CARBONDALE — Even if your favorite sport is basketball, do me a favor — don't watch the NBA until the World Series is over.
Seriously, there's no point. There's been so much free-agent and trade movement in the off season that what you see on the court in the next two weeks likely won't tell you anything about what you'll see in the postseason, much less even at Christmas.
And really, everyone should be watching this World Series — there will be history made either way. Either the Indians will win their first championship since 1948, grant Cleveland a second straight major sports title, and hopefully meld good will and revulsion to erase their racist "Chief Wahoo" mascot from their uniform choices ...
Or the Cubs will win their first championship since six years before they moved into their new ballpark ...
Or, the Cubs will lose because a would-be go-ahead home run by Anthony Rizzo in the ninth inning of Game 7 will strike a bat (the flying mammal, not the baseball kind) in mid-air and fall harmlessly into the glove of Cleveland center fielder Willie Mays Hayes.
At any rate, you won't want to miss any of that, and you won't miss much by skipping the NBA early on.
If you go by all the preseason prognostications, it won't matter at all. The 73-win, runner-up Warriors inexplicably added former MVP Kevin Durant to their stable, swapping him in at the power forward spot for the departing Harrison Barnes, who shot 5 of 32 from the field in the team's three-game collapse into an historic NBA Finals loss.
Meanwhile, the Cavaliers come off of their title with everyone back in tow, healthy at the beginning of the year, and eager to add another trophy while looking down at a host of unimpressive rosters in the East.
It may well end up being a three-peat of Finals pairings, and James' seventh straight trip, but there's a long road between here and there.
So, in honor of the Cubs' and Indians' combined futility, here's 176 things (just kidding) that you should not be watching the next couple of weeks:
DREAM TEAM CHEMISTRY: We've never before seen two players with MVP trophies team up with both of them under the age of 30. Two-time reigning award winner Steph Curry brings Durant into the fold, along with fellow All-Stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. My guess is that you'll start to see some interesting rotations with one or more of the starters playing with second-string players. Or, they'll all play 36 minutes together every night and score 185 points a game and go 78-4. In what's hopefully my sole Trump reference of this blog, "Many people are saying" that sharing the wealth and shots will be a problem, but I'm just as concerned with Draymond Green, whose chippy play got him suspended for a game in the Finals last year, which also helped derail the Warriors' title chances. If he's the guy working hard to establish himself that he was in 2014-2015, it's all good. If he continues his trek toward what I call "the full Dennis Rodman," the team's still lethal, but perhaps not superior.
NO BULL: Bucking the trend of the NBA's recent three-point extravaganza, the Bulls have decided to add to their roster with guards who can't shoot: Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, and just recently, Michael Carter-Williams. To back that up, they have no serious inside threat after letting Pau Gasol go to the Spurs in free agency. It's not that any of those three guards lack in talent, but it feels like an inherently awful fit — not to mention that all three have had injury issues in the past. I don't think this ends well, but honestly, NOBODY in Chicago is going to be watching at the start anyway.
THE GREEK FREAK: Giannis Antetokounmpo (just call him by that header nickname) had a breakout season last year for Milwaukee, averaging nearly 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists a game. Coach Jason Kidd — a future hall-of-famer at the position — says G.A. will be his primary point guard this year — a prospect that sounds tantalizing, given that he's at least 6-11, but it seems a bit gimmicky for a team that would have had playoff aspirations the way things were. It's not that I don't think he'll be creative, but again, like with the Bulls, this seems like backward thinking for the small-ball era we're living in.
GUNS BLAZIN: Portland shocked the NBA with a 44-win season last year despite losing four starters from a ... well ... 44-win team the year before. It was all on the ascendancy of point guard Damian Lillard to near-super-stardom, and the elevation of backcourt mate C.J. McCollum to stardom, tripling his scoring average to 20.8 ppg. Portland had serious depth issues last year, but they pried center Festus Ezeli from the Warriors and swingman Evan Turner from Boston. They have a lot of weapons that will probably be meshing better in a month than at the beginning.
RUSS INJURY WATCH: Rightfully bitter about the way things went down with Durant, Russell Westbrook surprisingly signed a huge extension with the Thunder, who then made a splash by trading a downward-trending Serge Ibaka to the Magic for athletic freak Victor Oladipo and the rights to Gonzaga forward Domantas Sabonis. There won't be a more athletic backcourt than Westbrook and Oladipo, though they're both streaky shooters. Russ averaged 23 points, 10 assists and nearly 8 rebounds a game last season, and it wouldn't shock me if he felt like he could become the second person ever to average a triple double for a season. That said, I'll save a couple of weeks of cringing every time I see him hurtle toward the basket. With him, I think the Thunder are still a borderline 50-win team. Without him, it all goes up in smoke.
AARP SPURS: Tim Duncan, who was approximately alive when the Cubs last reached the Series, has ended his all-time NBA career, replaced with almost-as-ancient Pau Gasol. He can still be very productive, and should fit nicely. And, Kawhi Leonard would be an MVP candidate in a league that didn't have Curry, Durant or James. But aside from last year's new addition, LaMarcus Aldridge, the other pieces are fading. Tony Parker's only 34 somehow, but has about 250,000 miles on him. Manu Ginobili's back, at 39. After his emergence in the NBA Finals against the Heat in 2014, Danny Green has fallen off at the two-guard spot. The 1999 shortened lockout season aside (where they actually won the championship), the Spurs have more than 50 games each season since the disastrous 1996-97 season that landed them the top spot in the draft that brought them Duncan. Gregg Popovich will work wonders as much as he can, but this seems like one of the best chances they've had to drop off since then.