2 years of GMIB
Thanks for coming along.
Music in the Tuileries, Edouard Manet, 1862
Sunday was the 2-year anniversary of the launch of Good Morning It’s Basketball on Substack. I left SB Nation in December 2019 as they (over-)reacted to California’s freelancer law and could no longer accommodate my contract in a way that worked for me. Going independent was a leap of faith that the newsletter I’d written as a free offering for a few years (1,253 issues worth) could, when combined with my other NBA coverage, be a legitimate business. And it has been: two years in, with a pandemic hovering over most of that time, the newsletter is about where I want it to be as a business concern. It’s sustainable.
Today’s newsletter is Issue No. 515 since launching on Substack. I haven’t consistently measured them, but I’d estimate that the average issue of GMIB is about 1,000 words long. One of the well-known strategies in newsletterdom is that supporters aren’t paying for a specific amount of content, they are paying for the authors’ voice(s). But I do think one of the values of GMIB is in the consistency of delivery. That’s been a conscious decision. Given how many subscribers open the newsletter everyday, I presume it’s appreciated.
What’s definitely appreciated is your support, whether you joined up this season or have been here since the beginning, whether you’re on a monthly sub or have gifted subs to friends. Truly, it’s kind of crazy to think about the fact that more than 1,000 people are paying real money to read my basketball thoughts every day. It’s humbling. I would never have imagined that when I started posting (bad) haiku about the Kings 16 years ago or when I was hustling a $10-per-post existence at AOL FanHouse. The sports internet … it’s been some crazy times and I assume it will continue to change in crazy ways.
So anyway: thanks for coming along on this ride. Hope you stick around. Hope we can get some more folks to join us. Let’s basketball.
This Must Happen
I usually oppose fan movements for unnatural All-Star voting results. But making Ben Simmons an All-Star starter at the behest of Klutch Sports, well that sounds like a mission I can get behind.
The NBA wouldn’t stop him, would they? Would the Sixers be able to convince the NBA or Simmons that he can’t play in the All-Star Game if he’s not available for the Sixers? With all apologies to my beloved Sixers fan friends, this is some incredibly ridiculous potential drama I can get behind.
Never mind that Klutch’s social media team did this for all of the agency’s clients, regardless of playing status or worthiness.
Scottie Lewis, a two-way player for the Hornets, currently has the fewest amount of retweets among the Klutch clients, with six. Simmons has by far the most, almost five times as many as LeBron James.
Sometimes the Internet just knows what we need, and it provides.
Warriors 116, Suns 107 — There is no question that right now these are the best two teams in the NBA. After going 2-1 against Golden State before Klay Thompson’s return to action — and losing this one at home with Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins out, too — you wonder if the Suns are going to prioritize a certain type of wing player on the fringe market. Anyways, great teams.
Nets 122, Lakers 115 — Welp. The story isn’t really changing for Lakerdom. In the first half, the Lakers were +3 in LeBron’s 19:30 on the court and -7 in his 4:30 on the bench. He sat the final 3:43 of the third quarter, and a 7-point deficit turned into a -16 point deficit.
LeBron led a 17-0 run to make the fourth quarter interesting, entertaining and close. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lakers’ all-too-real problems. You can tell LeBron is getting a little nervous about L.A. falling two games under .500. You can tell in the freneticism of his game. He’s almost always played hard. He’s playing a little desperate, a little heroic right now.
Anyway, Nic Claxton dunked on LeBron on for the go-ahead bucket in the final minute. Strange new world.
Raptors 99, Cavaliers 144 — Cleveland had a few key players including Jarrett Allen and Isaac Okoro in the protocols. Toronto had … almost their entire rotation — not starting lineup, rotation — in the protocols. I’m not sure why the Raptors were made to play this game. Are teams being punished for calling up replacement players quickly?
Yep, sounds about right.
Josh Giddey had zero points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, becoming the second player ever to register a double-double without scoring. Weird player!
All times Eastern.
Rockets at Hornets, 7
Bulls at Hawks, 7:30, NBA TV
Celtics at Timberwolves, 8
Jazz at Spurs, 8:30
Grizzlies at Suns, 9
Mavericks at Blazers, 10
Nets at Clippers, 10:30, NBA TV
Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the in-season tournament concept is gaining steam again, with a potential shortening of the season to 78 games to account for eight teams having extra tourney games in December. It sounds like it will be a fun thing in the mid-season portion but won’t create any new drama in the stretch run.
A bunch more players have entered the protocols since Sunday, including Draymond Green, John Collins, Kyle Lowry, Dejounte Murray, Miles Bridges, Lonzo Ball, Jae Crowder and Dillon Brooks. To state the obvious, a few of the players placed in protocols on Sunday played on Saturday.
Congratulations to J.B. Bickerstaff for getting a long-term extension. Smart move for the Cavaliers.
One of the pandemic wrinkles happening is that broadcasters are also getting hit with positive tests, causing some strange situations. Hawks game host Lauren Jbara got a half-hour of notice that she was needed on play-by-play. Mavericks voice Mark Followill has had to do a solo broadcast and later had to sub in on the Pelicans broadcast.
Be excellent to each other.