Every year around this time I thank God basketball is almost back. So it only makes sense that this year’s NBA preview went Biblical.
Each team is located in the position I think they will finish in their division and along side an Old Testament character who matches them in some way, with postseason picks at the end.
I’m not saying they’re all perfect, but hopefully, they’re all fun.
And by the way, this totally counts as like 10 Sunday school credits, so make sure you clock them in with your local preacher.
Nets — Noah
You know this guy, the world’s first zookeeper. Because of his faithfulness God spared him and his family by giving him the heads up God was about to cleanse the Earth with a flood and by giving him some ark blueprints to match.
Of course Noah built the boat, loaded it with best animals he could find and floated off.
The thing is, you never really hear that Noah piloted the boat, it just kind of drifted out there and eventually ran aground.
The Nets have a boatload of talent now that they can march Kevin Garnett, Paul Piece, Andrei Kirilenko, and Jason Terry in two-by-two fashion along side Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. But there are a couple of potential trouble spots.
One: it’s a long boat ride and some of these animals were already kind of old when they got on.
Two: Can Coach Jason Kidd really pilot this ship through an entire season?
I think this team, like Noah, will pull off some impressive feats, but eventually wear down and run aground.
Knicks — Saul
If Saul had played in the NBA, he would have been the type of player who looked great during the pre-draft workouts, but could never get it together during the season.
Saul had all the tools to be a great kind for Israel, but too often let his own interests take priority over God’s commands.
Enter Carmelo Anthony, Saul’s NBA twin.
Like it or not, the Knicks rise, and more often fall, with Melo. Sure they added Andrea Bargnani, and perhaps A’mare Stoudmire will rekindle his health enough to has some value, but Melo is driving force behind the team on this side of New York.
That’s not to say the Knicks aren’t going to have their successes this season, they are, Saul had plenty too.
In the end, however, Carmelo looking out for Carmelo will likely leave this team headed home after the second round of the playoffs.
Celtics — Jeremiah
When you think Jeremiah of the Bible, you likely think potter’s wheel. That’s because God used this as an example to show the prophet how God could tear down Israel when they turned away and rebuild the nation into one that could get their act together.
The Celtics have been torn down. Garnett and Piece are gone and Rajon Rondo is hobbled recovering from an ACL tear. They’re officially in rebuilding mode and now the combination of Danny Ainge and first-year head coach Brad Stevens are hoping to do a little molding.
Though torn down, there are still some quality pieces laying around for the rebuild. Gerald Wallace doesn’t really light my fire, but Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and newcomer Kelly Olynyk provide some interesting building blocks.
It’s not going to be pretty at first, rebuilding never is, but I wouldn’t be surprised for this team to slide into that 8th playoff spot.
Toronto — Balaam’s donkey
Holy s*%#, a talking donkey!
Holy s*%#, there is still an NBA team in Canada!
OK, maybe that was a bit harsh, but I think the Raptors might be just as surprising this season as Balaam was when his donkey started talking him out of beating the animal and helped the change the evil dude’s path to serve God’s purpose.
Rudy Gay and Kyle Lowery’s contracts are both expiring, so they should enter the season motivated, plus they added Tyler Hansbrough who is always obnoxiously motivated.
I’m not saying they are going to be great, but they should fight along side the Celtics for that 8th spot in the postseason.
76ers — Adam
The thing that’s always got me about Adam was how quick the dude gave in when Eve showed up with that fruit. Granted, she was naked, but that wasn’t really a thing back then. Seriously though, she said, “hey, be cool and eat this,” and he said, “OK.”
I think the 76ers will give up on this season almost as quick as Adam did in resisting that fruit.
Let’s play a game real quick. Name the most noteworthy 76ers.
Did you say, Kwame Brown? Ding, ding, ding! Correct!
While Evan Turner might give Kwame a run for that title, that’s still not saying much. Here’s hoping the lottery balls roll your way Philly.
Pacers — Elijah
Elijah almost always had the deck stacked against him. He lived in a time when King Ahab and Jezebel murdering prophets and doing their best to turn people on to Baal worship.
