Poets on Sports

The Poets on Sports NBA Preview

by Poets on Sports


Sup. Welcome to the Poets on Sports 2013-2014 NBA preview. Below, you’ll find team previews from some of our contributors, plus some discussions about everything in the basketball world.

Let’s meet our panel!

This year, we have Justin Carter, Karissa Morton, Sal Pane, Matt Rowan, Patrick Trotti, & Tyler Gobble. Let’s get started!

Justin Carter’s Playoff Picks


Western Conference: Clippers, Rockets, Spurs, Thunder, Grizzlies, Warriors, Nuggets, Pelicans

Eastern Conference: Heat, Bulls, Nets, Knicks, Pacers, Wizards, Cavaliers, Hawks

Matt Rowan on the Bulls



Out of Chicago I see a lot of reasons for hope. But I emphasize that word, “hope.” I’ll further balance it with “if.” These are the words of the skeptical Chicago sports fan, and I tend to use them a lot. But I’m skeptical of the Bulls’ chances this season for good reasons. And I find myself feeling skeptical despite the solid nucleus that returns, one that exceeded probably everyone’s expectations in an NBA season devoid of the play of Derrick Rose, and one that managed to make it to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals and even chink the armor of the Miami Heat with a single victory in what was ultimately a five game series. At face value, there is cause to be excited. The Bulls have a team together that’s arguably better than the one that made it to the Conference Finals only three seasons ago, certainly better than the 2011-12 very immediately Rose-less postseason Bulls and, yes, better than last season’s team, of course.

Firstly, it’s tough to see a guy like Nate Robinson go, especially considering he appeared to power the 2013 Bulls through some important postseason games, and had a nice 13 ppg average during the regular season. I would love to have seen him return, especially when the alternative option seems to be the aging and injury-prone Kirk Hinrich. It’s a tough, tough loss in terms of the team’s depth. Dammit, I should stop thinking about it. It’s disappointing to see Robinson go, is all. I know I already said that. It’s also not what makes me most skeptical about the Bulls.

My biggest reason for skepticism about the Bulls’ chances this season is simple: they’ve got guys who are plenty talented but plenty injury prone.

Practically all of our best players have had some chronic problem or another over the past few seasons. Rose is the obvious example, spending not just last season on the bench but a significant portion of 2011-12 as well, even before he tore his ACL. But there’s also Hinrich, Deng, and Noah to be concerned about. (Noah’s groin appears to be his current undoing, a disquieting situation, to be sure. The interminable groin!)

Additionally, like other Chicago teams of recent years (see 2010 Bears),  the Bulls have come agonizingly close but yet so far from returning to finals. 2010-11 is a perfect example of this phenomenon. After getting my hopes up really high with a nice and decisive game one victory at home against Miami, the Bulls completely came off the rails, crashing, burning, horrible stuff. That can’t happen again, and I know that logically teams are different and stuff happens and all, but just stop it, Bulls. Learn a lesson from the impressive efforts of Boston and Indiana in the conference finals the past two seasons. Both of those teams have showcased that the Heat are anything but invulnerable.

IF this teams holds together, though, they can definitely return to form as a force in the East. And since I’m an eternal optimist (hahaha), and heck, since Rose has looked quite capable in the preseason of being the Rose of years past, I believe the Bulls can finish among the top three playoff seeds. In that event, they’ll be troublesome in the postseason, and among the teams that could knock off Miami (who, yes, remains the team to beat). Others I consider quite capable of contending are Indiana and Brooklyn. The Knicks are my dark horse, presently, which might seem unfair given their success last season but Brooklyn has added some veteran depth to a team that was already solid and Indiana has a young and talented nucleus that has matured since pushing Miami to the brink of elimination.

