NBA Opening Night RTOE

Oct 13, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Mario Hezonja (23) looks on against the Miami Heat during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Miami Heat 95-92 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Mario Hezonja (23) looks on against the Miami Heat during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Miami Heat 95-92 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oct 13, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Mario Hezonja (23) looks on against the Miami Heat during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Miami Heat 95-92 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2015; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando Magic forward Mario Hezonja (23) looks on against the Miami Heat during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated the Miami Heat 95-92 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s NBA Opening Night. Basketball is back. Let’s get it. 

What was your favorite play from Preseason? 

Wes Goldberg (@wcgoldberg): Giannis Antetokounmpo somehow made the basketball go through the hoop with his hands on this play.

I’ve watched this on loop a bazillion times and I’m still not sure how it happened. This guy just breaks basketball physics on a routine basis.

Zach Oliver (@ZachOliverNBA): Well, there’s been a lot of really good moments this preseason. Larry Nance Jr. murdering Festus Ezili is up there, my pick is something that was just ridiculous. Apparently Mario Hezonja and Aaron Gordon don’t really care about actual passing, as is evident by the bounce pass Hezonja tossed to Gordon for the oop on the break. It’s fun, preseason wasn’t for the Magic, so this is my favorite.  

Donnie Kolakowski (@donniebuckets): For me, the preseason is all about someone making a name for themselves that probably wouldn’t get that chance otherwise. Someone making people jump out of their seats and say WHO WAS THAT? Enter Richaun Holmes.

{Ed. note: Smh, classic MAC bias from Donnie}

Brian Beebe (@bbeebe) The Steph Curry high-five mid-splashdown is something that is straight out of NBA Live ‘95 and is simply awesome.

Ryne Prinz (@ryneprinz): Mario Hezonja BOUNCED an alley-oop … with Scott Skiles as his coach … in a game.

Granted, it was the preseason, BUT STILL. Super Mario had the audacity to try this, and he pulled it off.

Ian Dougherty (@IanDougherty): Truthfully, I think the Hezonja’s bounce-oop to Gordon is easily the best play of the preseason. But, Zach already included a vine of that. So, here’s a clip of the San Antonio Spurs’ sharp passing from a preseason game versus the Rockets.

Taylor Smith (@TaylorBojangles): It’s the Hezonja-Gordon bounce-oop, but since it hasn’t been mentioned yet, I’ll give the Ryan Kelly near walk-off jam against Portland the nod. If there’s anything that screams “PRESEASON” more than this play, I don’t know what it is:

Jack Maloney (@jackhaveitall): The correct answer here is Larry Nance Jr.’s jam on Festus Ezeli. BOOMSHAKALAKA.

Which hairstyle is more fire: Jeremy Lin’s right now, or young Kristaps’ cornrows?

Wes G: Cornrows  shmornrows, the dude doesn’t even have them anymore which says enough about how overdone they are. Look, cornrows are dead. They just are. They are the acid wash of jeans. Much cooler in the 90s. Meanwhile, Jeremy Lin is bringing China to the NBA with a hairstyle so Asian he has to wash it with duck sauce. Lin’s hair is modern, daring and sexy. And he looks dope in the Hornets uniform.

Zach: I tend to agree with what Wes said. Cornrows might’ve been fire back in the day, but this is 2015, not 2001. I’ll take the fun, different stuff that Jeremy Lin keeps coming up with is awesome, and, I think he should just do every hairstyle possible.

Donnie: Jeremy Lin in a runaway. No disrespect to young Kristaps, but Lin’s hair is glorious. The fact that he seems to enjoy it so much makes it even better.

Brian: The answer is LIn, only because if we posted pictures of every mistake that we made in our mid teens, there would be pictures of guys in brown glasses, braces and bad haircuts everywhere. Wait, is that just me? No, can’t just be me. Right? Right? Let’s just move on.

Ryne: Although I take offense to Wes’ slander of cornrows, I agree that Lin is the answer. Lin has the versatility to go with the bowl cut, spiked look or really anything. Maybe he will break out the cornrows. I know I’m crossing my fingers.

