Craziest Storylines from the 2012 NBA Calendar Year

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2012

Craziest Storylines from the 2012 NBA Calendar Year

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    When it comes to the NBA, 2012 did not lack for intrigue. From LeBron James capturing his first NBA title to the emergence of young stars like Kyrie Irving, there have been countless storylines that captivated  audiences over the last 12 months.

    As the year draws to a close it's time to reflect on the year that was, although we'll be putting a different spin on things here.

    Here we will be recapping the NBA's craziest storylines over the last calendar year, so keep in mind that these will be some of the more bizarre controversies and occurrences from 2012.

8. Charlotte Bobcats' Epic Losing

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    2012 was not kind to the Charlotte Bobcats. After finishing with a record of 7-59 for the condensed 2011-12 season, it appeared as if Charlotte's fortunes would turn around, given that they were the favorites to land Anthony Davis in the NBA draft lottery.

    Alas, the Bobcats and their 25-percent chance did not emerge victorious in the Davis sweepstakes, and instead they settled for a consolation prize of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

    Now, with their most recent loss to the Miami Heat, the Charlotte Bobcats have entered the NBA record books once again.

    According to ESPN's Stats and Information department, the Bobcats are the setting all kinds of historical benchmarks for losing:

    (ELIAS) Bobcats: lost 16 straight; 1st team in NBA history with 3 different losing streaks of at least 16 games in same calendar year!

    — ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 27, 2012

7. Metta World Peace Elbows James Harden

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    No list involving the word "crazy" would be complete without an appearance from Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace.

    By now many may have forgotten, but World Peace threw a vicious elbow to the head of James Harden as the 2011-12 regular season drew to a close.

    Harden and the Oklahoma City Thunder would ultimately get revenge on World Peace and the Lakers, taking out their L.A. rivals in five games in the Western Conference semifinals.

    Harden would even get in an elbow of his own before all was said and done, but you can't exactly call this one purposeful.

6. Amar'e Takes out His Frustration After Loss to Heat

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    The New York Knicks are thriving this season, but the 2011-12 campaign was a different story for the boys from Gotham.

    Amar'e Stoudemire and the Knicks scrapped their way to a 36-30 record in a season that was on life support early, but revived by the phenomenon that became Linsanity.

    After losing Lin to a knee injury, the Knicks were thrown into the fire in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

    Going up against the Miami Heat, the Knicks were clearly overmatched, and Stoudemire took out his frustration in a unique way after losing Game 2 to LeBron James and company.

    Here's a brief recap of Stoudemire's rage, from Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News:

    The Knicks were beaten soundly, 104-94, to go down to the Heat, 2-0, in their opening-round playoff series. But the bigger story emerged soon after Stoudemire lacerated his left hand, losing a fight with a glass door housing a fire extinguisher. He left the arena in a sling.

    Ironically, the Knicks have been one of the Eastern Conference's best teams this season without Stoudemire, so it will be interesting to see if the talented big man inhibits their progress once he returns.

5. Bynum's Bowling Fiasco

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    2012 was a year of highs and lows for Andrew Bynum. After being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Philadelphia 76ers, it appeared as if things were looking up for the controversial center and his new team.

    Theoretically, Bynum was supposed to be the star of the show on a team in need of game-changer, giving the Sixers a potent inside-outside game.

    And, for the first time since the Allen Iverson era, it was believed that the Sixers would be one of the Eastern Conference's top five teams.

    Instead, Bynum's knees continued to give him fits, and the situation boiled over when it was reported that the seven-footer aggravated his knee injury after a night out bowling.

    If there's one thing Sixers fans are wishing for in 2013, it's a healthy Andrew Bynum. Without their big offseason acquisition on the floor, Doug Collins' team has looked particularly one-dimensional, relying heavily on long jumpers to get the job done.

4. Spurs Rest Starters

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    It's no secret that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich marches to the beat of his own drum.

    That's why it shouldn't have come as a tremendous shock when Popovich sent Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Danny Green home the day of the Spurs' highly anticipated showdown with the Miami Heat on November 29. 

    While it's wrong for anyone to tell Popovich how to run his own team, NBA commissioner David Stern felt it wasn't in the best interest of the league to let this act go unpunished.

    In a show of respect for the fans, Stern fined the Spurs $250,000 for sending their studs home.

    Ironically, the Spurs nearly toppled the Heat in Miami with a starting lineup consisting of Boris Diaw, Matt Bonner, Nando De Colo, Tiago Splitter and Patty Mills.

3. Lakers' Coaching Carousel

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    Once upon a time, the Los Angeles Lakers were favored to win the Western Conference with an unprecedented starting lineup that boasted Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard.

    Mike Brown was the man in charge of this collection of superstars, but alas, his 2012 season lasted a meager five games before the Lakers' front office pulled the plug on their leading man.

    Was the firing of Brown a panic move? Yes. Was it the appropriate decision? That's still to be determined.

    Trials and tribulations in Laker land will always viewed under an intense microscope, so it feels safe to say that Brown was not given a fair shake by the Lakers.

    Now, with Mike D'Antoni at the helm, things are getting better, albeit very slowly. D'Antoni now has the privilege of coaching a healthy Steve Nash, although his star center is still on the mend from offseason back surgery.

    D'Antoni's time in L.A. didn't get off to a rousing start either, as the Lakers sputtered with six losses in seven games to start the month of December.

    With an eventful 2012 coming to a close, 2013 should give us a more complete understanding of where this revamped Laker team sits in the Western Conference playoff picture.

2. Dwight Howard Saga

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    Dwight Howard had several memorable moments in 2012, but the interview fiasco involving former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy represented the tipping point for Howard.

    In a he-said, he-said drama, Van Gundy told the media that Howard wanted him fired, which provoked Howard to deny the rumors, all in the span of five minutes. (h/t ESPN)

    Howard quickly turned himself into public enemy No. 1 in the Association, going back and forth about his desire to be traded from the Magic with one year remaining on his contract.

    In trying to please everybody, Howard ultimately enraged Magic fans and wound up making a bizarre decision when he waived his early termination option and opted into the remainder of his contract with Orlando.

    When the 2011-12 season drew to a close it was clear the Magic wanted no part of Howard, as trade rumors involving several franchises (most notably, Brooklyn) cropped up throughout the summer.

    Then, in one swift move, the Magic dealt Howard to the Lakers in a blockbuster deal that changed the NBA landscape.

    Howard's time in L.A. has been brief, but that's not to say it hasn't been eventful. Through two months of the regular season Howard was been front and center in Laker land, where uncharacteristic losing and the firing of a head coach have raised serious doubts about the newly-formed super team.

1. Linsanity

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    He came, he saw but he didn't exactly conquer. Jeremy Lin's tenure in New York was short, but it was enough to re-energize a Knicks franchise that was fading into basketball purgatory.

    We're nearly a year removed from the start of the Linsanity phenomenon, and although it was fun while it lasted, it's hard not to think that Lin's emergence wasn't blown severely out of proportion.

    Any major NBA event that occurs in New York is going to be given exponentially more attention, and it just so happens that Lin came around at a time when the Knicks were in need of a savior.

    Despite playing in just 35 games, Lin attracted significantly more attention to the NBA at a time when the league was keen on expanding its presence internationally.

    While Lin's play in Houston has been average to this point (11.9 points, 6.2 assists per game, 14.46 PER), he still has plenty of time to evolve into a solid NBA combo-guard, boosted by a narrative unlike any we've seen before.