Patrick Trotti on the Celtics



My team is the Boston Celtics. It’s been a tough, but ultimately necessary, offseason. The big three era was over, we won one ring, should’ve won another but the writing was on the wall. It was time to rebuild. I loved what Garnett brought to Boston but he was a hired gun and his departure, although tough, wasn’t as heartbreaking as Pierce’s leaving. In this day in age it’s hard to find a super star that plays his entire career with one team. Pierce had been through all of the imaginable highs and lows of professional basketball and the fans of Boston got to see a player who matured into one of the five best players in their illustrious history (which is saying a lot.) He moved the team into a new era, out of the shadows of Larry Bird and the glorious eighties, through the directionless Pitino era. He was a survivor, an anchor amongst players like Ricky Davis and Delonte West. Trading Pierce will forever be a blemish on the organization. I’m still conflicted because I’m not sure what would be worse: seeing Pierce come back to Boston in an Old Navy inspired Brooklyn jersey or watching him, unsuccessfully, try and limp his team into the playoffs for one more shot at a title. Seeing your childhood idol play past his prime is one thing but doing it in a different uniform makes it even harder to watch.

I think that the three keys to the Celtics season are Rajon Rondo, Jeff Green, and Brad Stevens. We probably won’t have these questions answered until halfway through the season, at the earliest but as long as there is some clarity before the 2014 NBA Draft then I think the Celtics have a decent shot at laying the groundwork for a stable, and sustainable, rebuilding process that will usher in a new era of Boston basketball.

Rondo’s health, and willingness to be a part of a rebuilding effort, is the central story line for the Celtics. He’s signed for a few years to a relatively cap friendly amount ($10 million per year) but I’m not sure if he’s the type of player that you can successfully build a team around. I love him, he’s my favorite player, but his game doesn’t translate to being the main guy. He’s a distributor, a player that makes others around him better. While his shot has improved and his overall offensive game is vastly better than it was when he entered the league, he’s not the player to build around. My feeling is that it’s easier to build around a wing player and even more preferable to build around a dominant center. The last team to win a championship with a point guard led team was the Pistons with Isiah Thomas. Even the Lakers had Kareem and James Worthy to go with Magic Johnson. Point is the Celtics should give Rondo the time to get healthy and then showcase him to the league as trade bait. There will certainly be team’s out there come February that are looking to make a splash. Will Mark Cuban, having lost out on LeBron, Deron Williams, and Dwight Howard be itching to have a last go at it while Dirk is still relevant? If not, wait to trade Rondo until the offseason. With the upcoming draft class looking like the best (potentially) one in over a decade I think the Celtics are best suited to build methodically instead of trying for another quick fix like they did with Garnett and Ray Allen, which started these big three phenomenon’s that now dominate the league.

The second key to the season is Jeff Green. Is he going to become anything more than a player that will bridge the gap between the Celtics of Pierce, Garnett, Allen, and Rondo to the next core of young players? He’s a good player with intriguing potential but I’m not sure if he is the type of player that can solidify the all important small forward position. Put it this way, just in the East at his position where does he rank? You have LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, Josh Smith, Luol Deng, Rudy Deng, Paul Pierce off the top of my head. All of those guys either have rings, or have proven that they can fill up the stat line more effectively than Green. To be fair, Green has never really been given a shot to be the guy. Well this is his year. But even if he does light it up and score 20 a game, it’s a whole different thing when doing so for a non contender. He’s a good player, maybe an All Star (highly debatable) but unless you’ve already got a star or two so that he doesn’t have to be the main guy than I think he’ll ultimately show his flaws. He’s not built to carry a team. Let me put it another way, say the Celtics win 20 games this year, the lottery balls bounce right and we get the first pick. Would you rather have Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker at the start of their career or Jeff Green, already carrying a decent sized contract to go along with a repaired heart and a much lower ceiling than those guys?

The third key is the coach, Brad Stevens. As much as his track record tells me that he’s a great choice to head the ship of this rebuilding effort a part of me can’t help but think of when I was boy and my Celtics got another college whiz to lead the team. Rick Pitino was an utter failure and as different as the two are I can’t help but worry. How will the success of a man that just turned 37 and learned the ropes in basketball crazy but small market Indianapolis translate into the professional ranks in Boston? It’s a huge unknown but it still was worth the gamble.