Ian: Y’all have to stop hating on Young Kristaps. Cornrows were absolute fire at the point in time that he rocked them. Plus, when explaining why he chose to wear his hair that way, he said that girls loved it. That’s an upgrade over Jeremy Lin getting love from nerdy blogger types like us.

Taylor: Lin with the spikes trumps Porzingis once having cornrows on the “Whoa, really?” scale, so I’ll go with Jeremy. I don’t have any clue what he’s going for here, but I support him in his strange decision.

Jack: *100 emoji* percent Kristaps’ cornrows. Also, Wes, how dare you say cornrows are dead when Kawhi is out here prospering with them.

Make a bold prediction for the season.

Wes G: The Orlando Magic will quietly be one of the more fun teams to watch this season. A lineup of Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo, Mario Hezonja, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic will be able to get up, and everyone in that lineup is an average-to-good passer, which means lots of alley oops, assists and ball movement.

Zach: I’ve been on this one for a while, but I think the Miami Heat win the Eastern Conference. I like their depth, and getting Chris Bosh, along with Josh McRoberts back, will be big. Their three-point shooting is worrisome, but I think they’ll be able to be, at the least, league average there. Plus, Erik Spoelstra is a heck of a coach who deserves a lot more props for what he’s done.

Donnie: Boston ends the season with two top 10 picks and a playoff berth. Brooklyn is going to be awful, and could easily fall in the bottom 10 in the league with a few injuries. Dallas is projected to fight for a playoff spot, but has so many injury concerns and is already relying on JaVale McGee. If Dirk slips at all, the Mavericks could find themselves in a terrible spot–bad enough to be in the bottom 10, but good enough to avoid keeping the protection (1-7) on the pick. Meanwhile, Boston, with roster continuity, a couple key additions, and a great coach, could return to the playoffs as well. Celtics fans will be loving the future after this year is over.

Brian: Bold prediction? In plain font? During the previous 10 years, the tightest, from top to bottom, the 8 playoff teams’ regular season records have been was in 2006-07, when the one seed PIstons and 8 seed Magic were separated by 13 games. This year, the Eastern Conference playoff teams will be tighter than that. Bold AND Zesty prediction? I’m saying either the Knicks, Pistons or Magic get the 8 seed and take on the Heat in a first round throwdown.

Ryne: Oh, you want bold? Well, I’ve got just what you need. John Wall wins MVP. He’s already said that he wants to do it. Let’s break it down. First, the Wizards are more than capable of finishing in the two top spots in the East. Maybe Atlanta doesn’t reach 60 wins again. Cleveland is without Kyrie for a portion of the season. Chicago is also battling injuries. Wall is the best player and the leader of this team. He creates shots constantly for the Wiz — his assist percentage was 46.3, per Basketball Reference. He’s one of the best defensive point guards in the NBA. John Wall is the motor that keeps this team going.

Ian: You may think of this as more “borderline crazy” than “bold”, but here goes: Kobe Bryant stays healthy and makes an All-NBA Team, leading the Los Angeles Lakers into the battle for the 8th seed in the West. Though it is mismatched, the Lakers’ aren’t given enough credit for their collective talent. He has a (well-earned) reputation for being prickly with teammates, but Bryant can be an effective leader for this team. Many just assume that Kobe will go back to being the volume-chucker of old, but with a nearing expiration date on his career, combined with LA’s young talent, I sense he’ll trust his teammates more. He’ll still get his shots up, but with an increased efficiency for both himself and for the squad overall.

Taylor: Andre Drummond will make First Team All-NBA. I’m already aboard the Pistons’ bandwagon this season, so why not take it to the next level? Drummond will finally have the paint all to himself with both Greg Monroe and Josh Smith nowhere to be found, and he’s already looked like a soul-crushing monster during the preseason (I know, preseason, but still). He’s got some stiff competition for that First Team center spot, but this is the year Drummond springs onto the national radar, big time.

Jack: KAANNNNNGGGGZZZZZZZZ. I’m all in on the Kings. Rajon Rondo makes the All-Star Team, Boogie Cousins wins the MVP, and the Kings go to the playoffs.