An NBA Preview For the Masses

Football is great and all, but nothing gets us as hyped as basketball season. There are games every day of the week, star power galore, and tickets aren’t crazy expensive (excluding those at Madison Square Garden). We all rep different squads here — Knicks, Bulls, Lakers, Magic, Nets — but recognize that not everyone is so well-versed in NBA-speak. That’s why we’re breaking this upcoming season down by comparing every team to a rapper and a ’90s movie. Some things are universal. They’re not perfect, just our interpretation of the situation.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics
Coming into the season…They traded away the heart of their team, declaring the Big 3 era over. Shortly after, Doc Rivers leapt out of a moving car and hitchhiked his way to the Clippers. This is a roster that consists of Avery Bradley, Jeff Green and the shattered knee of Rajon Rondo. They signed Brad Stevens as coach, who looks like he recently hit puberty. This team is going nowhere.

Alike rapper: Ludacris – The glory days are gone. It’s time to find a new approach.

’90s movie: “The Sixth Sense” – You think Rondo’s seeing dead bodies walking around the TD Garden?

X-factor: Rajon Rondo’s middle fingers – how little fucks will Rondo give this season? We heard he was taking night classes at the Vince Carter School of Mailing It In.

Predicted record: 20 – 62

Brooklyn Nets
Coming into the season… Deron Williams looks like a frog human with a horrible hairline. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are definite members of the illuminati. Their fans are bandwagon hipsters or smelly Jersey folk. But this might be the deepest squad in the league with five bench players who most likely could start for a lot of teams in the league. Unification of Andrei Kirilenko with owner Mikhail Prokhorov is the basketball equivalent of the Soviet Union reforming. This team has heavy expectations but will most likely succeed based on sheer talent and veteran leadership.

Alike rapper: Big Sean – Playing with the big boys now, but dropping a dud would be a huge step backwards.

’90s movie: “Billy Madison” – Rich boy needs to turn wealth into something of substance

X-factor: Brook Lopez – How in the world is he going to exist on a team with Reggie Evans, KG and Andray Blatche? Without Kris Humphries around to deflect some of the attention away from Lopez and his absurdly terrible rebounding numbers, how will Lopez react? Picture the ferocity in KG’s eyes before a game. Now imagine it’s B-Lo he’s death staring.

Predicted record: 54 – 28

Philadelphia 76ers
Coming into the season… They legit are trying to suck. The next NBA draft is loaded, which is why they moved Jrue Holiday, their best player, for a future pick and Michael Carter-Williams. They also drafted Nerlens Noel, who will sit out the entire year. The only hope for this team is that they do badly enough to pick up Andrew Wiggins or one of the other studs in the next draft class.

Alike rapper: Lil B – What first seems horrid is actually genius

’90s movie: “Saving Private Ryan” – Sixers straight tankin’ on the low.

X-factor: Evan Turner – The Sixers are going to need to see some improvement from the former number two pick if they are going to have any hope in the future. He has a unique skill set, a two guard who can pass and handle the ball like a PG in the open court. The team itself is going nowhere, but this season will be important for Turner as a professional in terms of growth.

Predicted record: 16 – 66

New York Knicks
Coming into the season… They’re good, but not Miami Heat good. This is a roster that features the corpse of Amare Stoudemire, resident fan beater Metta World Amnesty (shout out to Bill and Jalen), an Argentinian Quagmire look-a-like in Pablo Prigioni and the loosest of cannons — JR Smith. This team has tons of question marks as they start the season. How will the talent mesh together? Will JR or Iman Shumpert start?  What will their defense look like? Will Carmelo re-sign with the team? In a tougher Eastern Conference, they could fall apart.

Alike rapper: J. Cole – you got a good buzz but you’re not in that top spot yet. The Knicks have to get over the proverbial hump known as the Bulls and Heat.

’90s movie: “Se7en” – Very real possibility this season ends with someone’s head in a box.

X-factor: Andrea Barganani – It’s always a concern when your X-factor has a female name. But really if this Italian dude can come in and score, the Knicks will be hard to defend. On the other side of the ball, playing him and Melo will be a nightmare defensively.

Predicted record: 45-37

Toronto Raptors
Coming into the season… This is a team that suffers from not having any real stars. They have Rudy Gay and Demar DeRozan but neither one of those guys can hit a jump shot. Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas haven’t proven themselves yet. They did grab one of the finest GMs in the league in Masai Uriji, who masterfully rebuilt the Denver Nuggets during his time there. Perhaps he can do the same for the Raptors? Watch out for trade rumor galore out of Canada this season.

Alike rapper: Tyga – They’ve got one player (read: track) to stand on. and that’

’90s movie: “Home Alone” – How Rudy Gay will likely feel while putting up 30 points in consecutive losing efforts.

