By J-Zone

I’m back damnit. A lotta people requested a pre-season rundown but I just didn’t have the time, energy or desire to do it. The NBA is getting harder and harder to get hyped for, I prefer high school ball at this point. But when things get rolling, I’ll always find 5-10 thoughts worth the time…here we go.

10. Talk about anti-climax. With the way Golden State ended last years playoff run, you would think they’d come out at least .500. Still haven’t popped the win cherry. I know it’s early, but they better hurry up. My NBA interest is already waning, and to have 8 teams in the West that all average 81 PPG in the playoffs, it’s safe to say I’ll have no choice but to acknowledge baseball.

9. I knew the Celtics would be good, but damn. As one of Ray Allen’s biggest fans it was a no brainer for me to roll with Boston, but I’ll admit I thought there would be some competition in the East. It’s still early and everybody’s healthy, but my pre-season predictions in a few hoops mags will cause my stock to drop a taste. Almost as impressive as the Big 3 are the youngins. Big Baby is a beast and Rondo is doin exactly what he’s supposed to do. I’ll admit I was never a KG fan either, but that dude is just a dinosaur (meaning their presence when they were around).

8. Why is everybody sleeping on Orlando? That’s the second best team in the East. In 2 years, they’ll be the best team in the East, if they stay healthy and together. Howard admittedly “eats weights” and slapped one of his stickers at the top of the backboard in the dunk comp (needs to develop a shooting touch though). Jameer Nelson took Marbury to school on the cheese bus last week (not hard these days though). Turkoglu can fill it up. Rashard Lewis is about 60% from 3 point range. Keyon Dooling is solid and the dude looked like Bruce Leroy with the glow when he went after Ray Allen 2 years ago.

7. Y’all need to leave Phil Jackson alone. Tasteless and crude? Absolutely. But it was a well timed joke, lighten up. You can’t let an opportunity for a joke like that slip by. With his dry wit about coyboys and horses, he’s definitely got a future in sitcoms. Shit he’s funnier than those squeegee men by day on BET Comicview or that yuppified Seinfeld trash.

6. And as for the Lakeshow. Kobe ain’t goin nowhere. It’s purely entertainment and distraction. The NBA needs more soap operas like this, as the Spur-Monopolized/David Stern controlled NBA is a snoozefest. I’d rather see Jeannette Lee slay some sucker in billiards than see 90% of these teams. But if the Kobe trade rumors are at all authentic, could they please trade him to Chicago before 12/28? I got a ticket to see the Bulls vs. the Bucks in Chi-Town and to see Kobe take 35 shots, 27 contested, 22 made is worth the price of admission in itself.

5. And what’s up with the Bulls? People criticized Joakim Noah for speaking up. Fuck that. They have no leader. Rookie or not, I’m glad he spoke up. One of the Ben’s has to do that. But I have faith they’ll pick it up. One team I have zero faith in is Miami (sorry Dad). Pat Riley is right. I’d take Pat at 62 over Shaq in his 80’s (he’s about 85 right)? And I disagree with Bill Walton. D Wade or no D Wade, Miami is toast. I love D Wade (and Ricky Davis and Udonis Haslem too), but that team is just decrepid and snoozy. And I got love for Shaq, but that “I’m the sargeant, I’m the general, I’m the guard dog” shit played out in 2001. At this point Shaq is a dinosaur (meaning their presence these days).

4. And like I said, I’m a huge D Wade fan…but enough with those fuckin commercials. “Yo Charles, Imma put you in my Top 5”. What the fuck is a Top 5? Is that a Top 8 like myspace?

3. So Durant finally won one (against the crap Heat of course…with D Wade). He takes more shots than Gilbert and Kobe combined in a Wizards/Lakers exhibition. But damn he’s fun to watch. Too bad my Sonics have been dismantled and hung out to dry in attempts to move them to OK city.