So, what does this year look like for the Celtics? This could be 2006-2007 all over again, a year in which Pierce missed two months due to injury, Red Auerbach and Denis Johnson died and the Celtics won 24 games. Realistically I’d expect a 30 win season, a top ten draft pick, to go along with the Nets and Clippers picks, a few new faces that hopefully amount to something. What I’m fearing is Jared Sullinger’s back, Avery Bradley’s inability to hit a jump shot, Jordan Crawford mixing up his first and last name thinking he can score 20 a night, Gerald Wallace fouling out before halftime trying to cover the opponents best player, Brandon Bass trying to recreate the post moves of Kevin McHale, Colton Iverson making fans remember Raef LaFrentz, and a pick a roll combo of Keith Bogans and Kris Humphries. So yes, it will be a long year. But I’ve rooted for Antoine Walker before so I think I have it in me to be patient.

Sal Pane on the Knicks


Amare+Stoudemire+New+York+Knicks+v+Denver+mfqnvqFm1YslI’ve been putting off writing this New York Knicks preview because I’m not ready to admit the truth. I read the blogs, I keep up with Knicks Twitter, I listen to The Starters podcast every single day. I know most analysts have the Knicks pegged at the five spot in the Eastern Conference with a slim chance of sliding into the six if Detroit really gets its act together. I keep trying to sell myself on the idea that Clyde’s ‘bockers can make it to the three if Roy Hibbert regresses to his 2012-2013 regular season numbers, or if Chi-town is again plagued with injuries, or if the Spirit of Nate Robinson haunts the Bulls to a 43 win season.

But that’s not really the problem. The problem is in all likelihood the Knicks’ one year window of finally delivering another ‘chip to the garden has closed. Last year, everything went right for the Knicks. Derrick Rose was off the board. The Celtics and Nets were underwhelming. The Pacers stumbled out of the gate which allowed the Knicks to win home court. And the Heat were pretty exhausted following their epic 27 game win streak. And yet, they came up short in the playoffs. During their final game against the Pacers—a game in which I was so overcome with stress that I spent all of halftime and much of the third quarter baking cheesy bread in a drunken panic, my wrinkled Patrick Ewing jersey spotted with olive oil—Carmelo Anthony poured in 39 points over 42 minutes but looked exhausted doing so, and JR Smith stole a page from the John Starks ’94 Finals playbook. Tyson Chandler looked broken down and perennially injured, and defensive minus Amar’e only played six minutes. The lone bright spot was second year standout Iman Shumpert’s 19 points and a series of threes that brought us back into the game during its final minutes before Mike Woodson subbed him out.

When the Knicks lost that game, I calmly stood up from my couch, went out to my car, and screamed my brains out while a gaggle of neighborhood kids played basketball—I shit you not, they weren’t even watching their beloved Pacers—across the street. At the time, I thought I was screaming over the end of a season which began so promisingly with the Knicks rushing out to a 15-5 start. But even then I think I understood that I had just witnessed the ceiling of this iteration of the New York Knicks. All signs point to Melo opting out of his deal so he can sign a lucrative max contract with the team during next offseason. Nine years of Carmelo Anthony. What does that mean exactly? We need to pair him with a distributing point guard ala Rondo or Chris Paul and a defensive big with some semblance of a midrange game to draw opposing defenders away from the post. But how is that even possible with Amar’e’s albatross of a max contract on the books until 2016? I worship at the altar of JR Smith, the prototypically insane Knicks guard in the vein of Starks or Sprewell or Childs or even Micheal Ray Richardson. But he’s your third option on a contender, not a second banana. Iman Shumpert has the most potential to become something more than what he currently is, but irrational Knicks owner Jimmy Dolan has already dangled the possibility of trading him, once during training camp, and again at the start of the preseason. What can we expect from a team built around a nucleus of Melo-STAT-Tyson for the next two seasons beyond a swift exit in the conference semi-finals at the hands of the Pacers, Bulls, or Heat?

