Our friend, the SKIN WALKER SALIERI, has emerged yet again from the Ozymandian ruins of his legacy, aka "The Little Old Man Who Lived In A Shoe" and returned to the NBA, this time as a part-owner of the Bobcats. Jordan wasted no time and hired his go-to crony Rod Higgins to oversee the team. Don't think it stops with Rod. Rod Higgins is a gateway crony! Pretty soon Sally will have stocked the organization with yes men and mules. MJ will soon get his hands all over the team. He will get his hands on their money, he will get his hands on their wives, and ultimately he will get his hands on their souls.
PROJECTED RECORD: 0-82, DARKNESS, MOTHS IN THE RAFTERS
14. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS:
The Sixers have struggled to find an identity in the post-Iverson era. We have said it before: dangerous things can happen in power vacuums, like Nazis and Rod Strickland!!! This team is young and raw, learning about its body, still getting boners in the carpool.
ROOKIE WATCH: Thaddeus Young. He maybe be a new face in Phili but he is already a household name in Japan from his single-malt scotch commercials.
PROJECTED RECORD: 29-53
13. INDIANA PACERS
In late 2004, the Pacers franchise suffered what is known in bee-keeping circles as "Complete Colony Collapse." Most experts attribute the phenomenon to a combination of a toxic hive and Al Harrington's mites. The team has still not recovered from the infamy of Aubernica. Years later, it feels like the Pacers' reputation is still up in those stands, taking a beating from Ben Wallace's brother. Team officials quickly identified Ron Artest as a locker room cancer. They also discovered 2 cases of locker room herpes, multiple cases of locker room ennui, and a case of locker room Restless Legs Syndrome. It's a very serious condition.
POSTIVES: The front office praises the intelligence of recent addition Ike Diogu. League scouts rave about a video on youtube that shows Digou solving the Rubiks Snake in under 3 minutes.
NEGATIVES: The team was alarmed by Shawne Williams' recent arrest for marijuana possession. Police are also investigating the discovery of a rape bar and Siamese fighting fish found in an aquarium leased to associates of Williams.
PROJECTED RECORD: 30-52
12. ATLANTA HAWKS:
This team boasts 6 former #1s. Hey so did Cyndi Lauper's 'She's So Unusual'!!!
KEY OF THE OFFSEASON: Zaza Pachulia made the big switch to filtered cigarettes!!
PROJECTED RECORD: 34-48
11. NEW YORK KNICKS:
In the offseason, the Knicks proved once again why they are Manhattan's last remaining ghetto!!
After the embarrassing Marbury/Intern sexcapade and Isiah Thomas' gruesome sexual harrasment testimony, James Dolan sent around a gender-sensitivity memo titled "Gs Up, But Hos Up Also."
OFFENSIVE KEYS: Eddie Curry and new addition Zach Randolph can run with anyone on a given night, while Nate Robinson looks to lead the league in stabs for a second straight year.
KEY OFFSEASON DEVELOPMENT: The hilarious television pilot "Doubting Thomases" in which Isiah Thomas and Clarence Thomas trade jobs for a whole season. Clarence Thomas takes over the Knicks and immediately segregates the lockerroom, promises to make opponents "respect the bench," and gets a local italian restaurant to sponsor new uniforms for the whole team. Meantime in DC, Isiah overturns Muller v. Oregon (1908) and in a 'very special' epsiode, gets Ruth Bader pregnant. Co-stars: Marla Gibbs!
POSITIVES: Great subway access.
KEY OFFSEASON MOVEMENT: Peter Vescey's face. Now in its second season, the cosmetic surgery is finally beginning to settle.
BEST PLACE TO SEE RONALDO BALKMAN ORDER HOT SAUCE WITH HIS TORO TATAKI ROLL: Nobu.
BEST NY POST HEADLINE ABOUT THE STEPHON MARBURY/INTERN AFFAIR THAT NEVER RAN: "A LITTLE COITUS NEVER HOITUS!"
PROJECTED RECORD: 35-47
10. MILWUAKEE BUCKS
Rookie Yi Jianlian is taking more time than expected to adjust to the cultural differences between China and Milwuakee. His body is still adapting to the local diet of potato skins, and he is confused by people constantly asking to see his "Mowgwai".
Bucks fans have been disappointed with Yi's tentative play in the post. But really folks, if you got your center from China, you got to expect a little lead in the paint!
KEY TO SUCCESS: The bench, which includes former Wizards Michael Ruffin and Awvee Storey, as well as Royal Ivey, which was the leading cause of infertility during the Middle Ages. Ruffin's rebounding will be a welcome addition to the team, as will his ability to safely and humanely trap a wild raccoon!
WEAKNESSES: Building a tream around Andrew Bogut is like building a sitcom around Shirley Hephill. Bogut gets paid more to kick less ass than Steven Segal!
PROJECTED RECORD: 37-45
9. MIAMI HEAT:
The Miami Heat are like one of those luxury Richard Meyer condos popping up along the South Florida coast: shiny, expensive, and trendy - sure - but ultimately a cold and cynical operation where the residents never talk about the dead bird carcasses that litter the sidewalk.
