General: With their one decent player, Tim Duncan, the Spurs have somehow created a mini-dynasty. If you look at other teams who surrounded their teams with one good player and a bunch of shit, the others haven't done so well. You've got the Magic from a few years ago, the Bulls in the early Jordan years, etc. The Spurs' coach, Gregg Popovich, is a pock-faced guy who took over when San Antonio's best player was Dominique Wilkins, which I could have swore was just a dream. The Spurs enjoy taking veterans way past their prime and handing them a lot of money to sit on the bench all year long. Brent Barry, Michael Finley and Nick Van Exel all collect paychecks just to sit next to Popovich and discuss the next skank that Tony Parker will fuck next. If you're a fan of great defense (i.e. Bruce Bowen slapping your hands and pushing you while you're trying to play a finesse sport) then the Spurs are your team!
How to beat them: Force everyone else to shoot except Duncan. Apparently it's the biggest secret in the league that Tony Parker can't shoot to save his life. I wouldn't really worry about working on my shooting either if I had $70 million coming my way and Eva Longoria rubbing my tired little feet. Oh, and you also have "Manu" Ginobili running into the basketball support over and over yet he somehow makes the All-Star team. How can a guy just run at the basket uncontrollably, throw the ball at the basket blindly, hit the wrong side of the backboard half the time, and STILL make the highlight reels? As long as it looks pretty, it doesn't matter if you actually achieved anything. Manu Ginobili is the Ted Ginn of the NBA.
Key Additions: As usual, the Spurs did nothing in the offseason except look at a couple of European players and take pictures of them. The only difference between this offseason and the last few is that San Antonio didn't throw at least $50 million at one of their mediocre role players. Tony Parker is kind of fast, here's $70 million! Charles Barkley screams out Ginobili's name during highlights on Inside the NBA! Here's your $50 million!
Defensive Plan: Just double-team Duncan over and over. Who else is going to beat you? Parker and Ginobili will have a seizure if you dare them to take a jump shot. Just don't leave Bowen open in the corner or you're dead meat!
General: After years as a so-called “elite” team in the East (we can only assume they were “elite” in the same way Marvin Harrison is “sexually attracted to females”), the Pacers are stuck with a young, inexperienced team led by former Trailblazer Jermaine O’Neal and surrogate Trailblazer Stephen Jackson. The team saw its carefully designed community PR campaign dissolve over the summer when Jackson (who refuses to shoot over 40% because the 4 looks too much like a Crip handshake) decided to show his penchant for curb-stomping crippled people in strip club parking lots. Now, with their traditional (read: white) fans turning away from them, the Pacers will need to regroup and do the unthinkable to draw crowds back: sputter to an early-round playoff loss and use the ensuing draft pick to sign a small forward several slots ahead of his projected selection. “Swingman” means a person can play point guard and center, right?
Coaching Strategy: In order to appease his young, athletic club, coach Rick Carlisle has designed a fast-paced system best described as “Phoenix, but with no offense”. This new system will allow the team to airball two more fadeaway jumpers per play before they shovel the ball off to O’Neal, who, with a less restrictive playstyle guiding him, will be able to hold the ball in the post for 20 seconds and tear his hamstring to shreds much more efficiently than in previous seasons.
Offseason Additions: We here at PW decided against the calling this segment “key additions” because the Pacers picked up Al Harrington this season. For the record we don’t think Harrington will be the “key” to anything until a SWAT team uses his bloated, groove-covered head as a battering ram to smash open the door to a crackhouse (if any of the crackheads are 6’9 and unafraid of missing ten to twenty jumpers a game, the Pacers might get a new player out of the deal). Harrington’s new mohawk, which he wears in celebration of his “good play” in Indiana, is almost as worthless as he is. Matching his preseason performance against his reasoning I should probably grow an afro every morning I put milk in my cereal instead of bleach. Along with Harrington the team also added – you guessed it – another “versatile” small forward (Marquis Daniels) to their bench, as well as aging guard Darrell Armstrong, who officials will pin inside a giant glass case in Conseco Fieldhouse at the end of the season.
Rookie Progress Report: When the Pacers signed Danny Granger last season many experts thought they came away with the steal of the draft. These same experts panned the Raptors for picking up Charlie Villanueva, possibly because it’s really fucking hard to hit a jumper when you don’t have eyebrows and one hand’s occupied with the woman you’re dragging around by the hair. Whatever the case Villanueva went on to average 13 points per game and was eventually traded to Milwaukee for TJ “fuck; my spine” Ford. Granger, on the other hand, boasted 7.5 points a game and all the announcer’s booth knob-jobs Bill Walton could offer. For the record, Bill Walton is also a huge Rasho Nesterovic fan. Now that Nesterovic plays for the Raptors and everyone’s favorite sunburned Ninja Turtle is kickin’ it with Bogut and company, I really only have one question: why the fuck did Larry Bird think it was a good idea to draft Shawne Williams instead of Marcus Williams?
