How to shite-talk your way through the NBA season
The NBA season is about to kick off, baby.
Ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again.
The NBA is back, and fans are expecting this season to be the definition of sporting excellence from start to finish.
There are loads of new signings, massive injury blows and narrative stories to beat the band, so if you were ever going to get involved - now would be the time.
But as we're sure you're aware, basketball is not exactly our main sport in Ireland. Not by a long shot.
So we've come up with a few tips to help you cope with the NBA season, just enough so that you can hold a conversation with someone who actually knows a thing or two about the sport.
Let's get started.
Right, we won't bore you with the fine print of each individual rule, we'll just hit you with the basics.
Each team has 24 seconds from when they gain possession to get a shot away, if they fail to do so, the ball is turned over.
Once you leave your half, you can't go back into it. Otherwise, the ball is over turned over.
If a shot goes in from behind the three point line, your team gets (you guessed it) three points. Two points for anything else.
Free throws are awarded when you've been fouled while in the motion of shooting, or if the opposition team has committed more than five fouls in the one quarter. Free throws are worth one point each.
Now you can give out to the ref with absolute confidence when you're watching a game with your mates. By the way, they do say "game" instead of "match".
That's all you need to know. You can waffle your way through the rest. "He didn't touch him" and the likes apply in all sports.
We really hope you're paying attention here...
Right, so, 30 teams, two conferences. 15 in the East. 15 in the West.
Everyone plays everyone. Loads of times. And there's a game on basically every night (highlights on YouTube will be your friend). 82 games each in total.
And then you've got the play-offs. That's when the good stuff goes down.
The best eight teams from each conference face off. The team that comes first plays the team that comes eighth, second plays seventh and so on, all in a best of seven series.
Then there is a winner from each conference, who play each other in a best of seven series to determine the NBA champions.
There are a lot of teams.
We're not going to give you information about every single team, but we'll tell you what you need to know.
This season looks likely to be the most exciting season of all time, as there are so many teams with an extremely good chance of winning. So if you're going to watch a game, try and make sure one of these teams are involved:
- LA Lakers
- LA Clippers
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- Philadelphia 76ers
Last year's champions the Toronto Raptors pulled off one of the upsets of the century defeating the Golden State Warriors, but their best player has joined the LA Clippers, making them the favourites to win the Championship.
But LeBron James plays for the Lakers and he's probably the best player of all time. So there's that too.
That should really be enough. All of these teams have a chance and they have all had fairly bizarre summers as far as trades and transfers are concerned.
So if anyone asks you anything, just hit them with a 'it's hard to tell how the players will gel, really', and that's your job done.
This is the most important part.
We're going to give you a fairly obscure team that only a real NBA fan could support and tell you all you need to know about them.
From now on, you're a die-hard fan of the New Orleans Pelicans.
You guys don't exactly have a rich history and in recent years you've been fairly terrible, but the future is bright!
You have one of the best college players of all time in Zion Williamson (talk about him a lot) and quite a good supporting cast to go with him.
Plus, you're not one of the big guns, so people will just assume you know more about the sport than you actually do.
Buy a jersey and wear it to the gym if you have to. Let's really commit to this.
Here's a quick guide to some lines of of vocabulary you're going to need to know before you get chatting to someone about the sport. Learn these off and you're sorted...
Buzzer beater - Scoring in the last second of the game/quarter, as the buzzer sounds.
Clutch - The ability to perform when it really counts. Certain top players are accused of not being clutch because they go missing when it comes down to the crunchtime.
Triple-double - You're going to hear this a lot. A triple-double is the accumulation of a double-digit number total in one of five statistical categories — points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocked shots in one game.
"And one" - An "and one" is the term given to the bonus free throw given to a player if he is fouled as he successfully scores a basket.
A technical foul - A technical foul is a foul given to a player or manager if for arguing with the referee. Always a lot of fun.
MVP - This is just the equivalent of a Man of the Match in any other sport. MVP awards are also given out at the end of each season.
So there you go. You know all you need to know. The season kicks off with the LA Lakers against the LA Clippers at 3.30am on Wednesday morning (23 October) on Sky Sports.
Clip via Bowwow