I see two distinct possibilities for the 2013-2014 Knicks. One optimistic, the other doom-and-gloom. In scenario one, the Knicks match or approach their quick start from last season. Amar’e’s able to play 10-20 minutes per game, and Woodson somehow manages to work out these rotations without playing recently acquired draft bust Bargnani at the five and Melo at the four turning their defensive sets into layup drills for opposing teams. Maybe Woodson goes back to the two point guard sets buttressed by crafty veteran Pablo Prigioni. Meanwhile, it takes the Nets about 20-30 games to gel—remember, the same thing happened to the Heat in 2010 after LeBron joined forces with DWade, and the 2012 Lakers, another vaunted superteam, never got it together—dooming them to a five seed. Then the Pacers underachieve in the regular season like they did at the start of their 2012 campaign because of their lack of a bonafide star—I need to see more from Paul George—or Derrick Rose isn’t quite the Derrick Rose we remember, paving the way for the Knicks to luck into a three seed. They beat the Pistons, Wizards, Bucks, or Cavs in the first round and have a puncher’s chance against the Heat in round two. Remember, this Knicks lineup was built almost entirely to cause matchup problems with Miami, and the ‘bockers dominated LeBron and company last regular season.

That’s if everything goes right. A drop from the three seed to the two. Now if even anything goes wrong, let’s say Amar’e’s never healthy again, or the lineups just don’t work and there’s no way to play Melo, Bargs, STAT, Chandler, and Kenyon Martin effectively, then everything really falls apart. If the Knicks go .500 for the first two months of the season and get embarrassed on national television on Christmas Day, then expect a panic move from Jim Dolan that sends Iman Shumpert and our few remaining draft picks of the 2010s for a past-his-prime superstar on a crappy contract. Let’s say Pau Gasol or Danny Granger. I wouldn’t even rule out Dolan trading for Jeremy Lin or Danilo Gallinari or Zach Randolph or any of the other talented players the Knicks have forfeited over the years. The new lineup will need time to click. Carmelo will start complaining in the press, and rumors will loom large about Kobe pushing hard to lure Melo and his actress wife to the Lakers. Dolan responds by firing Woodson, and the Knicks stumble into the six or seven seed where they have to beat the Pacers, Chicago, and Miami just to escape the Eastern Conference. Instead, they’re swept.

Either way, the outcome is the same. The Knicks lose in the first or second round of the playoffs. If seeding breaks their way, and a small miracle occurs, they might sneak into the conference finals. Melo signs a max contract in the offseason, and Dolan does everything he can to flip Tyson, Amar’e, and Bargnani’s expirings into the legitimate second and third stars Melo needs to thrive. Most likely, he comes up empty, and the Knicks end up with a bevy of veterans and role players on one and two year deals in the hopes that Jay-Z convinces Kevin Durant to join forces with Melo and potentially Rondo or Kyrie in Manhattan in 2016.

All we have are pipe dreams. All we’ve ever had are pipe dreams.

Tyler Gobble on the Pacers & Trailblazers


First, a little ramble about why those two teams:

Pacers – Until this past August, I had only lived in Indiana, about an hour north of Market Square Arena/Conseco Fieldhouse/Whatever the hell it’s called now. The first person I remember calling a “badass” was either Antonio or Dale Davis. There’s a Boom Baby poster in at least one Little T-GOB scrapbook. I once saw Rik Smits ride a motorcycle in a charity ride. I was the worst basketball fan ever last year, but the only complete games I watched were Pacers games.

Trailblazers – I became a Trailblazers fan when Scottie Pippen went there in ‘99. I’ve never been to Oregon, but I hear it’s really nice. The Jailblazers were other early folks I called “badasses.” I once asked my mom’s hairdresser friend to dye a circle of hair on top my hair gray like Rasheed Wallace and for a while, he was the only person that I knew who could relate/understand my temper. I still hold out hope that Darius Miles (wherever he is) will be the next Scottie Pippen. Brandon Roy will always be my MVP (wherever he is).