2. Regardless of how well they play, the following teams have zero shot at a title. Nuggets, Rockets, Mavericks, Cavs and Clippers. Although I will say this. Iverson is still the truth, Mike James is the real fuckin deal and underrated (Strong Island stand up), Jason Terry is the real leader of the Mavs, Daniel “Boobie” Gibson is the man and LeBron is playing out of position (he’s truly a great point guard that can score when needed) and Cuttino Mobley is also very underrated.

1. Where was Stephon Marbury when he didn’t show to Tuesday’s game?

A. Steve & Barry signing designing a bowling shoe

B. You tube headquarters discussing an endorsement deal

C. Lincoln High School fighting for a starting spot (if he lost it to Mardy Collins, he has no chance against Lance Stephenson)

D. Parked in his truck at the Mobil station on the Belt Pkwy entertaining an intern

E. Italy in his dream house doing Tai Chi

Don’t get it wrong, I was a fan. Lincoln, G Tech, Twin Cities, Jersey, Phoenix…I had to fight off the naysayers. “He’s never won a playoff series, he’s selfish, he’s a knucklehead. Every NBA team he left got more successful with his departure”. Whatever. In January 2004 you couldn’t tell me nothing. Steph was comin home. We finally had a franchise player after boasting supersoft dishpan hand, Aloe & Lanolin, Dove 1/4 Moisturizing Cream players in the post-Ewing era. Even with that Trumped up contract, we finally got the dynamic guard we were looking for to personify NYC, not to mention a native with a history here. The first round playoff exit that year was chalked up to mid-season chemistry issues, but the chain of events ever since have seen his stock drop to the price of a pair of Starbury’s.

Confidence is essential. Especially being a New Yorker. It’s programmed into your motherboard or you get eaten alive. But at certain point, just shut the fuck up and play the game. You don’t proclaim you’re the best PG in the NBA and the next day get greased like Sunday bacon by Jason Kidd. Then miss the playoffs every year after.

“Well he has no help”

OK he damn sure didn’t have the Spurs’ reserves and role players, but making the playoffs with the few solid players the Knicks do have in the ultra weak Eastern Conference, especially at a 6-8 seed, is no stretch of the imagination. No dice. Three years of Stephism. The best PG in the NBA wont rest content on a 40 point game and miss game deciding free throws. He won’t walk the ball up court and get his pocket picked from behind for an easy layup. He won’t be the common denominator in all internal team beef. He won’t make drug induced you tube appearances (albeit entertaining ones). And he damn sure won’t fly to the opposite coast with his team and hop the next thing smoking back home at the start of a four game road trip, despite his coach Isiah Thomas being a fuckin moron.

The “best PG in the NBA” has become loose cartilage, a bad brake line, exposed asbestos, a malignant tumor. And all of the above are detectable before they become a problem, which is why Isiah needs to be tossed as well. He’s equally (or more) at fault, as is Layden, Dolan and everybody else in a suit up there. They shelled out zillion dollars on a player and are well aware of his history with coaches, teammates and bad decisions. Headstrong+cocky+arrogant+extremely talented=trouble. If you can’t see that, you’d be more useful working at CVS. Isiah has to go. He’s become Larry Brown himself. I’m not sure who would buy out Steph, but somebody has to hit the highway.

But this is no longer about talent or numbers. It’s about character. Grow up dog, you’re 30 years old and without a playoff series win, so the stats are barely a footnote. And being he’ll create a $15 shoe, give PSAL ballers a free pair and sponsor a free haircut day in Coney Island…he does upstanding things, but never on the job. It’s usually the other way around. At least make these follies entertaining enough to warrant a good t-shirt, like Iverson’s Practice routine.Needless to say, Steph and Isiah’s soap opera has reached Tyson levels. But Steph, Isiah and Iron Mike are all completely different people, with the only connection being sports. Well, we can quote Mike, it’s time for one or both of these clowns to “fade into bolivion”.http://www.myspace.com/jzoneoldmaid