Warriors season preview

Basketball is BACK, son. We dropped our predictions for the entire NBA on Tuesday. You can check those out here. Now, this is our preview for your beloved Warriors

Well, this is weird. Here we are at the start of another NBA season, and, for once, the Warriors have high expectations surrounding them this year.

I know, its still so very surreal for me, too. After all the years of losing and Garry St. Jean and Chri$ Cohan and all the Erick Dampiers, the Mike Dunleavys, the Corey Maggettes along the way and just the general basketball cesspool that most of the last 15 years or so were, Warriors fans are excited about their team. Like, mega-excited. Like, if-this-team-finishes-below-fifth-people-will-be-bummed-out excited. Warriors fans have been excited about teams in the past, but thats thanks in no small measure to the juggernaut that is the Warriors PR hype machine. Come see Vonteego Cummings, Chris Mills, and Jason Caffey get run up and down the court by Allen Iverson. By himself. With his arms tied behind his back. Warriors basketball: Its a great time out!!! AND WE STILL WENT TO THE GAME. Nobody to blame but ourselves there.

This year the Pacific Division is shaping up to be like something out of a mid-2000s Bizarro Land, with the Clippers and Warriors projected to finish one-two and the Suns and Lakers probably finishing at or near the bottom. In my predictions for the NBA at large, I had the Clippers in the Finals, which I feel is creating a rift somewhere in the universe right now. It just feels so weird and awkward to have the Clippers and the NBA Finals used in such conjunction. Its the Clippers! And theyre owned by Donald Sterling, who is probably closer to the bottom than he is to the top of a list of people in the NBA who deserve a title. Donald Sterling is like the real-life caricature of a wealthy, egotistical, evil businessman-type youd find on in the movies or on TV. Rich assholes who know theyre rich assholes even hate being lumped in the same stereotype with Donald Sterling. So, I feel like the basketball gods would much rather reward Mr. Not One Not Two Not Three than they would real-life Mr. Burns. There are, of course, more practical reasons why the Clippers are probably ill-suited for a title, like if Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan fail to develop into more multi-dimensional players or if Jamal Crawford in the playoffs plays like he thinks hes Michael Jordan.

Tuesday night was supposed to be the debut of this vaunted Clippers squad, in a nationally televised game that was for some reason against the Lakers. It was supposed to be the first episode of the Lakers Comedy Hour, but that was preempted by the Clippers Comedy Hour. The Clippers on paper are deep, athletic, have one of the best coaches in the league and, most important of all, have Chris Paul as the floor general. Theyll be the Warriors toughest adversaries as they fight for position atop the division. But was their season debut bed-pooping Tuesday a bad omen whats to come this season, or was it just an instance of getting caught off guard by a Lakers team who might need to be under serious Dwight Howard/Ewing Theory watch? Im leaning towards the latter. A good measuring stick comes Tuesday when the Clippers will host the Warriors. So theres something to look forward to after you throw a temper tantrum over how many houses gave you Almond Joy rather than good candy.

As for the Warriors, I honestly have no clue what to expect from Team GSW this season. Playoffs, yeah. But where in the playoffs? The West is SO deep. AGAIN. I can see the Warriors finishing anywhere between first and sixth. But that depends on so many factors. What if Stephen Currys ankle becomes self-aware and starts attacking the rest of his body? Or what if Boguts femur shatters into a million bits when he steps off the team bus one game? What if these bench woes that have become evident in the last couple of preseason games actually becomes a thing? WHAT IF BRIAN SCALABRINE ISNT THE G.O.A.T. OF ASSISTANT COACHES?

This team should be one of the top teams in the West. Should! But I feel like the Warriors are one giant house of cards, and if one thing goes even slightly awry, then the whole thing is going to go to shit.

Theres also this kinda-huge-but-maybe-not-really issue of Mark Jackson no longer having Mike Malone on his coaching staff. Malone was brought on shortly after Jackson was hired and was something of a chief of staff to Jackson, who had as much coaching experience on any level as any of the hot dog vendors at Oracle. Over the last couple seasons, Jackson gained a reputation of being a brilliant motivator, while Malone was probably in control of most of the Xs and Os. The training wheels are off with Malone now assuming head coaching and DeMarcus Cousins babysitting duties in Sacramento. How Jackson handles coaching this team without his two-year chief adviser by his side will be something to watch. (For those wondering, Pete Myers takes over the primary assistant under Jackson.)

