The 2020-21 NBA season will commence tonight as the Golden State Warriors take on the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers will begin their title defense against their crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers. It has been only 72 days since last season ended in Game 6 of the 2020 NBA Finals.
As a sports blog, we are contractually obligated to boldly predict the future of this season and what might occur over the impending 72-game season. So here you go. A handful of daring, intrepid, and brave predictions for what will be a strange basketball season.
James Harden Throws Soup on Stephen Silas
James Harden desperately wants out of Houston. This is no secret. He refuses to answer questions about the situation in press conferences and earlier today it was reported he had a bit of a meltdown in practice and threw a basketball at a rookie. He missed, and there's a chance it was an overtly aggressive pass that was lost in translation, but things are not good.
When a player wants to be traded but the team refuses to immediately accommodate them, there are a few avenues to take. Harden could sit tight, play at a reasonable level, and patiently wait. He could get mysteriously "injured" and sit out every game. Or he could pull a J.R. Smith and throw soup on his coach, forcing said coach to send him home because of conduct detrimental to the team. It worked out great for Smith, who didn't play a single game after the soup incident for the Cavaliers that season and was eventually released. I'm betting on that option. Harden will throw soup on Stephen Silas to force his hand at some point early in the season. The only question is what kind of soup.
Kawhi Leonard Releases New Balance Pants With Extra-Big Pockets
Part of the reason Kawhi Leonard is so good is because his hands are inhumanly large. He talked about it on Jimmy Kimmel's show last week. In fact, he specifically said sometimes he can't fit his hands in his pockets because they're so big. Putting aside how utterly alien that concept is to 99.99 percent of the human population, it's a great branding opportunity for New Balance. Leonard is far and away their most famous spokesperson. The company should be catering to his needs. And he went on national television to say he is inconvenienced by small pockets. Enter the hottest new item on the market: New Balance Sports Pants With Extra-Big Pockets. Who wouldn't want bigger pockets? Maybe it's not a million-dollar idea, but it's at least worth a few hundred thousand. I look forward to my check in the mail.
LeBron James Takes Every Tuesday Off to Make Tacos
LeBron James loves tacos. He is also going to be resting far more than normal in the regular season this year thanks to the abbreviated offseason. We don't know that for sure, but it is extremely likely. James will probably want a regular rest schedule, and 2020 playoff teams are allowed to sit their players simply for the sake of rest as long as it's not a national TV game. So for every Tuesday game the Lakers aren't on TNT, LeBron will take the day off to spend an entire afternoon preparing tacos for his Taco Tuesday feast with his family.
Kyrie Irving Lights Something on Fire With His Pregame Sage
There was much ado about Kyrie Irving's decision to light sage and walk around TD Garden burning it ahead of the Celtics-Nets preseason game last Friday. Irving says the act is to honor his Native American heritage and he plans to do it all season as long as he has permission. It also continues to perpetuate the view that he's a weird dude. In any case, him walking around with a burning stick (Cylinder? Sage roll? I don't really know what to call it) is bound to backfire at some point. Irving is a coordinated man, so he won't just drop it, but all it takes is one rogue basketball flying off the rim to knock the sage out of his hand and onto the scorer's table or whatever and something goes up in flames. It will be blogger's paradise, and that's why I'm speaking it into existence.
Michael Porter Jr. and Dwight Howard Are Forced to Get the Coronavirus Vaccine By Their Teammates
If all goes well, the coronavirus vaccine will be available to the general public, and therefore professional athletes, before the NBA season is over. Knock on wood and all that, it's obviously amazing news for literally everyone. Everyone except people who don't believe in the power of vaccines, commonly known as anti-vaxxers. During the Orlando bubble, it came to light that two NBA players are also members of that particular group: Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. and then-Lakers, now-Sixers center Dwight Howard.
When asked, Adam Silver said the league would not force any of its employees to get the vaccine. Howard and Porter Jr. are allowed their freedom of thought, and The Big Lead is not where any of you are coming to read about the pros and cons of such a belief. However, I will say that while it is entirely their prerogative to refuse the vaccine, their teammates will probably feel much differently! Just as any of us might in a similar situation. So if those two refuse the vaccine, I boldly predict their teammates will have a quiet word with them about how that impacts the season going forward, and they'll eventually get the vaccine. Or they'll get locked in their house like DeAndre Jordan in Dallas until a doctor comes to administrate it.
The Ball Family and the Jordan Family Play Five-on-Five During All-Star Weekend
LaMelo Ball was the latest and last member of the Ball family to get drafted. He was selected by the Charlotte Hornets No. 3 overall in this year's draft. The Hornets, of course, are owned by one Michael Jordan. The same Michael Jordan that LaVar Ball promised to beat in a game of one-on-one. Now that LaVar will be around the Hornets' facility a lot, it goes to reason that we might actually get the one-on-one matchup that LaVar promised.
Coincidentally, All-Star weekend won't be happening this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. But the NBA doesn't have to waste the week-long break with no marketing. There's an easy solution staring them right in the face: a five-on-five matchup between the Ball family and the Jordan family for bragging rights that will last until the heat death of the Earth. Both families can field a starting lineup; LaVar with his three sons (Lonzo, LiAngelo, and LaMelo) along with his wife, Tina, then Jordan with his three oldest kids (Jeffery, Marcus, and Jasmine) and either his current wife, Yvette, or his ex-wife, Juanita. That's a marquee event!
Someone Fights Jimmy Butler Over Coffee Prices
Jimmy Butler gained some notoriety in the bubble because of his coffee business, coined Big Face Coffee. In interviews about his passion for making coffee and the mini-business he started in the bubble, Butler revealed he charges $20 for every cup of coffee (regardless of size) and gives no one a discount. Not even his teammates.
Twenty bucks for a coffee? I'm outraged by that, and I don't work with Butler. Someone is going to have a bad day, ask for a discount, get refused, and get upset. You can't gouge customers like that without expecting some kind of fallout, Jimmy!