The Only Guide You’ll Need for March Madness 2019

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Folks,,, it’s March Madness time. Crazy how it happens around the same time every year. The first weekend is my favorite four day stretch of the year, it’s your favorite four days of the year, it’s everyone’s favorite four days of the year. It’s a time to eat infinite amounts of pizza, wings, and snacks, drink as much beer as you want, and let your brain and body turn to mush as you watch a million consecutive hours of college basketball. The comedown from this high is something I imagine heroin users deal with when trying to get clean. Maybe not that bad, but still.

I’ve made it a tradition over the last couple years to give one-sentence primers for every team in the field to help with your brackets. I’ll do the same here, obviously, but there’s one problem: I’m so out of the loop with college basketball this year. I’ve hardly watched any. I’m busy most nights and then the NBA is more interesting and UConn is the worst team in D1 and there are a million other factors, but I’m the guy that’s tuning in for his first extended run of college b-ball watching this weekend. Only difference between me and the other casual Johnny-Come-Latelys is that my brain is big enough to put together a perfect preview without the full knowledge. I can always see the full board, and I know these teams better than they know themselves even though I don’t know them at all. Just think about how impressive that is. So don’t worry. You’re still in good hands. Yearly reminder that if you’re making earnest “Where’s TruTV?” jokes or legitimately can’t find a television channel in the year of our Lord 2019, you don’t deserve to live anymore.

East Region

  1. Duke– Zion Williamson, am I right?
  2. Michigan State– Every single player on their team is hurt so don’t expect much.
  3. LSU– Their coach is being investigated by the FBI and is suspended, so things are going great.
  4. Virginia Tech– Buzz Williams coached Jimmy Butler, people forget that.
  5. Mississippi State– Alright, like, come on, Mississippi State is the worst 5 seed in history.
  6. Maryland– One of the youngest teams in the field so they’ll make you feel really good about your life.
  7. Louisville– Feel like they’re due for a run (#analysis).
  8. VCU– VCU will always be somewhere between an 8-10 seed and always run the same full-court press regardless of roster or coach.
  9. UCF– Tacko Fall is 7’6″, which my sources are confirming is quite tall.
  10. Minnesota– No word on if Richard Pitino reaches climax as quickly as his father.
  11. Belmont– Belmont should have been in the regular field without dealing with play-in game antics.
  12. Liberty– People forget Seth Curry went to Liberty his freshman year and averaged 20 a game.
  13. Saint Louis– Remember a few years ago when Saint Louis was randomly good for a few seasons? What was up with that?
  14. Yale– I will die fighting against people who frame Ivy League teams as plucky underdogs.
  15. Bradley– I respect the delusion it takes to strip a reporter of his press pass for not advancing the Bradley brand enough.
  16. N.C. Central/North Dakota State– Why are there two play-in games in the same bracket and why is there a Midwest region instead of a North region and why does no one but me care?

Midwest Region

  1. North Carolina– I know they’ve got a few NBA guys on the team, but when did UNC lose all its star power? They haven’t had any must-watch guys in years.
  2. Kentucky– Please let Tyler Herro hit a game-winning shot so we can have a pun-pocalypse.
  3. Houston– I know they’re a fellow AAC team but if you actually believe they can do anything in the tournament I’ve got a few bridges to sell you.
  4. Kansas– Kansas STINKS this year but they’re still somehow the last team I’d want to play.
  5. Auburn– Their strategy is “shoot a billion 3s,” which I respect on a deep level.
  6. Iowa State– Somehow three guys from this team will be in the NBA in four years.
  7. Wofford– They’ll be the trendy upset pick because people like college teams with a bunch of white guys who can shoot.
  8. Utah State– I’m kind of feeling them this year even though I don’t love their draw.
  9. Washington– I assume they’re still handsomely paying elite athletes under-the-table (or over-the-table, I don’t think they really care) to put on the purple and gold.
  10. Seton Hall– Seton Hall sounds like an English soccer stadium name.
  11. Ohio State– It’s always kind of stupid when teams like Ohio State get seeded so low because, like, they’ve gotta have better players than Utah State.
  12. New Mexico State– Pascal Siakam went to New Mexico State, bet not many people knew that.
  13. Northeastern– I took a tour of Northeastern when either my sister or I was touring colleges so there’s that.
  14. Georgia State– Still got R.J. Hunter, right?
  15. Abilene Christian– Abilene Christian always pops up every few years and does absolutely nothing in the tournament.
  16. Iona– They’re my local team, now.

