This season has been a real puzzler to figure out. At the risk of sounding too offensive, it’s been a humdinger! For this reason, I asked several of the boys from the I GO HARD NOW staff important questions to help suss out what to expect during the second half of the season. It’s plum exciting!
Of the teams you consider contenders to make the Finals, which team in each conference is best equipped to stay competitive in the playoffs if one of their top two players got injured? Could you still see either team making the Finals? Which team in each conference is worst equipped?
Triz Gallo: Best in the East – It’s has to be the Cavs. Assuming the injured player is Kyrie, Lebron could carry that Cavs team to the finals. JR Smith, Kevin Love and Mozgov are a way better supporting cast than in 2007 when Lebron had Sasha Pavlovic and Ira Newble starting alongside him. God, that 2007 team, aside from Lebron of course, was atrocious.
Best in the West – I’m going with the Rockets in the West. They are without Dwight Howard now and are still doing well. James Harden is a bonafide star, crunch-time scorer and can singlehandedly lead a team to victory. And then there’s Josh Smith, who is probably only good for giving you some sort of disease, figuratively and literally. But, hey! James Harden is REALLY good and could absolutely lead a team to the Finals.
Worst in the East – Assuming the injured player is Derrick Rose, I think the Bulls collapse the quickest out the East. It’s obvious he is the heart and soul of that squad. Without Rose, the Bulls probably will give someone fits for a game or two by way of defense, but no way do they advance much past the first round.
Worst in the West – I hate to say it, but it’s the Thunder. If either Durant or Westbrook are gone, that team stinks. I’m not sure subbing Dion Waiters into the starting line-up is a good thing if the missing player is Westbrook. I love Dion. But I’m pretty glad the Cavs got rid of him. If the missing player is Durant, Westbrook is going to take 30 shots a game and things are going to unravel quickly.
Earth is about to explode. You have five seats left on your spaceship. You must fill these last seats with current NBA players to repopulate basketball when you reach the spacecolony. The science is there to clone players and even create new basketbabies from two players’ genes in a lab. Which five current players do you choose for this space adventure? Explain your reasons why. Assume the new planet is extremely similar to Earth in size, mass, atmosphere, etc. Remember, you have to also hang out with these assholes every day.
Mike: Ok, so there’s a lot to unpack here and I would like to set some ground rules first for the intergalactic basketball utopia known as Mikelatica (if you thought I wouldn’t be the type of pompous fuck to name a planet after myself, you need to get to know me better):
- The positional revolution does not exist on Mikelatica. Don’t bring that shit around here. We abide by rigid positional constructs.
- We play the game The Right Way on Mikelatica. There’s no bullshit run and gun on the planet. We are preserving the game it way it deserves to be played.
- I get to coach the team. Because I’ve always wanted to coach/manage my own team and everyone needs to play the game The Right Way.
- Basketblogging has been outlawed on Mikelatica.
Ok, with all that hashed out, let’s not fuck around anymore… without any further adu… The Mikelatica Mikes!
PG – Mathew Dellavedova
Pros: Plays the game The Right Way. Never been arrested/in trouble. Coaches love him. Strong fundamentals. Always gives 100% effort on defense. Four year college player. Pass first and only shoots when wide open. A real point guard. Great character guy.
Cons: Kind of looks like a retarded fifth grader.
SG – Wesley Matthews
Pros: Very good outside shooter. Very strong defender and gives great effort. Never been arrested/in trouble. Prototypical shooting guard size, looks the position. Four year college player. Plays the game The Right Way. Great character guy.
Cons: Not Klay Thompson, but Klay Thompson was arrested for weed in college so he can’t get on my rocket ship.
SF – Kyle Korver
Pros: 2015 NBA All-Star. Great shooter. Never been arrested/ in trouble. Four year college player. Plays the game The Right Way. Gives excellent effort on the defensive end. Great character guy.
Cons: None. Kyle Korver and the 2015 Atlanta Hawks are perfect.
PF – Tim Duncan
Pros: Four year college player. Learned the game from The Great Gregg Popovich. Never been arrested/ in trouble. Nicknamed The Big Fundamental for his fundamental play. Plays the game The Right Way. Great character guy.
