Probably going to take a number of short posts rather than one or two long ones, because in my old age I just don't have the time or energy for the latter. This is from Bill's NBA playoffs preview. Since the playoffs are more than a week old, I'll do my best not to spend too much time picking on him for predictions that turned out to be hideously incorrect. Unless they were the kind of predictions I would have picked on even if I were writing this post ten days ago. And let's be honest, I've never treated Bill with any semblance of respect or fairness, so I'll probably end up dumping on everything he said because of my 20/20 hindsight.
The Sports Guy's Most Interesting Stories of the Playoffs
IN TEN YEARS, HOW WILL WE LOOK BACK ON THE DAY WHEN THE C'S THREW THEIR HAT INTO THE CHAMPIONSHIP RING? And of course as soon as I ruthlessly (and correctly) mock him for his pathetic homerism, Derrick Rose bows out of the playoffs and the Hawks fail to show up in crunch time in a crucial game 2 against the Celtics. At this point I have to admit that it looks like Boston is a good bet to make the conference finals, meaning that I will have to keep my word and post a public apology. A small price to pay for watching Miami and their "not a real big three" big three demolish the Celtics.
25. Joe Johnson
Known for being totally overpaid and totally overrated, which, of course, now makes him underrated.
(By the way, when I mentioned this to Atlanta's own Rembert Browne, he snickered and said, "Nah, Joe Johnson ruined professional basketball in Atlanta." Well, then.)
24. Steve Novak
Random guarantee: A Novak/J.R. Smith shooting barrage will swing one of the Knicks-Heat games. And you know Carmelo is winning one (at least) by himself. That means the series is going six games … at least.
23. Zach Randolph
Remember when Z-Bo improbably became one of the six dominant players in last year's playoffs and torched double teams for a solid month, accompanied by a slew of, (Jim Ross voice) "Good God, what the hell is that? My God, that's Zach Randolph's music!!!!!"
Here's the problem: Z-Bo's low-post brilliance was the biggest reason Memphis nearly made the Finals last year. Unfortunately, their best lineup this season has been Gasol-Gay-Mayo-Allen-Conley, a vicious small-ball group that defends the perimeter like pit bulls defending some rich guy's fence.
22. Vinny Del Negro
Here's the best-case scenario for a Vinny-Popovich matchup in Round 2.
[Video of the checkers scene from Bad Santa, because if anything at all on the internet is funny, it's taking scenes from movies and substituting them for original analysis or jokes. HEY THIS THING IS JUST LIKE THAT OTHER THING NOW WATCH]
21. Kenneth Faried, Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson
Look, it's not like you had to talk me into the nickname "The Manimal." But I couldn't be happier that it went to a legitimate NBA player — in this case, Faried, who was billed as a relentless rebounder/energy guy heading into last year's draft and exceeded that tag. He's Ben Wallace 2.0. If you're thinking about picking a Denver upset in Round 1, your three best reasons are Lawson (twice as fast as any Laker, and playing really well right now),
In theory, Lawson runs the Slowtime Lakers into the ground; Afflalo locks down Kobe; the Manimal eats up L.A.'s frontline; Denver's perimeter guys hit their 3s; the Nuggets' depth combined with the altitude wears down the Lakers; and suddenly we're looking at a first-round shocker (which is exactly what Barkley picked last night).
Wish it weren't the case (and I wouldn't have thought this would happen had I written this earlier) but Bill has actually overstated Denver's chances. If they win game 5 tomorrow night my jaw will be on the floor. The Lakers and their fans can eat a bag of dicks.
"OK, Dirk, here's the plan."
"We're throwing away our title defense. We're just going to put it in a Dumpster and smear it with dog feces. By the end of the regular season, Delonte West will be our third-best player, we'll be relying on an overweight Vince Carter, we'll have turned Tyson Chandler into a three-headed dose of mediocrity called Brendian Haywonimight, and unless Jason Terry is feeling it, you'll have to shoot every single time in the fourth quarter of every playoff game."
"We might win one game against Oklahoma City, that's it. Then you'll have the spring and summer off."
"Sounds good. One question: Why would we do this?"
"Because we want to sign Deron Williams this summer. This was the only way."
"Deron Williams … the guy who acted like such a dick in Utah that they flipped him into two top-three lottery picks and never looked back and since then he's been playing for a lottery team?"
"Yeah, that Deron Williams. Also, we have a 2.2 percent chance of getting Dwight Howard, too."
"Dwight Howard … the guy who's three months away from quitting on his team and needs season-ending back surgery?"
"Seriously? That's going to happen? How do you know this?"
"I just do."
"Any chance we can come up with another plan?"
For the Lakers to make the Finals, Bynum needs to rip through JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos in Round 1 (a mortal lock),
Quick tangent: More than any postseason in recent memory, these specific NBA playoffs have an inordinate number of legacies at stake.