Nicolas Batum, Paul GeorgePacers

1. The basic predictions: 58-24, 2nd in the East, win the Central Division, Eastern Conference Champs, win in 7 games in the NBAFinals over…

2.  Maybe it’s the distance, but I have high hopes for these Pacers (obviously). Like true Hoosiers, they’re pesky, a little rude, and tough-as-barn-wood.

3. I’m going to start with Luis Scola, though he won’t start (and shouldn’t). Finally a proven-bruiser first big man off the bench. After David West and Hibbert have elbowed faces shut, this fella will come in and keep up the pummeling.

4. I don’t think he should ever be allowed to hold the ball for more than Hot Potato time, but I will say that you can do a lot worse than Lance Stephenson as your first guard off the bench. I don’t want to prove this.

5. Danny Granger, oh Danny Granger. It’s clear, right, that he needs to be swapped? Not for picks, but for some aging starting two-guard who can hit some threes and whatever else he’s worth, I don’t care, but no, please god no, don’t think I mean Mike Miller/Kyle Korver.

6. Sad to see Brian Shaw go off the staff, but gracious, I love Nate McMillan. He’s like your badass (there I go again) uncle, hanging with all the coolest people in town, but still making time to take his kids (your beloved cousins!) fishing.

7. Oh and Popeye Jones is like that uncle you know could still kick your ass.

8.  Paul George, this is your year. Fourth year. Granger back (for now). Fresh off Conference Finals. High praise as defender. Improved scoring versatility. Please, let’s do this!

9.  Please, Pacers front office, don’t give up on George Hill. I believe he’s exactly the kind of ballplayer this team needs: ability to play both guard positions, reliable with the ball, maturing within the team’s system. Also, now that Brandon Roy is gone from the league, I think he’s my new favorite player. Also also, haven’t we learned yet? – if Popovich vouches for someone, you should probably take that player seriously (i.e. covet the fuck out of him if he slips away from the Spurs).

10. To not have a clear, today superstar and still have the success they had last year, it fills me with honest-to-goodness BIG TIME hope as they continue to gel, figure out the Granger situation, and introduce Scola and some of the other new bruisers into the fold. I’m shooting majorly high with that hope, but from this distance, I feel okay.


1. The basic predictions: 35-47, 11th in West

2. This is a team of questions for the future, questions of the effects of wild decisions and wild hope from the past (from as far back as Oden), like “What if an NBA team changed their name to the What Ifs?

3. What if Kevin Durant went number one in 2007?

4. What if Brandon Roy still had cartilage in his knees?

5. What if LaMarcus Aldridge was just a tad bit angrier?

6. What if Damian Lillard (as a rookie, mind you) didn’t have to play more minutes than anyone else in the league?

7. What if the team signed me to its roster? Would I be the least recognizable name there? Would I be the least qualified player on the team?

8. What if Mo Williams plays like his only goal is to win 6th Man of the Year?

9. What if time machines were real?

10. What is Nicolas Batum decides he wants to wear #33?

Justin Carter on the Rockets


philstarrocketsHere’s what I’m seeing this year for Houston: 3rd seed in the West, behind the Thunder & Clippers, with a loss in the Conference Finals to the Clips. I think Houston gets off to a slow start, with McHale struggling to balance playing time for Lin/Beverley & Howard/Asik, then gets it together after December & wins the division. I think I’ve finally decided that I want Lin & Asik to stay in Houston, but Lin probably has to accept a sixth man role for it to work. I need to see how starting the twin towers is going to work before I say too much about this team.

The West is open this year, though. Oklahoma City has nothing after Durant/Westbrook/Ibaka, the Clippers still have to rely on Blake Griffin, & the Spurs…well, I keep wanting to write them off & they keep winning. We’ll see how that ends up.

The Poets on Sports Roundtable


Justin Carter: Okay, let’s get started. Two questions:

1. Is the East strong than the West this year?
2. What do you think of the moves the Nets have made?

Matt Rowan: There’s obviously been a lot more parity between the conferences since about 2008 or so, but I definitely believe the tide has turned and the East is definitely the stronger conference this year, at least in terms of top teams (I don’t know if I’m willing to say East is best across the board). I suppose we’ll see.