Dude didn’t care. He had a tell-it-like-it-is mentality and stood up to those folks. Of course God did hook him up with Heaven fire balls, which I image is quite the confidence booster.
Most importantly, Elijah didn’t die. He left Earth in a victory parade that included chariots of fire. (Not the song, actually chariots of fire. Well, maybe the song was playing too. I honestly can’t rule that out.)
Like Elijah, the Pacers always seem to have the deck stacked against them. Let’s be honest, they are not the NBA’s sexy pick to make a run at the title.
Despite this, the Pacers almost always stand up to the competition, and the additions of a healthy Danny Granger and the underrated Luis Scola should take them over the top this season.
So, much like the prophet, I expect the Pacers to ride out of this season via victory parade.
Bulls — Jacob
Jacob is one of my favorite characters of the OT because I find him so darned interesting. He’s got a little bit of swindler in him, buying his brother’s birthright with some Campbell’s and tricking Issac into blessing him by dressing up all furry-like. It kind of reminds me of “Fletch.”
Despite the antics I find amusing, Jacob is most known for wrestling with God and getting his hip all jacked up. To his credit, he did last long enough in the ring to get a blessing out of it.
From jacked up hip to jacked up knee, yeah, that’s where I’m going with this.
Like Jacob, Derrick Rose might have pulled one over on us last year in order to earn himself some extra healing time. Regardless, he’s back, bum knee and all, and so far looks like he too held on long enough to get a blessing.
The Bulls might limp a little at first this season, but I think with Rose back and the addition of Mike Dunleavy to the arsenal, they should be right back at the top tier of the East. Honestly though, I think their biggest roadblock to reaching the Finals is no longer in South Beach, but rather is in Indianapolis.
Pistons — Esau
Fitting, Esau comes right after his brother. Esau was the brute of the two. Big, hairy, a hunter. Of course, he was also the guy who took the bowl of soup in exchange for his birthright. Not even a whole can, just a bowl. Pretty sure it’s safe to say he wasn’t the thinker of the pair.
If you look at the stats, the Pistons look Esau strong, but if you know basketball, they kind of seem Esau dumb.
Don’t get me wrong, adding Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings to the inside duo of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe allows for plenty of potential. The problem is neither Smith or Jennings have a track record of doing much more than nicely filling that fourth draft pick in your fantasy league.
They’re going to be big, and may very well be hairy, but I’m not 100 percent sold on the three bigs being a recipe for wins.
Then again, making the playoffs alone would likely be a much welcomed sight in Detroit.
Cavaliers — Lot’s wife
Lot’s wife is the perfect example of why you’ll never get ahead if you keep looking back in life. Granted, it was depicted a little more literally for her as she turned into a pillar of salt for trying to catch one final glimpse of Sodom.
Cleveland hasn’t made the playoffs since LeBron James left town, and I don’t think that fact is close to lost on the fans or the team.
Yeah, Kyrie Irving has beast potential, but what are they hanging their hats on other than him? Andrew “bowling injury” Bynum?
Sorry, but I think this team continues to look in it’s rear-view mirror this season and prays James, for whatever reason, decides to return home during the 2014 free agency season.
Bucks — Kids taunting Elisha
Remember that time those kids decided to taunt the bald prophet (who by the way is always played by George Constanza in my mind) and then he cursed them and a bear came out and ate them? Yeah, bald preachers love this one.
The Bucks’ roster is full of youth, and that’s about the most positive thing you can really say about them. Sure, maybe Larry Sanders morphs into a 10 and 10 guy and becomes a leader, but I think it’s far more likely we’re going to be watching O.J. Mayo and Brandon Knight jack up ugliness all season.
Best case scenario, they surprise me and earn fewer lottery balls. Worst case, they taunt other teams and get mauled. Granted, they get more lottery balls with the mauling.
Heat — David
The guy who killed a giant, ruled all of Israel, wrote a bunch of Psalms, and danced in his underwear. The man after God’s own heart.
Really the only thing that could ever stop David, was David, and of course his weakness for ladies who bathe outdoors. Man, that escalated quickly, didn’t it?