Already, Jacksons first major decision of the year is a bit of a SMH-er: starting Klay Thompson over Harrison Barnes. One of the top storylines this Warriors preseason was the one surrounding who between Thompson and Barnes would start. Thompson was going to begin the season as the starter regardless with Barnes still dealing from that mysterious inflamed foot (just a hunch, but maybe the players could start wearing sandals in the showers—oh, and also maybe stop peeing in the showers, too. Yeah, definitely stop peeing in the showers). But Jackson announced Tuesday KT will remain in that position and Barnes will come off the bench as the sixth man when he returns to the lineup. Thompson was his usual scoring-in-bunches self this preseason, while Barnes, in his limited action before being sidelined, left a lot to be desired returning to the court after his breakout showing in the playoffs last season.

Its important to highlight that the Warriors bench at times has also struggled to produce offensively at times this postseason. So wouldnt it make sense to put a guy capable of packing a big offensive punch in the position of leading a sagging second unit so that the production drop after the starters exit isnt so wide? I mean, Stephen Currys still out there playing like the hes on NBA2k14 rookie mode. David Lee is gonna get his. Iguodala will facilitate his teammates. You can afford to have a slumping guy out there with those players. I feel like putting Klay in the starting lineup is like firing all your bullets in the first 10-to-12 minutes.

I could be wrong. Barnes could return back to health and pick up right where he left off in the postseason, continuing to elevate his game, and thrive in his new role. Jackson could also find a rotation that provides the optimal balance of production and rest for the starting five. Who knows, maybe Curry, Thompson and Lee will just score enough points at the start of the game where the reserves can just go out and get coffee while the starters catch their breath.

Record prediction:
52-30

Anyway, thats enough from me. I leave you now with some sage advice from this weeks Sports Illustrated cover story on Curry and Thompson. It comes courtesy of Klays dad Mychal, who, in addition to that tremendous allowance story about his son earlier this year, seems like hes the greatest:

Mychal, who became a radio broadcaster with the Lakers, preferred to focus on life lessons: Always show up early, cherish each opportunity, and never meet your girlfriend in a nightclub.

Enjoy the season, kiddos.

Colin Kaepernick begins offseason by getting new chest tattoo (Photos)

Colin Kaepernicks tattoos have previously been the source of controversy from some crotchety old folks in the media. Thats a well-publicized fact. But dont think because of that Kaepernick is going to quell his enthusiasm for body art.

Kap, possibly to cheer himself up after losing the Super Bowl and becoming the first 49ers quarterback ever to throw an interception in the big game, started the offseason by getting some fresh ink—a tribal design to cover his entire chest.

Heres the work in progress:

And heres the finished product. Kaps face looks as if he either is in a lot of pain, is really tired from the whole process or realizes he just made a huge mistake.

At this rate, Kaepernick might become the first NFL quarterback with full tattoo sleeves on both arms. And I cant wait to watch all the uptight old farts with microphones and keyboards squirm.

Raiders WR Jacoby Ford avoids DUI charge

The Raiders probably thought they got finally rid of the knucklehead factor when they said adios to Rolando McClain. Then Jacoby Ford had to go ahead and prove them wrong.

According to a report by the Tribune on Friday, the Raiders wide receiver was popped for DUI on March 14 after being pulled over in Oakland for having tinted windows and driving 75 in a 55 mph zone. After he rolled down his window, cops got a whiff of the alcohol scent spewing from inside. He went on to fail a series of field sobriety tests and ended his night in North County Jail, where he was released a few hours later.

Luckily for Ford, though, the county DA decided this week not to pursue charges against him:

The District Attorneys office has declined to file charges against Jacoby Ford, said Teresa Drenick, Alameda County District Attorney spokeswoman.

A spokesman for the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night said little about the arrest and dismissal of charges.

The Raiders organization is aware of the situation involving Jacoby Ford and takes matters such as this very seriously, he stated.

Warriors trade for Jordan Crawford, but was it the right move?

It goes without saying the Warriors bench has needed an offensive facelift this season. Like, desperately. You can only see so much of Marreese Speights chucking up 20-footers or Kent Bazemore attempting to resemble a person who has played point guard before or the bench unit allowing another double digit lead to evaporate before you want to just emotionally stuff your face in a vat of cookie dough and never watch basketball again.

Somehow, even with an offensively deficient bench the Warriors have still managed a 25-14 record. The Warriors are contenders! And contenders cant expect to make shit happen if they’re content with letting their bench players play with tiddly winks out on the court. Something needed to be done, and something was done.