Karissa Morton: What I’m most curious about is what hopes / doubts y’all may have about the incoming rookie class.  I’m in the midst of writing a long post for PoS about my own predictions, but I wonder about any rookies y’all might have your eyes on — or, conversely, which you think are overhyped.

Also, Kevin Love is a wonderful beast of a man.Kevin Love

Patrick Trotti: 

Here are a few questions for everyone.

1. Who will solidify themselves as the third best player in the league? I’m assuming that we can all agree that LeBron and Durant are the one and two.

2. What team(s) that didn’t make the playoffs last year will make it this year? Which ones will fall from the playoffs?

To answer Justin’s question about the Nets, I do see them as a contender in the Eastern Conference. I still think that the Heat, until proven otherwise, are the in a class of their own in the East. That being said, teams like the Nets and Pacers, for me, are in that second tier as legitimate threats and then, just a tick below are the Bulls and Knicks. What the Nets have going for them is their size in the front court. The Pacers and Bulls both showed the Heat’s vulnerability with regards to good post play and with the combo of Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett the Nets pose an interesting matchup problem against the Heat. Ultimately, I think it’s the lack of that one alpha male on the Nets roster that will be their demise. They are loaded at every position but still don’t have that one, in their prime, superstar like Durant or LeBron that can knock down the big shot when needed. Pierce could still show flashes of being that guy but his best days are behind him and I don’t trust Joe Johnson to make the big shot. But with their size and Deron Williams as a major advantage compared to the Heat’s point guards, they have a good chance at making a run deep into the playoffs. The Eastern Conference is much stronger from top to bottom than in recent years which is good for basketball.

Sal Pane: Patrick, there’s no way Detroit and Washington don’t make the playoffs. They’re my locks for lottery teams getting into the playoffs, and Vegas agrees, placing the over/under on Pistons and Wizards wins at 42 and 41 respectively. As for which of last year’s playoffs teams drop into the lottery, I’m taking the easy route and saying Boston. If this team even sniffs .500 at the 30 game mark, expect the C’s to aggressively move Rajon Rondo.

Questions for Others:

Which NBA player will have the best Twitter year?

Are the Houston Rockets now a better team than Durant’s Thunder?

Is this the year JaVale McGee finally transforms from a living art installation into a bonafide star?

Steph Curry, Scoring Champion?

JC: I hope we get to see a playoff match up between the Rockets & Thunder. As a Rockets fan, I want to be able to answer yes, but I’m not sure yet– Durant & Westbrook are still Durant & Westbrook, though replacing Kevin Martin with Jeremy Lamb is– rough. Houston has nothing at PF to combat Durant, though. Playing a twin towers frontcourt allows Durant to just do whatever Durant wants to do, play around on the wings or drive past Asik. Playing Jones or Motiejunas means Durant backs them into the post.

Plus, Westbrook/ Lin is a matchup that goes in OKC’s favor too.

Although, Houston has a definite advantage at SG & center. It’s a close match up.

Are we still in a world where JaVale McGee has the potential to be a star? I actually see the opposite happening this year, with Denver going small a lot more & putting Hickson at center, taking minutes from JaVale. I want him to succeed, because dude is just so FUN, but I don’t see it happening.McGee20

Like with McGee, I WANT to say yes to Curry, but I’m just not sure. Durant lost Kevin Martin, so he’s going to be shouldering the scoring load more in OKC. Al Jefferson (yes, I am saying this) is the only reliable offensive option for Charlotte (because, well, MKG & Kemba Walker & Gerald Henderson are in that starting lineup) & could be a surprise in the scoring race (I have to pretend I never said this once he averages an 18/8 & Charlotte wins fifteen games). There’s Carmelo, too. & Harden.

There’s no Kobe, though. Lebron is going to tone it down this season, because they need him 100% if the Heat want to drag Wade to a title.