From Israel’s greatest king to the reigning kings of the league. With a returning cast that looks almost identical to last season, (though they did add Greg Oden. Seriously.) it almost seems something will have to go drastically wrong if the three-peat is to be derailed.
I think that drastically wrong thing will be Dwyane Wade’s health and I think it will plague them as they face an assortment of really good East Coast teams in April.
The Heat should coast through the regular season, but I’m looking for them to get knocked out in the Eastern Conference Finals this year.
Hawks — Ehud
Ehud was a crafty dude, who famously sneaked a sword into evil King Eglon’s palace to assassinate the fat mother. Probably the best, and funniest, hit of all time and not a soul on Eglon’s staff saw it coming.
I think there are going to be a lot of people feeling the same way about this Hawks team by season’s end.
The ditched Josh Smith and picked up Paul Millsap, who I actually think is better anyway, to pair along with Al Horford in the front court. If Jeff Teague came take his game to the next level in the back court, I think the Hawks will own that second tier of teams in the East.
Come playoff time, I think the Hawks upset somebody, and likely somebody with a New York City area code.
Wizards — Daniel
Daniel was throw into Babylonian captivity when he was young, but worked his way up until he was a prominent figure in the kind’s court. Heck, he was even in line to be but in charge of the whole kingdom until some dudes got jealous and set a plot against him by outlawing any worship for 30 days. Of course Daniel had none of that, kept praying and got tossed into a den of lions for it. The lions had nothing on Daniel and God, so he survived, which likely what he’s best known for.
The Wizards have worked their way up from a really bad place and a healthy John Wall combined with youngsters Bradley Beal and Otto Porter should be able to supply D.C. with plenty of wins this year.
Of course the downside is that they will basically be thrown into a lions’ den with an Eastern Conference that’s loaded with more talented teams.
Making the playoffs would be a huge feat for this organization and one they very well could accomplish.
Bobcats — Shadrach Meshach and Abednego
This trio stood up to Nebuchadnezzar by refusing to serve any other god, but God. So the king threw them in the furnace, which of course they survived thanks to help of an angel.
The Bobcats will likely feel like they are also in that furnace this season. They dropped a ton of coin on Al Jefferson, who has always seemed like the K-Mart version of Dwight Howard, and then they took Cody Zeller with the fourth pick in the draft. THE FOURTH PICK.
That’s the down side. The upside is they have some other youth with a lot of potential in Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Kemba Walker. That, along with the fact the Magic are also in the division, should be enough to keep them out of the basement.
Let’s be honest though, this season is all about surviving. If they can hang in there like Rach, Shach, and Benny, better days, when they shall be once again known as the Hornets, are on the horizon.
Magic — Pharaoh
Pharaoh messed with the wrong dude when he didn’t listen to Moses request to let God’s folks exit Egypt. For this, he got the plagues, none of which were stinkbugs, and lately in Southwest Virginia seems to really surprises me.
I don’t know who the Magic ticked off, but if I was a fan, I would definitely consider this roster to be a plague. Seriously, it’s highlighted by Jameer Nelson, Tobias Harris, and Glen Davis.
The did score the no. 2 pick in the draft in Victor Oladipo, and if I’m claiming a rookie in fantasy league this year, it will likely be him. I mean, somebody has to get rebounds, right?
Thunder — Joesph
Joesph was a young favorite, which earned a sweet multicolored robe from his father, Jacob. Of course, the downside of this was that his brothers got all jealous, tossed him in a well, and he ended up a slave in Egypt.
Joesph rose to the occasion and worked his way up in Potiphar’s house and was put in charge of Potiphar’s entire household. Of course then Potiphar’s wife got all frisky, hit on Joesph, which he resisted, but was throw in jail because she lied and said Joesph was the one being slutty.
In jail Joesph again rose up, started interpreting dreams, and eventually worked his way to being the second most powerful dude in Egypt. Second only to Pharaoh himself.
