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
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:
Things got real from there:
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
Oh. Em. Gee. Dwyane Wade is ready to launch three-pointers, per Sean Highkin of the Athletic:
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
Peeps with the best chance of replacing Mo Williams as the Cleveland Cavaliers' backup point guard, ranked:
- Mario Chalmers
- Kay Felder
- Kirk Hinrich
- Sir C.C.
- Kevin Love
Is This Photoshopped?
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...
...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?
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?
But yeah, the Knicks are championship contenders.
2012 Was a Long Time Ago, Huh?
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:
At least Russell Westbrook still has Nick Collison, right?
Orlando Is Big, Man
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
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:
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.
The San Antonio Spurs have gone from starting LaMarcus Aldridge and Tim Duncan in the frontcourt—with Boris Diaw, Boban Marjanovic and David West as the main backups—to 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
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.
Dan Favale covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @danfavale.