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The Madhouse - Week of 1/3/2020: Happy New Year, the Suns suck again

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But that’s ok, because there are a great many sucky teams in the NBA’s Western Conference.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Suns are going to the playoffs.

Suns Stuff

Well friends, in the last few weeks I have kind of, sort of, and by that I mean definitely, checked out of Phoenix Suns basketball.

The team lost EIGHT STRAIGHT. EIGHT STRAIGHT. How much free time do you think I have on my hands?? I’ll tell you how much free time. Not enough free time to stay invested in a team that’s going to lose EIGHT STRAIGHT.

But you know what? As putrid as eight games losing streaks are, if that’s the depths your Suns reach this season it will be their first campaign without a double-digit skid since 2014-15.

And remarkably, if they still want to be a playoff team, they can still be a playoff team.

The top end of the Western Conference is doing its part by thrashing bottom feeders. The The Suns have 13 wins, and the number eight seed only has one more than that, but it’s time to stop f***ing around.

Knicks, Grizzlies, Kings, Magic, Hornets. That’s the next five. All at home. Let’s not get greedy. Three and two is what needs to happen. If they don’t win at least a pair of these, you have my permission to crack your Michelob Ultras in front of a more engaging television event.

It’s important not to lose perspective, though. A year ago we were sitting at 9-30, in the middle of what would be a six-game losing streak, one of five 6+ game skids that season. The season was over at that point, left only to the development nerds and draft pundits willing to subject themselves to that which you and I will not.

So there’s hope. No. there’s lots of hope. Damn it. Your 2019-20 Phoenix Suns are still a playoff team. We’ll be sneaking into the playoffs at 39-43. I will not be doing any math to back this statement up. We’ll celebrate. We’ll take our sweep. We’ll spend the offseason dreaming about what’s possible in ‘21.

And....looking ahead I just saw that the Suns have Atlanta and New York on the road after the five-game homestand. Come on, Phoenix. Time to make a push.

By the way, if you’re wondering about the last time a Western Conference team reached the postseason with a sub .500 record, and of course you are wondering, you have to go back to the 1996-97 Los Angeles Clippers. That team finished 36-46 and was swept in the first round by the eventual conference champion Utah Jazz.

NBA Stuff

David Stern dies at 77.

The NBA will add black bands to player jerseys for the remainder of the season in Stern’s memory.

The numbers from the first round of 2020 NBA All-Star voting are in. Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo lead the pack. Tacko Fall is also on the list.

Did you feel bad for former Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson? Josh Jackson doesn’t want you to feel bad for him.

“I would like to be traded.” Dewayne Dedmon of the Sacramento Kings is $50k lighter for those six words.

Darren Collison back to the Association? Maybe.

The NBA championship rings of Dancing with the Stars phenom Lamar Odom will soon be up for auction.

Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter set a career-high with six blocked shots on Tuesday against the Charlotte Hornets. The NBA congratulated him with a drug test.

Comparable to last season, NBA TV numbers are not impressive.

Haven’t we done this before? I feel like we’ve done this before. Chatter around a Karl-Anthony Towns trade out of Minnesota is not non-existent.

My Stuff

What I’m reading: Yesterday - The Man Who Came Uptown, George Pelecanos. Tomorrow - NBA Jam, Reyan Ali.

What I’m playing: The Outer Worlds, Xbox One.

What I’m watching: My brother, and my mother, of all people, turned me onto this Netflix documentary called, “Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer.”

If you’re unfamiliar here’s the bullet points:

  • Dude uploads multiple videos showing himself killing cats in very, very gruesome ways.
  • Dude moves on to uploading a video showing himself killing a person in a very, very gruesome way.

I followed this story when it happened several years ago. So I knew what was going to happen. The second the doc started I was very close to telling my wife we should watch something else. I didn’t. I muscled through three episodes in two nights. She’s better at consuming stuff like that than I am.

Anyway, I probably didn’t need to hear that story retold. It’s there if you want it. But it’s real. And it’s dark. And it will be awhile before I consume something like that again.

What I’m listening to: Beth Hart, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram.

What I’m Thinking

Do you do New Year’s resolutions? I do New Year’s resolutions. Or goals. I’m not interested in debating which word is the right word. I’m the one writing the article. Here’s what I’m hoping to get accomplished in 2020:

  • Lose 20 pounds

-I’ve lost 50 before. And promptly put 40 back on. So I can both succeed and fail spectacularly.

  • Write 100 letters

-Slam dunk

  • Read 100 books

-Slam dunk

  • Go to gym 3x a week.

-I’ll have failed on this one by MLK Day.

  • Get into gardening.

-Immeasurable. Sure to succeed.

  • Keep up with daily planner.

-A resolution, 20 years running.

  • Be a better friend.

-Like meeting people for lunch.

  • Go out to lunch 1x a week.

-January is scheduled.

  • Make 2 personal calls a week.

-Ugh

  • Get into cooking.

-Immeasurable. Sure to succeed.

  • Listen to music daily.

-Slam dunk.

  • Finish 4 AAA games.

-The Outer Worlds will be done this week. That’s a good start.

  • Give blood max opportunities.

-Slam dunk if you don’t let me forget.

That’s it. Oh wait! One more! Watch fewer movies about real-life cats and people being murdered.

Good luck accomplishing your goals in 2020.