Good morning. One week until the regular season begins. I repeat, one week until the regular season begins. Let’s basketball.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK GOT A GQ COVER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. RUSSELL WESTBROOK GOT A GQ COVER. The story (by Daniel Riley) is darn good, too. And the cutlines on the photos! For example: "I love denim on denim. You may not think you can pull it off, but have you ever worn a chambray shirt with jeans? That’s basically the same thing. You’re pretty much there." Godlike. And, oh, he talks about Kevin Durant, putting OKC on the map and other boring stuff like that, too.
FEAR THE BEARD: Jesus Gomez on James Harden’s potential to put up video game numbers this season.
THE RIGHT ATHLETE TO PROTEST: Nigel Hayes protested the NCAA on Saturday, calling himself a "broke college athlete." Some writers used the fact that Hayes considered and turned down the NBA draft last spring to argue that Hayes has no standing in this debate; he chose college, warts and all. I argue that his protest is in fact then more noble and prudent because he came back.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF PROTEST: Alex Wong on the NBA’s distinct flavor of "protest" so far. (This doubles as a crucial short bio of Mark Tatum, the deputy commissioner of the league.)
WHY LEBRON’S ENDORSEMENT MATTERS, by Ryan Jones.
HOOSIER BIG TEN CHAMP? Mike Rutherford thinks Indiana (the college team) will be even better this year.
PODCAST PREVIEWS: Limited Upside turns north and talks Raptors and respect.
I SMELL AN AD CAMPAIGN: Or a joke? Anthony Davis definitely posted a Craigslist ad looking for a personal assistant. But is he serious with this? Is this the next stab as a Lil’ Penny type campaign?
WHO IS LANG WHITAKER’S #MUSCLEWATCH CHAMPION OF THE 2016 OFFSEASON?
MUST-SEE TV: The can’t-miss games of the college season according to Jeff Goodman. Have I told you how excited I am about the Pac-12 this season?
THE REIGN BEGINS: David Aldridge on the Cavaliers’ quest to stay on top.
WELPVILLE: The WNBA announces it definitely missed a call that would have given the Sparks the ball down one possession late.
GOOD TO KNOW: Frank Kaminsky is a hater of the highest order.
TV ALERT: The 30 for 30 on Phi Slama Jama is Tuesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. Here’s the trailer.
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS The NBA released new guidelines for youth basketball best practices on Monday. The boldface takeaways: don’t make kids specialize in basketball until 14 (at the earliest), let them rest more, stop it with all the 6-games-in-2-days tournaments.
IT’S FOOTBALL, BUT ... I just had to let y’all know that THE Dragonfly Jonez is doing a weekly NFL for us. For real.
AND FINALLY: Kawhi Leonard can smile now. What can’t Silicon Valley do?
Happy Tuesday. See you next time.