Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Official 2007 Wounded Mosquito NBA Preview!

The regular season is less than a month away, and barring any unforeseen trades or mysterious alien abductions, NBA rosters are more or less in place for the 2007-08 season. What’s going to happen? Read on, good brother:

Atlanta Hawks

I’m not sure what’s up with the Hawks, but I know there’s been a big fuss about Falcon quarterback Michael Vick running a dogfighting ring. The days of Dominique and Spud have never looked fonder.

Prediction: Vick dominated headlines, Hawk defenders dominate baselines…as in, “getting tossed onto them by rival power forwards”.

Boston Celtics

My inside sources tell me the boys in Bean Town are looking to make a big trade, something that will shake up the Eastern Conference like nobody’s business. As soon as I hear anything concrete, I’ll let you know.

Prediction: 40-42, 9th place in a suddenly resurgent conference.

Charlotte Bobcats

Well, I know that the Charlotte Bobcats have lots of players on their team. There's a solid chance they'll play lots of games, too. If they win lots of those games, they'll probably go to the playoffs. I feel very confident of that.

Prediction: Jordan suits up one last time, then trades himself to the Yakima Sun Kings in disgust.

Chicago Bulls

I hear Ben Wallace has been given permission to wear his headband in games this season. Yep, that’ll put the Bulls over the top.

Prediction: 50-32, with a cozy bump out of the second round.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Pro: LeBron James just took your team to the Finals. Con: They got swept, and four months later he showed up at an ALDS playoff game wearing a Yankees cap. Yes, we are all witnesses, but to what exactly?

Prediction: LeBron James replaces Art Modell as Cleveland Public Enemy #1 inside of three years.

Dallas Mavericks

On the plus side, owner Mark Cuban has to feel vindicated that an NBA official finally got busted for cheating. On the down side, his 67-win squad really did blow a first-round match up to his former coach.

Prediction: 45-37. The curtain has been drawn aside, Dirk.

Denver Nuggets

Bad news, kids: Allen Iverson now claims that he’s matured since his infamous rant about practice. The AI we’ve come to know and love is now officially dead. Will this spell success for the Nuggets? Nope. They’ve still got Carmelo.

Prediction: 47-35, and still wearing those dippy baby blue uni’s.

Detroit Pistons

Was Chris Webber seriously thinking about ditching the Pistons to go play in Greece? Is he crazy? Well…don’t answer that.

Prediction: A mid-season epiphany at Taco Bell tames the beast that is Sheed, and his tech’s cease for three weeks before leaving to spend retirement weaving hammocks in the South Pacific.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors were responsible for my fondest memory of the 06-07 season. At the press conference after their season-ending loss to the Jazz, in the wake of a season that saw an end to a fifteen-year playoff drought and a nation-inspiring upset of the #1 seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round, coach Don Nelson was asked by a keen ESPN sportswriter what Golden State needed to do to get “over the hump”.

His response? “What hump?”

If someone did the same thing to Bobby Knight he would have been shot on the spot.

Prediction: 39-43, and another playoff drought begins.

Houston Rockets

Somehow these guys got Steve Francis back, the same guy they traded for Tracy McGrady a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, in the interim Francis has been declared legally insane. Bad news for Yao. Bad news for Houston.

Prediction: 50-32, and still well ahead of the Jazz in the ESPN Power Rankings.

Indiana Pacers

Jermaine O’Neal still seems pretty bent on getting out of town. Never a good sign when your star player wants a change of address. Hmmm…I wonder if there’s an Indiana icon who could help out with this problem?

Prediction: Shooter runs the picket fence at ‘em, and Indiana makes the second round.

Los Angeles Clippers

This is what you get for putting your faith in someone. Last year I predict these guys win the title, and they don’t even bother making the playoffs. I know it was you, Sam…you broke my heart.

Prediction: Chris Kaman re-grows his hair, gets his first all-star nod, and rest of team dies in tragic plane crash over North Dakota.

Los Angeles Lakers

A few years back, Kobe Bryant (supposedly, cough, cough) got Shaq shipped out of town so he could have the team to himself. Then last summer Kobe asked to get traded himself. Some say Kobe doesn’t know what he wants. I say Kobe just wants to destroy the Lakers. That’s why Kobe Bryant is my favorite player in the NBA.

Prediction: You see anything different happening with these guys? Neither do I.

Memphis Grizzlies

It’s a good thing the proud city of Memphis, Tennessee has a long and rich tradition of musical excellence. Because their basketball team sucks.

Prediction: A Blue Christmas. And a Blue New Years. And a Blue Valentine's Day…

Miami Heat

One year you with the title, the next year you’re swept out of the first round. That’s the way it goes in the NBA sometimes. Superman may have a solid season or two left in the tank, but the real question is whether Riles has enough hair gel for 82.

Prediction: Within three years, Dwyane Wade takes his place with Kobe, Kirilenko and Marion on the Grumpy Train.

Milwaukee Bucks

Last summer the Bucks drafted this dude from China who immediately demanded a trade because of a lack of endorsement opportunities in the frigid Midwest. Thousands of cheeseheads frowned at their newspapers and muttered, “wait a minute…can this guy even play?”

Prediction: Yi gets his a** mailed to him on 82 separate occasions, then takes up residence in Siberia next season, where he enjoys endorsement contracts with “Sheepdogs by Boris” and “Kuddly Komrades” clothing for rugged toddlers.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Do these guys still plan on playing this year? I’m sorry, I was under the impression that the Garnett trade was kind of a “going out of business” thing.

