find a max contract coming off my rookie deal from Vandy, I may have to take a pay-cut and return in the summer of 2014. Never know. As far as the Bulls go, there’s a lot of variables in play here. Obviously, James/Bosh/Wade will be courted if they all opt out. I don’t think James is a realistic possibility, but if the Big 3 break up, Wade and Bosh are. Wade probably won’t leave Miami regardless, but he is from Chicago. Bosh would be a great fit in Chicago if he leaves. The real target for Gar Forman and co. is Kevin Love. If they can’t acquire him during the 2013-14 season, he’ll be the number one priority. Kobe and Melo will be free agents too, but I doubt the Bulls look their way too seriously. The only thing we can hope for is that the Bulls don’t repeat their mistake from 2010: whiffing on the top tier players and signing Carlos Boozer for way too much money. We’d all rather see them save the money and cap space.
Is Riggin’ for Wiggins (ala Bill Simmons) a real possibility this season? -David in Kansas City, KS
Depends on the team. Obviously a team like Chicago or Brooklyn is in win-now mode and not tanking. However, we’re seeing more and more middle of the pack teams opt to bottom out with the prizes of the 2014 draft class glimmering at them.
What do you feel the chances are for star Australian league point guard Jonny Flynn making a return to the NBA? -@McChronicky
Apparently, Flynn is playing in the summer league with the hopes of catching a roster spot. Cross your fingers, buddy.
Pacers or Nets? -Ross in Buffalo Grove, IL
This will depend completely on Danny Granger. If he’s healthy and can be inserted into the lineup without damaging the balance, the Pacers are immediately improved. Their biggest flaw is a lack of depth, so bringing back an All-Star usually helps. However, many believe that Granger’s absence had a Rudy-Gay-like effect on Indiana, opening up the floor and allowing other stars (in this case Roy Hibbert and Paul George) to come into their own. During the season, I tended to side with the Rudy Gay of the East brigade. However, my judgment was probably clouded by my hatred of the Pacers. Gun to my head, I’d predict them to finish ahead of Brooklyn. Continuity is pretty big in the NBA, and there’s too much that could go wrong for Brooklyn (injuries, chemistry, etc).
How many of these teams will win over 55 games? Bulls, Heat, Pacers, Rockets, Nets, Warriors, Knicks, Thunder, Clippers, Nuggets, Grizzlies. -Aaron in Buffalo Grove, IL
On average, six or seven teams win 55+ games a season. Out of this group, I’d go with Chicago, Miami, Houston, OKC, the Clippers and Memphis. I’m pegging Indiana and Brooklyn right around 55 though.
Which team in history would make for a better plot in the first ESPN reality sitcom: the 2013-14 Boston Celtics, featuring the loss of head honcho Doc Rivers and the heart(hate?)ful bromance of new teammates Rajon Rondo and Kris Humphries, OR the late-1990′s Chicago Bulls front office staff, featuring the hush-hush of MJ’s gambling problems behind the scenes and the possible 3-way that ensued on a drunk evening between Mr. and Mrs. Krause and Coach “2-shot” Phil (the alleged event behind the brilliance of the triangle offense), ultimately causing the fall of their dynasty? Thanks bro! -Scott in Highland Park, IL
Important question Scott. Primarily, I’d like to eliminate the 2013-14 Celtics from consideration. While their welcome picture was an instant classic, this is going to be a boring and shitty team. The 1990′s Bulls? Now that’s compelling TV. Riffing off that, I’d even extend the candidates to any Phil Jackson coached team. Kobe/Shaq speaks for itself and the way the Lakers self-destructed in his final game in the 2010-11 playoffs was a fascinating train crash to watch. Also, the 2008-2010 Cleveland Cavs (Delonte West probably fucked LeBron’s mom) and heck, even the 2010-11 Miami Heat were god damn compelling. Ultimately, I like the 90′s Bulls. Jackson, Krause, sexual tension, MJ, gambling, I could go on all day.
Who do you predict to have the best season out of the Wolves picks after seeing what they’ve done in the summer league so far? -Sam in Barcelona, Spain
This question is difficult to answer, considering I haven’t watched any summer league. What I can do, is tell you what I’ve heard and read. The Shabuzz around Shabazz (sorry) is that he’s gonna be able to score a lot of points and pull down boards. After that, not much. In fact, Tom Ziller, with an assist from Kevin Pelton, has coined the term “Shabazz” for games where a player has 10+ points and zero assists, steals and blocks. Basically, Shabazz is projecting to be a legit scorer who doesn’t really offer a ton else. Dieng will contribute defensively, but his upside is low. With Trey Burke struggling in his summer league games though, it looks Minnesota made a solid deal to move down.
I have not seen an All-Ugly NBA team in many years. I know I have my favorites. Any picks for the roster? -Barry in Long Grove, IL
Excellent question, Barry. My fellow writers Stavi and Bicky are bursting at the seam to answer this one, so I’ll hand it off to them:
C Nik Pekovic- The intimidating Eastern-European isn’t winning any beauty contests anytime soon. After he gets paid this off-season, maybe the guy can get a full make-over.
F Charlie Villanueva- He’s got no eye brows for God’s sake. I think human beings are suppose to have those.
F Brandan Wright- Dude didn’t really develop the way scouts thought he would out of Carolina. Neither did his looks. Just Google the guy, he’s hardly Fabio.
G DeMar DeRozan- Yeah, he’s turning out to be quite the ball player north of the border. Too bad, there’s a fungus among us. Unfortunately for DeRozan, it’s located on his face.
Two Delonte West mentions in one ‘bag! So there you have it.
Which team will surprise everybody in the 2013-14 season? Who is the next big name to get traded and to who? -Todd in Buffalo Grove, IL
The Pistons will surprise everyone in 2013-14. They only won 29 games last season, but they also lost their first 12 or so and were missing phenom Andre Drummond for a large chunk. Combining the development of their core with the additions of Josh Smith and sharp shooter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, I expect this team to sneak into the Eastern Conference playoffs. This will be a surprise to most. Picking the next big name to get traded is tougher but I’ll cross my fingers and go with Kevin Love. Of all the marquee 2014 free agents, he’s the most likely to leave. Perhaps new GM Flip Saunders decides to pull the trigger and get some value back before Love walks. Stay by the phone, Gar.
Kill, fuck, marry: Chauncey The Baller (Billups), Chance the Rapper, Chancey the Pokemon. -David in Kansas City, KS
Until next time!