Well, Well, Well, if the NBA Isn't Back on Its Bullshit!
Hoops fans were treated to an epic double-header on Tuesday night to open the 2022-23 NBA season. If this were your typical TV show, we'd be staring down Season 77 (!) of basketball. So what did the season premiere give us? Well, a night full of dubious drama, great basketball, and some particularly heated exchanges between potential championship contenders.
But the league is all about narratives nowadays. Can Steph Curry and the reigning champs defend their title as their team quite literally brawls behind the scenes? Can the Lakers get their shit together for LeBron James's 20th season? Can James Harden play basketball anymore?! Plus, Zion, Kawhi, Dame, and a host of superstars who sat injured all last year are ready to return to the court. We'll finally see Durant, Irving, and Simmons officially suit up together for the Nets tonight, too. But last night! Last night was a strange microcosm of everything that makes the league the most bizarre soap opera on TV. If you missed it, we figured we'd treat you to the lowlights on this fine Wednesday.
The Draymond Green Show, Produced By... Draymond Green!
Before the Golden State Warriors were presented with their fourth championship ring at a pre-game ceremony, Draymond Green aired a 21-minute, self-produced documentary that dedicated a full five minutes to the recent controversy surrounding his off-court behavior. For those who aren't clued in on the drama, Draymond Green got extremely heated at practice and punched his teammate, Jordan Poole, threatening his chance for a lucrative contract extension. Thanks to leaked footage from the Warriors' practice facility, the punch promptly blew up on social media. Green apologized, while Poole stated that he just wanted to move on from the incident. But we all know that's now how Draymond handles his business.
Draymond's gonna Draymond, and that's how we ended up with an odd mini-documentary that aired live on TNT's game night broadcast. Titled "The Countdown," the special advanced the Golden State star as a man who controls his own narrative, at whatever expense. "Can’t change the events that happened, but we can control what happens moving forward, and that’s where we are," he says. Cut with images of his daughter, Draymond downplayed the drama and talked at length about how he doesn't check social media. And yet, there are few NBA stars less glued in than the self-described head of the league's "new media" podcast roster. Previously, he revealed that he watched the leaked video of the punch "15 times, maybe more," remarking that "it looks even worse than I thought it was." Which is it, Draymond?!
What could be more perfect than the King of Fouls taking the first-ever free throw for a new transition take-foul rule implemented just this year? (Don't ask.) Well, how about if he threw in a little shimmy as well? James Harden, the talk of the town over in Philly, showed some vintage work with 35 points in the opening night game against the Boston Celtics. In a since-viral moment, he shook up defender Marcus Smart, celebrated with a shimmy, and then absolutely bricked a three-pointer. Not even close. What's more, Smart seemed to flop back and slide all the way from the three-point arc to the baseline. The shenanigans!
Mr. Joel Embiid, Sir, It's the First Game
Boston's Marcus Smart sliding across the court like an ice skater isn't all the former Defensive Player of the Year got up to last night. In a tense rebounding exchange with Philadelphia's Joel Embiid, Smart's arm got caught in between Embiid's armpit. As the Celtic struggled to get out, Embiid jerked up a bit, which could have seriously hurt Smart's arm—possibly, even broken it. In a confusing turn of events, Embiid then slips and falls on his own before being helped up by the Celtics' Jaylen Brown, who actually only got him off the ground to yell in his face. After they were broken up and play resumed, Marcus Smart later told reporters that he "could've cracked his head open, but I didn't." Yikes! It's just opening day, boys.
From: Esquire U.S.