One Great Letter
GO CARDINALS BABY!!!111oneone! YA U KNO THE CARDINALS GONNA WIN LOL. FUCK THE TIGERS AIN’T GOT NOTHING ON THE CARDS WORLD SERIES CHAMPS!!1
Dear PW Readers,
I didn’t put this in ball bag to answer DAN SHELTON’s question (as far as I can tell there isn’t one). Instead, I thought I’d share with you arguably the most intelligent email ever written. Between the “ironic” all-caps and usage of “U” instead of “you”, along with the whole “!!!11!!” thing (you know, the thing Lowtax stopped doing years ago because of unfunny faggots running it into the ground), I think this user submission is a real winner. Throw in some wacky foreign people and a monkey or two and you’ve got the makings of a classic Burger King commercial here, DAN SHELTON. I’m sure any ad agency in the country would be glad to buy your services, assuming you could return a message without choking yourself to death on the phone cord.
On a side note, this email is pretty much proof positive that the Cardinals suck and all their fans fans are faggots. Football people might have repressed homosexual urges or whatever, but at least they crack original jokes while they “wrestle each other” with “raging erections”.
College Football Shmootball
Do you think IU’s big win over MSU will get them a bowl invite or two if they win another game?
As a Bloomington resident I appreciated this email. Not because I think IU will ever accomplish anything, mind you, but because I got a long hard laugh out of someone using the phrases “IU” and “bowl” without “toilet” being in there somewhere. I hate to downplay the work coach Terry Hoeppner has done, but if your biggest strategy involves dragging a piece of limestone out on the field and forcing your team to touch it (a similar situation happens for the opposing team when Blake Powers is on the field), maybe you should get your head examined.
Atlanta Falcons 32, Detroit Lions 14: The Falcons became a solid football team at some point this season, but even that won’t save them from ME MAKING JOHN KITNA JOKES IN ALL CAPS
Cincinnati Bengals 24, Baltimore Ravens 10: “Mommy, look! A clown threw up all over the field!”
Dallas Cowboys 28, Washington Redskins 21: First announcer to make a “cowboys and Indians” comment wins (a bullet in his frontal lobe).
Green Bay Packers 14, Buffalo Bills 24: QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY IN BUFFALO: JP LOSMAN OR A CERAMIC PUMPKIN WEARING A BILLS HELMET
Houston Texans 28, New York Giants 42: “The Rockets, Astros, and Texans, all in the same city? If Houston wasn’t such a wonderful den of culture I’d have nothing to live for!”
Kansas City Chiefs 14, St. Louis Rams 6: “The Royals and the Chiefs in the same city? I’m moving to Houston!”
Miami Dolphins 3, Chicago Bears 27: For once in his life, Daunte Culpepper will run into a group of big, hairy bears he doesn’t like being tackled by.
New Orleans Saints 20, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13: A lot of experts think the Bucs have an “explosive” offense. I can only hope they mean that in the “diarrheal” sense and not the “good football team” sense, but we are talking about NFL analysts here.
Tennessee Titans 17, Jacksonville Jaguars 27: Vince Young can only hope he’s as good as Byron Leftwich one day. That isn’t a compliment to Leftwich.
Minnesota Vikings 21, San Francisco 49ers 23: Sixty-four isn’t just Alex Smith’s overall QB rating. It’s also his projected number of interceptions this year!
Cleveland Browns 20, San Diego Chargers 17: The other day I heard an announcer say something like “you never know which Chargers team is going to show up to a game”. Unless they have some superteam hiding in the team bus or something, I’m pretty sure the only Chargers squad that ever shows up is the shitty one.
Denver Broncos 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 27: This game could go either way (much like the vertebrae in Ben Roethlisberger's neck).
Indianapolis Colts 27, New England Patriots 30: I remember a few years ago I’d tense up with fear every time the Colts played the Pats. Now I tense up any time they play anyone! It’s like watching the second round of the playoffs every week!
Oakland Raiders 9, Seattle Seahawks 31: What are the Raiders raiding? The California sewer system!
Email me and tell me how great I am, you fags.
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The only thing better than sports is making fun of sports. Pregame Wrapup, the Internet's premiere biweekly sports humor column, is both educational and amusing... kind of like that birthday clown who took you on your journey to manhood! SPORTS!