NBA Hoops Preview with Phineas & Charlie

Chuck: Well, it’s that time of year, Phinny. Baseball has gone into hibernation for the winter and it’s time for hoops. A good problem to have as we both really enjoy some large men trying to drop orange balls into hoops.

PR: Yes, Chuck, it’s time for us to speak some Truth about the NBA.

Eastern Conference Preview

CS: Let’s jump right into it, no BS. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls are runaway favorites for the Eastern conference. LeBron is far and away the best player in the league. It may take a little while for James to get synced up with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, but they will have a potent offense. I worry about their depth. The Bulls have Derrick Rose, Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah and a wealth of strong role players (Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy). I actually think they are better right now, as the Cavs need to learn to play together. I would be shocked if any other team was represented in the Eastern Conference finals. The Wizards are not quite there yet but are growing slowly. Neither the Charlotte Hornets nor the Toronto Raptors have those go-to guys yet needed to succeed in the playoffs.

PR: The Indiana Pacers just might tank this year (and probably should if they want to mount a vintage Spurs comeback season next year). They would have been in the running, but Paul George is out for the year and Lance Stephenson bolted to Charlotte. I have to respectfully disagree with you on the Cavaliers and Bulls being the automatic 1-2 in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards have one of the best starting lineups in the Eastern Conference and a bona fide closer in Paul Pierce. With Bradley Beal back in the lineup in a couple of months, WHO SAYS NO? I also like Toronto (which really means I hate Toronto) because they can be pesky with Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan patrolling the perimeter and getting to the line. Charlotte has promise, too, but I don’t think they can put up enough points on a daily basis to compete in the postseason. Plus, they got manhandled by the Miami Heat in last year’s playoffs. Speaking of the Heat, they haven’t looked too shabby with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade turning back the clock in the earlygoing.

CS: Classic displays of homerism, Phin. I agree, I think the Heat could actually surprise some folks later on, maybe win a playoff series against Charlotte or Toronto. They definitely have the experience. Who are a few players you are excited to watch in the conference this year? MVP candidates? Rookie of the Year? Most likely to be seen on the DQ Haus TV for our own entertainment?

PR: I dig the storyline that the Eastern Conference is improving, and that someday there might be more parity between the conferences. But for now, the East is still an inferior crop of talent. If one of either LeBron or D-Rose isn’t MVP (which is entirely likely), I think the league’s Most Valuable Player will emerge from the bloodbath that is the Western Conference: Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, maybe even someone like James Harden or Lamarcus Aldridge.

CS: Good point. I think those are definitely possibilities. I love me some rookies. I’m really excited to watch Jabari Parker play this year and win ROY. The Milwaukee Bucks have some exciting young guys and Jabari is going to be a very good player in the league for a long time. Just get that team out of Milwaukee and give Seattle the Super Sonics back.

PR: Nerlens Noel (or his flat-top) could be a ROY candidate. His block against James Harden was a work of basketball art.

CS: Nerlens is cool, but his team is not. The Sixers will be showcasing some of the ugliest hoops coming out of Philly since the intro to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Ouch. They might not win 10 games.

PR: There will definitely be a fair amount of Will Smith jump hook clangers off the rim. I for one am rooting for them to break into the double digits. Michael Carter-Williams has it in him to put the team on his back ten times, including at least one quadruple-double (18 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists and 10 steals).

CS: Eh, not sold. I say they win eight and MCW regresses to mediocrity over his sophomore season.

Western Conference

CS: The more watchable, just all around much better conference is considerably more intriguing (even though I will love watching the Bulls run the east). The San Antonio Spurs, LA Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder (when they heal up) all have a chance to win the whole shebang.

PR: I am an Eastern Conference guy ’til death, Chuck, but I agree the West is fun to watch. You didn’t mention the Houston Rockets. A lot of people thought they lost the offseason — after watching Chandler Parsons hit the clubs with Mark Cuban in Dallas and Chris Bosh sign with Miami — but they’ve looked good going undefeated in five games behind a barrage of Trevor Ariza threes (we still love you Athreeza) and more than 20 missed free throws from Dwight Howard. This could be the year the Warriors piece it all together, and let me tell you, that would be fun to watch. The Thunder are a bit of an enigma, having lost their two stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, along with a host of role players, to begin the season. If they fall too far down the ladder in November and December, I worry they won’t be able to make up ground.

CS: I just don’t see Dwight Howard ever blossoming into a playoff star for Houston. I think the Spurs will win the conference again for dynasty’s sake and the Warriors are the second best team in the conference now. Klay Thompson has taken the next step to become one of the best scorers in the NBA and the Dubs have a new coach in Steve Kerr who seems to be meshing beautifully with the team. Another team to keep an eye out for in the bottom half of Western playoff teams is the Portland Trail Blazers. They have a really fun team, with a great offense led by Damian Lillard. They aren’t going to win the ’ship, but like the Warriors were a few years ago, they are really fun.

PR: What if Boogie Cousins and the Sacramento Kings are this years’ Phoenix Suns? What if, Chuck?

CS: I’d love to see that. The Kings’ owner recently suggested that the Kings play four on defense so one player could cherry-pick on offense. GO KINGS. A Knicks-Kings final would be perfect for entertainment purposes.

PR: #KnicksTape.

CS: Final thoughts on the local boys? Our T-Wolves? I think they have some exciting players, headlined by newcomers Andrew Wiggings and Anthony Bennett and veteran Thaddeus Young. Rubio is still slicing and dicing away too at the point guard position, so I support watching them. They won’t make the playoffs, but it’s Minnesota. Playoffs are not really part of the year to year culture here.

PR: There are a lot of alley-oops in the near future for this young Timberwolves squad. And some atrocious defense. Don’t forget how bad they are going to be at defense.

CS: An absolute dumpster fire on defense. Enjoy watching, folks!

PR: God I love basketball. The Christmas season of professional sports.