South Region

  1. Virginia– Can’t really get worse, can it?
  2. Tennessee– Grant Williams is giving me major “Derrick Williams in 2011” vibes (that’s a good thing).
  3. Purdue– First Man came out just before the season, which should propel Purdue to their typical second-round exit.
  4. Kansas State– Super boring. That’s really all you need to know.
  5. Wisconsin– The year is 2187, and Wisconsin basketball is led by two white guys with buzzcuts who like to take charges.
  6. Villanova– Spent long stretches of the season being absolutely awful but count them out at your own risk.
  7. Cincinnati– If it wasn’t reckless libel, I would probably imply that Mick Cronin’s absurd outbursts of anger and violence on the sidelines likely follow him home.
  8. Ole Miss– If you told me Ole Miss didn’t play one basketball game this season I would have believed you.
  9. Oklahoma– If you told me Oklahoma didn’t play one basketball game this season I would have believed you.
  10. Iowa– What’s the post-WWII record for most white guys in one region?
  11. St. Mary’s– St. Mary’s has never been anything other than an 11 seed.
  12. Oregon– Bol Bol won’t be playing, so the one guy you might have known is out the window.
  13. UC Irvine– Doc Rivers and Caron Butler both have kids on this team, how about that?
  14. Old Dominion– Love coach Jeff Jones. Who? Jeff Jones. Who? Jeff Jones. Who? Haha, no, we have fun here.
  15. Colgate– You have my permission to slap anyone who makes toothpaste jokes.
  16. Garnder-Webb– I don’t know, man. They’re gonna lose, who cares?

West Region

  1. Gonzaga– They have the most high-level players in the country, so expect them to lose before the Elite Eight because that’s how the Tournament works.
  2. Michigan– I’m pretty sure I’d be like, the third best scorer on this Michigan team.
  3. Texas Tech– Veteran team with at least one NBA guy= Elite Eight.
  4. Florida State– No idea how Florida State always has ten 7’2″ guys but they do.
  5. Marquette– Markus Howard is going to be your new favorite player (assuming he gets hot and they win).
  6. Buffalo– How do you convince a bunch of good basketball players to go to school in Buffalo? Just money?
  7. Nevada– Nevada was supposed to be super nasty this year. They weren’t.
  8. Syracuse– Sources have yet to confirm if Tony Stewart will be behind the Orange bench.
  9. Baylor– Teams that win nineteen games shouldn’t be in the Tournament.
  10. Florida– Teams that win nineteen games shouldn’t be in the Tournament.
  11. Arizona State/St. John’s– Does Arizona State just have a permanent spot in the First Four?
  12. Murray State– Ja Morant is good.
  13. Vermont– Committee screwed my Cats with this matchup. Trying to keep the Blue Bloods down smh.
  14. Northern Kentucky– Northern Kentucky is nicknamed the Norse after the famed Norse from Northern Kentucky.
  15. Montana– I bet Montana is a nice place to live.
  16. Fairleigh Dickinson– Really dislike the way Fairleigh is spelled.
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LeBron James is the Greatest Laker Hater of All Time

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I used to consider myself a premier Laker hater. I lived to despise the purple and gold. Every move they made had my blood boiling, every missed Kobe 19-footer filled me with glee, each championship threatened to shatter my psyche. As with most of my sports hatred, the vitriol eased with age. The Lakers got worse, Kobe slipped from an elite player to an overly confident pickup game chucker being paid like John Wall, gifs like these:

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went from infuriating to hilarious. Hating the Lakers just became less fun. Even now, with one of the greatest players of all time at the helm, they’re mostly an afterthought in the competitive balance of the Western Conference. But, luckily for all the natural born haters out there, one man has yet to give up the desire to see the Lakers fall: LeBron James.

I wouldn’t have guessed LeBron held such disdain for Showtime, but it’s pretty undeniable at this point. Just look at what he’s done the last few months: joins the Lakers without clarifying if it was a competitive move or a legacy move meant to set up the next stage of his life, resulting in a weird offseason of win-now signings without turning their talented young players into high-quality veterans, leading to a completely mismatched roster that had no shot from the start. Also from the start, he completely ignores and undermines coach Luke Walton, sabotaging a possible stabilizing voice the young core of players would need for the ensuing LeBron roller coaster. He gets hurt for the first time ever and spends every game on the bench drinking wine and publicly saying he didn’t care about the season and that he had nothing left to prove. Then his mouthpiece puppet childhood friend business partner agent Rich Paul says fellow client Anthony Davis wants out and, surprise! the Lakers are the preferred destination. Every single player on the roster is very publicly said to be expendable, killing chemistry and confidence at the same time. The trade deadline passes and they disastrously fail to acquire Davis and everyone acknowledges the Lakers aren’t doing anything this season. They continue to lose. LeBron says no one’s focused on basketball enough, even though he took a game off to record with 2 Chainz and he’s had the worst season of his career and he only signed with the Lakers to make Space Jam 2 and Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma have carried the team recently, then immediately posts a graphic congratulating himself for his own achievements after an embarrassing loss to Memphis. This is some next-level grudge-keeping. I have no idea what the Lakers did to LeBron in his youth, but he clearly hasn’t forgotten it. This is the most destructive season I can ever remember a player having, and we still have twenty games to go. LeBron won’t rest until the very foundations of the Staples Center are demolished. No player is safe, no coach is safe. LeBron refuses to let the Lakers thrive or develop in any way, and for that, I am very thankful.