Cons: Might become the president of Mikelatica over more qualified political candidates, but he’s Tim Duncan so it should be fine.
C – Roy Hibbert
Pros: Real NBA center (a dying breed). Great size. Strong defender. Doesn’t need the ball on offense. Plays the game The Right Way. Never been arrested/ in trouble. Great character guy.
Con: Once shot a three pointer in an NBA game and that is not acceptable. Centers play under the basketball. Can be overlooked because of his coachability.
The recently deceased are rising from their graves, and one of them has stolen your girlfriend. Not like… literally. She chose to date one of them instead of you. In fact, all women are dating these undead monsters instead of the living. It’s the cool thing to do. Your mission is to choose three current NBA players to help you sever the heads or destroy the brains of these creatures before all human reproduction stops completely and mankind goes extinct. Who do you choose and why?
A quick clarification question, before I answer your question. if I were to become zombified myself, would she come back to me? I mean, she’s already proven by dating the unundead version of myself that she’s into me, so if I become undead myself, would that be enough to get her back? That sounds a lot easier than having to kill a bunch of zombies to me.
(Editor’s note: To answer your question, she’s happy with her first zombie boyfriend. She respects you less for becoming one yourself. Stop copying her boyfriend. It’s pathetic.)
But alas, I’m sure that’s not the answer you were looking for. So with that said, here’s what I’m thinking.
1. Paul Pierce. Dude was stabbed eleven times, had lung surgery, and still played all 82 games that season. I could really use someone with that kind of tenacity to go out and kill some zombies. That said, I’m a bit hesitant after that whole wheelchair game thing, but still, getting stabbed that many times and still playing an entire season is pretty impressive. Gotta give him that.
2. Dwight Howard. Why? Because I hate him. I think it’s safe to assume that, if I were to venture out into the undead masses with three NBA players, not everyone would make it back. Simply because Rashard Lewis and Ray Allan aren’t currently playing, someone else from the 2008 Celtics or 2009 Magic will have to do. So Dwight Howard gets the unfortunate nod. Of course, I can’t guarantee that Dwight would be the one that doesn’t make it back unless I pull some kind of “Shane shooting Otis and leaving him to die while he escapes the zombie hoard in the second season of The Walking Dead” type shenanigans, but if things came to that, that whole Dwightmare thing makes it a bit easier for me to justify taking those kind of drastic actions to ensure my survival. And even if that doesn’t come up, he’s a pretty big dude. That’s gotta come in handy at some point in time.
3. Chris Kaman. Look at him. Dude’s totally a doomsday prepper. I’ll guarantee you that he’s stashed bugout bags all across the US as he’s travelled. This guy also totally has an arsenal somewhere. I mean, he shot and killed a Bobcat solely to make a joke on Twitter. He’s as redneck as they come. Those guys are always the dudes that start up the redneck motorcycle gangs that go around killing zombies and looting other people’s encampments in these kinds of movies. Sounds like exactly the kind of guy I need on my side.
An alien fleet is orbiting Earth. They will blow up the entire planet unless you sacrifice one NBA player to their alien Gods who live in a volcano on Venus. They will replace that player with their own alien player of equal talent, so it will have no effect on the actual talent on the team. You will pretty much be removing a player you don’t like aesthetically and/or personally. And to be clear, the replacement alien will be the same level of talent but a different skill set (maybe even better suited to that team, but maybe not). Who do you choose and why?
We do not know a lot about aliens. We do not even know if they exist. At some point, I am going to have to hedge my bet that aliens do not have a sense of humor or emotions. I don’t know that they don’t have a sense of humor or emotions, but the mere fact that there is a possibility that they do not makes me have to go with Dwight Howard on this question. He’s simply the worst. Never mind that he’s not particularly fun to watch on the basketball court, but his off-court persona is the definition of insufferable.
The idea of watching an NBA that doesn’t have Dwight Howard being demonstrative while complaining about officiating or trying to be funny would make the league a better product. I know it’s not a given, but I’d take Alien Dwight Howard over Dwight Howard any day.