Warriors

LaVar Ball has vision: Lonzo-led Lakers end Warriors season

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USATSI

LaVar Ball has vision: Lonzo-led Lakers end Warriors season

It's a new season and anything can happen. And though the Warriors are the NBA's preseason title favorite, one outspoken individual believes this is the Lakers year.

"I've got a vision for this year," LaVar Ball said on the Flagrant Two podcast. "[The Lakers] are gonna win them 50 games, and they gonna get in them playoffs, and the story that's gonna be for L.A. is Steve Kerr versus Luke Walton. That's gonna be a hell of an L.A. story, because he don't want that matchup. Luke know them tendencies, for that type of team. He knows 'em. And then there's another big story that y'all gonna have: The bigmouth father LaVar said his son was better than Steph Curry -- now let's see!

"If they get them suckers in the Western Conference finals, the Lakers are gonna get them. And when they get to the Finals, my son ain't gonna lose."

The Warriors have top odds at 5/8 to win the title and 4/11 to win the Western Conference, according to sports betting website Bovada.lv. The Lakers have 100/1 odds to win the title -- 12th best in the league -- and 66/1 odds to win the Western Conference -- ninth best.

Lonzo Ball will get his first glimpse of Stephen Curry in game action on Nov. 29 in Los Angeles.

Thunder give No. 35 -- Kevin Durant's old number -- to rookie

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AP

Thunder give No. 35 -- Kevin Durant's old number -- to rookie

On Tuesday, the Thunder signed P.J. Dozier to a two-way contract.

The rookie will wear No. 35 with Oklahoma City.

That's the number Kevin Durant rocked as a member of the Thunder.

Why did Dozier pick it?

"My cousin, my second cousin, is Reggie Lewis. He used to play for the Boston Celtics," Dozier explained to reporters. "That's all it is. It wasn't anything other than that, honestly."

Did anybody say anything to him when he asked for No. 35?

"No. Honestly, I didn't even think twice about it. I had it in preseason at Dallas. I saw it was open and just took advantage of it."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Warriors the establishment, and the field the barbarians at the gate

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AP

Warriors the establishment, and the field the barbarians at the gate

Programming note: Warriors-Rockets coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm on NBC Sports Bay Area, and continues immediately after the final buzzer.

The NBA offseason ended as it began – with someone burning money for our amusement.

The San Antonio Spurs re-upped center LaMarcus Aldridge, with whom head coach Gregg Popovich had an off-season hug-it-out to repair what seemed to be a fraying relationship.

Thus, after the Golden State Warriors boatraced the field, the NBA responded by firing out $1.942 billion in free agent signings. This proves yet again that the problem with rising salaries in sports is not the fault of the players, but of the owners.

And that contreacts and player movement are an increasingly powerful turn-on in a sport that is facing an existential crisis.

Namely, how to build suspense into a season that looks foreordained for the Warriors without hoping for catastrophic injuries. Indeed, as the Warriors open with Houston tonight, there is far more national buzz around the new-look Rockets than the seemingly invulnerable Warriors.

[SHILLER: Draymond responds to D'Antoni's 'they're not gonna stop us either' claim]

It’s a bit like the old comic book conundrum – why was Wolverine a more compelling character than Superman?

Now this may be our fault as consumers for wanting something new to support our pathetically small attention spans. Or more intriguingly, being drawn to the flawed unknown rather than the excellent known.

But changing the American character is not an easy thing to do, as our most recent political developments have shown. We are who we are, and while we will watch the superb team every time, we will be more interested in the one that looks like it could blow itself to bits at any moment (Houston, or Cleveland, or Oklahoma City), or the long-downtrodden failure that suddenly looks like it might no longer be so downtrodden (Philadelphia, Minnesota, or maybe even Philadelphia again).

Or, weirdest of all, the team that used to be the standard, fell off the edge of the planet to the nation’s glee, and is just now showing signs of reconstruction (the Los Angeles Lakers).

Evidently what we want to say is that we like is change – violent, bizarre change, the crazier the narrative the better.

But here, we have the Golden State Warriors, who have chosen a far more conservative path – winning four of every five games, no matter what month, no matter what opponent, and winning nine of every 10 at home, no matter what month, no matter what opponent. And the measured eyeballs of media ratings say the Warriors are the bait behind which all other teams draft.

In short, the Warriors are the establishment, and the field is the barbarians at the gate. It’s just a matter how you feel about the barbarians, and the gate.

I know how the voting here would go. The rest of you are on your own, watching money getting thrown around in hope of some kind of regime change before the end of the decade.