James Harden is Good

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I try to keep my takes relatively reasonable and grounded, but I can’t keep this one contained any longer: James Harden is really, really, really good at playing basketball. Sorry. That was sitting under the heat lamp in my brain for a little too long. Had to get it to the customers before it became a “health risk.”

Listen, this is kind of the big, semi-fake, semi-straw man debate consuming the NBA these days. Is James Harden, the man who just broke Kobe Bryant’s post-merger consecutive 30-point game record with his 17th (!) straight, fun to watch or is he just gaming the system? Personally, I don’t really understand why it can’t be both. Obviously, he has taken advantage of the NBA’s changing rules and has crafted his game around drawing contact and appearing to draw contact. It’s made him a megastar, and, as such, he gets every call. “He tricks the refs and dribbles the ball forever and jacks 3s and it’s not how the game is played!” you say as you scrape the dried poop off your underwear. Why should he change his game? Why should he stop? He’s completely mastered the modern NBA! This is how the game is played now. 3s, free throws, layups. He gets any of them whenever he wants. He’s totally unstoppable. And oh yeah, he’s a gifted passer, too. Why does he get so much hate? He’s the platonic ideal of a 2019 NBA superstar and one of the ten (if you want to be generous towards the older eras, but really it’s five) best offensive players in league history. Start appreciating him more! He’s finished top two in MVP three of the last four years and would win his second consecutive if the season ended today. Don’t let Harden become the new Carmelo. No, the playoff success isn’t there, but he has to go against the Warriors every year, what do you want from him? The guy’s a special, special player.

Since when is someone absolutely going OFF not fun to watch? The stepback 3s are absolutely ridiculous. There’s no way they should go in but he shoots like 40% on them. Yeah, I guess seeing someone break everyone down off the dribble is pretty boring. Sucked watching A.I. play. Hate guys who throw a million alley-oops. Free throws are the only thing I’m willing to concede, but I love free throws. I love watching guys take a thousand a game. Maybe I just have unconventional tastes

Stop hating and put some respeck on Harden’s name.

 

Hedo Turkoglu Says Enes Kanter is Running Smear Campaign Against Turkish Government, Totally Doesn’t Want to Have Him Killed

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sourceFormer NBA player Hedo Turkoglu, now a chief adviser to the president of Turkey, says comments by Enes Kanter about the country are nothing more than an ongoing “political smear campaign” by the New York Knicks center.

Kanter earlier this week said he would not travel with the Knicks to London for a game against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 17 because he fears for his life because of his ongoing clash with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A Knicks team official said Kanter won’t travel because of a visa issue, but Kanter, who has been an outspoken critic of the Turkish government and Erdogan, said he did not feel safe making the trip because “there’s a chance that I can get killed out there.”

“We know that [Kanter] has not been able to travel to many countries due to visa issues since 2017,” Turkoglu said in a statement posted to Twitter on Monday. “In other words, Kanter can’t enter the UK not because of fears for life as he claims but due to passport and visa issues. This being the long-known truth, he is trying to get the limelight with irrational justifications and political remarks.

“Such remarks constitute another example of the political smear campaign Kanter has been conducting against Turkey as well as his efforts to attribute importance to himself by covering up the contradictions in his sports career. … It is obvious that this person’s remarks are irrational and distort the truth.”

Kanter reportedly was indicted by the Istanbul Cyber Crimes Investigation Bureau last year because of “hurtful and humiliating” comments made about Turkoglu, the president of the Turkish Basketball Federation, on social media.

According to a report by The New York Times, Erdogan has jailed, fired or suspended tens of thousands of people accused of plotting a failed coup. In December 2017, Turkey’s state-run news agency, Anadolu Agency, reported that prosecutors were seeking more than four years in prison for Kanter on charges of insulting Erdogan in a series of tweets he posted in 2016.

Alright, I’m not going to add too much to this because, surprisingly, I’m not too well versed in Turkish politics. All I know is that Erdogan is, umm, not a great guy and that Enes hates him and has reason to believe he’ll be in danger if he leaves the country. Considering what happened to that Saudi journalist a few months ago (different situation, I know, but the point remains) and this statement Hedo put out, I’d be inclined to believe him. I mean, read that again. It’s pretty much the Goodfellas dress scene:

“No, Enes definitely isn’t in danger if he went to London. Especially not if he stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Airport at Eastern Perimeter Rd, Longford, Hounslow TW6 2SQ, UK. Then he’d be real safe.”