The Warriors acquired Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks from the Celtics in a three-team trade today. Crawford, a combo guard, is clearly the key piece in return for the Warriors, who havent had much luck with guys not named Stephen Curry playing point guard this year. Brooks, a once-promising player with the Nets, meanwhile, should become good friends with Nedovic and Kuzmic at the end of the bench.

Sorry, Toney Douglas, you and your gratuitous E are out of here. Youre on your way to play with LeBron James, so cry us a river.

Adrian Wojnarowski (who else?) broke the story. Miami is sending a future first-rounder to the Boston Wigginses.

This is precisely the move the Warriors have been expected to make for a few weeks now. Ever since Jarrett Jack left in free agency, the Warriors bench has been sorely under-productive (which is also in part due to Harrison Barnes inability to take over the sixth man role gracefully). Andre Iguodala, in assuming that secondary ballhandler role with the reserves, was expected to create scoring opportunities for teammates, but that experiment has largely been a bust, as the Warriors have the worst scoring bench in the entire league.

Names like Kyle Lowry, Andre Miller and Kirk Hinrich have been attached to the Warriors in various rumors floating out on the interwebs, so its easy to get disheartened when hearing the Warriors settled on a guy whos on his third team in two years. Two things in response to that:

1. You never know what the asking price for said guys was. In fact Lowry has reportedly come off the trading block in recent weeks because the Atlantic Division is such a dumpster fire and the Raptors want to make a push at getting home court in the playoffs, to which the Pacers and Heat respond, thats cute. The fact that the Warriors are only giving up Toney with an E for the more offensively inclined player they were looking for is sort of a bargain.

2. Crawford is having statistically the best year of his career—13.7 points, 5.7 assists, 41.4 percent shooting. Granted, its been in the starting lineup while Rajon Rondo has been on the sidelines playing Connect Four, but still, hes used that time to morph out of the shoot-first player hes been for his career into more of a playmaker.

Were not ready to declare this trade a slam dunk for the Warriors. We already did that with some of the bench signings this offseason, and look how that turned out. Looking to not make that mistake again, well wait to see how Crawford first responds to a more limited role and whether he can be the Curry surrogate floor general-type of the reserve unit. On paper, though, the Warriors are on the come up after this deal.

But we will leave you with something that should put a smile on your face. You may remember Crawford as the college player a few years back who Mozgoved LeBron James in a tape that Nike or LeBron or both allegedly wanted destroyed.

Super Bowl XLVIII prediction

Honestly, I could go either way with this game. Ive admired both teams all season long. They’re both deserving of the chance to play in this game. Ive enjoyed watching the historic season Peyton Manning has put together (mostly because I had him in fantasy), and Ive SURE AS HELL enjoyed watching Richard Sherman these last few weeks (mostly because he makes a lot of people I find annoying squirm). Whichever team wins, Im cool with it.

But for the purpose of #HotSportsTakes, and because Im trying to find excuses to put off making my guacamole for the game (cutting onions is literally THE WORST), Ill throw a prediction out there.

The best offense vs. best defense matchup is one that intrigues me. I do think both units will have their moments in the game. I wouldnt be surprised if the Seahawks punch the Broncos in the mouth a few times, and Brandon Mebane horrifies millions with another one of these. And I wouldnt be surprised if Manning had a few of his usual unconscious drives in which surgically marches the Broncos down the field like the other team is the Raiders. These teams are pretty even, and I believe the score will reflect that.

But as much as Im pro-Beast Mode, Im going to give the edge to the Broncos. I took a huge leap of faith taking Peyton Manning second overall in my fantasy draft. I received a lot of shit from everybody in my league. Reach! and Sawleys choking already!? were some of the things said. And what happened? The Fightin Filipinos lost just twice in the regular season, finishing with the best record and the most points, largely because of Mannings monster year. I dont want to call it a season of destiny for Manning, but I would feel bad for turning my back on him now when Ive invested so much faith him all season long. Im expecting at least 250 yards passing and three touchdowns from him. Yes, even against the Legion of Boom. Faith, yo. Faith.

Also, you can throw that Peyton plays like ass in cold weather narrative out the window because that apocalyptic snowstorm we all expected is nowhere to be found. (Mother Nature is really sandbagging it on Super Bowl Sunday, and who can blame her? Work during the Super Bowl? Fuck that noise.)