Emo Jimmy Butler highlights NBA media days + previewing the Rockets and Hornets

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Nobody does media day like Jimmy Butler.

Media Day Never Disappoints

About Monday’s social tsunami

You may remember this time last year when Jimmy Butler revealed a new look for media day by sporting dreadlock extensions. It was a dramatic change in his appearance, a move solely to make that his look and play within league rules.

On media day, players take their headshots used for the entire season. So, even long after Jimmy ditched the dreads, he’d drop 56 points on the Bucks as we saw his dreadlocked headshot on national broadcast graphics.

Well, this year, Jimmy outdid himself once again, arriving at Heat media day with a very emo look:


Flat-iron hair and facial piercings styled by whatever the rich version of Hot Topic is.

All of Butler’s official headshot pictures this season will have this look. Bam Adebayo called the lip ring annoying, to which Butler said he had to “stay in character,” since media day is his Halloween. Everybody loved it. No Dunks’ own JE Skeets threw out fun nicknames:

Ball Out Boy, Twenty Two Pilots, My Incredible Romance, 24 Seconds To Mars, Simple Man, Death Cab For Coffee, Jimmy Eat World.

Who knows what Butler will cook up next year.

More from media days by NBA city: 

Next up, let’s welcome some news from Shams!

The Latest From Shams

Houston adds more depth

Reggie Bullock is staying in Texas.

After being traded by the Mavericks to the Spurs over the summer, then subsequently being waived by San Antonio last week, the 6-foot-6 wing plans to sign with the Houston Rockets after he clears waivers, league sources tell me.

Bullock is a career 38.4 percent 3-point shooter and fielded interest from several teams in recent days. The Rockets will have a significant role in the rotation for Bullock after the expected departure of Kevin Porter Jr., whom the team is working to trade.

Bullock, 32, gives Houston a reliable 3-and-D wing and another veteran presence alongside Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks and Jeff Green as the Rockets look to improve upon last season’s 22-win season. It’s a team that my colleague John Hollinger noted this morning could surprise some people.

Back to you for more Rockets, Zach.

Rockets Preview

Can Houston win after spending big?

Team previews for the 2023-24 season have begun! For the next three weeks, we’re doing a team from the West and the East each day while going in reverse order of last season’s standings.

The Houston Rockets tied for the West’s worst record last season at 22-60. Then, they spent hundreds of millions of dollars this offseason. Can they climb up the ladder in the loaded West?

Player to watch: Ime Udoka.

In this case, maybe it’s “Who to watch?” Yes, I know the new head coach is not a player anymore, and this team has lots of good, intriguing players. But Udoka had a brilliant rookie season as Boston’s head coach in 2021-22, got removed due to a scandal and now enters his second coaching season with a chance to mold great talent. Udoka means more than any summer signing or pick.

Contract year guy: Jeff Green

Sort of. Green has a team option for the 2024-25 season, so he is essentially an expiring deal if need be. He’s a great veteran for this team to have off the bench, and, if the Rockets struggle, he could be a nice piece to move before the deadline.

Big question: Do VanVleet and Brooks make them winners?

Both have been on winning teams but also shot lower than 40 percent overall last season. The Rockets’ young core needed veteran leadership, but it’s questionable if Play-In Tournament ambitions are imminent.

Big obstacle: Figuring out the rotation.

Even with a loaded Celtics team, it took Udoka time to find his rotation. With Porter Jr. likely gone from this team forever, the Rockets still have a logjam on the perimeter. Young guys need opportunities, and you have $200 million-plus in veteran guards you just signed.

Best-case/worst-case scenario:

Best: The veterans bring wins, Udoka has the Rockets playing good defense, and this team has a real chance at making the Play-In Tournament.

Worst: Brooks is a distraction as VanVleet can’t hit shots, the young guys still play disorganized basketball on both ends. Houston remains at the bottom of the West.

Win total over/under: 31.5

The over feels likely here. A good, new coach and adults in the room to help keep the young mistakes in check should help.

Prediction: Let’s say 33 wins for the Rockets with Play-In Tournament flirtations for most of the season.

Hornets Preview

Does Charlotte finally have a plan?

After two straight years of getting slaughtered in the Play-In Tournament, the Charlotte Hornets took a very predictable step back last season, finishing just 27-55 and 14th in the East, as their young star LaMelo Ball played in just 36 games. So, what now? Well …

Player to watch: Brandon Miller

The Hornets opted for Miller over a dynamic pairing of Ball and Scoot Henderson. Miller has some questions but plenty of potential. His early rookie days can build confidence for the future.

Contract year guy: Gordon Hayward

In three seasons with the Hornets, Hayward has missed 93 games and will have made almost $270 million in career earnings after this season. He could be a massive trade piece with his $31.5 million expiring deal. He also could be the veteran to help make this team competitive, but his health is unreliable.

Big question: Does Ball have enough help?

Ball is a bona fide star in this league, and his play has been relatively meaningless with the Hornets. Miles Bridges returns this season upon the end of his 30-game suspension after a 2022 offseason domestic violence incident involving the mother of his children. He’ll serve the remaining 10 games to start the season. Terry Rozier and P.J. Washington are solid, but this team still doesn’t seem to have much to offer Ball.

Big obstacle: Finding a balance on both ends of the floor.

Two years ago, with Bridges playing, Charlotte was ninth in offense and 23rd in defense. Without him last season, the Hornets ranked 30th in offense and 20th in defense. What must they do to become even an average team on either end, let alone both?

Best-case/worst-case scenario:

Best: The Hornets have enough to get back to the Play-In Tournament and maybe even survive a game.

Worst: Charlotte still can’t score or defend enough, so we start getting questions about whether or not LaMelo wants to be there long term.

Win total over/under: 30.5

There should be enough talent to get them four more wins than last season.

Prediction: I’m still taking the under. The Hornets don’t inspire a ton of belief and seem poised for another tough year, extending their playoff drought to a franchise-worst eight seasons

Bounce Passes

You won’t believe Devin Vassell’s contract extension.

With Victor Wembanyama in the limelight, Spurs embark on a new era.

The Sixers have much work to do – with or without Harden.

It’s time for things to happen on the court in New Orleans.

LeBron James says he has a lot more left in the tank.

The Knicks kept things together to bet on themselves.

The new Player Participation Policy won’t help Kawhi play more games.

(Top photo of Butler: Sam Navarro / Getty Images)

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