Excited for the new NBA season? The draft brought it's share of surprises from selection No. 1, and Steven A. Smith's meltdown was must see TV! Summer League and Pro-Am's were surprisingly ill! Superhero team ups. More please! Number 1, Paulo already got a target on his back, but shouts to the kid for being willing to compete with everyone! An Orlando/Hawks game (1st one Oct. 21, 2023) has now been penciled in on my calendar for curiosity... In the excitement for the coming season, thought it would be interesting to shine the spotlight on some of the missing pieces that might have been lost in our short term memories, and our 'hot take' attention spans. I'm talking about the cats that missed a good chunk of the 21-22 season. The idea ran unexpectedly deep. A comprehensive look seemed to fit better in a two part article, split into Eastern and Western Conferences. Also thought it would be fun to provide a loose grading system based on winning the elusive Larry OB, but also factoring in such fun things as each player's 'box office' ability, 'cuz we some fickle fans armed with channel changers and League Passes ain't we! Check it out. See if ya'll agreeing or hating.  Spit some damn opinions of your own why don'tcha. The comment section is here for a reason! 

The East. 

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Kyrie Irving

Kyrie you Number 1 on our list like you always wanted!

Kyrie won't you be my Yoko Ono? (Some Canadiana for ya'll.) It's no secret I hate on you like the most passionate of Beatles fans. Runway walk fit for heroine chic aside, I will begrudgingly admit to the fact dude is a talented baller. Here's the problem though, dude plays a sport where team cohesion is vital to success, but really he hoops for only Team Kyrie. 

This article has too many fun pieces to shoot of a diatribe on the man but I wanna say this. While most still clamor and look forward to the next opportunity to 'rehab' or change Kyrie, ya'll need to dead this notion. No team, or media loudmouth is gonna cajole, sweet talk, or lambast this man into something else. This is the Kyrie you gonna get. A moody star, with a ridiculous package of offensive isolation skill and go for self. Only for self. You will get drama GUARANTEED. Bet on this. Team chemistry? Homeboy is gonna nut discord all over that ambition. This is the only version of Kyrie that has ever been presented, there is no other, there is nothing to want. The sooner the vexed peeps in the sport, those with careers that cover Ball, and hoarse fans everywhere understand this fact the betta. Homeboy is a real trailblazer, check the scorched earth path he has left in his wake from Cleveland, to Boston to Brooklyn. 

With all that being said, Kyrie Irving tops this list on the East. Who was missed more last year than him? The Nets were pre-season fav's by most to win it all last year remember? So good ol' Kyrie showing up with any type of consistency will rekindle these embers. Expect it to be a roller coaster, and yes, offer a real shot at the Larry O'B. Keep in mind the good ol' boy is also in a contract year. Most will be motivated to show out, and it would be wise for the cat with a neon biohazard sign attached to his rep to bring it. 

Box Office : (9) Yeah I'm gonna use my hater points here, but not without reason. I don't recall seeing boy play any D. If you drop a 40 piece and your check drops a mean 38 have you really won that matchup? So yeah you gets a good 9 cuz I can't deny the ball handle wizardry is second to none, and the drive game is nasty. A full season of this? Your fans need the redemption homes. They had a tough year riding on your train, defending your ass. I might be tone def but yes I know the League also wants ya back. (Note. The sneakerhead in me... the kicks from 2022 are fire with quality materials. I am conflicted to purchase a pink pair. Damn you!)

Team Necessity : (10) The Nets need you healthy, and committed to win this thing cuz that's what the Nets are built for no? This squad is only for rings, and Kyrie is an essential cog. As mentioned before, 'Get Along Gang Kyrie' might exist in a Marvel alternate universe, so forget about it. Could we get Darth Vader Kyrie in a contract year? Super villian, bent on destruction mind set? That would be hella fun. Fear is a powerful hand... embrace the Dark Side.

Career : (10) You only 30, and on an expiring contract. Ballin' out this year is a requisite bruh, shedding the 'distraction' tag would go long ways to a few more M's on the the deal but what are a few M's if you doing 200M deals or 25 mil per year. You know it's get the bag this year, amongst other tings. Ya, your Numero Uno hater speaking, but the league also spoke on your trade demand, and that got you nowhere. 

SPITGAN Expectation : What we want to see might never happen with this talent. Maturity, defensive abilities, fire directed to the court, team play... but you well loved despite my objections, carry on. A chip on the shoulder might be fun, a vengeful Kyrie would be entertaining vs. the dark, brooding talent we been getting lately.

Khris Middleton got game like Michael Redd?

The best series in last year's playoffs was Bucks vs. Celtics. A rugged, competitive series that went 7. Even without their Big 3, a couple bounces, and that series easily could have swung in the Bucks favor. Another team built to win now and win rings, was definitely missing a major piece to the puzzle in Khris. 

