by Lang Whitaker

Fri-day! OK, it’s actually Thursday, but I’m traveling tomorrow and out of the office, so this is my last post for the week here. And we’ve got something very cool to give away…

• I went to a charity benefit thing last night and got to see an advance screening of Inglourious Basterds, which was really, really, really good. Check it out this weekend.

(And FWIW, Omar promises we’re going to get his blockbuster summer movie review tomorrow. Gangsta!)

• Yesterday I was thinking ahead to the SLAM NBA Preview, and I tweeted my initial Top 5 teams to get some reaction. I went with, in order, the Lakers, the Cavs, the Magic, Denver and Boston.

A lot of people thought Denver should be replaced with San Antonio, and maybe they should be. I just thought Denver became such a tenacious defensive team late last season, like they all finally bought into defense winning games, and I suspect that will carry over into this season. I know they lost Dahntay Jones and Linas Kleiza, who were important for them last year, but I don’t think those guys were irreplaceable. And that Kenyon/Nene/Birdman rotation in the post is for real.

The other question I got a lot of was how I could drop Orlando behind Cleveland, considering Orlando picked up Vince Carter, Brandon Bass and Jason Williams, which will seriously upgrade their bench. As I noted, yes, Orlando added better players. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they became a better team. I think that’s still up in the air. My man Kelly Dwyer said, “Name a team that added better players that didn’t improve? Don’t say 2000-01 Blazers, because they didn’t add better players.”

It’s a good point, but I have seen it happen, multiple times, even with my own Atlanta Hawks. When they added JR Rider? Didn’t get better. Moses Malone and Reggie Theus? Nope. In ’03-04, the Hawks added Stephen Jackson, who ended up leading the team in scoring, but they lost seven more games than the year before.

Yes, Orlando’s roster is unquestionably better than it was a year ago. But has Dwight Howard learned to shoot? Will Vince be able to fill in for Turkoglu? My other thought about Orlando is that it’s going to be really hard for them to improve. They won 59 games last year and went to the Finals. The only way they improve on that is by winning at least 60 games in an arguably better Conference, or by winning a championship. That’s it. And that, to me, seems like a pretty slim margin for improvement.

• I don’t know much about him, but it seems Nets CEO Brett Yormark could sell water to a well. (Or a whale, for you olski wolski LInkstigators.)

Not only are the Nets retaining all their sponsors from last season, but they also have 10 new sponsors? Imagine if the Nets were good!

• Here’s a funny video clip from the Howard Stern Show that Jimmy Traina ran today on Hot Clicks…

• And the guys from FreeDarko found this mesmerizing clip of 8 mm NBA footage from the ‘70s.

Some great Wilt Chamberlain footage about a third of the way in. It’s well worth watching on full screen mode.

kg1• And finally, we have a contest. You may recall a few years ago, in Kicks 9, Kevin Garnett outed himself as a soccer fan. I’d heard that on a recent trip to Asia, KG had brought along his Xbox 360 and played FIFA the entire time. “I’m into Zidane with France, I’m a big Raul fan,” KG said. “Deco! Those are my guys.”

At the time, KG was more of a fan of FIFA than actual soccer (he was stumped when I asked him about Fernando Torres), but since then he’s apparently become a real futbol fan, and one of his favorite clubs is Chelsea FC. (I am trying really hard to not make a joke right here about how being a Chelsea fan reflects on KG’s taste. But I digress.)

To honor KG’s love for Chelski, adidas is dropping the adidas TS Commander LT x KG x CFC pack. It comes with a Chelsea version of the adidas TS Commander, a Chelsea jersey with Garnett 5 on the back (in the official EPL font, which is kinda fresh) and a Chelsea scarf. It will be mad limited and will only be available in Boston at Bodega.

That is, unless you’re a SLAMonline reader. I’ve got a Chelsea/Garnett jersey as well as one of the shoes autographed by KG sitting here on my desk.

Do you want ‘em? You can have ‘em. Seriously. Here’s how: Drop a comment down below and tell us why you deserve this KG swag.

That’s it. You’ve got until noon on Monday, when I’ll close the comments and pick a winner.

Have at it…