NBA media day is what you'd get if a trade show, speed dating and a self-actualization seminar mashed themselves together and blasted out every second of the results on Twitter. But it's also the first chance most fans get to see their favorite teams and players ahead of the upcoming season.
And that's exciting.
Questions about starting lineups get answered. New uniforms get their first round of praise or criticism. Hairstyles delight and mortify the public.
There's a lot going on, so try to keep up.
It's easy to get cynical about media day. At root, it's largely about pitching a product and selling thirsty fans on optimism they shouldn't necessarily buy. Not everybody is a playoff contender, and not everybody is in the best shape of his career, but that's pretty much all you hear on days like Monday.
Still, there was one thing that even the prickliest cynic couldn't roll his eyes at during media day: Paul George, he of the horrendous offseason injury, showing up and standing up.
That's fantastic, no matter how you feel about the Indiana Pacers. Don't expect PG to see the floor this year, but do feel free to give in to the good vibes you're experiencing right now.
You know what else is good? Physical fitness.
Anthony Bennett and Shabazz Muhammad got after it this summer, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have to be ecstatic about that.
Derrick Rose is supposedly fit, but in yet another "nothing to see here" moment, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau cautioned everyone about judging Rose before he hits the floor regularly:
And the New York Knicks should be similarly enthused that Carmelo Anthony sought out advice on the upcoming season from some of the greats:
If Melo takes a few sips from that bottle, he could reach a new, frightening level of offensive production this season. And while it's great that Anthony is humble enough to accept input, don't worry about his overall confidence level.
Turns out it's still pretty high:
Presented without comment:
OK, presented with brief comment. I wasn't sure it was possible for Steven Adams to become even more likable. He is already sneakily skilled, immune to elbows and one of the orneriest instigators in the game. Now we have that 'stache.
This man is a hero.
As is Lance Stephenson, for giving the most Lance Stephenson response imaginable when asked what he'd do in a potential matchup with his new boss:
Born Ready is his authentic self at all times. Strongly approve.
Also unable to hide his true feelings: Rajon Rondo, slinged-up because of his broken hand and failing miserably at selling his happiness in Boston:
This is going to end badly, but it created one of the better media day moments.
Another came from Los Angeles Lakers rookie Julius Randle, whose comment signaled two positives in Los Angeles:
First, Kobe Bryant is raring to go. Second, Randle, just a rookie, has already learned to never say a cross word about the Mamba. He knows where his bread's buttered.
And he need look no further than Mike D'Antoni to see how clashing with Bryant can lead to discord in Lakerland.
We all knew the Indiana Pacers would struggle without George and Stephenson, but there's just something about seeing their replacements, Rodney Stuckey and C.J. Miles, that drives home the sads.
These two are established NBA players who can help a team in the right (read: very, very limited) situation. As starting wings on a club that has made the Eastern Conference Finals two years running, they're kind of a bummer.
Buckle up, Indy fans. Or don't, actually. Get out of the car altogether. It's headed for a cliff this year.
Dwight Howard is the same:
James Harden says he'll be different:
We shall see...
Get a good look at Alexey Shved's Philadelphia 76ers jersey because you may never see anything like this again.
Not just because you're unlikely to glimpse another No. 88 in the NBA, but also because you probably won't see a Sixers game on national TV all season.
You'll likely see the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs, making Vince Carter's new jersey less of a rarity than Shved's. But on a day filled with players donning new uniforms, I'm not sure anybody's felt stranger than Vinsanity's.
Does not compute.
What also doesn't compute: billionaires and executives beefing. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey have been sniping at one another's organizations lately, and media day provided another opportunity for them to take shots.
Cool it, fellas. This is supposed to be about the players.
Closing out the weirdness, we have J.J. Redick opining on the miracle of child birth:
This is weird, but it's not inaccurate. Babies really do look like aliens.
The Odds and Ends
Media day isn't just about hearing everyone's inflated expectations and/or boasts about being in the best shape of their lives. It's also about witnessing a few crimes against humanity...or fashion anyway.
I think we'd all like to see Victor Oladipo take a step forward this season. But first, he needs to take a step back. Into the locker room. Where he should set that sleeved abomination on fire.
Oladipo still broke even on the day because of this shot:
Note that this happened before he put on that awful getup. Not a coincidence.
And while it might seem arbitrary to praise Adams' killer whiskers while calling out Martell Webster for this nonsense, well...it is arbitrary. But I just don't understand this one:
Disregard the preceding comment. Marcin Gortat cleared everything up:
Makes perfect sense now.
And finally, Mo Williams is awarded 10,000 honesty points:
On a day filled with inflated hopes and a whole lot of over-the-top bluster, this feels like an appropriately ironic place to end.