Anyway, I just wanted to talk about how preposterous it is that Hedo Turkoglu has someone become the like, third most powerful person in Turkey. How did this happen? Did Erdogan need a point forward for his Dictator Basketball League team? Needed someone to take over in Hedo Time?

Maybe he’s just a fan of frosted tips. Regardless of why it happened, Hedo is suddenly the Jafar of Turkey. What are his plans? Sure, he’s playing his part as the hapless sycophant mouthpiece, but is Hedo really pulling the strings? I’m not ready to rule it out. This is a guy that made the Finals with Dwight Howard, he knows how to handle difficult personalities and overcome adversity. He’s probably making connections with world leaders and building an underground army of followers. He’s got the physical intimidation and the basketball IQ. He’ll keep Erdogan happy until it’s time for his power play, where he’ll seize total control of the entire country. After that? I’m not at liberty to guess.

In the early days of the Brian’s Den, I exposed the NBA’s dastardly organized crime syndicate to the world. Turns out I left someone out. Hedo undoubtedly had his hands in the Drazen’s Head cookie jar. He has the connection to Vlade and Peja and clearly has the ambition. His shadow influence over the family could prove vital when the time comes. I don’t know a lot of things when it comes to politics. One thing I do know is that I don’t want to be the guy to overlook Hedo Turkoglu. I’ve seen too many game winners for that.

Whose Medical Condition is (Allegedly) Faker: Urban Meyer’s or Markelle Fultz’s?

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Two of the biggest stories in the sports world right now revolve around the mysterious ailments afflicting Urban Meyer and Markelle Fultz. Now, anyone with a brain can figure out both of them are (allegedly) fake. The real question is which one is (allegedly) more fake? The headaches or the shoulder? The answer may shock you.

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The Urban Meyer illness, also known as Coachkitis, is obviously (allegedly) fake. It’s happened before! When the going gets tough, Urban gets fakin’. When he was at Florida, the second they lost an undefeated season he had “heart problems” and “wanted to spend more time with his family” so he took a leave of absence that was just an excuse to skip the build up for the bowl game and the next season (allegedly). The next year they went 7-5 and he retired. Because of health and nothing else.

Literally one year later he took the Ohio State job and was magically cured. Until this year, when his team got smacked by Purdue and spent a month and a half looking like shit. All of a sudden he’s got crazy headaches and can barely stand. Miss the playoff for the third year in a row? Have a terrible domestic violence case hanging over the program’s head? Ow, my head (allegedly)! Doesn’t help that his wife is selling him out, saying “winning cures a lot.” Gee, ya think? I wonder if there’s some NCAA sanctions coming Ohio State’s way, too. That might make the ol’ noggin ache a little harder. It’s obvious what’s going to happen: Ohio State is either going to get hit by the NCAA or just start to decline, Urban takes a year off, Brian Kelly gets fired at Notre Dame. Hmm, if only there was a coaching legend who we could hire without needing to pay a huge buyout clause. What’s that? Urban Meyer is healthy again and not doing anything? Wow, what luck! Then in 2023 his back will flare up when they go 8-4 (allegedly).

Verdict: FAKE (allegedly)

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But what about Markelle Fultz? I think I can drop the (allegedly) here, because this is just a made up condition. Thoracic outlet syndrome? That’s not a real thing. I refuse to even entertain the thought that thoracic outlet syndrome is a legitimate medical condition. Like, I’m sorry that Jimmy Butler is bullying you, bro, but you might just suck. He’s completely forgotten how to play basketball. Everything that made him good at every level before the NBA is gone. He’s a total zero on the court. Does nothing well. Maybe it’s just a mental thing? Maybe you weren’t ready to be the number one pick? Maybe you don’t like the pressure of being on a winning team? Maybe you don’t want everyone to look at you all the time even if you’re seemingly intentionally making yourself more of a sideshow than was ever necessary? Do you even want to play basketball anymore? I mean hell, I’ll go out there for ten minutes and hit zero shots. Can’t be that hard. I just can’t wrap my mind around this whole situation. He’s still so talented and could turn it all around. But he’s doing himself no favors by being the most mentally weak person in human history and letting his agent run around telling everyone he’s (allegedly) injured with the well known and definitely not fabricated thoracic outlet syndrome. It’s time to grow up, dude. Just request a trade to Orlando or something, already.

It takes a lot to unseat Urban Meyer when it comes to fake injuries. Up to this point, only Coach K had ever (allegedly) been above him. But there’s a new crown prince of fake injuries, and his name is Markelle Fultz.

