There is basketball in the air as TNT features a double-header tonight between the Heat vs. Bulls and the Clippers vs. Lakers. We get to see Derrick Rose again, Flop-City aka Chris Paul's team is back, and we will get to check out how the new-look Lakers perform. With the NBA upon us and the Nuggets set to tip-things off tomorrow, let's bring back an oldie, but a goodie - The Stiff List!
The NBA Schedule Makers. Some of our favorite people or robots to pick-on. Did you realize that the last time the Nuggets opened the season at home was on Oct. 27th, 2010 against the Jazz? Tomorrow's game against the Kings will mark the third season in a row that the team will open up on the road. Last season the Nuggets played in Philadelphia against the 76ers, and lost, and in 2011-12 the team played in Dallas and beat the Mavericks. The Nuggets are 3-2 over the past five seasons in their openers (three of those games, three years in a row from 2008-2010 were against the Jazz).
Injuries. The Nuggets could be without Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, and will be without Danilo Gallinari against the Kings. Looking around the league, the Lakers won't have Kobe Bryant, the Pacers will be without Danny Granger for about three weeks, the Blazers are missing rookie C.J. McCollum because of a broken foot, and many others across the league. Unfortunately, part of the NBA season is about teams having to endure and overcome injuries to players.
The glass half-empty folks on the Nuggets. Check out Andy Feinstein's breakdown of the breakdowns on the Nuggets, it's a depression pile of sadness. In all honesty, nobody knows how the Nuggets will do this season. We can pour over the numbers of the guys on the roster and debate what Brian Shaw is doing, but it's easy to be pessimistic about this team. With all the change, people would rather be right about the doom-and-gloom than gamble on Shaw's coaching working out. The Nuggets window appears to be anywhere between 35 and 50 wins. We'll see what happens, but the change the Nuggets are going through will hopefully benefit them down the road.
The Phoenix Suns. Most people understand what the Suns are doing, but that doesn't really help their fans this season. In order to get better, the Suns are cleaning out their roster, they traded center Marcin Gortat to the Wizards recently (great piece by Mike Prada), and hoping lottery land will help them. The problem, Robert Sarver still owns the team and can't be trusted to do the right thing if the Suns do get good again. He sold off draft picks when Steve Nash was winning MVPs and failed to capitalize on the :07 or Less Suns success. Had Sarver spent the money needed, we might not have that team as the poster child for, "You can't run in the playoffs." Just take a look at their roster this season - here.
The Philadelphia 76ers. Sixer fans are in the same boat as Suns fans and it seems that rather than push each other into shark infested waters, their owners are attempting to dive in while the other saves them from going over and dying during this 2013-14 season aka collecting the prize: Andrew Wiggins. How bad will the Sixers be? Leave it to this paragraph from Michael Baumann from Liberty Ballers to fill you in: "How long can we take it? How long can we watch what will almost certainly be terrible basketball, buoyed only by the promise of what is yet to come? How luminous is that hope? Put another way: how long until the title looks too far distant, and we go back to craving the win."