MR: Can’t tell you all how excited I am for Rose’s return with the way he’s looked in the preseason. WOOOOOOO!

Tyler Gobble: I’m going Jason Kidd here with 10 (or more! many more maybe!) assists about the rest of the league/your chatter.

1. Basic predictions: MVP – Lebron James (geesh); Rookie of the Year – Victor Oladipo (looked elsewhere, but ROTY is a numbers game and somebody’s gotta put up numbers in ORL); Defensive Player of the Year – Paul George (HOPE); Most Improved Player – Jeremy Lamb (OKC needs this to happen!); Coach of the Year – Frank Vogel (MORE HOPE)

2. Matt Rowan, I’ve never understood the phrase “sad to see Nate Robinson go.” It might take a bit, but I sincerely believe you guys got a real steal with Marquis Teague.

3. Kevin Love, as Karissa has said, is indeed “a wonderful beast of a man.” For his sake alone, I hope the T-Wolves end their playoff drought. And if they do, it’ll be on top of that hulk (Seriously, I saw a video once of him throwing court-length chest passes.)

4. Patrick, I do in fact agree Lebron and KD are the two best in the league. After them, you’ve got, what, Carmelo, Chris Paul, Kobe, Tony Parker, Westbrook, Blake Griffin, D-Rose (pre-injury), in some order. If we’re talking best all-around basketball player (my fave definition of best), I’d have to go with Chris Paul. If we are talking about, able to go-off, be the man, get you what you need (points = W, still), then there’s no one close to Carmelo right now. If you mean best player to watch, I’d say pre-injury D-Rose or Blake Griffin. If you mean who do I want on my team, it’s Kobe or TP. But in any and all of those categories, Lebron and KD are 1 and 2 and let’s bask in/puke because of that a bit longer (we have no choice!).

5. Patrick (again!), I know it’s not a cool thing to do, especially in Boston, but seriously, the Celtics need to map out a three-year plan: develop players the next two years (Rondo included), snag some smart picks (Stevens knows what good basketball players, even unchiseled, look like), and hope for the second half of the 2010’s to be way awesome(r) than right now.

6. Sal, best twitter is gonna be Greg Oden. Well, I guess he doesn’t have one, but lordy, I hope it happens. Remember his blog from his early NBA days: http://gregoden.yardbarker.com/blog/gregoden/home. THIS COULD BE GOLDEN.

7. Scoring champ? I’m kinda hoping the Knicks get off to a rocky start (sorry, Sal) and Carmelo says fuck it and tries to average 35 a game. If that doesn’t happen, Steph Curry might just do it; the fella is the small guy version of KD.

8. On November 1st, I’m having my fucked-up shoulder operated on. I’ll be in a sling for 6-8 weeks with 6 weeks of PT after that before I’m cleared to play hoops (and disc golf!) again, so this will probably be the most hoops I’ll watch since freshman year of college. There’s a rad sports bar (by rad, I mean often-empty and with big tvs/cheap beer) in my neighborhood called Nasty’s I plan to do most of my watching at.

9. Justin, are people in Austin typically Mavs, Rockets, or Spurs fans? Or is it split like everything else here?

10. A question: Who’s your least favorite player in the league?

11. I wish Blake Griffin’s mom put it in Blake’s contract that his brother had to be on the Clippers, too.

12. Yet another question: If all five starters were in their prime/best years, which team would be the best? Brooklyn, right? Especially if you let coach J-Kidd play two-guard instead of Joe Johnson.

