Say goodbye to the NBA's 2015-16 regular season. And then say hello to the ultimate pre-playoff troll job.
In this latest edition of Meme Mania, we'll be making shirts for each team. These tees will be purposely snarky. Some squads will poke fun at themselves, while others take shots at certain foes.
Fans of specific teams must check their loyalties at our imaginary red velvet rope. There will be no taking yourself or your rooting interests too seriously here. These shirts were made for fun, in the spirit of sarcasm and love.
But mostly sarcasm.
A semi-healthy DeMarre Carroll led the Atlanta Hawks in postseason win shares last year. This time around they have Kent Bazemore instead of Carroll.
What could possibly go wrong?
Let's assume the Minnesota Timberwolves hand Rookie of the Year lock Karl-Anthony Towns a super max extension when he's first eligible in 2018. And then let's assume he has a built-in player option after the fourth year of that five-season pact.
Using this logic, Towns will hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in 2023. The Boston Celtics already poached a Hall of Fame-bound big man from Minnesota in Kevin Garnett, albeit via trade. What's one more?
The Brooklyn Nets don't control the rights to their first-round pick until 2019. This year specifically, they'll be sending top-three lottery odds to Boston—all because Celtics president Danny Ainge was able to pawn off the basketball corpses of Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry onto the Nets.
It's safe to say he shouldn't walk down any dark—or, for that matter, well-lit—streets in Brooklyn.
Last summer, ESPN.com's Zach Lowe, then of Grantland, heard that pending free agent Nicolas Batum had a soft spot for the Toronto Raptors. Batum himself shot that notion down—rather stylishly, I might add:
Like most teams, the Raptors will have tons of cap space, though they already have Carroll and DeMar DeRozan as wings. But general manager Masai Ujiri operates with pure magic when it comes to personnel matters. And if the Raptors strictly use Batum as a small-ball 4 or cut bait with free agent DeRozan, the Batum Blueprint makes a ton of sense.
The Hornets will have competition.
"Gotta risk it to get the biscuit!" Jimmy Butler said of potentially re-injuring himself after returning to the Chicago Bulls lineup in March, per CSN Chicago's Vincent Goodwill.
The biscuit in this instance was a low-seeded playoff berth. And the Bulls didn't get it. Because their entire season, much like this shirt's logic, didn't make any sense.
LeBron James has absolute power over the Cleveland Cavaliers, so it's like his teammates, coach, general manager and owner are all attached to strings that he's controlling.
If you don't, hit up David Blatt on AOL Instant Messenger (FighterPilot675). He'll explain it to you.
No Chandler Parsons means no first-round victory for the Dallas Mavericks.
If it helps, the Mavericks, who haven't sniffed the second round since 2011, wouldn't have advanced past the Oklahoma City Thunder even if he were healthy.
Mike Malone went from coaching the perpetually awful Sacramento Kings to guiding the Denver Nuggets, one of the NBA's most promising rebuilding squads. And it's all because the Kings fired him.
Maybe he actually owes them a hearty "thank you."
I'm not going to say that's an absolutely, positively, unequivocally terrible look for Drummond. But that's only because the numbers do it for me.
Golden State Warriors
You better believe the Golden State Warriors have earned the right to troll rather than be trolled after breaking the NBA's regular-season wins record.
As head coach Steve Kerr said afterward, per the New York Times' Scott Cacciola, "I just told our guys I never in a million years would have guessed that that record would ever be broken. ... But I will say the same thing now that I said 20 years ago: I don't think this one will ever be broken. Somebody's got to go 74-8. I don't see it, and I hope our fans aren't expecting that next year."
Kerr is mostly right. But he should probably wait to make sure the Warriors don't sign LeBron to a veteran's minimum contract over the summer before commenting on fan expectations.
James Harden now owns the record for most turnovers committed in a single season with 374. His turnover percentage (15.9) isn't even close to the worst in league history, so there's that. But this is nevertheless a record Harden shouldn't want to hold for long.
The Indiana Pacers' two leading scorers, Monta Ellis and Paul George, both posted effective field-goal percentages—cumulative measurement of two-point and three-point accuracy—below the league average of 50.2.
Let's just say some bricks were laid in Indy this season.
Los Angeles Clippers
Should the Los Angeles Clippers win their first-round playoff date with the Portland Trail Blazers, they will, in all likelihood, square off against the best-ever Warriors. And if they beat them without using hand-to-hand combat and cheap shots to settle their differences, this troll-ific T-shirt will be rendered pointless.
