Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bob Marley Reincarnate's Guide to the NBA Offseason

Snoop Liony Liooon
Snoop L.I. Single O. N.

Doesn't really work as well does it?

Despite being a white boy who was seven years old at the peak of Snoop’s career, I’ve always had a soft spot on my heart for the man. Perhaps it is because for some reason he reminds me of Latrell Sprewell, or maybe because Snoop Dogg is a ridiculous name, but I’ve always followed his career more closely than contemporaries like Master P, Warren G etc.

And so it is with fascination that I read about his Snoop Dogg’s spiritual transformation and rebirth as Snoop Lion. You know it is a good story when you tell people about it, and they have to look it up on their smart phones because they are convinced that you are trying to bullshit them. In brief, Snoop spent over a month in Jamaica, and feels reborn as a reggae artist. He says he is tired of hip-hop, is releasing anti-violence songs, and is even releasing a damn coffee table book. Oh yeah, and there is a documentary about the whole trip.


In honor of Snoop, here are the biggest NBA transformation and rebirths that I am looking forward to.

The Los Angeles Laker Offense

For years under Phil Jackson the Lakers, like his previous Bulls team, ran the triangle offense. It is debatable to what extent the triangle is responsible for Jackson’s success when he also had the fortune to coach at least six Hall-of-Famers (Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Shaq, Kobe, Gasol), but it clearly worked well. But Jackson is now gone, and it is entirely unclear what offense Mike Brown ran last year,  except that it wasn’t very good and it involved a lot of Hero Ball.

But now comes word that the Lakers are exploring at least partially using the Princeton offense next season. The above-linked article notes that Kobe Bryant is totally on-board (sidenote: for those that follow soccer, does Kobe Bryant remind anybody else of John Terry?) and that Steve Nash is the perfect point guard to run the offense (sidenote: he’s the perfect point guard to run ANY offense). The Princeton offense uses a lot of passes and backdoor cuts and slows down the game, typically so that a worse, less athletic team can beat a better one.

It also requires all players on the floor to be highly skilled, so I for one am excited to watch Andrew Bynum do a lot of dribbling. I’m pretty skeptical that Kobe “Fuck It, I Want My Shot” Bryant will fully embrace this new offense, but maybe Steve Nash’s unselfish play is already having an effect on him.

Michael Beasley

It isn’t clear that Michael Beasley is actually a good NBA player (advanced statistics say no), but that didn’t stop the Phoenix Suns from offering him a 3-year, $18 million contract. It’s still early in the offseason, but Beasley is saying all of the right things, including that his prodigious marijuana use is a thing of the past. Unlike for rappers (did you see the trailer above? Try to count how many instances of weed smoking you can see), marijuana is not a performance enhancing drug for ballers, a lesson Beasley learned the hard way.

The Suns depth chart is a mess, with only Gortat and Dragic guaranteed starting spots, and there is also evidence that Beasley’s best position is actually power forward, where he would be fighting with Luis Scola and Channing Frye for playing time. Regardless, after two years spent in the frigid wilderness of Minnesota, Beasley seems poised to be reborn a Phoenix Sun. Look how well that motif worked out.

David Stern

In an era of increased job mobility, David Stern is a reminder of a past seen only in shows like Mad Men. If he continues as Commissioner of the NBA for another two years, he will have been in the position for 30 years, and involved with the league for 36. You just don’t see that longevity anymore.

But during the last few years, it looked like he was slipping. There were rumors that he was going to retire after the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed after the lockout, and he has publicly endorsed Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver as his successor. Perhaps the second-lowest point of his career (nothing will touch the Tim Donaghy scandal) was his awkward and clumsy handling of Chris Paul’s trade from New Orleans.

Lately however, he looks reinvigorated, even taunting the crowd at the NBA draft and asking for more boos. Bill Simmons compared him to Vince McMahon, a seemingly apt one even given my lack of knowledge or interest in wrestling. He also smacked down Jim Rome when he asked typical Douchebag Jim Rome type questions. It’s like after years of gently applying pressure and cajoling, after the lockout he said fuck it and is forcing his will to bear on situations. It will be fascinating to see where newly hardass David Stern comes down on the Seattle and Sacramento stadium fiascoes.

Got any more transformation and rebirths of the offseason? Let us know in the comments. 

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