Verdict: Very, very, very, not even allegedly Fake

73 Thoughts About the 2018-19 NBA Season

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Folks, tonight is opening night of the 2018-19 NBA season. I’m not in the basketball mindset whatsoever. This might hamper some people’s ability to create comprehensive, insightful, entertaining pieces about the upcoming season, but, luckily for you, I’m not most people. I’ll shake off the rust and give the quality roundball takes you’ve been jonesing for since the draft. So, here’s 73 thoughts, predictions, takes, and various observations about this season. Why 73? Unless my math is incorrect this is the 73rd season of professional basketball in these United States of America. Easy enough, right?

  1. The Golden State Warriors will win the championship.
  2. This doesn’t mean the league is ruined or that this season won’t be a ton of fun.
  3. The Boston Celtics will win two NBA Finals games this year.
  4. The Celtics will have four All-Stars- Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum.
  5. The snub will cause Jaylen Brown to go on a second-half tear and compete for All-NBA Third team.
  6. The Celtics will win 61 games and finish second in the East to the Raptors.
  7. The Raptors got Kawhi. Don’t know if you heard.
  8. I’m actually interested to watch the Raptors. Every year the narrative was “they’re finally playing team ball and taking less mid-range jumpers” only to play the exact same iso, mid-range heavy style they always do. Now that they no longer have a member of the Mid-Range Holy Trinity on the roster maybe they’ll switch things up. And maybe they’ll stop thinking Kyle Lowry will do well in the playoffs.
  9. The Lakers got LeBron. Don’t know if you heard.
  10. Lakers will obviously be a sideshow all season with the preposterous roster they’ve put together, but I actually think people are underestimating them. I’ve seen some takes floating around that they won’t make the playoffs. Huh? Since when does a LeBron team win less than 50 games? It’s not like this team is any worse than the Cavs last year.
  11. Love the updated Lakers yellow jerseys. Hate the updated purple ones with the black paneling:
  12. Lonzo Ball- apparently a tattoo sleeve guy, now:Kind of doesn’t fit, honestly. Should have consulted me beforehand.
  13. Speaking of new ink, what kind of things did Jordan Clarkson get into during the offseason?When your older brother forces you to join his biker gang against your will.
  14. Marcus Smart and J.R. Smith WILL exchange punches at some point this season.
  15. I’m glad I was on the right side of history when it comes to Jimmy Butler. I hope people remember there were some Celtics fans who wanted to trade Jaylen Brown and what became Jayson Tatum AND other things for him.
  16. It’s not that he’s not good. He clearly is. But no one is every good enough to be his teammate and no one is good enough to earn his respect and nothing can ever make him happy. At some point it’s you, man.
  17. His mentality works when you’re Kobe and have a million rings. It doesn’t work when you can’t get out of the first or second round.
  18. Also no one makes scoring look harder. He’s the anti-Kevin Durant.
  19. That being said, he is the legal owner of the Timberwolves, now.
  20. I cannot wait to watch them play. Andrew Wiggins cowering at Jimmy’s feet and KAT glaring at him but never confronting him in any way will be fascinating. 23-59.
  21. Speaking of fun to watch, aside from the obvious (Warriors, Celtics, Sixers, Lakers), the most fun team to watch will be….. the Sacramento Kings.
  22. Don’t get me wrong, they’re going to stink. But I’m just so curious to watch them. They have 10,000 guys who need minutes, most of them are centers, and almost none of them complement each other.
  23. I’m all in on Harry Giles. I love him, De’Aaron Fox, and Marvin Bagley together. So much speed and explosiveness and odd passing chemistry. They’re electric.
  24. Anti-chemistry team was going to be clearly the Wizards before the Jimmy drama. Beal and Wall already hated each other before adding in noted locker room guy Dwight Howard. They’re going to be trash.
  25. I’m excited for Dwight’s former team the Brooklyn Nets. They are my hometown team, after all.
  26. I also own the Barclays Center.
  27. I do legitimately like the Nets roster, though. They’re athletic, fast, take a billion threes, and try hard. That’s a good formula for when you start getting better players. They finally have their own draft picks, now!
  28. Bucks have a new arena this year called the Fiserv Forum. I have yet to decide if I like the camera angle, lighting, and various arena sounds yet. Stay tuned.
