Media Day is an annual NBA tradition in which teams invite reporters and bloggers to their school picture day. No one has fun. The players would rather be working out or practicing. The reporters and bloggers would rather be sitting at the buffet. But it's a necessary evil that produces a few funny videos or photos a year.
A few teams held Media Day last week because they leave on overseas trips this week. But most of the league will present itself for the first time on Monday. You will hear many, many lies. These are the most prominent and oft repeated.
1. "I've been working hard. I put on [10/15/20] pounds of muscle." No, no you didn't. You gained x pounds and you want to look like a hard worker, so you're claiming it as muscle.
2. "We're going to run this year." When a coach says this, he really means that he would totally let his team run if he could trust his point guard just a little. But no coach trusts his point guard.
3. "I was so happy when I heard I got traded." This is code for one of two more honest appraisals: "I'm so glad I'm away from that a**hole of a coach" or "getting traded was a huge pain in the ass, but whatever."
4. "We're not looking at the past, we're looking forward." This really means, "I'm still so bitter that I can't even stand to talk about it." It could apply to teammates who have had drama, or a sour coach-player relationship.
5. "We're not trading [so-and-so]." This is code for "what's your best offer?"
6. "It's going to be a competitive camp. No one is safe." When a coach says this, he means that his incumbent starters are either lazy, out of shape or mediocre. But chances are the potential replacements are also mediocre, so "competitive camp" just means "depressing audition of doom."
7. "We think we can compete for a playoff spot this year." "We really suck. Please buy tickets."
8. "[So-and-so] took 50,000 jumpers this summer." This is code for "[so-and-so]'s jumper is extremely broken, so we told him to shoot a lot instead of getting a shooting coach for him. We have no idea what we're doing."
9. "I let my agent deal with [looming contract situation]. I don't even worry about that." The player means to say that it's all that he can think about, and that it will be a major distraction throughout the season.
10. "I'll do whatever coach needs me to do." "... provided that it involves taking 18-foot jump shots, running the break on my own and playing way more minutes than I probably deserve."
11. "We're not going to let [some off-court controversy like looming relocation or contract disputes] distract us." This is code for "it's a huge distraction, but if we say it's not, maybe y'all will stop asking about it every damn day."
12. "We feel we have put together a competitive product." When owners say this, they are asking to be cheered for spending over the league salary floor. When GMs say this, they are placing their coach directly in the hot seat.
13. "We're going to play hard every night." "... until we get mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in mid-January. Then we're going to tank our asses off for three months. Say, have you bought your season ticket package yet?"