The final installment of the TwH NBA preview brings us way out west, to the Pacific Division. Standing in the shadow of Kobe’s territory, the Clippers look to win over the Staples Center fans with one of the most appealing one-two combos in recent memory. The Warriors will be looking to firebomb opponents with 3-pointers from every angle, but will that reliance doom them come playoff time? Also, what about Steph Curry’s ankles? Boogie Cousins is one of the most polarizing figures in a basketball town with a history of polarizing figures (and some pretty good basketball). Can he keep a cool enough head to flash the Kings back a decade? And finally, will anyone willingly watch a Suns game who does not live in the greater Phoenix market?
Division-by-division we go, with the emphasis of this edition placed on the Southwest Division, one of the most competitive in the league. Will the Big Fundamental tutor Kawhi Leonard in the nuances of the Spurs’ culture of excellence? James Harden’s development will continue, but how will Houston gel following the Dwightmare? Is Dirk finished (and what will Mark Cuban do now, if that is the case)? Will Anthony Davis ever manscape his trademarked unibrow? Is Marc Gasol finally – finally – the BEST Gasol? TwH addresses these questions and more.
To call Lou Reed a pioneer is to do a disservice to him as well as elevate other so-called “pioneers” to an undeserved status. To call him influential, the same. So few people in the history of music actually, really changed the way people listened to and created music. As the principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground, Reed did just that. He did it again as a solo artist, repeatedly re-inventing himself and ostracizing his own fan base, which made them love him all the more. He became an urban spokesman, the Bizarro Dylan whose sordid tales of debauchery, sexual ambiguity and repentance gave a window into the twisted, all-too-real world of Warhol’s New York City in the 1960s and 70s.
I wanted to lead with this picture to remind myself what this process is all about.
You, the hypothetical reader of this hypothetical column, may have noticed that I haven’t been doing a whole lot of picking lately. The past two weeks I have outsourced the duties of selecting teams to triumph over the spread to different people I trust: boys I watch football with and a girl who would prefer I properly appreciate Parisian sunsets as opposed to trying to type about football on a French keyboard. Read More
“Revenge is like serving cold cuts.” – Tony Soprano
An editor at Tuesdays with Horry reported to me a few weeks ago that University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari was spotted at a Dunkin Donuts in the Big Apple. Unless Calipari was hammering out a point-shaving deal with the Five Families (not unheard of in UK basketball history, and not above the suspicion of the editor who told me about the Cal sighting), his squad this year promises to be nearly unstoppable. The problem with UK’s team last year was that, with the exception of Kyle Wiltjer (who has since transferred to Gonzaga), the team was a mix of highly touted but underperforming freshmen. While people claim that such is always the risk with Cal’s rip-and-run, one-and-done recruiting philosophy, they fail to realize that last year was the first where Cal had to deal almost exclusively with freshmen: the three previous teams had veterans like Patrick Patterson and Darius Miller to provide some level of cohesion amid a sea of talent. No one would seriously argue that Willie Cauley-Stein is Patrick Patterson, but we’ll take the former when we have a historically talented recruiting class coming in, even without Andrew Wiggins. The SEC and the country as a whole is on notice: UK is coming for revenge, and I don’t anticipate it being pretty.
In this installment of the TwH NBA preview, we look at what will be one of the most competitive divisions in professional basketball, the Northwest. Kevin Durant has the weight of the world on his broad shoulders in the biggest small market in the league, Kenneth Faried is a double-double machine and Damian Lillard will drastically improve upon one of the finest rookie campaigns in recent memory as he returns the Pacific Northwest to basketball relevance. When they can avoid the infirmary, the Minnesota T’Wolves are one of the funnest teams in the league to watch, and the Utah Jazz are, under no circumstances, one of the funnest teams in the league to watch.
The world watched as Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles crushed Clemson into a miserable solid orange pulp. The Seminole defense would not stand for any magnificent Tajh Boyd to Sammy Watkins or Martavius Bryant connections. There would certainly be no running game either. The Tigers were relegated to punt after punt after punt which turned into a lesson in why you never want Winston, or the Florida State offense in general, to have possession.