  29. Bucks also have a new coach in Mike Budenholzer, who actually knows what he’s doing. If the offense is now more advanced than “hey, Giannis, just go to the hoop and do something,” the Bucks could be trouble.
  30. Giannis will win MVP and Khris Middleton will be an All-Star.
  31. New jerseys this year for the Grizzlies and Nuggets:
  32. I love the Nuggets’ new white jerseys but the other two are just okay. Big fan of the Grizzlies’ entire look.
  33. The Thunder’s City edition jersey is apparently Native American influenced and, for the first time since they moved, I can say with confidence: the Thunder have an awesome looking jersey.
  34. The Jazz, Hawks, Magic, TWolves, Pacers, Warriors, and Hornets all have some sweet throwbacks this year, too.
  35. Legit can’t wait for all the City edition uniforms and Earned edition uniforms to be unveiled. If I could see all of them today but had to take five years off my life I’d do it without thinking twice.
  36. This site is awesome if you’re like me and are obsessed with jerseys, warmup gear, and court designs.
  37. A trend I like: alternate court designs. The Bucks introduced it a few years ago when they had a different court design to go along with their black alternates, but now almost every alternate jersey comes with its own court design, too. This Hornets one is awesome:The Nuggets have a special Mile High court, the Sixers have multiple courts, the Jazz have multiple courts. Keep being creative when designing courts! They shouldn’t all look the same.
  38. I’ve decided I kind of like the jersey ads and I hate the five remaining teams who have decided they’re too good for them.
  39. I think I love this rookie class too much.
  40. DeAndre Ayton has been a freak in the preseason. The major concern going in was his effort level. If he tries every night? I don’t want to say Dwight Howard is his floor but Dwight Howard might be his floor.
  41. Luka Doncic is my new god. Please respect my decision.
  42. This might be Dirk’s final season. Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
  43. I will be at the Mavs-Nets game in Brooklyn on March 4th no matter what. Never seen Dirk play so better get it in now.
  44. I commend the Spurs for assembling the complete Mid-Range Holy Trinity. The Father (LaMarcus Aldridge), the Son (DeMar DeRozan), and the Holy Spirit (Rudy Gay) will guide them to 43 wins.
  45. Many people will say the Sixers will win the East. This is obviously false.
  46. Maybe Ben Simmons will take a non-half-court three this year.
  47. If he ever gets to like, Blake Griffin-level shooting he’ll be a top five player in the league. But he hasn’t even considered using his correct hand to shoot, yet, so don’t hold your breath.
  48. Joel Embiid will dominate some random center (not Aron Baynes, obviously) and trash them on Instagram. My boldest prediction.
  49. I try to keep the takes away from the scalding territory, but I need to throw this out there: Anthony Davis is good.
  50. Kind of like the Pelicans this year. I expect them to finish 3 or 4 in the West. I love their crazy-fast, balls-to-the-wall, just have AD get 45-15 style.
  51. I see no reason why Russell Westbrook won’t average a triple double again this year and it’s crazy that no one cares.
  52. Sometime around the trade deadline Kevin Love will start putting up 20-20 games left and right. Purely by coincidence, though.
  53. It pains me, but the Hornets are going to be the most boring team in the league. Someone rescue Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb.
  54. Don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but my freshman year at the University of Connecticut was the year Kemba Walker dragged the Huskies to the national title. Saw him and Shabazz Napier at an Applebee’s one time.
  55. I think the all-UConn team might be able to win 37 games this year. Kemba, Shabazz, Lamb, Rudy Gay, Andre Drummond, Daniel Hamilton. Stacked lineup.
  56. Top Five Brian’s Den League Pass Rankings: Celtics, Kings, Nuggets, Warriors, Lakers
  57. Bottom Five Brian’s Den League Pass Rankings: Hornets, Pistons, Magic, Cavs, Grizzlies
  58. Scoring leader: Anthony Davis. Darkhorse: Devin Booker
  59. Assist leader: Russell Westbrook. Darkhorse: LeBron
  60. Rebound leader: Andre Drummon. Darkhorse: DeAndre Ayton
  61. Steals leader: Paul George. Darkhorse: De’Aaron Fox
  62. Blocks leader: Anthony Davis. Darkhorse: Mo Bamba
  63. Someone will join Steph Curry in the 300 made 3s in a season club.
  64. New York Knicks, Miami Heat, L.A. Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers. There, mentioned every team at least once.
  65. MVP: Giannis
  66. DPOY: AD
  67. ROY: Luka
  68. Coach of the Year: Brad Stevens
  69. Sixth Man: Tyreke Evans
  70. Most Improved: Jaylen Brown
  71. Finals Prediction: Warriors over Celtics
  72. Scale of 1-100, how much fun will this season be: 1,000,000

