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Friday Freakout: Lowe’s League Pass Rankings and Three Stupid Things to Watch in the NBA

“We're all going to regret this, but for now, it's fun to get carried away with Wolves Mania. Thibs is back, flapping his penguin wings and bellowing in that unmistakable baritone: "ICE, ICE, ICE!!" - Zach Lowe

beasley love

In my distorted basketball mind, the last time the Wolves were cool is when they were led by Michael Beasley and Kevin Love. I’m willing to concede that if the genius of the basketball blogosphere, Zach Lowe, is ready to get carried away with Wolves Mania, then I can update my cool-ometer and jump aboard the hype train.

If you are unfamiliar with Zach Lowe’s League Pass Power Rankings than I highly recommend that you turn your news cycle attention off of clowns, the man with a toupee thing, and the lady with the fakest of fake smiles. Do yourself a favor and delve into something with even less meaning. Reading Zach Lowe may not boost your expectations for the potential of the free world, but that can’t get any worse, right?

The League Pass Rankings are “an infallible, scientific watchability index for the NBA season.” They take into account five categories: playoff potential, highlight production, style, league pass minutia, and unintentional comedy.

Last year, Lowe had the Wolves ranked at #14, citing the style appeal of Rubio, the funness of Wiggins and LaVine, the hype of Towns’ rookie season, and the excellent in-game commentary by Jim Peterson and Dave Benz.

At Canis, we were predicting a League Pass Ranking in the 5 to 7 range. After years of being overlooked by the national media, we anticipated that our watchability would again be discounted. Not the case! Zach gets us. The Wolves were ranked fourth most watchable in the league. Wha... wha... what!?

2016-17 is officially the year the Wolves hype train goes completely off the rails. First 41.5 projected wins by Vegas, now fourth in the League Pass Rankings. What is this world? Seriously, those clowns, though.

The Wolves find themselves ahead of the Russell Westbrook show and the New York Knickerbocker soap opera. Only trailing the two teams that almost certainly will, again, find themselves in the championship and the Los Angeles Clippers. Lob city feels so 2012, but whatever Zach, I won’t be picky. We don’t need to medal.

The Wolves are just sexy this year. KAT is good at everything on and off the court, we are fast and athletic as hell, Thibs is perfectly angry, and Rubio is sexy in every sense of the word.

Anyways, let’s talk about three things I’m looking forward to watching outside of the friendly confines of Target Center this season:

Joel Embiid and Everything That is Philadelphia 76ers

I have a part of my soul that needs to continue to watch a dysfunctional basketball team spiraling towards the top of the lottery. If the Wolves are all of a sudden going to be good, the Sixers can answer this call for me.

I will miss pyramid scheme kingpin Sam Hinkie more than I care to admit. Hinkie is now on Twitter and follows @CanisHoopus. I’m tellin’ you, hype train...

Joel Embiid is back. And he is really into weird left block post-ups. He looks like the kid who hit puberty far too early and can just overpower everyone in the post, but is deathly scared of his left hand.

Seriously who in the NBA does not shoot a left-handed hook shot there? Oh wait, is Joel Embiid the new Nikola Pekovic? Perilous spins towards his left shoulder. Duck ins that lead to floating jump hooks with exclusively the right hand? Embiid did it again when he checked in for the second quarter. This one was even weirder.

And don’t sleep on Dario Saric, another Hinkie asset that has come to fruition. He’s already out here banking in threes.

Long live the Sam Hinkie era.

The Detroit Pistons Massive Frontcourt

Okay, I’m a sucker for big men. But, Boban Marjanovic is the man. He leaves me perpetually perplexed, yet warms my heart. I do not know what is going on here:

This is Rocky...

And this is not a picture a picture of Boban with hip-hop mogul Chris Brown, but the hand of another large human who is also in the NBA. Ray and Boban are friends.

The Detroit Pistons have (the biggest) big men from around the world. Don’t sleep on Aron Baynes (Australia), equally massive in his own ways. Who cares if the Pistons have no point guards behind Reggie Jackson. No team will ever weigh more than Detroit.

I appreciate you Boban.

The Complete Disregard for Positional Distinctions in Milwaukee

Holy heck this team is weird. Two of the most loved Minnesota-based basketball players circa-2012 will be receiving minutes in Milwaukee. Of course I am talking about Michael Beasley and Minnesota-native Rashad Vaughn. They are stirring things up in Milwaukee, right Mike?

The Bucks lost (arguably) their best player, Khris Middleton to what may be a season-ending hamstring injury. Whatever, just get weird Milwaukee. Please play a Point Giannis lineup that features Matthew Dellavedova tackling people, Steve Novak posting up in the corner, Jason Terry jet-setting into the bench, Thon Maker doing whatever Thon Maker does, and Michael Beasley will boost bench morale.

The midwest is back on the national basketball scene! The Wolves kick off the preseason Saturday Night 7:30pm CT against the Miami Heat. The game is being played in Kansas City, Missouri and is not televised, because the preseason is stupid and makes zero sense.

Have a great weekend.