Kevin Durant and the Thunder have been label the young favorites for a few years now. Last season they had to deal with the shipping out of James Harden. They rose to a 60-22 record.
This season they’ll face the loss of Kevin Martin, who they got in exchange for Harden, and the recovery of Russell Westbrook from two knee surgeries. It will be no small feat, but Durant’s a beast and Reggie Jackson should be a suitable fill-in until Westbrook returns. If Kendrick Perkins can keep his mean mug in check and Serge Ibaka can take another step developmentally, the Thunder should again be the class of the division.
I think this team is a year out from making it to the Finals, but it would be far from shocking if they pulled together a run come May.
Trail Blazers — Jael
When Deborah was a prophetess of Israel, God told her she would deliver Israel from King Jabin. She went with a guy named Barak and they beat up Jabin’s army, which was led by a dude named Sisera. After the battle, Sisera ran away and Jael invited him into her tent. She fed Sisera a glass of warm milk, put him to bed, and once he was a asleep, drove a tent peg through his head. Dude never saw it coming.
I don’t think the other teams in the West are going to see this Blazers team coming, but they have the tools to make a serious run.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, and Nicolas Batum should provide plenty of fire power, while the additions of Robin Lopez, Mo Williams, and Dorell Wright should give Portland the depth they’ve lacked in the past.
Plenty of people might disagree, but I like this team to make the playoffs.
Timberwolves — Gideon
God picked Gideon to free Israel from the Midianites and Amalekites, which he eventually did, but was real antsy about at first. He’s most known for requesting God to show him three signs, which God did, and it built Gideon’s confidence up enough that he got the job done.
Now I don’t know if the T-wolves are going to experience the same level of success as Gideon, but I think they will drastically need to see some positive signs early on in order to have any measure of it.
They dropped plenty of coin in the offseason on Nikola Pekovic, Kevin Martin, and Corey Brewer. If they can merge, and Kevin Love can show signs he’s fully recovered from that nasty hand injury that limited him to 18 games last season, Minnesota could sneak up on folks.
But then again, I’ve said this about the Timberwolves before, like when I gave them the Zero-bar-sleeper title in my Halloween candy preview last year, so yeah, I want to see some signs.
Nuggets — Esther
Esther was chosen by King Ahasuerus to be his queen over the Persian empire. I’m doubting this is exactly how the Jewish lady pictured her married days, but she made the best of it and helped sway the king’s favor in the Hebrews direction and stop what could have been a mass genocide.
I doubt the situation in Denver is what Brian Shaw had hoped for in his debut as a head coach. I mean, a roster highlighted by Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, and an ailing Danilo Gallinari isn’t exactly a dream come true. Of course he is also stepping into some big shoes in those worn by former coach George Carl, who I swear was in Denver my entire life.
It won’t be easy, but I think Shaw can make the best of his pieces. Of course the best might not be a winning record, but rather mere survival.
Jazz — Witch at Endor
After Samuel died, Saul quit hearing from God and decided it was a good idea to consult with this lady in order to get a peak at the future. It did not end well.
Like Saul, Utah, who let Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap, Mo Williams and Randy Foye, will hope to get a look at their future this season. Also like Saul’s situation, can you really see an offense centered around Gordon Hayward ending well? I can’t.
Best case scenario, Derrick Favors morphs into a beast down low this season and Enes Kanter proves my theory that an NBA player named Enes will never thrive, totally wrong.
Even if that does happen, however, it will make this team just good enough to land in the back end of the lottery next summer and still seeking more answers about their future.
Spurs — Abraham
Abraham is the patriarch of the Hebrew people. He’s known for a lot of things, being called out of Ur, being promised by God to be made a great nation, and even for being willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, when God commanded. Of course an angel broke that up.
Here’s the thing though, have you ever pictured Abraham as anything less than extremely old? Probably not. Dude is always no younger than 75 years old in my mind. Dude was truly an old successful guy at his best.
Have you ever pictured this Spurs team as less than the oldest team in the league? I’m sure they were at some point, but I would swear to you that Tim Duncan entered the league no younger than 30 years old. I would also swear the team’s never had a head coach other than Gregg Popovich. I just have no memory of either of those.
