Shoals and Ziller preview each NBA playoff series.
A powerhouse that needs to convince a lot of people of that fact versus an eternally fake team with a roster that still doesn't make sense -- even to those who should embrace it most. Anything less than a championship will be a letdown for Orlando; the sooner the Bobcats bow out, the more at ease all will feel in the universe. Don't expect a series for the faint of eyebrow, though. Something will prick you.
What dost thee Deities of Basketball decree?
Larry Brown is a walking insult to the Basketball Gods, having offended them so many times over that you'd think it was a principled position. If there were a Basketball Church, or Basketball Priest, to go with ye Gods, Brown would have been roasted on a spit some time ago. In fact, as soon as Larry earned back some respect with his Bobcats reclamation project, he went and -- you guessed it -- spat in the face of the Basketball Gods by possibly maybe talking to the Sixers before the playoffs even started. That began as Vecsey knowledge, and thus likely is false. But there's one thing Peter Vecsey knows, and that's what lurks in the heart of man. And isn't that the greatest truth of all when we're talking about Larry Brown?
Rest assured, Brown's just waiting to double-cross Charlotte and glue some rot 'round the edges of this franchise's first and only banner season. Oh, and God don't love generic. The Cats need some real pain before they get noticed by these celestial beings.
Everything revolves around 2010 free agency. How will this series affect the summer most?
From where I'm sitting, being on the market this summer has become a kind of status symbol. Greatest free agent class ever! Summer everything changes! And no matter who a team ends up with, they'll be spinning it like the truth has marched right in. This presents the worst kind of peer pressure for guys like Dwight Howard, marquee twenty-somethings hitting their prime but under contract. This isn't about whether or not Howard was smart enough to sign a mini-max, since he still doesn't match up with the Class of 2003. But say the Magic lose this series -- Stephen Jackson is practically the talisman of wacko upsets. Wouldn't he then have the perfect excuse to demand a trade and go roll with the cool kids?
Alternatively, if the Knicks could somehow swap themselves for the Bobcats, all would be right in the world, and we'd have a low-cost, non-annoying way to resurrect ball in New York and be spared all this phony free agency aspiration.
We snuck into baseball's underground lair to pilfer one of its most lovely tools of prognostication -- the log5 method, invented by Bill James himself.
The numbers don't give Charlotte much of a shot, with a better than 50% probability of Orlando needing only four or five games to smite the Bobcats back to the valley of plebes. -- T.Z.
Yes, hipsters have infiltrated NBA fandom, "instant-expert fans overrating certain players".
The real secret of the Bobcats is that, while they should be catnip to those who worship at the altar of the unknown and unusual, they aren't. Maybe it's the influence, or anti-cachet, of Larry Brown. Maybe it's the presence of Michael Jordan, who at this point is the Miramax of professional basketball. But somehow, the radiant crew of Gerald Wallace, Jackson, Boris Diaw, and Tyrus Thomas just ain't doing much for me when they're toiling away on this 'Cats squad. So if you really want to impress people impressed by this sort of thing, make a big deal out of how not into this Charlotte team you are. Then talk about the days before Jason Williams had his brain replaced by Hubie Brown (as if that were still a viable player), and pretend Tyson Chandler can still walk.
It's the reunion of an indie super-group that never was. I'm picturing Stooges + Dolls sponsored by American Apparel. Seeing it happen is a total gas, and yet you know that no one's the same, dark forces lurk behind the scenes, and no matter how hard you try, this isn't going to be the Believe! Warriors, plus Brown's AI Sixers, plus the Mike D'Antoni Suns, plus Gerald Wallace, plus dudes like Williams, Thomas, and Chandler whom I used to draw on my notebook. That's too much cred to juggle, and it's not even really there. That's why I say, send the whole bunch to the Garden.
Some teams don't know what they need, but they know what they want. Are the Magic that team?