It's not the glamor ticket it used to be. Sure celebrities still show up, but now they show up out of pity, like they show up on Byron Allen's Entertainers!
SPECIAL ROSTER EXEMPTION: Awarded to the Heat when Criss Angel, visiting practice for a television special, turns Smush Parker's fingers into 7-Eleven Big Bites. (Poor guy eats 3 of them before he is restrained.)
KEY TO THE SEASON: Injuries. D-Wades shoulder, Shaq's knees, Alonzo's rage. Watching this team is like seeing a S-Class with a busted muffler that some dude has reattached with duct tape.
PROJECTED RECORD: 41-41
8. ORLANDO MAGIC:
THE WHITE GUY THAT THE PRESS DOESN'T FIND THREATENING: JJ Reddick. Reddick posesses great court senses. Especially his sense of smell. Also his sense of regret.
PROJECTED RECORD: 42-40
7. NEW JERSEY NETS:
KEY OFFSEASON MOVE: Kidd "Vicious" separates from wife Nancy "Joumana" Spungen, looks forward to beating people off the dribble instead of beating them off the neo-italianate sofa.
WEAKNESSES: I'm not saying Vince Carter isn't a real man, just because he has his own line of interior furnishings at Pier One Imports and bought the Caroline In The City Season One DVD for all his teammates.
BEST PLACE IN THE NEW JERSEY AREA TO HIRE A WHITE BUTLER WITH EXPERIENCE IN MAINTAINING GAMEROOMS: The Butlers Guild
PROJECTED RECORD: 42-40
6. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS
This offseason coach Mike Brown sat down with owner Dan Gilbert to discuss the future of the team. After a few minutes they went up on Mike's roof and smoked some cigarettes. Then they played some Tecmo Bowl and Dan showed Mike a pair of ladies underwear he found on the bus. Then they went to Applebee's and Dan told Mike that they have a dessert called "Buttery Quim" and tricked Mike into telling the waitress that he'd like to try some. Then they ran away before the check came laughing and rode their bikes over to Dan's house where Dan said "Hey lets play Pockets" and Mike said "I don't wanna play Pockets you always win when we play" and Dan said "C'mon it'll be fun." The rules of Pockets are easy. Two guys play it, and each guy gives the other guy whatever is in his pockets, a straight trade. Keepsies. When the game was over Dan had won again. He had Mike Browns car keys, wallet, cell phone, a roll of Certs, a pair of 20-sided dice, a picture of Drew Gooden's wife, a Levert cassingle and some loose unmarked pills. All Mike got from Dan's pockets was a mushy, warm, travel-sized block of Philadelphia brand cream cheese. "That's not fair!," said Mike. "It is so fair." said Dan. "It's not my fault you are a retardo who plays Pockets with me when you know I got the shallow pockets. Shallow pockets is how I got to where I am today. Shallow pockets is why you are Mike Brown and I'm the guy who is driving home in Mike Brown's car."
WEAKNESSES: LeBron James. Only a few months removed from the NBA Finals and The Queen wants even more power. Now he's making demands of ownership and arranging the marriage of Ira Newble to a well placed Austrian Royal.
PROJECTED RECORD: 44-38
5. TORONTO RAPTORS
With a roster that includes Jorge, Carlos, Jose, and Andrea, Juan Dixon is actually one of the Raptors' oldest players. And their cleanest!
PRINTEZIS, GIORGOS: Is a dish of cold octupus, sea salt and lemon parsley. Delicious!
OFFENSIVE KEYS: The starting backcourt of TJ Ford and Anthony Parker like to push the ball up the court. They also like to bounce the ball on the ground, and throw the ball at the basket and touch peepees in the team huddle.
WEAKNESS: The team name. What were they thinking when they named this franchise? It seemed trendy at the time, but now it's just dated and obscure. I mean really, who has heard of 'Toronto' these days??! The Brand is everything. Like we say, if Hermes made bacon, even the Olsen twins be weighing 300lbs!
PROJECTED RECORD: 44-38
4. BOSTON CELTICS
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen: some people call em the "PGA Tour", some people call em the "GAP Band", we call em "PG KRAP"!!! Basketball is all about chemistry and everyone knows chemists work best in pairs: Watson & Crick, Curie & Becquerel, Honeydew & Beeker.
Still, basketball fans around the country are excited to see what will happen when The Truth, The Big Ticket and Ray Ray get on the court together. And then what will happen when those guys leave the court and "Superbug", "Scabbers", and Gabe "Aint Nothin' To It But To" Pruitt come on the court. This team is as lopsided as Charles Barkley and Amy Winehouse on that episode of "MTV Seessaws"!!!!
PROJECTED RECORD: 45-37
3. DETROIT PISONS
Detroit is a magic city where former Bullets and Wizards have gone for years to find new life, reinvent themselves, and discover special skills they never knew they had. Richard Hamilton, Chris Webber, Rasheed Wallace, Darvin Ham, and now Jarvis Hayes. Neighbors have complained of Llorenzo Williams sleeping on Joe Dumars' front lawn, crying out "Heal Me Joe! Heal me! Touch these knees of Satan!"