The longstanding Spurs have become one of the most successful franchises in the sport. They’ve become a great nation of basketball and that should continue this season if Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green can step up and embracing even more of the minutes Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili will no doubt miss due to getting banged up.
If not, returning to the Finals will be even tougher now that everyone is a year older.
Grizzles — Joshua
Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, but it was this guy who took them to the promise land. He was one of the 12 spies sent in to explore Canaan, parted the Jordan River, and got God to knock Jericho’s walls down.
He also got God to send that battle against the alliance of Amorite kings into overtime by extending the day. Of course in the OT God came off the bench for the Israelite by barrage of hailstones.
The Grizzles got out of Vancouver a long time ago and spent several years after that wandering around in the “are we a contender or just the West’s version of the Knicks” desert.
Coach Lionel Hollins got them out of that desert, but was replaced by Dave Joerger this summer, who I think can take them to the next level. (According to SI.com, Joerger’s won five titles in a variety of minor leagues, so he knows how to swing the bracket in his favor.)
The Grizzles will again be centered around Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, still two of the more underrated bigs in the league, despite combining for over 29 points and 19 boards last season.
Of course the real question for Memphis isn’t the bigs, nor is the perimeter defense of Tony Allen and Mike Conley, it’s if they can either score enough points, or slow the game down enough, to keep up with their opponents.
Also, it will be interesting to see how the addition of Mike Miller plays into all this. (He does own a money, you know.)
In the regular season this team might look shaky, but I think once April rolls around they will be able to grind it out enough to make their first trip to the NBA Finals.
Rockets — Samson
This was the Old Testament’s Superman. Blessed with superhuman strength, Samson performed great feats, killed a lion, slayed a whole army with the jawbone of an ass, but was also typically tripped up by poor decisions, especially when it came to ladies. This of course led to a haircut, blinding, and him going Kamikaze on a Philistine temple. Not the best of endings.
The Rockets acquired Dwight Howard in the offseason and no matter how much they’d like to tout James Harden, Chandler Parsons, and Jeremy Lin, as Howard goes, so goes the Rockets’ season.
Howard’s got the physical attributes to be the league’s Superman, and when he really focuses, he’s capable of more than earning his cape.
The problem is, he too often seems unfocused and too much like the NBA’s version of Terrell Owens.
Combine this with a lack of depth, I mean like Ronnie Brewer and Omer Asik are really going to be steady producers, and you’ve got a recipe for a mediocre season.
Sure, they’ll make the playoffs, but that’s when I think it will all come tumbling in.
Mavericks — Isaac
Abe’s son and the second patriarch of the Hebrews, the young Isaac was known for being put on the alter as a sacrifice and the old Isaac was known for going blind and being tricked into giving his birthright to the wrong son. It seems like Isaac’s life was always marked more by what was happening to him, rather than what he was doing.
It seems like the Mavericks are very close to using this roster as a sacrifice to the 2014 free agent market. The 2003 All-Star trio of Dirk Nowitzki, Shawn Marion, and Vince Carter will all be off the books come season’s end, leaving them with a ton of coin to throw around.
That combined with a nice lottery pick would bode well for the future, but pairing the acquisition of Monte Ellis with Jose Calderon in the backcourt will likely be just enough for them to eek out a playoff spot and avoid snagging a top pick in 2014.
Are the Mavs just too blind to see this trick?
Pelicans — Jabez
There was like a two-month period in the early 2000s when Jabez was the talk of the town. Despite only being mentioned twice in the Bible, the popularity of the dude’s prayer unleashed a flurry of fun “Prayer of Jabez” trinkets and hand towels.
Like most religious pop culture items, the flurry was short lived. Take notice Duck Dynasty. Take notice.
For about a two-week period this summer everyone in the sports world was talking about New Orleans re-branding themselves as the Pelicans. Today, not so much.
They’ve all but gave Anthony Davis the keys to the franchise and brought in Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans as support. If Eric Gordon stays healthy and Evans can return to his 2010 Rookie of the Year form, this team could be a lot of fun to watch.
