author: matt wincherauk | editor-in-chief
Five storylines to watch during the hoops season
Huzzah! The NBA is finally back in our lives after many long, cold months without it. This means you can finally stop pretending that you care about baseball, move on from the toxic NFL, and watch professionals play a sport instead of watching the Riders. There’s also another sports league in North America, but I can’t remember what it is. Probably not important. Anyway, here are five thoughts on the 2016/17 NBA season, which promises to be a lot of fun, even if it we know the Warriors are going to win. [EDITOR’S NOTE: We the North, Matthew, we the North.]
- James Harden and Mike D’Antoni Power Couple
While everyone was talking about the Warriors and Kevin Durant during the course of the entire off-season, I think that the Houston Rockets new head coach Mike D’Antoni sparked my interest just a bit more. The idea of D’Antoni’s seven seconds or less offence with James Harden at point guard is just too enticing to me. Add in their mutual disdain for playing any sort of defence, just makes me really happy. D’Antoni probably won’t get this team anywhere other than a first round exit, but they’re going to be hella entertaining while they do it. I fully embrace the “Zero Defence” movement. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Cue James Naismith rolling in his grave.]
- Canadian Content
Screw hockey, Canada has some really damn good basketball players. I always make it a point to pay attention to the Canadian players inhabiting the NBA, and the talent level might be at an all-time high this year. Minnesota guard Andrew Wiggins is the most well known, but even guys like Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), Cory Joseph (Toronto), Kelly Olynyk (Boston) and Trey Lyles (Utah) are all poised for big things this season. These guys chose the hardwood over skates, and basketball in Canada is so much better for it.
There might not be a more tortured player in the NBA than Anthony Davis. He might be the NBA’s biggest freak, on the most incompetent team. Even the 76ers had the decency to intentionally be bad. Davis put up a ridiculous line of 50-15-5-5-4 and 45-17-3-2-2 in his first two games. The Pelicans lost both, because they’re awful and not worthy of such a special talent. Free Anthony Davis or I riot! Or I’ll just rant about it more on Twitter. Either one works.
- No Duncan, Garnett, or Kobe
I’ve been an NBA junkie since I was about five years old. Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant have been kings of the NBA since that time, and now that they all retired, some more ceremoniously than others, it feels like a piece of me is missing. Garnett and Duncan couldn’t have had more different personalities, but they both dominated for so long, and adapted so many times to the NBA’s changing landscape. And while I was never much of a Kobe fan, the guy was just spectacular to watch, and an entirely different breed of athlete compared to what we see in professional sports now. Farewell kings of basketball, you will be missed.
- The Russell Westbrook F–k You Tour
I’m a Celtics fan, but I will admit the first box score I check will always be the Oklahoma City Thunder’s. When Kevin Durant left for Golden State, you just knew that Russell Westbrook was going to go into full-on f–k you mode for the entire season. As of this writing (Oct. 31), Westbrook is averaging a triple-double, and taking nearly 30 shots per game. This is everything I’ve ever needed in basketball, and I hope Russ never gets another star player so he can continue to eviscerate box scores with murderous glee.