Winston zinged, lobbed and floated passes to Kelvin Benjamin, Rashad Greene, and Nick O’Leary that forced one of the loudest atmospheres into hushed tones. There were plenty of shots provided by ESPN cameras of Tiger fans whose disbelief was on display for all of America. After all, this wasn’t supposed to happen to Clemson. This team was returning more play makers than Florida State had lost to the NFL. If anything, this game was supposed to be a shoot out; not a day of reckoning for The Wonderful Monster.
In the end, the score was 51-14 and the best summation of this beat down is the universal Clemson fan base coping mechanism: “I still love my Tigers, y’all”.
The ACC “game of the century” with the grand introduction of the Tigers and the subtle insert of Jaboo’s pre-game pep talk gave the nation goosebumps. I felt the electricity from my seat on the virtual bus ride over from the home locker room in Death Valley to Howard’s Rock. All those warm, fuzzy feelings of competitive football washed away after the 1st half. At this point, LSU-Ole Miss was waaaay more intriguing than a game where Lamarcus Joyner was single handily shutting down both Martavius Bryant and Sammy Watkins.
That’s not to say that Florida State’s demolishing act was like watching Alabama. Quite the opposite, actually.
Alabama, in their 52-0 victory over Arkansas, is moving through the SEC West as if the path to a national championship is paved in gold. The Tide is like Prairie Home Companion: successful, inoffensive (on-the-field, of course), and mired in the mundane. That’s why it’s the least interesting team that stands atop the first BCS rankings of the season while the teams below are a gaggle of personalities and chutzpah.
Florida State may have been methodical in their approach but Winston certainly offers a panache that other quarterbacks certainly lack to keep things interesting.
Aside from learning that Clemson has become one of the most GIF-able environs in college football, what other nuggets of information did we learn?
TwH‘s NBA preview continues with a look at the Southeast Division; or, the Miami Heat and a group of allegedly professional basketball teams. Also featuring the ballad of the Charlotte Horncats.
So I’m in Paris right now.
It is dope for many reasons. The Eiffel Tower is dope. The food is dope. The wine is off the chain.
But one thing that is not dope: The French keyboard on which I am currently typing.
Welcome to a better late than never edition of Drop Picks On ‘Em where
Jacory Harris Stephen Morris almost lost this week’s picks by way of a helmet deflected interception. Hey, that ACC is a spunky little league, man. If you’re not careful, you can find yourself playing a team wearing alternate jerseys named after a play on words of a successful Navy Seals operation. Zero Dark Thursday? More like Bay of Pigs, AMIRITE?!
In honor of the conference that stretches itself from South Beach to the shores of Plymouth Rock, this intro will be designed to highlight all things ACC not named Clemson or Florida State. Yeah, I get it – it’s the biggest game the conference has going for it so far this year. That’s great! Good for them. #goacc and all that jazz but this conference still has Paul Johnson and the slow, R.Kelly grind of the triple option. This is a place where the adjective spunky applies to three teams and the rest have varying self-confidence and identity issues. Let’s break it down, shall we?
Syracuse and Georgia Tech play each other which means you get to see two of the most horrifying color schemes and uniforms (we see you, Russell Athletic) face off against each other in Atlanta. Virginia still plays football and they do so against Bear Bryant protege, David Cutcliffe, in a battle of the privileged East Coast fan bases. Wine and cheese, indeed! If you want something a little bit more blue collar, Pittsburgh is right up your alley. They play Old Dominion this week and I’m sure there will be a lot of Schlitz and Primanti Bros. sandwiches consumed as a topper to a great win and a fatality free day at the steel mill.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on Maryland and Wake Forest. This is going to be a tough road test for the Terps as they take on a feisty Wake Forest team, who in recent years has played heart breaker to multiple teams. Wait, that’s not right. Sounds like a basketball preview. How about this? Have fun trying to stop anything, Demon Deacs!
And there you have it – the ACC Week 8 preview you’ve been clamoring for. No fancy pants Jameis Winston or Tajh Boyd here. Just some good ole fashioned Mid-Atlantic to barely into the southern most tip of America football. Now that that is out of the way – let us discuss the ranked teams playing, shall we?