X-factor: Drake – New team and city ambassador. The Raptors might not be a playoff team, but can Drake drum up some buzz otherwise?  Drizzy is a lot like the Raps best player ever, Vince Carter.  Occasionally he brings out the heat, but mostly he’s just wincing in pain over some fake injury. Taking a page out of Brooklyn, maybe Drizzy can bring some hometown mojo to the long suffering fans.

Predicted record: 36-46

Central Division

Chicago Bulls
Coming into the season… Expectations and pressure could not possibly be higher. The Bulls will be one of the most captivating teams this season. They also play with so much more intensity than every other team in the league. Half their team was injured last year in the playoffs and they still beat the Nets because they just played harder. Joakim Noah is the NBA’s Bob Marley. Thibodeau gets about two hours of sleep each night and sounds like he smokes at least three packs of Newports a day. And they have the best Alaskan baller ever in Carlos Boozer (apologies to Mario Chalmers). What’s not to like about this team?

Alike rapper: Eminem – Once the greatest, Em hopes to recapture the magic with his upcoming Marshall Mathers LP 2, similar to the Bulls, who are banking on Derrick Rose’s health to bring them back to supremacy.

’90s movie: “Goodfellas” – Might take you out if you start actin’ silly.

X-factor: Rose – Really this team will go as far as Rose will take them. They are only a championship level team with him playing at his highest. We bet that he comes back with less explosiveness but smarter playmaking skill. If he loses like 10 percent of his quickness, he’s still crazy quick. He’s D-MOTHERFUCKIN-Rose, so we won’t be surprised at all if he’s still a beast.

Predicted record: 50-32.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Coming into the season… The Cavs added Andrew Bynum and took Anthony Bennet number 1 overall in this years draft. The pick was unexpected, but Bennet will add to the young core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and Tristan Thompson. It’s an intriguring team, but dependent on both Bynum and Bennett being contributors and not liabilities.

Alike rapper: Earl Sweatshirt – They suffered a set back a few years ago, but have a chance to be formidible if all the pieces come together

’90s movie: “Pulp Fiction” – Can Bynum come back like Travolta did here, and kill it along side Kyrie’s Samuel L.?

X-factor: Bynum – Dude has the potential to shed the joke status he acquired last year and actually return to form. If he’s on point in the paint, he and Kyrie could have that alley-oop jawn on lock. If not, well there’s always the chance that LeBron comes back to Cleveland…
Predicted record: 34-48 

Detroit Pistons
Coming into the season… Picked up Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith to go with a somewhat tenacious front court. Drummond and Monroe are quietly two of the best young big men in the game. This team isn’t going to place much higher than a 6 or 7 spot season, but that’s an improvement at least from constant mediocrity. Also this team might take the award for craziest first name trifecta in the league: there’s a Jonas, a Kentavious and a Luigi all on the same roster.

Alike rapper: Ab-Soul – they’ve improved a good deal but have they cracked anyone’s top ten yet?

’90s movie: “Reservoir Dogs” – How will this team work? A lot of big names and potential, but potentially volatile.

X-factor: Andre Drummond – Could easily be either of their two big free agent signings, but J-Smooth and Brandon Jennings are likely going to hold it down regardless. How they gel with the young big man though is the greater unknown. Will Andre the Giant come with an improved game? Or was he distracted by a summer with his Nickelodeon girlfriend?

Predicted record: 43-39

Milwaukee Bucks
Coming into the season… Lost Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis and added OJ Mayo and Brandon Knight, whose biggest play last year was being swallowed whole by DeAndre Jordan. Ersan Ilyasova is like James Franco minus the weed and giggles and plus Eastern European goofiness and bricked three pointers. Without a legitimate star, will this team be able to succeed?

Alike rapper: Action Bronson – If only because he physically resembles most of the Wisconsin fan base.

’90s movie: “Fargo” – It’s very cold in Milwaukee and also Larry Sanders might kill a guy

X-factor: LARRY SANDERS! (S/O to Garry Shandling) – He’s their best player but he’s also one of the most emotional dudes in the league. His sarcastic thumbs up and subsequent ejection was one of the best moments last year. Thank you Larry Sanders for picking up where Rasheed Wallace left off. The NBA is better with players like you around.

Predicted record: 34-48

Indiana Pacers
Coming into the season… They didn’t lose anyone, were one monster LeBron game from going to the championship, and added CJ Watson, Luis Scola and Britney Griner-lookalike Chris Copeland to sure up their bench. Plus Danny Granger is coming back from injury. If Roy Hibbert and Paul George can continue playing the way they did last season, there’s no reason to believe this team won’t have a chance at contending this season.

Alike rapper: Rick Ross – Dominating frontline and widely successful. But you know what you’re getting.

’90s movie: “The Big Lebowski” – Them some big bowling ball slangin’ boys in Indy.

