Happy Monday, rail riders! Mondays no longer have a feel in quarantine, right? No days have a feel anymore and it sucks. If it wasn’t for STL Sports Columnist Ben Hochman’s insistence to use non-stop Seinfeld material in 2020, I’d post Costanza’s understanding of days with feels. Can’t be a hypocrite, family. Let’s get into the real reason we are here and discuss how the western conference unfolded in my ultimate NBA simulation. ALL ABOARD!!!
Last week I unveiled the fantasy rosters of all 30 NBA teams and only hoped I could take it further. Immediately after posting, I remembered a site I used to be heavily involved with called whatifsports.com. This site allows for users to make dream teams in all the major sports – it’s nerd heaven. Twelve or thirteen years ago, ya boy PBM used to mop fools up in simulated NBA seasons. My squads won trophies, people. It was the perfect way to waste time in the corporate office setting. Alas, upon getting out of the corporate world and giving up my oxy addiction meant whatifsports.com leaving my life. Until this weekend…when it returned with a bang!
Whatifsports.com isn’t perfect. It’s not god-level AI. But it is the best free sports simulation available, and I wanted to take this concept further.
I didn’t simulate an entire season in the traditional NBA format – that would’ve taken me until 2025 to do. Instead, I had all the western conference teams play their division opponents six times (three at home, three on the road). Based on those results, I seeded the playoffs. The playoffs were executed in the traditional playoff format – best of seven games in the 2-2-1-1-1 rotation. Here’s who made the playoffs:
The Blazers went on the road to beat the Clippers in a play-in game for 8th slot. The box score is below (whatifsports.com brings the statistical thunder).
I was deeply saddened by how limited this Clippers team ended up being. Steve Francis and Blake Griffin aren’t the best team basketball players and it showed. Pippen and McHale deserved better, and I’m sad about it. However, the biggest takeaway from this game is the Hakeem / McHale battle in the post. The two deadliest post players of all-time went back and forth and rarely missed. The advantage was Dream’s, as he crushed McHale on both sides of the boards.
The rest of the western conference played out in a way which illicited more sadness…I made the Lakers too fucking good. Also, the Sonics flamed out in the playoffs despite dominating their regular season schedule. Bad times all around for ya boy.
I pulled a few noteworthy box scores along the way. Find them below.
Game four of the Spurs / Kings series. TMac did all he could to not flame out AGAIN in the first round of the playoffs. Alas, he was swept. Only TMac could get a Bill Russell team swept in the first round of the playoffs. George Gervin absolutely lit up the Kings’ wings this entire series.
Game six of Lakers / Spurs. The Spurs blew a twenty point fourth quarter lead…ugh. This Lakers team might be the ultimate showcase of how under appreciated Jason Kidd, Pau Gasol, and Anthony Davis really are. I should’ve given them Nash, McAdoo, and Dwight Howard instead – sweet moves, PBM.
Game two of the western conference finals. Look at the FT shooting.
EVEN IN SIMULATIONS THE LAKERS GET ALL THE FUCKING CALLS!
This happened twice in the Spurs series and once more in the finals. The Lakers are going to win my fake league and/or lose to LeBron’s Cavs. Eastern results coming tomorrow. Stay safe, family. Please allow this throwback heat from G-Unit to play me out the door..it’s been in heavy rotation for ya boy this month.
I just saw the image above on IG asking for a nickname for this duo and had to blog it. I’m inspired to write a free agency preview post tomorrow, so this is a mere taste of things to come. I will also give shine to the Raptors/Kawhi in said post, because someone needs to do that and it sure won’t happen as long as LeBron James is in the league + fans get treated as bigger than title teams.
Ballislife asked what should the duo nick\name be for Zion and Lonzo? I’m going on the record again with many fellow sports nuts, but it might the first time hear in steadfastly believing Zion is to be called the “Zion King.” People never hesitate to take the shine off of “legends,” right? Let’s put some gas on LeBron’s supposed burning desire to be the consensus best of all time. I love it. Magic Johnson tried to be Mufasa in LA, but instead of LeBron being the king in waiting he went full Scar and killed the man who built the pride of the Lakers. Scar brings in his hyenas (Brow as the Whoopi Goldberg one and two other middle levels in my prediction) and the lush Lakers franchise gets burned to the ground serving the undeserving usurper aka LeBron/Scar. Enter young Simba aka “Zion King” to best his false royal uncle and scene.
