Bill (but he looks more like a Jeff) Simmons wrote about the teams he was looking forward to seeing in person this season a few days ago. Since big games don’t really come into play as a Clippers fan, it’s all about the other team. What players are you excited to see in new uniforms. What rookies are you looking forward to seeing in their first visit to your city. Which ticking time bomb situations are you hoping to see come to a head, for example last season I was unfortunate enough to see two of three games Allen Iverson would play in his career as a Memphis Grizzly. You can never know when you’ll witness greatness at an NBA game (though the refs always come to play), but you can pick out the games that have the most potential for greatness. That’s what I’m attempting to do here, except I’ve got an extra factor to consider. Alright guys, I’m not gonna lie to you. This is gonna get kinda weird… TWO home teams. Due to extended stints in both Sacramento and San Francisco, the 10-15 games I’ll probably catch this year will be split between Oracle and Arco. Here’s who I’d be most interested to see, though I’m sure I’ll just be happy take what comes my way. Maybe all the more reason to try and build interest….
Ed. note – please keep in mind I was the kid who wasn’t trying to go see Jordan and the Bulls or Magic and the Lakers (though I’d make a point to at least once). So don’t expect to see Miami atop my list
1. Seattle Sonics – Man, I can’t remember there ever being two players who juiced up their floor cred, let alone on the same team, more than Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook this season. They’re already coming off an impressive season, and I can’t think of a more exciting team to see this upcoming season. What’s that you say? They left Seattle? They moved where? They’re called the what? Nevermind, I don’t wanna go to that game.
2. New York Knicks – I’ve never been this excited to see the Knicks. I guess they’ve been for long enough that I’m kinda ready for them to be good again. I really like that Amare had the balls to go try and be the man in NYC. I hope he succeeds, but I just don’t think he has enough help yet. I think I’ll try to catch them in Oakland, because there’s the added bonus of seeing Anthony Randolph come back to the Bay and try to show up his old team that traded him. Maybe he’ll succeed, and maybe he’ll embarrass himself, but he’ll damn sure try. That’s what made watching him fun: he might dunk on someone or swat a shot into the 5th row, or he might throw a pass into the 5th row. Either way, he definitely tries. (Except the other 90% of the time when he’s not trying at all). It’ll also be good to see Ronny Turiaf and Kelenna Azubuike, two of the most liked Warriors, return. Not that Randolph wasn’t liked, but I see him eventually work his way into a villain’s role.
3. Los Angeles Clippers – Wow, I didn’t see them coming in this high, but I’m kinda buying into the Blake Griffin hype finally. Plus the Clippers seem pretty stacked all of a sudden. I guess it all depends on which Baron Davis shows up this year. That’s probably good enough reason to catch them in Oakland. Baron will surely show up in the house that he built – or maybe remodeled a bit.
4. Milwaukee Bucks – This is a single player pick. I’m pretty sure Brandon Jennings has reached must-see status. His stock is certainly higher in Northern California matchups, where he’s liable to put up 50 in high-scoring affairs. Plus you’ll get to see some crazy head to head matchups with Jennings vs. Tyreke Evans or Steph Curry. You can’t find that anywhere else in the league.
5. Washington Wizards – Another single player pick. I’m not 100% sold on John Wall being an NBA star, but I am sold on him and Tyreke being an amazing one on one matchup. Aside from that, the Wizards roster has all the makings of a trainwreck. This might be the most volatile collection of guys without a Bonzi Wells on their squad since the 1980s. Gilbert looks like he could just say F*** It anytime now. Josh Howard and Al Thornton seems like a disaster waiting to happen on the court, until one passes the ball to the other. And, there’s always a chance there might be an Adam Morrison sighting.
6. Chicago Bulls – I can’t remember wanting to see Bulls team since the days of MJ. Derrick Rose has probably made them a must-see team, but Joakim Noah has become one of the most exciting guys in the NBA to watch. It could be magical watching him battle with guys like Jason Thompson and Carl Landry. Carlos Boozer vs. David Lee could be fun too, but the Bulls don’t visit Golden State until February. I doubt Boozer will be active at that time of the year.
7. Orlando Magic – There’s nothing exciting about them, but Dwight Howard will surely put on a show. Whether it be grabbing 20 boards against the Warriors or blocking 10 shots against the Kings, I know I’ll see something amazing. Depending on how Demarcus Cousins progresses from here to March, that could be a matchup worth watching.
8. Houston Rockets – It feels like this be Yao Ming’s farewell tour. It’ll be a lackluster run, but unless he regains all-star form, I’m hoping it’ll be his last. He’s approaching Moses Malone circa 93 or Ralph Sampson circa 89 status. But once again, throw in high scoring affairs against Sacramento and Golden State, and Kevin Martin or Aaron Brooks, or both, are 50 point threats on any given night.