by Lang Whitaker

OK, lots to get to today and not a lot of time. I’ve got to finish writing the SLAM NBA Preview for our upcoming issue, wherein I will once again correctly predict this season’s NBA Champion. I know who I’m rolling with, so that part’s not so difficult. The harder part is ranking everyone else, and trying to divine which teams are going to experience a let-down this season. Right now, before training camps open and the games actually begin, we all think our teams are going to be improved this season. Every team’s made moves, every team has added a player or two. Hope springs eternal right now. (Well, except for Timberwolves fans.) But the reality is not every team is going to be better.

So who is going to slip? Which team will let down their friends and families?

I have a few ideas. Some of you will be rather disappointed. But you’ll have to wait until SLAM 133 — which, incidentally, will be SLAM’s 15th anniversary issue(!) — drops in a few weeks. (Also, I have to write the preview first.)

Got a few things to run through:

• It was announced yesterday that I will be moderating a panel at the sports blog world’s biggest event of the year, Blogs With Balls 2.0. It’s going down in Vegas, October 15-16. I don’t know the exact time/date yet, but I’ll drop it here or on Twitter (or both) as soon as I find out.

The panel I’m moderating will feature ESPN NBA analyst Jalen Rose, as well as ESPN.com editor-in-chief Rob King. Someone asked me last night if there will be SLAM/ESPN beef, and the answer is no, there will not. Although I will probably be challenging Jalen and Rob to a freestyle battle at the end of our panel.

More details to come, but if you’re going to be in Vegas and you’re interested in sports and media, there are going to be a ton of really interesting events at BWB 2.0. I’m actually looking forward to catching several of the other panels. Ticket info, and discounts on tickets, is here.

• Hey kids, if you’re running around in Brooklyn tonight, you may want to swing by the Gelf Speaker Series tonight to see our former online editor, Mr. Sam Rubenstein. I have no idea what a Gelf is, but Sam is definitely one now. Sam is on a panel tonight themed around teaching. Here’s a funny interview with Sam about his teaching experiences over the last few years. It’s at 7:30 p.m., and it’s free. Details in that first link above.

• Really interesting column from Adrian Wojnarowski about the new Nets owner. This could be a lot of fun. I wrote the news post on this yesterday here on SLAMonline, and a few people in the comments wondered if Mr. Prokhorov will be on some Abramovich ish, spending mad money like the Russian owner of Chelsea has done in a quest for relevance. He very well could, but remember the NBA has a luxury tax and slotted salaries, unlike the Premier League. Also, having deep pockets does not necessarily mean your team is going to win titles — ask the Knicks or the Mavs. The key isn’t just spending money, but spending it wisely.

• Here’s a fun NBA quiz I posted on Twitter the other day. This is much tougher than you’d think. I got 22 out of 30.

• Here’s a crazy website I came across yesterday. Talk about a time-waster. Not that I spent ten minutes yesterday making abstract art yesterday or anything.

• Regarding last week’s NBA Live 10 contest — if you didn’t get an email saying you were one of the winners, then you’re not one of the winners. Thanks!

• Finally, speaking of basketball video games, earlier this week, Ryne and I had the chance to play NBA 2K10. We played one full game, Hawks against Bulls. Hawks won. Mike Bibby had no problem handling Derrick Rose, mostly because I played off Rose and let him shoot from the outside. How realistic was 2K10? Well, Rose couldn’t hit a perimeter jumper, so I’d say it was pretty accurate.

2K10 doesn’t drop for a few more weeks, but right now you can download the 2K10 NBA Draft combine for the Xbox 360 or PS3 networks. In the combine, you create a player and then run your through a bunch of drills and scrimmages to get him ready for the NBA. Then, once 2K10 drops, your player will get drafted by an NBA team and you can continue your career in the L.

So, our friends at 2K Sports have given me a handful of codes where you can download the Draft Combine mini-game for free. If you want to download it, leave a comment below and tell me why you are ready for the NBA. (And specify if you’re on PS3 or Xbox 360.)

You’ve got 24 hours to get it in, and tomorrow around lunchtime I’ll pick 10 winners and email you the code. If I don’t email you, you didn’t win.

Aiight, let’s do this…