MEDICAL CURIOSITY MOST LIKELY TO REPLACE RASHEED WALLACE'S BALD PATCH IN THE HEARTS OF FANS: Cheikh Samb's tail.
PROJECTED RECORD: 50-32
2. CHICAGO BULLS
Trade rumors flying around, contract extenions in hot negotiation, non-stop press scrutiny... Chuck Klosterman can assemble a mixtape with less anixiety!!!
A certain type of older white American male loves to cheer for teams like the Bulls. They say it's because the Bulls play "team basketball" but really it's because when they see Scott Skiles screaming abuse at young black men, they confuse his bitterness with character, and feel a coarse, emotionally-estranged nostalgia for the cold superintendents of their childhood, disciplinarians who found unfulfilled glory a better-fitting suit than glory itself, who froze these men in their youth and offered them the sober comfort of an easily navigated future of authorities and ranks and respect and time served and an escape from the confusing and inconvenient urges of freedom and self-determined abandon. (We aren't that type though. We are the type that sees Scott Skiles as a stout bitch.)
PLAYER MOST RESEMBLING A PLAYMOBIL TOY: Kirk Heinrich.
PROJECTED RECORD: 53-29
1. WASHINGTON WIZARDS
TO WATCH FOR:
Nick Young suspended for 3 games after he is caught smuggling plates of turkey out of the Wizard's annual charity thanksgiving for his friend Jamar.
Antawn Jamison's deepening mid-life crisis. Ernie Grunfeld expresses concern with the amount of time Jamison spends rollerblading with Jazzy B from Soul 2 Soul.
Oleksiy 'Big Oily' Pecherov, tries to get into the silly spirit of the lockerroom, brings powdered donuts to practice, and then laughs as he tells all the guys how he replaced the powdered coating with Polonium!
DeShawn Stevenson unveils new tattoo. DeShawn's tattoos are always the subject of much talk. They are something of a barometer of black urban authenticity. If you were to chart the trickle down flow of black slang, from OG to Opie, from its blackest conception until it reaches the very last white person on earth, it would travel something like this:
Fig. 1 THE FLOW OF BLACK CULTURE
Phrase first uttered by someone's cousin in the Marcy Houses projects
Has a street drug in Philadelphia named after it
Mentioned in a HOT 97 shout-out
Becomes the nickname of a local player on the Lenox Ave. courts
Is tattooed on DeShawn Stevenson's back
Is spoken by an actor called 'Peebles' in a John Singleton film
Is used in a Sportscenter catchphrase by Linda Cohn
Is explained to Charlie Rose during an interview with Savion Glover
Becomes the title of a new Will Smith album
Is used in a Sportscenter catchphrase by Stuart Scott
Is quoted in front of the office snack machine by a co-worker recounting last nights epsiode of Home Improvement
Gilbert Arenas winning 5 Emmys for 'Gazo the Pranksta'. In an effort to steal some of the limelight, David Schwimmer shows Billy Bush his "pouch".
During a halftime ceremony of the March 11 game vs Milwuakee, the Wizards officially retire Michael Ruffin's shorts.
PROJECTED RECORD: 82-0 81-1
--------------- --------------- SPECIAL BONUS INCITES!!!
Intern Lamont Trellington's "NBA PINK BITS":
Storyline of the Year: New England area fans are aroused by their new lineup, and could be poised to continue shattering all records for most annoying and homoerotic region of sports fans. But remember this, all of you chowder-swilling, same-sex-marrying yuppies: you can't spell "Paul Pearce" without "Antawn Walker!"!!
Player to Watch: Hiram Fuller has been optioned from the Charleston Lowgators to the Florida Flame. He should be considered a deep sleeper for your NB "keep it on the" DL fantasy leagues!
Rookie to Watch: Greg Odan. Wilbon's top pick from day one , this guy has all the tools and has looked incredible in the preseasons!
Coach on the Hot Seat: Jim Lynam. He is on his last legs with the 76ers since coming back as an assistant coach in 2006. Rumor has it that Jimmy the Rat has been mailing it in with regards to mediating a locker room blood truce between Calvin Booth and Shavlik Randolph. He also has been assigned to train one-on-one with Kevin Ollie on off-days, but everyone knows that Kevin Ollie has been dead for 10 years!!! It is like a bad sequel to Weekend at Bickerstaff's!!
Citizenship Award: Agent Zero. Steve Buckhands' excitement is palpable, as the Connecticut Schools of Broadcasting won a spot in Agent Zero's "Scores for Schools" campaign.
Most Cakeworthy: Caron Butler never got an all-star cake last year, although he rightfully earned one. Look for Abe Pollin to be hitting the kitchen for Caron in February.
Stadium Jam of the Year: "Bolaz Out / Bye Bye Bye (Mace Webb remix)" - this dynamic mash up of T-Nez and Justin Timberland's hit club tracks is destined to be rocking MCI centers new speakers while the lovely G-Wiz gyrates all over the new city-financed LED screens
Happy Trails: Donell Taylor, we never got a chance to say goodbye. Now you are off to star in series of Olsen twin-inspired detective musicals with brother Ronell, "The Adventures of Big Money & Small Change".