NBA Vacation Watch: Eastern Conference in the Sun
If the NBA Eastern Conference were a vacation, it would be a last minute, all-inclusive deal you get in the dead of February, so desperate for any place with sand and sun and something to swim in that you're able to round up the resort's two-and-a-half star rating to three stars in your mind via the force of sheer imagination. It's a bit of a free-for-all, there are no expectations, none of the staff are really paying that much attention and there's a higher chance that someone is going to get hurt. And who cares? Those kinds of vacations are fun as hell.
It's a great thing that we're going into one of the most precariously balanced East vs. West seasons in recent memory. The Eastern Conference is up for grabs. League parity is a myth and not all that much fun, and anyone who tells you different has never broken into the prop closet of a Cuban resort at 3 AM, with the off-duty event staff, to put on ball gowns, a scream mask, and every wig at once to hit the beach.
With that in mind, let's see what our Eastern Conference guys are getting up to this summer.
Isaiah finally took a vacation! Honestly I have been waiting for this since April. This guy has had one of the hardest years of his life and even a picture of him lying back in a lounger in his driveway while someone set a sprinkler on him would have made me happy, but this is the real deal. Look how happy he and his wife are in their infinity pool by the sea. Look at his friends and some palm trees and the ocean reflected back to him in his sunnies. Look at him gazing out beyond the break wall, thinking about how happy he is Kelly Olynyk is gone. My head wishes he geotagged this but my heart says, no.
Rating: An infinity pool filled with max contracts
This is Paul's second appearance in this column so far this summer and frankly I wish he were in it every week. Here he is singing this summer's hottest, hopefully soon-to-be-released banger, "Beach Life" on a beach in Hawaii wearing a Panama hat that will feature heavily on this trip where he also smoked a cigar on the back of a boat and went scuba diving.
Rating: 1 Libra living his best life
Kyrie is indoors in Tokyo! Irving is doing some endorsement deals so while I would not normally qualify this type of trip as a vacation, I worry it might be all we'll get from flat Earthling Irving this summer. Cross your fingers and whisper to yourself the song you think Kyrie would pick for karaoke and let's hope that our collective summer vacation prayer works for him.
Rating: Unless he steps it up he's Tokyo Drifting into Lost in Translation territory for me
Andre got slimed! Drummond is a great treasure and I only hope the Motor City knows how good a dude they have in this huge one. A couple days later he hit up Venice Beach and rode bikes around with his friends and I only wish Stan Van made a cameo.
Rating: A couple good natured chuckles, a winning smile
While everyone else was at the beach, Gortat took a summer sojourn and went ahead and met the monarchy—classic Marcin!
Rating: A 60 percent chance Brexit will be reconsidered
We've got clear and present signage somebody's been muddin' plain as the dried dirt on the back of this pickup and I'll bet you that somebody is the same person pictured here who's just done some max-deal signage of his own. I'll be damned if you can't hear 'Truck Yeah' by Tim McGraw blasting out of this open door.
Rating: 3 360° donuts in an open cornfield in a row
Bembry's puppy Fendi graduated from puppy school! Bembry was shattered to miss it but he had to submerge his questionable goatee in a pool once he was done with Summer League.
Rating: 2 perfectly executed "gimmie a paw"s
Kris Humphries proves once again that you can still make surfing off the back of a boat at sundown in Lake Minnetonka seem boring as heck if you are Kris Humphries. Congrats.
Rating: Nothing Compares 2 U but if Kings of Leon covered it
Here's an album from John Wall where he's checking in on this column and what everyone else is getting up to this summer. I'm loving the BAPE trunks and being so nonplussed in a convertible you are pretending to be asleep. That's the summer vacation mentality and you don't need to be on a beach to let yourself live an all-inclusive life.
Rating: An excellent data plan and a very chill outlook
Evan Fournier's Instagram name is More Champagne and he is not booking a last minute resort vacation, this or any summer. We open with him very explicitly indicating he is in Bora Bora, intent on being soaking wet at all times. His hunt for a shirt continues as he climbs a mountain—climbing mountains is HUGE this summer, as loyal column readers will recall—and later walks into a hidden waterfall in Tahiti with his sneakers on. Evan Fournier is French so he can eat croissants all day and still look like this in his vacation pics, even the ones he's not ready for.
Rating: If I say a six-pack of Tahitian Treat will I sound like a pervert?