If there's one thing I've learned in life, it's that it's not what you know, it's what you sound like you know. Here are some handy phrases that will cause others to nod their heads sagely and immediately understand that you are also a basketball expert. (Note: If follow up questions are asked, suddenly remember you left a roast in the oven)
  1. Two-way players
    A simple phrase that helps you acknowledge the existence and importance of defense in the NBA.
  2. Cross matches
    This is a thing where you're guarding someone who isn't guarding you. Just saying "yeah but you gotta consider the cross matches" makes you qualified to have your own podcast.
  3. Reseed the playoff bracket
    This lets you go from a micro to macro view and is a more gracious way of saying "the East is trash."
  4. Zach Lowe
    Effectively, citing your source. If someone asks where your knowledge came from, just say you read it in a Zach Lowe (who is a writer on the Internet, which is a thing) article or tweet. Knowing nods will follow.
  5. Playing fast.
    One of those tricky items where you say one thing, but actually mean "make quicker decisions." It's often important to use double speak so you can retroactively go back and say that you meant something else entirely. Both meanings of playing fast are different than...
  6. Control Pace
    Sadly, this has become too mainstream, and everyone now knows that you want to control pace, but can not articulate how one should control it. Other popular smart 2015 phrases: spacing, death lineup, being able to properly pronounce "Dellavedova."
  7. Mid-Level Exception
    This is a random salary cap item which is sometimes in play and sometimes not. No one knows who has it off the top of their head. Feel free to use recklessly.
  8. Basketball Twitter
    Important to be occasionally dismissive of basketball Twitter. It's like your friend that still goes out 3 nights a week. Plus, all experts have to be occasionally negative.
  9. Analytics
    Careful with this bad boy. In fact, better off to just leave it holstered. Mere mention of it results in a fight approximately 62% of the time.
  10. Length
    And if you want to get really fancy, "Length with athleticism." However, do not say height. You can use the word size, but not height. It's a weird world.
  11. Rim protection
    Goes somewhat hand-in-hand with "length." Can also be used to tie in jokes about safe sex and JR Smith's nightlife habits. A versatile phrase.
  12. Small ball. Bully ball.
    Small ball is a term where you have a lineup with length and athleticism, but not size. Aka your tallest human is in the 99.99th percentile instead of the 99.999th. Bully ball (which does not require one to be rude to other humans) invokes a lineup that has size and length, but not necessarily athleticism. Details. One that has all 3 is more commonly know as the OKC Thunder.
  13. "But the Thunder..."
    This is your get out of jail free card because it allows you to seamlessly transition to other non-basketball specific topics, like Russ's fashion choices, KD's impending free agency, and Waiters Island.
  14. Congrats. You now have the lexicon to sound like a basketball expert. Use wisely.