In all seriousness, that nickname is gonna be what I use. The question that made me jump out of bed to write this post was about the duo. I’m going to give the duo nickname I threw out to the whole Pelicans team (like “Lob City,” “The Bad Boys,” etc.). They’re to be called “STEADY LOBBIN” and only that in my presence. I shouldn’t have to explain why, but I will because pop culture history isn’t relevant to Gen Z. The only things that are seemingly allow you to do very little to be entitled a “legend” or “The GOAT.”
That’s one of Wayne’s four best track ever along with “6 Foot 7 Foot,” “Let The Beat Build,” “Shine,” and his “AMG Cannon Remix.” Zion plays in New Orleans and this track has the two biggest N’awlins Hip Hop stars to ever do it going BANANAS on a fire beat. You’re welcome to all the people who care about making nicknames with purpose. No more initials only nicknames and no more allowing guys to give themselves a handle (Kobe…this is on you).
Why do I think the Steady Lobbin’ goon squad won the deal? Because they got a better package than last year by snagging the fourth pick. I believe if they hold on to it they will select DeAndre Hunter or Jarrett Culver. Either one will provide Zion a true roll dog to go out and claim the league as his own. Hunter reminds me of a Kevin Love/Lamar Odom hybird while Culver is a lot like young Igoudala. Not too bad as for as ceiling goes, eh? They also got a guy an Ingram who has shown he can be a Tayshaun Prince level talent with the right leadership. Luke Walton’s pre-LeBron year showed this. When LeBron stabbed Walton while looking right him as opposed to the back, Ingram regressed and LeBron publicly showed his disgust quite literally removing himself from the current team’s plans. I can’t wait to hear the next generation speak freely on LeBron…narrative change shall come in time.
The other two young players they got have serious value as well. Hart should be a better because he will know his job every night. He’s Jrue’s backup, and I expect a bounce back season from him. Lonzo might not be here long, as rumors suggest he’s being packaged for more draft assets from a few teams, a few sign-and-trade scenarios, and my personL fav of him and the number four pick to Memphis for Ja Morant. Then we could the Zion King and Ja Rule. God damn, I’m good.
Lakers Likely Destined for Migraines Instead of Champagne
For those of you thinking the Lakers are title contenders, please stop. They have no one other than LeBron, Brow, and the young asset kept in the trade for Brow. That player is Kyle Kuzma, and there was no way I thought he would survive the complete disrespect he showed for Bronnie during LIVE GAME PLAY!
LeBron is going exact his pound of flesh…you can put a guarantee on that. Maybe he’ll convince Kuzma to sign a cheap deal in a year or so and then leave the team because he always does that upon his ideas not panning out to his liking. I hate this trade because it has no foresight and it has no contingency plan. Please don’t compare it to what Masai Ujiri did with the Raps…that’s as foolish as you can get, family.
Why is it different, you ask? It’s different because Ujiri traded a guy (DeRozan) who obviously wasn’t good enough to be the best dude on a championship team. It’s different because Ujiri didn’t gut an existing roster + a top 5 pick to snag a former finals MVP (The Klaw) along with a title winning combo forward who shoots 3’s + plays defense (Danny Green). It’s different because Brow has zero young, potential all star talent to groom waiting for him like Kawhi did with Siakam. It’s different because Kawhi is a true leader with compassion whom knows how to win via building team culture. Did you see what he said to Lowry after the deal for him happened?
Kawhi said he texted Lowry early on: "Let's go do something special. I know your best friend left, I know you're mad, but let's make this thing work out. And we're here today."
Nothing like Kawhi to Toronto is like Brow to the Lakers because of those reasons. Above all their totality different scenarios because of Brow’s consistent nagging injury history compared to Kawhi’s refusal to let what happened to Durant happen to him + Kawhi’s skillset and championship pedigree transcend Brow’s sporadic elite play. Brow is now going to have the expectations of both the irrational Lakers’ fan base AND the delusional, narcissistic LeBron whilst attempting to contribute at a level foreign to him. Not to mention that LeBron most likely dictate that the Lakers spend their remaining dollars on either Kyrie or Kemba. That leaves five or six roster spots for guys willing to take the league minimum to be a clown in LeBron’s quest to have his career be more than a three ring circus (I’M EN FUEGO TONIGHT).