The Pelicans could provide more than a few memorable trinkets, but then again, they could also quickly be forgotten.
Clippers — Moses
There’s no way to short list all the things that Moses did, but by far he greatest feat was getting the Jews out of Egypt. Of course sometimes we forget, he never actually got to go into the Promise Land.
Now that Doc Rivers is in town I think it’s safe to say the Clippers are done with their Egypt days.
They’re also done with Lob City, that’s just not how Doc rolls. Much like he did in Boston, expect Rivers to overhaul the team’s defensive mindset, which means big things are expected inside from DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin.
I think it will work, and combined with Chris Paul and J.J. Redick, the Clippers will get plenty wins by grinding it out.
Those Ws will get them out of the desert, but much like Moses, I think they’re still a couple years out of reaching the promise land of the Finals.
Warriors — Jehu
Jehu might be the most overlooked bad mother in the Bible. The ink was barely dry on Jehu’s king anointment papers when he shot an arrow through King Jehoram’s heart and had his boys also take out King Ahaziah. He followed that up by having Jehoram’s nasty mom, Jezebel out a window and running her over with his chariot before basically going on a Wyatt Earp-Doc Holliday-esque ride to eliminate the country of all traces of Ahab and foreign religions. Dude was a gunner.
The Warriors might be the most overlooked bad mothers in the West this season. While plenty of eyes will fall on Houston and OKC, the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala will be lighting up folks.
Combine that with the always overlooked David Lee and Andrew Bogut in the front court, and Golden State is a force that will have to be reckoned with.
If coach Mark Jackson can develop a little depth in the likes of Harrison Barnes and Marreese Speights, this team will have a nice run into May.
Lakers — Solomon
Solomon took over Israel in its finest hour. Kingdom all together, tons of coin to throw around, plus the dude was blessed with all kinds of wisdom. He was kind of the Great Gatsby of the Bible in a way. He had his faults though, and by the end his massive amounts of ladies turned his heart to other gods, which led to the kingdom being divided once again.
The Lakers had a kingdom. They had everything going their way.
But these days things are looking divided. Is Jim in charge? Should Jeanie be in charge? These questions now taunt the franchise all the while the ghost of Phil Jackson lurks around every corner.
The Lakers have seen better days, but they still have some pieces in place to generate wins. An elderly Steve Nash and Pau Gasol will have to take charge while Kobe Bryant recovers from that Achilles tear, but if Kobe returns in time, they could make a run at the playoffs.
The real question is, is it worth it or would it be better to just tank and play the free agent market this summer?
Geez, never thought I’d say that about a Lakers team that still had Kobe on the roster, but then again, the kingdom has seen better days.
Kings — Jonah
God told Jonah to go to Ninevah, but Jonah hated those folks so instead made the decision to run away, which of course landed him in the belly of a whale. He eventually got out, but I imagine the stink took a while to wash off.
Over the past 10 years or so the Kings have made a lot of poor decisions, many of which fall under the title “lottery pick.” This has landed them in the NBA’s version of a whale’s belly, which is not to be mistaken as DaMarcus Cousins’ belly, though I understand the error.
Regardless, they’ve hitched their wagon to the big man in hopes he matures on a variety of different levels.
If this actually happens, and they get solid production from Greivis Vasquez at the point and the rookie Ben McLemore on the wing, they may be on their way out of the whale.
This of course doesn’t mean they are playoff bound, it just means they will feel a lot less like they are drowning this year.
Suns — Job
As a test of his faith, God let Satan pretty much strip Job of everything, leaving the dude at rock bottom. Because he remained faithful, Job’s story had a happy ending and everything he lost, was restored.
The Suns are at rock bottom and this season will test the faithfulness of the Phoenix fan base.
How long can they hold out watching Eric Bledsoe fanatically run around searching for help?
My advice to the fans is to spend just as much time as they do watching the Suns, checking out these year’s top college players in hopes they can be restored by earning the most lottery balls.
Pacers over Bulls
Grizzles over Spurs
Pacers over Grizzles