The Burning Questions Mailbag, pt. 3

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Welcome back to the Burning Questions Mailbag. Everyone’s favorite recurring segment has returned with a vengeance, and this is the biggest one yet. The people didn’t disappoint and submitted more Burning Questions than ever before, and I’m more than happy to answer all some of them. Let’s dive right in.

Jerry S. asks: What’s the deal with math?

I’ll be honest, this was my question, not Jerry’s. This is what prompted me to revive the BQMB. What’s up with math? Why do all these complex equations and formulas exist? Every single one of them is an arbitrary human construct designed to solve a problem that humans created. It’s all fake. What real world application does calculus have? When’s the last time algebra helped anyone? What’s the point of any mathematical function outside of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division? Who decided what pi is and who decided it’s infinite? Sine and cosine are the fakest, most pointless things ever. Like who gives a shit what the area of an isosceles triangle is? Why do we still teach our children this crap? If you want to spend the rest of your life playing make believe with all the other mathematicians, you should have to declare yourself a math loser in like, fourth grade so everyone else doesn’t have to waste valuable education time on such a nonsensical and impractical discipline. Like the math problem from Good Will Hunting? Why does that even exist? Why are there unsolvable math problems if math itself is 100000000% man-made? Why did we create something we couldn’t solve? Just proves my point that advanced math is illegitimate and clearly something that should be kept in Neverland where it belongs.

pestooneverything asks: Why would Tory Lanez use a stage name when his real name is Daystar Peterson and what would your stage name be?

That’s a great question. As for the first part, you’d have to ask Tory Lanez himself. I tried contacting him, but he’s not returning my calls at the moment. It’s a long story. As for my stage name, I’m not quite sure. It’s have to be something catchy, and probably short. Maybe I’ll just be Brian. I don’t know, needs workshopping. One thing I know for certain, though, is that my nickname would be Mr. Mistoffelees. The nickname to the nickname is arguably more important, and I need to let people know what I’m all about. I think Mr. Mistoffelees gets the point across.

WhiteKong asks: What’s the worst city in America?

There are a lot, and I mean a LOT, of contenders for this. There’s my hometown of Rutland, Vermont. There’s good ol’ St. Louis. There’s my new home of New York City. There’s probably ten thousand terrible cities across this great country. But, in my mind, the big three of terrible American cities are Reno, Nevada, Detroit, Michigan, and Tampa, Florida. Detroit is obvious and kind of sad, but Reno and Tampa are living monuments to the most reviled sect of the American population: white trash. Nevada opened itself up to cities like Reno getting so bad by making the entire state a lawless commune. If you have the opportunity to trick people into thinking you’re just like Vegas, you’re gonna do it. It’s just when you don’t have any of the allure and panache you’re left with a hellhole of epic proportions. And Tampa is like if every stereotype you have of white people in Florida was a city.

ConfusedReader asks: Can someone focus on their career and have a family without compromising on either end?

Welcome to the Dear Abby portion of the program. Friend, I don’t know if you’ve ever read this website before, but I’m about as close to having a family or fulfilling career as I am to curing cancer, and I can assure you I’m not particularly close to curing cancer.

Out of goodwill, though, I must answer. I’d say yes, because people have been wondering this since the dawn of time and nothing about the way we structure professional lives has ever changed, so I’m guessing people figure it out? If you’re super dedicated to your work, a workaholic, or just plain old obsessed with your career, good luck finding someone that puts up with that longterm, but if you’ve got a regular 40-hour-a-week position, I don’t see why not. As long as you make it to little Jimmy’s baseball games so he doesn’t resent you for not being there, I think you can, at the very least, trick your family into thinking you care more about them than that nice promotion on the horizon.

movieman asks: I’m a little late, but I should totally get MoviePass, right?

Totally. Love MoviePass. It’s how I can afford to see all these movies and live in New York at the same time. Really, if you go like, ten times in a year it pays for itself. Wait, what’s that? MoviePass literally ran out of money and had to get a $5 million loan and is now raising prices and restricting access to blockbusters? Yiiiiiiikeessssss. R.I.P. MoviePass. It was a good run that seemed too good to be true every time I used it. Turns out it was. A free tip for every fledgling business owner out there: make sure you have a way to make money. Hard to stick around if you don’t.

Brian asks: Who was the first underwear manufacturer to account for erections?

Wonderful question, Brian. I’m not sure the answer to that, but I do know who has the most comfortable underwear. That’s right, it’s MeUndies! Right now, my readers can get 10% off their first purchase. Just go to meundies.com and enter the promo code: Brian.

DesperateLover asks: What’s the most polite way to ask for nudes?

“Excuse me, can I please have some nudes?”

BlacktopLebron asks: What’s your current All-White NBA Team?

Don’t know if you mean American white or Euros included, but I’m gonna include Euros just because.

Starters

G- Luka Doncic

G- Evan Fornier

F- Gordan Hayward

F- Kevin Love

C- Kristaps Porzingis

Bench

F- Dirk Nowitzki

F- Doug McDermott

G- Kyle Korver

C- Marc Gasol

C- Pau Gasol

G- Matthew Dellavedova

G- JJ Redick

We’re scoring a lot of points, buttttttt defense might be a bit of an issue.

X asks: Now that Dad Hats are back, what will be the next cool hat?

Cycling hats. Trust me, these things are gonna be huge.

AngryPerson asks: Why did you love Mamma Mia 2 so much? I hated it and loved the first one.

