It’s time to preview the Western Conference the best way possible; using song lyrics. The countdown is from the worst to best. I think the Western Conference is really three tiers. I think, based on injuries, luck, etc., the teams we ranked 10-15 could end up anywhere in that range at seasons end, as well as teams 5-9, and obviously, teams 1-4. Graham will be using the same format to breakdown the Eastern Conference tomorrow.
Do You Realize – The Flaming Lips
“Do you realize we're floating in space… life goes fast, it's hard to make the good things last.”
We start off with an Oklahoma band singing to an Oklahoma City NBA team. Teams really are just floating in space, aren’t they? If the Seattle Sonics can be in Oklahoma City faster than you can say Venti Mocha Frappuccino, then yes, life does go fast.
Run – Collective Soul
“Now, in this world of purchase, I’m going to buy back memories to awaken some old qualities. Have I got a long way to run? Yeah, I run.”
To the Memphis Grizzlies, who’ve reminded everyone of the Vancouver Grizzlies over the last two seasons. At least now they have a young, identifiable core in place (Rudy Gay, Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo). Have they got a long way to run? Sure, but they’ll run. Maybe they won’t do much else, but they’ll run.
It Never Rains in Southern California – Albert Hammond
“Out of work, I'm out of my head, out of self respect, I'm out of bread, I wanna go home…It never rains in California…it pours, man it pours.”
Sure, the Golden State Warriors aren’t in Southern California, but it’s close enough for me. This is for Don Nelson who most likely will be out of work and back at home in Hawaii next year. It hasn’t just rained in Golden State since their remarkable playoff run 2 years ago, it’s poured. Baron Davis leaves, Monta Ellis injures himself on a moped and a losing season comes next.
This Time Tomorrow – The Kinks
“This time tomorrow where will we be…This time tomorrow, what will we know…I don’t know where I’m going, I don’t want to see.”
To the Sacramento Kings, who have no direction. Can you really build around Kevin Martin, Francisco Garcia, Spencer Hawes and Jason Thompson? Those are 4 out of their last 5 1st round draft picks. Sure, Martin is a scorer, but Garcia has proven to be role player, and the other two centers have more bust-potential than anything else. At least they have Brad Miller for veteran leadership. By veteran leadership, I mean, pineapple express.
Do the Panic – Phantom Planet
“This place is turning upside down and shaking all of our change out… And I don't like this party or the sound of people walking across you when you're down.”
To the poor Clippers. They’ve managed to screw up every good player they’ve ever had. They looked primed for numerous playoff runs with Elton Brand, Corey Maggette, Lamar Odom and Andre Miller and couldn’t make that work. This offseason, they decide that they can reload with Brand and Baron Davis, only to have Brand jump ship. The funny thing is that they got Marcus Camby for next to nothing, and I still don’t think it helps this team.
Mr. Writer – Stereophonics
“You've just enough, in my own view, education to perform.”
To the Minnesota Timberwolves, who’ve assembled a roster with just enough talent to perform. Other than Al Jefferson, this team contains average starter/high-quality role players that will eventually lead this team to several consecutive first-round playoff exits. Seriously, how much different are these two teams: Al Jefferson, Kevin Love, Mike Miller, Corey Brewer and Randy Foye vs. Pau Gasol, Shane Battier, Mike Miller, James Posey and Jason Williams
Kids - MGMT
“Decisions are made and not bought, but I thought this wouldn't hurt a lot. I guess not"
To the Denver Nuggets, who thought shipping Marcus Camby off to save money wouldn’t hurt this team a lot. All Camby did for the Nuggets for the last 2 seasons is play in 70+ games each year and average about 34 minutes, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks a game. It’s not like the Nuggets were that good with Camby. They’ll tread water for a half season before the Iverson sweepstakes begin.
The Pretender – Foo Fighters
“I’m the hand that’ll take you down, bring you to your knees. So who are you?”