13. I’m still waiting for Scottie Pippen to be an assistant coach.

14. James Harden is my second favorite NBA player.

15. If I ran the universe (I AM A GOB), the last place team in each conference would get disbanded each year, with those two teams’ players entered back into the next year’s Draft. I don’t know what’d happen when we got down to like six teams, but I’d bet it’d get weirdJ

16. Pacers over the Thunder in 7 for the CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE UNIVERSE 2014.

PT: I also am a big fan of Harden’s game. Something about his old man, lighting it up in a pickup game at the Y, style is refreshing as opposed to these players that rely on crazy athletic ability. That’s the same reason Paul Pierce was my childhood favorite. Now that my Celtics aren’t a contender I can be less biased about the East. I would love to see the Pacers dethrone the Heat. George is gonna be a superstar by the end of the year. I would play GM for a minute and propose a trade. Once Rondo is healthy, trade him to Indy for Lance Stephenson, Ian Mahimni, and 2013 first round pick. Would you do it? Living just north of NYC I got to watch a lot of Stephenson in high school and for all of his immaturity and inconsistency I think he can be a top 5 shooting guard in this league. Also, my least favorite player in the league right now is Kobe. I respect his game but I just can’t stand him. The best Twitter handle is gonna be interesting. Here’s a question for everyone: best tattoos in the league? As a whole body of work it’s gotta be Birdman down in Miami. A single piece, I like Kirilenko’s back piece. Thoughts?AKtat

[insert four hour pause]

Shit, forgot a (big) name in the trade. Rondo for Stephenson, Granger, Mahimni and 2014 first round pick. You guys get the PG you need to put you over the top, who has another 3 years on his contract and we get Stephenson which means we can trade Bogans and Courtney Lee to a desperate contender at the deadline for a second round pick. That gives us a back court of Avery Bradley, Stephenson and MarShon Brooks to go with Jeff Green. Then we flip Granger to a playoff team for a draft pick. This goes back to your point about Boston’s 3 year plan. It should be to get young and get draft picks. If my crazy proposal, or more likely Rondo nets us a first rounder from another team this year then we’ll have our lottery pick, a first round pick via Rondo trade, first round (Brooklyn), and maybe a couple of second rounders if we shop expiring veteran contracts at the deadline as well as 2015 first round (LA Clippers), 2016 first round (Brooklyn), 2017 first round (Brooklyn, right to swap), 2018 first round (Brooklyn). So you see where I’m going. Hopefully, since our second round this year is owed to Dallas I believe, we can flip the two seconds we get (hopefully) from a combo of Kris Humphries, Keith Bogans, and Courtney Lee for a late first rounder which will then gives us four which means that us and the Suns better hope this draft class lives up to the hype. Draft a point, a wing and a couple of bigs and hope you luck out with two or three of the four becoming solid rotation guys. Repeat it again next year this time using Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and any other veterans for additional picks. Then after next year spend for a few good veterans to put around a nucleus of up to 8 guys all with less than 3 years in the league. I could get crazy greedy with specifics but I’m not sure that, basically, the stuff I’ve mentioned are too far fetched to expect


I sure hope George becomes the star you predict. Pacers need that. He has the gifts. And I do believe the right staff.

Hmmm. I think I would do that deal, if Granger is healthy. Hill off the bench would take some pressure off and let him weave through second units. Do you think the Cs would do the deal? What if Granger instead of Lance?

I just don’t see that blossoming happening with Lance. Physical talents sure, but he had a rumble when he’s holding the ball that makes me nervous. He’s a solid sixth man though for his energy and defense.

AK-47 has a back tat? Remember when Rasheed tried getting tattoos from companies that wanted to endorse him? That would’ve been cool.


About juscart

Justin Carter is the co-editor of Banango Street & an MFA candidate in Poetry @ Bowling Green State University. He enjoys the Rockets & Texans. He sometimes enjoys the Astros. His poems appear in Hobart, Red Lightbulbs, & Revolution House.

4 comments on “The Poets on Sports NBA Preview

  1. Karissa
    October 30, 2013

    & for the record, I find Kirilenko’s back piece terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. Like, what the hell is that minus a nightmare waiting to happen?!

    • ptrotti
      October 30, 2013

      I agree, but it’s in the “it’s so bad it’s good” category. Still, very creepy!

  2. Pingback: Check Out My Knicks Season Preview At Poets On Sports | Salvatore Pane

  3. Andrew East
    November 12, 2013

    Can I just say that I wouldn’t do that Pacers/Celtics deal even if it was just Stephenson for Rondo?

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