Prediction: I hear hockey is pretty popular up north…

New Jersey Nets

See, kids, lots of people believe in this thing called “Karma”. They talk all about it on this TV show called “My Name is Earl”. Now, Jason Kidd has it, and so does Richard Jefferson. The problem is this fellow named Vince Carter. See, he has it, but his kind is not “good” Karma, it’s the “I openly screwed the nation of Canada and tanked games to get traded, and now I am merely biding time until I roast in the open flames of Hell” kind.

Prediction: One more all-star appearance for Carter, one more meaningless first or second round playoff exit for the Nets.

New Orleans Hornets

Last season they made a bunch of trades and got a bunch of injuries in return. This summer they traded those injuries for some magic beans.

Prediction: Chris Paul jerseys still outsell Deron Williams jerseys, even while Paul watches Williams in the playoffs from his couch.

New York Knicks

(uncontrollable laughter)

Prediction: Why bother?

Oklahoma Supersonics

Soundbite from year-old team press conference: “Oh yeah, we totally want to stay here in Seattle. We are all over the grunge scene, yo. Huh? My partners are all from Oklahoma City? The same place that has been hosting Hornets games and desperately wants its own NBA team? Wow, there’s a coincidence for you. Well, don’t worry, we love it here in Spokane. We’d never think of moving.”

Prediction: Kevin Durant pulls Rookie of the Year, right as the U-Haul is pulling out of town.

Orlando Magic

I really hate Florida teams. I wish we could just give Florida back to the Spaniards and call it even.

Prediction: I don’t know, man. It’s getting late, and I need to work on some other stuff. Dwight Howard will probably get a rebounding title or something.

Philadelphia 76ers

It’s not looking so good, Philly-Fans. If the Sixers can’t get over the hump this year, I think Charles Barkley should probably demand a trade.

Prediction: Andre Miller remains in Purgatory for passing up the chance to sign with the Jazz four years ago.

Phoenix Suns

Tell me, Suns fan: does it help or hurt to find out that the ref handling your second-round loss to the Spurs was on the take? In other news, perennially underrated (yet strangely overpaid) forward Shawn Marion has demanded a trade. Because obviously, when you look back on a career, you’d much rather see scoring titles and all-star appearances than titles.

Prediction: Tim Donaghy and Shawn Marion mysteriously disappear by the beginning of December. See, Arizona has a looooot of open space.

Portland Trail Blazers

Greg Oden’s injury has everyone resurrecting the ghost of Sam Bowie, which is really annoying for Bowie, because he’s not dead. Meanwhile, one guy in Utah points out that Mr. “Come Fly With Me” missed almost all of his second season with a broken foot, but no one seems to notice.

Prediction: Oden undoes months of rehab when he starts a brawl at a Portland gas station when the attendant refuses to let him “pump his own”.

Regis Philbin

The days of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" appear to be long gone, though "Regis and Kelli" seems to be holding its own. My advice is to mine the relationship with Letterman and see if a late-night spot might open up in the schedule.

Prediction: Nothing but gold for this Pony Boy.

Sacramento Kings

The answer is yes, Sac-Town fan: Ron Artest still plays for your team.

Prediction: Ron-Ron has an even bigger epiphany than Sheed, then engineers a trade to the Utah Jazz, where he fills a tremendous hole at shooting guard, swears allegiance to Jerry Sloan, and discovers a deep passion for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

San Antonio Spurs

Well guys, it’s your off-year, so you may as well settle back and enjoy another nine months as the official “NBA team with the best-looking fan/player-wife person”.

Prediction: Tim Duncan will continue to do his thing, getting honors and praise from basketball purists while everyone else calls him boring. Tony Parker will lose a step and everyone will blame it on his marriage. Greg Popovitch will continue to do his Jerry Sloan impression without getting all of the “my coach hates me” backlash. Then they’ll lose in the conference finals.

The A-Team

It was a tough season last year, with a series of close-fought contests the boys only managed to pull out at the last second. Thanks to Hannibal's leadership and Murdock's wacky know-how, liabilities like Face's philandering and B. A. Baracus's hot temper were balanced out. Who's to say how long their luck will hold, though.

Prediction: Syndication

Toronto Raptors

I think it’s really cool that these guys are coming around after getting the shaft from so many “superstar” players (see New Jersey Nets), but I still just can’t get behind a team named after a dinosaur that was kind of cool for fifteen minutes back in 1993.

Prediction: Well...they are in the Eastern Conference...

Utah Jazz

I used to think that Andrei Kirilenko had the coolest hair in the league. Then I looked around and discovered the truth.

Prediction: Andrei mellows out, Deron matures, and Jerry Sloan makes at least 75 farm-related basketball metaphors by December 1st.

Washington Bullets

That Agent Zero guy is pretty cool. He yells “Hibachi” or something whenever he makes a shot. Then he got hurt before the playoffs started and his team got spanked in the first round. I’ll bet they rebound, though. David Stern wants all of the cool nickname guys in the playoffs this year.

Prediction: Remember when Manute Bol used to play for the Bullets? That was way cool. I think he bit the rim one time.

Playoff Forecast:

After an early-season screening of the 80’s film classic “Major League”, the Supersonics are inspired to put together a winning season in a last-ditch effort to keep the team from leaving town. After winning 61 games and making it all the way to the NBA Finals, logistical problems arise when the facilities are moved to Oklahoma, and the resulting confusion allows the Toronto Raptors to seize the first official Canadian NBA title. On the way out of the arena, a champagne-soaked David Stern is heard to growl, “Canuck’s my candy-white (expletive), get me Tim Donaghy!”