X-factor: Danny Granger – Remember how in the third season of “Boardwalk Empire,” Eli Thompson comes back from prison, expecting his position to be the same but soon realizes that Nucky’s enterprise has changed dramatically in the year he’s been gone? Granger is going to go through the same thing – he was the team’s sole All-Star only a year ago and now he comes back to a team with two All-Stars and a new starting SG. Who’s to say he’s going to fit in right away? Should be interesting to see if he stays for the long run or not. We see three possible scenarios: the Pacers trade him for lesser value, he comes off the bench and thrives as a scoring six man, or he regresses and slumps on the bench.

Predicted record: 54-28

Southeast Division

Miami Heat
Coming into the season… Everyone in the East got better and their main acquisitions were Greg Oden and Michael Beasley, two of the biggest busts in recent draft history. It’s an unknown what Oden is going to bring to the team. At least, they know that Beasley will be able to roll Chris Bosh’s dutches to calm his nerves before the game. Even so, this team still has three of the best players in the league, including LeBron James. The big question heading into the season is whether or not LeBron is going to embrace his baldness. He rocks about a pound of cotton on his head for that headband to look “normal.” We at Mass Appeal would love to see LeBron lose the headband and solidify his spot amongst bald Mount Rushmore, next to MJ, Larry David and Heisenberg.

Alike rapper: Jay Z – love him, hate him, he’s still on top.

’90s movie: “Jurassic Park” – They got some dinos over there that could squash a team like a bug. And also Chris Bosh.

X-factor: Dwyane Wade – He’s really the key to this team. We all know LeBron is the best player, but without D Wade doing D Wade things on the block there’s no way the Heat can be as successful as they can be.

Predicted record: 59-23

Atlanta Hawks
Coming into the season… Honestly, can anyone name their players? Give us a second… Ok, Al Horford, he’s good. Paul Millsap, he’s alright. Kyle Korver is the NBA Ashton Kutcher. Apparently they got rid of Ivan Johnson… Huge mistake to separate him from his identical twin Deshawn Stevenson. This team seems destined to mediocrity. Not that anyone in Atlanta cares.

Alike rapper: Fabolous – Because at this point who’s really paying any attention?

’90s movie: “Scream” – Lost Joe Johnson and Josh Smith in cossecutive offseason. Could get ugly if heads keep dropping.

X-factor: Paul Millsap – This team is heading nowhere but stealing Millsap was a coup. Maybe he and Horford pair up to make a formidable two-some. The Hawks building on the Pacers model.

Predicted record: 38-44

Orlando Magic
Coming into the season… Still reeling from the Dwight Howard trade. How is it possible that Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson are still playing in the league? Can someone explain this? Aren’t those guys like a combined 152 years old? Anyway, they picked up Victor Oladipo, who is going to be a beast in this league in two years. But for now, this team is relegated to lottery status.

Alike rapper: Nelly – They’ve killed it in the past, but is a comeback really in the cards?

’90s movie: “Blair Witch Project” – Not really a lot of big pieces to work with, but could make some noise if they hit the right note.

X-factor: Oladipo – We thought he was the best player in the draft, just by sheer ability alone. He just looked better than everyone else in college last year. Should be interesting with the Magic playing him at PG to see what he does.

Predicted record: 22-60

Washington Wizards
Coming into the season… They are the Wizards, so expecting anything above .500 is hard to imagine. Jan Vesely hasn’t shown he can dribble a basketball and he damn sure can’t make a free throw to save his life. They do have John Wall, who absolutely tore up the league after coming back from injury last season. Bradley Beal could make a jump to a higher level. If those two can perform at an All Star level, the Wiz may have a shot at making the playoffs.

Alike rapper: Wale – He’s from D.C., they’re from D.C. He’s convinced he’s ready to hang with the big boys, the Wiz are, too.

’90s movie: “Edward Scisorhands” – John Wall could cut the league up. Orrrr turn this season into a frightening melodrama.

X-factor: John Wall – It’s a point guards league, and as the number 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Wall needs to be the one that takes the Wiz further. They’ve built a pretty solid supporting squad around him with Brandon Beal, Nene, Gortat and now Otto Porter Jr. If the Wiz are a whip, John Wall is the tires. If one of them pops your skrrrrting off the highway.

Predicted record: 42-40

Charlotte Bobcats
Coming into the season… They picked up resident black hole and Geico cavemen Al Jefferson. Probably not making them any better than they were last year. Kemba Walker is the truth, though.

Alike rapper: T.I. – One of the most successful rappers ever but also one of the worst rapper executives ever. Sorta like MJ in that respect.

’90s movie: “Boogie Nights” – The role for Mark Wahlberg was his first big turn in acting, something MJ and the Bobcats hope comes this season with the additions of Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller.

X-factor: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – He might have made 25 outside shots in 82 games last year. And that’s on the high side. But he’s a beast athletically. Did you see what he did to Greg Monroe? Good lord that boy can jump! He probably won’t do much to bring this squad out of lottery status though.

Predicted record: 28-54

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