Well, you have my condolences. Being born with no taste must have been very hard for you. Mamma Mia 2 is better because it takes the best part about the first one (the music) and puts it front and center. Mamma Mia tried to have a real storyline, when, in reality, this is quite possibly the most far-fetched franchise plot-wise in history. Mamma Mia 2 embraces the absurdity and just gives the audience banger after banger, while Mamma Mia was caught trying to be both Les Mis and Grease, which didn’t work. 2 knows what it is, 1 didn’t. Both are still fire movies, though.

GuythatworksforXboxandisalegitimateInsiderwhothinksIhaveactualanswers asks: What’s going to be the next big technology that changes gaming? Better AI? 8K? Cloud computing?

Just going off my gut instinct, here, but the next big shift in gaming technology is going to be physical gaming. Imagine this- you have a representation of the game’s world in front of you (let’s call it a board), and a piece (or two, or three, etc.) that acts as a stand-in for the avatar, and, using things like random number generators and games of chance, you move your piece across the game board, fulfilling objectives, collecting loot, and competing against other players. I just think that’s where games are going.

Joseph asks: What’s the most annoying fan base?

I feel like I’ve touched on this before, but the five most annoying fan bases are 5. Patriots (I concede we can be very annoying and easily #triggered at times, but when the entire world makes it their mission to #trigger you, I’m sorry if I have a short fuse) 4. Star Wars (they hardcore fans that complain about everything and make me like the movies less) 3. St. Louis Cardinals (like Yankee fans but midwest) 2. Kobe (Kobe is not a top ten player of all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time. Kobe is not a top ten player all time) and, of course, 1. Yankees. I’m admittedly biased. But that stupid candle-light vigil for Aaron Judge (who hasn’t even Earned his Pinstripes, IMO) is why the entire country hates every single one of those mongoloid losers. There isn’t a more self-serious and self-aggrandizing group of people on the planet. Please @ me so I can tell you how stupid and detestable you all are.

DP asks: Why are you so soft on Kevin Durant?

Because everyone is so hard on him, and it makes me feel smart to go against public opinion, especially when the basis of most people’s argument is the imaginary concept of “loyalty.” Yes, it completely shattered the competitive balance of the league, but, I don’t know. I just don’t care.

FootballJunkie asks: Who’s your top ten skill position (non-QB) in the NFL?

God, just seeing the word football has me fiending something fierce. This is summer is last in my seasonal power rankings- training camp is the longest period of time ever. I just want some regular season action. Feed me Bengals-Colts on Thursday night. Anyway, top ten skill guys, non-QB.

  1. Healthy Rob Gronkowsi
  2. Antonio Brown
  3. Odell Beckham, Jr.
  4. Julio Jones
  5. Le’veon Bell
  6. A.J. Green
  7. Todd Gurley
  8. DeAndre Hopkins
  9. Travis Kelce
  10. David Johnson

Mr. Thoughtful asks: What’s a good first anniversary gift to give my girlfriend? She likes adventures and traveling but I have no money 😦

Ahh, the age old question. How to keep my significant other appeased despite the fact that I don’t have the necessary funds to shower them in lavish gifts? A true dilemma, if I’ve ever heard one. A love of adventures and traveling, you say? Hmmm. I think I know just the thing! How about a trip to lovely Reno, Nevada! It’s all some of the glitz and glamor of Las Vegas at half the price! It’s an adventure because you won’t know if you’ll get sick from the used needles on the side of the road or the extreme second-hand smoke inhalation, and it’s traveling because I’m assuming you’re a real person and don’t live in Nevada. It’s a win-win! Or, you could make a bunch of artistic renderings of the two of you in all the places you’d like to go and hide them throughout the house. She might appreciate the effort.

BlacktopGriffey asks: Who’s your top ten current MLB players?

A lot of lists this time, but I’m always game to give definitive player rankings that no one can possibly dispute. I’ll do top ten position players and top ten pitchers.

Position Players

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Mookie Betts
  3. Jose Ramirez
  4. Nolan Arenado
  5. J.D. Martinez
  6. Francisco Lindor
  7. Manny Machado
  8. Jose Altuve
  9. Aaron Judge
  10. Joey Votto

Pitchers

  1. Chris Sale
  2. Max Scherzer
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Jacob deGrom
  5. Justin Verlander
  6. Aaron Nola
  7. Gerrit Cole
  8. Corey Kluber
  9. Luis Severino
  10. Zack Greinke

Briansden69 asks: Remember when you went to the Denver Airport and became indoctrinated by the Illuminati? Whatever happe-

Well, I think that’ll about do it for this edition of the Burning Questions Mailbag. Always good to hear from readers and ease their troubled minds. I’ll keep my brain churning to come up with some more Burning Questions as long as you all do, too. Remember, if you have a question, I have the answer.