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NBA Meme Mania: 2016 Training Camp Edition

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2016

Original Photo: USA Today

Now that all 30 NBA teams are open for business, our license to meme has been reinstated.

Training camps continue to emit that new car smell, but there is still so much to poke fun at: roster vacancies, random media day quotes and observations, revamped contenders, new pretenders and the gradual extinction of the 2002 Western Conference All-Star team, among other stuff.

Please remember to check all sense of seriousness and distaste for corny snark at the door. You won't be needing them.

Brooklyn's New-Look Nets      

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It seems like forever ago that the 2013-14 Brooklyn Nets graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, generating plenty of title-contender buzz with their collection of stars, both past and present. Now, when you look deep enough down the roster, they incite, "Who that?"

A media-day picture featuring household names Chase Budinger and Yogi Ferrell made the rounds on Twitter, in large part thanks to sports superfan Lizz Robbins:

Fox Sports' Dan Carson took it one step further:

Dan Carson @TheDoctorCarson

Gee I sure hope no one does anything with this handy cutout of those Nets scrubs https://t.co/iCMpYYj9l9

Things got real from there:

Dan Carson @TheDoctorCarson

https://t.co/NrgpaiZbEu

Grant Goldberg @GrantGoldberg

https://t.co/HptZQ8DbPE

And here we were thinking the 2016-17 Nets, non-guaranteed contracts and all, would only provide entertainment for Boston Celtics fans.

D-Wade is Ready to Fire Away

Original Photo: Getty Images

Oh. Em. Gee. Dwyane Wade is ready to launch three-pointers, per Sean Highkin of the Athletic:

Sean Highkin @highkin

Wade: "One thing I'm getting used to is that three-point shot is going to be more open for me. So it's kind of like a new era for me."

This is significant because, well, Wade doesn't shoot threes. He has attempted 1,357 triples through 13 seasons. Stephen Curry has jacked more than that over the last two years (1,532). Wade has also only drilled 386 threebies for his career, which is 16 fewer than Curry put down in 2015-16 alone (402).

There's no way this ends badly for the Chicago Bulls.

Cleveland's Point Guard Dilemma

Original Photo: USA Today

Peeps with the best chance of replacing Mo Williams as the Cleveland Cavaliers' backup point guard, ranked:

  1. Moondog
  2. Mario Chalmers
  3. Kay Felder
  4. Kirk Hinrich
  5. Sir C.C.
  6. Kevin Love

Is This Photoshopped?

Original Photo: Getty Images

Fans of the NBA's 29 other teams hoped they were living a nightmare when the Golden State Warriors signed Kevin Durant. Well, here's your rude awakening at the start of training camp.

Durant is actually on the Warriors. Curry is actually his teammate. They took pictures together, wore the same uniforms and everything. 

This is not photoshopped. It is real life.

Well, OK, the speech bubbles were post-print (I think). Everything else is real.

When Kobe's Away...

Original Photo: Getty Images

...D'Angelo Russell will get a tattoo on his knee cap, apparently.

As a fellow amateur human coloring book, I can assure you neither the knee nor the elbow is a pleasant area to get inked. Russell has survived both spots.

This shows Kobe Bryant-level toughness and is therefore evidence he's a future Hall of Famer.

Is KAT Ready to Lead? 

INGLEWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 02:  NBA player Karl-Anthony Towns attends The Ultimate Fan Experience, Call Of Duty XP 2016 presented by Activision at The Forum on September 2, 2016 in Inglewood, California.  (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Activision)
Rich Polk/Getty Images

Original Photo: FurnitureFashion.com

With Kevin Garnett gone, the Minnesota Timberwolves are officially Karl-Anthony Towns' to lead. This is not a responsibility he'll take lightly, as you can see from the serious expression he wears while staring at a computer screen during a recent Call of Duty event.

And as you can tell from his totally real Google search history on that same computer, he will be thorough in his role as the unequivocal alpha, leaving no question unanswered.

Can You Say Super(disappointing)team?

Original Photo: Getty Images

Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal has the New York Knicks winning 37 games. Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com has them grabbing around 35. Last Vegas' Westgate Superbook has set their over/under at 38.5. 

But yeah, the Knicks are championship contenders.

2012 Was a Long Time Ago, Huh?

Original Photo: Getty Images

We've come a long way since the 2012 NBA Finals.

Instead of a visual like the one above, the Oklahoma City Thunder are treating us to pictures like this:

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - SEPTEMBER 23:  Nick Collison #4, Head Coach Billy Donovan, and Russell Westbrook #0, and Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder pose for a portrait during 2016 NBA Media Day on September 23, 2016 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena i
Layne Murdoch/Getty Images

At least Russell Westbrook still has Nick Collison, right?

Orlando Is Big, Man         

Original Photo: Getty Images

As of now, the Philadelphia 76ers have the most epically oversized depth chart in the NBA. The Orlando Magic, to their credit, edge out the Sacramento Kings for second place.

If Orlando wants to gain ground on Philadelphia, though, it'll need to test out Nikola Vucevic at point guard.

A New Dawn in Philly          

Original Photo: USA Today

Meet the 2016-17 Sixers, who have used training camp to show they're a lot more fun than the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 Sixers:

Derek Bodner @DerekBodnerNBA

Embiid: "If somebody teaches me the point guard position, I feel like I'd be able to (play it)."

Derek Bodner @DerekBodnerNBA

While walking away from the mic, Joel Embiid drops "trust the process", then exits the press conference.

Tom Moore @TomMoorePhilly

#Sixers Jahlil Okafor: 'We had so much fun out here today. We can't wait to start playing together.'

Rich Hofmann @rich_hofmann

Nerlens Noel goes to the line and Joel Embiid yells, "He's gonna miss both! He can't shoot!"

Philadelphia 76ers @sixers

J😳J😳 https://t.co/WHVh2DRAf3

If humor and optimism directly equated to wins, Philly would be playoff-bound. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee this fun-having team collects more victories than Brooklyn.

Spurs, Remade        

Original Photos: Getty Images

Reflection time.

The San Antonio Spurs have gone from starting LaMarcus Aldridge and Tim Duncan in the frontcourtwith Boris Diaw, Boban Marjanovic and David West as the main backupsto deploying a Pau Gasol-Aldridge tandem that will be spelled primarily by Dewayne Dedmon, David Lee and, in small-ball units, Kyle Anderson.

Correct: There will be times, during real games with actual stakes, that Dedmon and Lee share the floor for the Spurs.

So long, top-ranked pick-and-roll defense. It was nice knowing ya.*

*San Antonio will in all likelihood cobble together elite roll-man prevention while turning Dedmon and Lee into All-Defensive First Team candidates.

End of an Era

Original Photo: Getty Images

Out of all the 2002 Western Conference All-Stars, and Mo Williams, only Dirk Nowitzki and Elton Brand (non-guaranteed deal) remain.

Long live Dirk.

Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com unless otherwise cited. Salary information via Basketball Insiders.

Dan Favale covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @danfavale.

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