Box Office : (8) What you don't like dribble-pops from the outside, or form perfect shooting? Passes to cutters, and constant screen running? Yeah Mid's game ain't built for highlights but they the skills that pays the bills! Khris does a lot that goes under the radar and I likes the competitiveness. You need a bucket late? Glad the Bucks are callin' his number as frequent, if not more than The Freak's. 'Winning Time' is a nickname you could earn. 

Team Necessity : (10) See above. It's a good look that the Bucks use Khris as the go-to option if it's late in the clock or late in tight games. A good adjust by Coach Bud in their 'Chip year. 

Career : (8) As long as Khris comes back healthy and works himself back into All-Star calibre form he's gonna be in a good place. If his game continues to grow as it has the last 2 seasons? Whooo. Fly baby, fly.

SPITGAN Expectation : As it should be. Healthy. Fearless shot-making. A ever-hungry Giannis and co. to pair with should make for entertaining post-season ball. Would you rather play a full strength Bucks or Nets squad in the playoffs?

Victor Olidipo
Victor Oladipo hummin' comin' atcha!

In flashes of the playoffs Oladi really did remind ya'll! He was threatening in the playoffs versus the Celts, and was back to his old ways causing mayhem on the court. It's been a tough run but we need to see a healthy Oladipo, homie can bring it! What has it been? 2 seasons out? Tough. This year we know it all changes! Big fans here.

Box Office : (10) Yo Oladipo is the complete pack, highlight reel dunks, a pest on D. Prime Oladi is a Terror! Sleep and you might get one crammed on your noggin. Doing the work in smaller markets has not helped his shine but real heads know.

Team Necessity : (10) Who doesn't need what a healthy Oladipo can bring? Dude is a bonafide All-Star when healthy. Interesting to see how the Heat will use him. Starter? The Heat definitely could use another reliable scorer that can create his own shot. They need to figure out an easier way to win playoff time.

Career : (10+) Dawg. Health. Sure it's been tougher to go through than watch. 

SPITGAN Expectations : Give Vic the Kawhi treatment? 60 some games get him to the playoffs healthy! Intrigued, intrigued...


SPITGAN Emporium 
Oversized Striped Polo
This premium fabric polo with a loose street fit!

Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball is serious fun.

Initially had Lonzo sitting higher, but are The Bulls a playoff team or a 'Chip contender? By that criteria, Lonzo slip on this list has nothing to do with his growing game. Bet he's a major key on this squad. Lotta great scorers here but the rock gotta keep moving between them and that's Lonzo's wheelhouse with flair. Come playoff time iso-ball is just not gonna cut it. 

Box Office : (10) Give Lonzo a 10 with a healthy assist from the athletic wings on this Bulls squad. Levine, Derozan running lanes for you? Yeah, any given moment it could pop with Zo's ability to see the court, push the ball, and accurate throw passes and lobs. Don't forget the sauce on top please! The Ball brand of basketball is new gen LA showtime!

Team Necessity : (10) This squad ain't going nowhere far without Lonzo's ability to distribute the rock. It will definitely make the flow more fluid and the Bulls tougher to defend with his vision. A heavy ISO game is predictable. The thing is this Bulls squad is a piece or 2 away from real title contention. Does anyone have 'em in NBA Finals territory? Didn't think so.  

Career : (8) Youth on his side. Remember that wild shooting technique he's changed? Dawg is improving up the ladder, and I always was a fan. Like the guards that dish it. Stay healthy, put in the work. An All Star selection looms.

SPITGAN Expectation : Get back on the court and give us a full season. Give us a Bulls squad at full strength through the playoffs! 

(Update. Lonzo still has not recovered from the injury and will miss an indefinite amount of game in the 2023 season. Disturbing news.)

Patrick Williams
Patrick Williams with the Boom Boom!

Anotha Bull that missed even more time, Patrick Williams came back at the end of the year and just in time for the playoffs. Very high on this kid too. Starter, and often tasked with the assignment of guarding the best wing on most squads. The Bulls sorely missed dude in their game plans for the majority of the year. I'm sure the Bulls wanna move from playoff material to legit ring contender and they are one of the few squads with the talent internally to do that. Exhibit A, Patrick Williams.

Box Office : (8) Sample size low but check the pic. Booming on heads steady is always delightful material and of good click bait. P-Dubs is also the No. 1 defender on the squad for a reason! (Kawhi-nes!) Lengthy, disruptive, you will see much more of this dude in the near future. 

Team Necessity : (10) Name me a Bulls starter associated with defense? Your silence speaks volumes. Vucevic might gets a hollow toss for the fact that he's big, but no, he ain't gonna do the dirty work of busting through screens, and showing his hound dog for 30min plus a game. 

Career : (8) Patrick's a young bull, officially entering his 3rd year in the L. No time for slow growth though as the Bulls are in 'win now' mode or 'immediately soon'. Bodes well for homes to adapt quickly and make big leaps. Could be big things for this cat, 2 way superstar is a possible in our books. 

SPITGAN Expectations : Full season, healthy. Locked in. Don't get complacent dude, talent is there as potential. You gonna develop with the hunger of a Giannis, and Tatum or... Don't develop losing ways bruh.

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