To the Portland Trail Blazers, who have to feel pretty good about the roster they’ve assembled. Seriously, Portland fans couldn’t have gotten any luckier than adding Greg Oden, Rudy Fernandez and Jarryd Bayless to a roster with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. I’m scared of this team.
See These Bones – Nada Surf
“Try as they might, no one's immune to misfiring and acting on the wrong clues and thinkin' it's time to redo and redo.”
To the Dallas Mavericks, who haven’t been immune to misfiring several times now. They let Steve Nash walk and then use the money on Erick Dampier. They trade for a semi-raw prospect in Devin Harris only to exchange him for an aging Jason Kidd right about the time Harris gets good. Can’t the Mavs just blow this whole thing up and start over? It’s time to redo the redo.
Your English is Good - Tokyo Police Club
"'Cuz you don’t need to change. Your future is with us. You don’t need to change. Your future is with us."
To the Phoenix Suns front office, who had no reason to change out Shawn Marion for Shaquille O’Neal and Mike D’Antoni for Terry Porter. That was their future. Good luck trying to win with a 36- and 37-year-old Shaq. The Suns have managed to sandwich two good decisions (draft Amare Stoudemire, sign Steve Nash) around numerous boneheaded moves. This team was a title contender two years ago. Now they’re stuck in the 45 win range until they can find some cap relief and start rebuilding around Stoudemire.
Modern Guilt – Beck
"Modern guilt is all in our hands ...Don't know what I've done but I feel afraid"
To the Houston Rockets, who continue to think that Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady can win a title if they just tweak the roster each offseason. We’ll they’ve done it now. They’ve taken the “chemistry is important” blueprint and flushed it down the toilet by adding Ron Artest. Seriously, Artest combined with uber-nice guys Brent Barry and Shane Battier? I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I feel afraid.
Pork and Beans – Weezer
“They say I need some Rogaine to put in my hair.”
To the San Antonio Spurs and their roster with the average age of about 42.37. And this lyric goes to Manu Ginobili especially, who really does need some Rogaine. The Spurs have one more legitimate title run in them. It’s this year and then they’re done. They haven’t positioned themselves for life after Tim Duncan. Of the 14 draft picks the Spurs have had in the last 7 years, only 2 are on their roster. Way to think ahead!
I Believe in Symmetry – Bright Eyes
“And so I raise my glass to symmetry, to the second hand and its accuracy, to the actual size of everything.”
To the Utah Jazz, whose current run with Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer looks perfectly symmetrical to that of the former Jazz duo of John Stockton and Karl Malone. Of course, Boozer might bolt the Jazz after saying he wants to stay, just like he did to the Cleveland Cavs a few years ago. I think my point it that there is a lot of symmetry with this team, one way or another. Regardless, they’re loaded. Their last two playoff exits have been to the NBA Champion Spurs and Western Conference Champion Lakers. They’ll be good again, but will they be good enough?
Hard Road – Sam Roberts Band
“Got lost on my way but you found the road again. Stay true to your friends cause they'll save you in the end.”
To the New Orleans Hornets, who stayed true to the city of New Orleans after Katrina and now have the basketball gods on their sides. Seriously, the best two explanations for sports karma can be found in the New England Patriots (bad sports karma) and the New Orleans Hornets (good sports karma). What I’m trying to say is, I think I’ve had too much pineapple express, er, I mean, I expect the Hornets to do extremely well again this year. They’ve caught a lot of breaks to get to this point (landing Tyson Chandler, Chris Paul falling to them in the draft, Peja staying healthy, etc.) and I refuse to think they won’t catch a few more this year.
I Love L.A. – Randy Newman
“Everybody's very happy, 'Cause the sun is shining all the time. Looks like another perfect day.”
To the Los Angeles Lakers, where all their fans are happy with the Bryant, Gasol and Bynum trio that should be dominant this year. The team already made the Finals last year without Bynum and with Gasol only being in Los Angeles for half a year. There’s no reason to think that it won’t be another perfect season for the Lakers this year. I hate L.A.