Related: There's a good-to-great-to-airtight chance this tee stays relevant.
Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant's final NBA game was spent chucking up 50 shots and scoring 60 points en route to leading the worst Los Angeles Lakers team in franchise history to victory.
Hollywood bigwigs couldn't have scripted a more suitable ending to Kobe's career if they got drunk off apple pie moonshine and then tried to write the most absurd conclusion ever.
My apologies to Memphis Grizzlies fans. This isn't cool.
It's most definitely accurate, but not cool.
Remember when Draymond Green and Hassan Whiteside exchanged Twitter jabs last summer over the Association's small-ball movement?
Well, Whiteside isn't exactly getting the last laugh, as Green remains an undersized superhero. Whiteside is, however, one of the most valuable players for an Eastern Conference contender.
Big is still in.
Trading Brandon Knight and bringing in Michael Carter-Williams was a mistake. So too was signing Greg Monroe. The Milwaukee Bucks don't just know this; they plan to try remedying it.
According to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times, the Bucks will cop to at least one of their gaffes and look to trade Monroe elsewhere over the summer.
Here is the list of NBA rookies to ever average at least 18 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 54 percent or better from the floor:
- Tim Duncan
- Shaquille O'Neal
- Karl-Anthony Towns
So no, the Timberwolves do not miss Kevin Love.
New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans went from being a projected playoff mover and shaker to a 30-win nightmare with the sixth-best lottery odds. That'll happen when you lose more games to injury than any other team, per ManGamesLost.com.
The good news? So long as the Pelicans have Anthony Davis, who missed 21 contests himself this season, they have the foundation for a quick turnaround.
The bad news? Omer Asik has four years and nearly $44 million left on his contract.
New York Knicks
Consider this from Newsday's Al Iannazzone:
Same, Melo. Same.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The San Antonio Spurs are expected to "explore ways of adding Durant to the mix" in free agency, according to The Vertical's Chris Mannix.
And yes, Thunder fans, that should concern you.
On a logistical level, hopefully the Magic are above reciprocating interest in a player they have no business paying.
"Bryan Colangelo is far more likely to turn around the Philadelphia 76ers than Sam Hinkie ever was."
Said no one ever.
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver had some not-so-nice things to say* about millennials back in January. Some of his words were blown out of proportion or taken out of context. But he clearly doesn't trust the generation of players that will be responsible for carrying his downtrodden franchise out of ruin.
This rebuild in Phoenix should totally end well.
*Note: The quote on the above shirt is not one of those things...that we know of.
Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are fantastic. But the upstart Portland Trail Blazers need another scorer badly.
"The Blazers don't have that luxury," Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal wrote. "Lillard and C.J. McCollum make for a killer one-two punch, but they don't have a reliable third scorer to help them survive close games. No team in the Western Conference had a No. 3 scorer average as few points as Allen Crabbe did in Portland (10.3)."
After less than two seasons on the job, George Karl's time in Sacramento is over. The Kings officially announced his dismissal Thursday.
Karl may not have been the right fit for this uneven Kings team, but management's approach to rebuilding and competing continues to make no sense. It's like they think winning games is overrated.
San Antonio Spurs
We always knew Tim Duncan was old, but this season, particularly the last few weeks, were eye-opening in the worst way possible.
If and when the Spurs meet the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, Duncan goes from defensive anchor to a liability, because he cannot keep pace with smaller, quicker units.
Times done changed. And those differences are for the better. But this sucks.
When the Toronto Raptors selected Bruno Caboclo, the "Brazilian Kevin Durant," with the 20th overall pick in 2014, ESPN's Fran Fraschilla estimated that he was "two years away from being two years away."
It's almost two years later, so by Fraschilla's timeline, we're just two more years away from Caboclo's world takeover. Stay woke, y'all.
This was supposed to be the season the Utah Jazz ended their playoff drought. They didn't. But that's just fine.
After all, 2012 wasn't that long ago. LeBron has only been named MVP once since then.
It takes a special kind of meltdown for a perceived favorite in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes to plummet completely out of the common-sense running. Kudos to the Washington Wizards for getting that done.
And hey! Now they're free to offer, um, Chandler Parsons a max deal instead. #Silverlinings
Dan Favale covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @danfavale.