This FA class is truly incredible, but it lacks guys who are likely to do that. I just don’t see em. Best case scenario yields Nene, Ariza, Dudley, Barea, and other gas with seemingly have little to no gas in the tank filling out a roster that includes Unk Drew or Kemba. The Warriors were able to pull off having a similar top heavy roster because they possessed THE THREE BEST SHOOTERS EVER IN A SHOOTING OVER ANYTHING LEAGUE in addition to locked-in deals for the donkey, Iggy, and Livingston. Also, the Splash Brothers took pay cuts to make it all work. LeBron is reportedly asking Davis to sacrifice his trade kicker in order for his grand plans to come together. His first public interactions with his running mate included asking the man to toss aside over 4 million bucks…what a prick.
So if LeBron didn’t need so desperately want the Finals spotlight to be off Kawhi and the Raps epic title run he would have 8MM more to find true support for his squad. How can the Lakers allow this to happen? How can people view this as anything other than Bronnie once again trying to take the quickest road possible to a title? He is the “Scorched Earth” ruler of the NBA. He dries up his new land’s resources and leaves them to live in futility. If he was a truly great leader and basketball mind, he would have at the very least waited to pull this off under a handshake agreement. You then do not waste all your cap space on a shoot first PG that isn’t your boy like you think he might publicly state to be. Kyrie hates LeBron…that will end horribly for both of them. Signing Kemba is not as bad as Kyrie, but it limits them presently and completely murders any chances for long term success.
LeBron’s Scorched Roster Plan vs. PBM’s Collectivist Approach
Bron’s attempting to have himself, Brow, Kyrie/Kemba, Kuzma, and then a whole bunch of guess taking the league minimum. We mentioned those names…it’s not pretty. The best values in this righteous FA class aren’t taking less 3.5/5MM a season. Sorry, LeBron, You’re overdrawn, pal. Here’s what I’d try to make happen.
Kemba is priority #1. He’s actually better than Kyrie now and will not do anything other than be NAILS in the clutch. Plus, no past cat fighting. He’s cheaper than Brow.
Sign JJ Redick to a 16-18MM deal. LeBron needs shooters around him.
Sign Paul Millsap to your mid-level exception to nurture your young talent base (he nailed that job in Atlanta and Denver).
Draft Jarrett Culver with the #4 pick. Igoudala the remix, baby.
Execute a sign-and-trade with Sacramento sending Kuzma to them for Willie Cauley-Stein and a future second round pick. Willie does everything LeBron hates and brings true toughness with him. Young
Execute a sign-and-trade with Charlotte to send Lonzo to them (another Hornet named Zo) along with Hart for Jeremy Lamb. Lamb is Kemba’s boy and already said he wants to anything to play with him forever. Including a pay cut. Lamb also is turning into a Lou Williams level scorer.
Starters: Kemba/Kyrie, Brow, Bron, Kuzma, and someone who isn’t better than Rodney Hood.
Bench: Barea, DeAndre Jordan (if he agrees to take piss), Nene, and G-league callups. Think Alonzo McKinnie’s bum ass for a comparable player.
Bench: Lamb, Ingram, Millsap, and more money to fill out your bench with guys like Dewayne Dedmon, Wayne Ellington, Wes Matthews, and the re-signed phenom…Alex fuckin’ Caruso.
My team has shooting, quickness, depth, and the blend of players to beat anyone this season and barring disaster any team for the long-term future. LeBron’s squad has three dudes who all need tons of touches and zero flexibility or room for injury. Brow gets injured A LOT, man. He literally MUST stay healthy. Their bench will be worse than Golden State’s this year by a wide margin. Their core isn’t as beautiful, too. Not to mention nothing close to Draymond, yet Kuzma might have his attitude. Keep on PUSHIN, young buck!
Judge PBM has reached his verdict / sentence for the case of the Usurper known as LeBron, the LA Lakers, and dumb basketball fans vs. Common Sense and Hoops Fans with Brains. LeBron is to be exiled from his delusional reality and receives a lifetime sentence consisting of being properly educated in how to truly embody greatness. He also may never post on Instagram again as well as renounce his intentions to be a Global Icon. Lastly, he is to refer to Michael Jordan as the GOAT and wear the number 37 for the rest of his career (his likely Finals record when it’s all said and done). The Lakers rceive what LeBron is giving them…enjoy your futility LeBron Stan’s are allowed to continue to be morons. May God have mercy on your silly, foolish fouls. Thanks for coming to my NBA court room, fam.