Ian and Tony Take on the NBA, Part 2

Ian—Can I call you “Coach”? No? Well, I’m the editor, so you don’t really have a choice.—Coach, first call me “Tony.” You’ll remember my alter-ego from our basketball days: Anthony by day, Tony by night. That’s right, if you’re going to use your retirement to tell our audience about the NBA, then I’ll just have to sit them on my knee and tell them a few war stories of my own.

Second, I should apologize for how the text formatting got screwed up in your post. It turns out I’m not a very good editor. So I should apologize. But I won’t. Like I said, you don’t really have a choice in these matters.

Frankly, Coach, I’m not happy. Really, I’m angry at myself. You see, I could have picked some windbag sitting at a bar to write the sports posts on this blog, but instead I picked you, the one person who knows so much about the NBA that I’m afraid to disagree. See what I mean? Not a very good editor.

But rumor has it that once in awhile women come across this site, so I’ve got a reputation to uphold. What do men play sports for, if not to impress women? Heck, can you think of any other reason why men do anything we do? I can’t back down and admit that your predictions are the definitive take on the sport I used to play. So, Coach, consider this a challenge. I have come to reclaim my manhood. Let’s start with your predictions for the bottom of the Eastern Conference.  

It’s hard to argue with the Nets at the bottom, but I think the Knicks will give them a fight for last place. Either way, it’s pretty clear that I’m not going to Madison Square Garden this season unless it’s for a Barry Manilow concert. Did I say that out loud? I meant Neil Diamond…er, Elton John…no, Michael Buble? Oh who am I kidding. If the Knicks traded any of their players for Barry Manilow, they’d double their revenues overnight. Hey, at least he has marketable skills.

Okay, that was a low blow. I like the Knicks. I really do. I want them to get better. I’m just saying, when I go to the Carnegie Deli in December, I fully expect the waiter to break down crying if I mention Mike D’Antoni. So I’ll drop the Knicks down to 14 and leave the Nets at 15.

Now we’re about to have an abrupt confrontation. This is one of those times when I remind you about the way things were “back in the day.” You and me, we’re Old School. We know that defense wins championships, and great coaches are worth their weight in sweaty towels. So why are you shoving poor Larry Brown to the bottom of the barrel?

Listen, I know you and Lar-Bro still don’t get along since he had all those fights with AI and they eventually separated. Breakups are hard. I get it. But don’t you remember what LB and AI told you, that sometimes mommies and daddies fall out of love? It’s not your fault, and it’s time to let the Hall of Famer take the Bobcats to Browntown, where the scores are single digits and the players feel like scolded teenagers.

If you don’t believe me, trust the numbers. A good sports analyst can always come up with a never-before-seen-because-who-would-have-possibly-thought-to-measure-that-meaningless-trend statistic to support his argument. And here it is: Larry Brown has never had a losing second season at an NBA team. And ole Brownie’s had 7 second seasons before this year.

In fact, I’m going to make the Bobcats my Eastern Conference surprise pick. They’re going to the playoffs. Forget the Bucks and the Pacers. Stick ’em at 13 and 12, respectively. But my Bobcats are going even higher. How high? You’ll have to wait until my next post to find out.