Wow, the NBA season already starts next week! I’m always overly optimistic about my Warriors, and think they will be better than people think, but I always think that so I’ll spare you the preview. I don’t really expect it to be a playoff year for them, but am hoping that we at least find out what our strengths and weaknesses are with this newly formed squadron. I guess my hope is that we don’t have to sign five or six D-League players because the rest of our squad is on the injury report. If you didn’t know I love Curry starting at the point, but he’s been making a lot of turnovers this preseason. Maybe he’s trying to get too fancy with those passes or just isn’t used to his new teammates yet, but it did make this question pop up in my head. Do we even need him to be that great of a passer? David Lee and Ellis are fairly good at passing, so maybe we shouldn’t have the ball in his hands as much as we have been. I guess if Curry’s not worried about it, I shouldn’t be either. Anyways, the real reason for this post wasn’t to figure out how Curry, Lee, and Ellis fit together, it’s about the story lines for this season that I’m excited about that are non-Warriors related.
Too Many Technical Fouls
I wrote awhile back when the new rules for technical fouls came out that it would would ruin and take the emotion out of a game that really needs it. So far this preseason it’s already stirring some controversy. Some players feel that they will adjust to the new rules, while others feel that it’s going too far. I’ll lean towards the going to far side. Stern says that through the NBA’s research, fans want to see less complaining to the officials. This might be somewhat true, but was there a follow up question on that survey that asked if they wanted all emotion taken out of the game? They probably forgot to include that one. Just looking at some of the ejections, you know that this rule is already getting out of hand. I understand if they want to keep guys like Rasheed and Stephen Jackson in check since they constantly bicker with the refs, but when stand up character guys like Grant Hill are getting ejected for a slap on the butt or KG for doing nothing, it’s just bad for the league. I never minded ejections or giving a player a technical if they gave overly emotional reactions, but now are they going to kick guys out for reacting period? Won’t this make the players more passive, and eventually soften the competitive fire? I think so, and I hope some of the true stars in the league push this to the limit. Imagine Kobe, Durant, and Lebron stepping up their arguing this year in a “boycott” of sorts, daring the NBA to throw them out of every game. Does the league want to keep kicking its best athletes out of games? You wouldn’t think so, because that’s bad for everyone from the fans to the players. This feels like worst imaginable way to show that the refs are doing a good job. Now were supposed to believe that if guys aren’t complaining, then the refs aren’t making bad calls? Yeah right, with super slo mo from ten angles we aren’t going to see less crappy calls. As much as they try to convince us that we will like this league better with these rules, they should’ve instead spent that marketing money on training the refs to get the calls right so there’s less complaining. Maybe next year they’ll make a new rule that you aren’t allowed to play defense with your arms!
I won’t even try to pretend I know where Melo will end up, because I don’t think even he has any idea of where he will be traded or if he even will be traded. We saw a few deals fall through over the summer that sounded promising, but nothing actually happened. Do the Nuggets risk getting one last year out of him, and try to take out the Lakers in the West? Do the Nuggets hold off and trade him to a playoff contender right before the deadline? Will Melo be the biggest two month rental in the history of the league? I think the Nuggets are already hurting because teams know they have to move him, and he doesn’t want to sign an extension with just anyone. Wherever Melo ends up, it could have huge playoff implications. I just know that if he ends up somewhere he isn’t going to stay, he is going to put up some monster numbers to make sure he gets paid next off season.
I’ve always been fond of watching the shiny new toys that get added to the NBA each season. I like debating about rookies more than MVP’s. Last year’s draft was supposedly a weak one, but we saw some amazing guards break out onto the scene, and the two best happened to reside in NorCal! We were depraved of seeing how good or not good #1 overall pick Blake Griffin is. After watching Blake in a couple preseason games, I have to say this kid is the real deal. He can jump out of the gym, and plays with the same kind of reckless abandon that Lebron played with when he first broke onto the scene. You can tell he’s more athletically gifted than the guys around him. Maybe Kaman isn’t a good player to compare anyone to athletically, but he looks superior to the other guys on the floor. Baron already loves throwing lobs to him, and a happy Baron makes me think that Griffin will excel.
I actually caught part of a Wizards preseason game last week, and John (2 second fast break) Wall looks ridiculously good as well. He seemed to have a solid command of the offense and the team. Being in Flip Saunders system will only help him develop. It’s nearly impossible for me to see either of these two guys not being all-starts in this league for years go come. Imho Demarcus Cousins also looks like he could be a great rookie this year candidate. With Dalembert out of the lineup, the Kings will need him early, and we will see quickly if he is ROY material…
Finally we can stop arguing about whether project superstar will work, whether they are a true contender or not, whether Lebron made the right decision, whether the other players on the Heat are good enough to make this team into anything special, and finally just see what how many top ten highlights they can put up each week on Sportscenter! Personally I think NBC should buy the rights to show all their games, so they truly have a MUST SEE TV show. I have to admit, I’m much more excited to see them playing together than I thought I’d be!
Who will come out on top?
Yep, two passive arguments in a row, sorry. The Lakers are the favorites. Why? because they’ve won back to back championships, and made themselves even deeper than last year. I guess this is the last time I actually will be liking Matt Barnes. It was a fun ride while it lasted Matty, but now I’m going to be rooting against you and your lame haircut. If the Lakers end up with a threepeat, I might end up killing one of the poor Lakers fans that reminds me about that fact all summer long. People have argued that the Heat are the team to beat with Lebron and Bosh there. Lebron humbly says that the Lakers, Celtics, and Magic are ahead of them in the pecking order. If we end up with a Heat-Lakers finals, which team would you root against? I guess I hate the Lakers more, so I’d be on the Heat side, but it would be interesting to see if the general public is rooting for a Lakers threepeat. By the time the playoffs roll around personal thoughts and modesty be damned, we will know who is for real and who isn’t.
KD probably had the best summer of anyone. He led the super young FIBA team to a championship, and somehow looks more polished than last season while doing it. He’s supplanted Lebron in fantasy league drafts as the number one pick. He’s the darling of the NBA because he signed his extension quietly with a tweet, says all the right things, and truly works harder than most at improving his game. I can’t think of a bad thing to say about him, so I won’t. What’s next for him after a scoring title and a FIBA gold medal? Probably to either (A) winning an MVP award, or (B) leading his team to their first playoff series win. Health aside, I think he could get to both of these goals this season.
New faces in new places
Al Jefferson, Utah – I don’t know why, but I always liked Al. He seems like an easy going guy who just works hard all the time even if he’s always on a crappy team. Now that he’s out of Minnesota’s black hole of sucktitude, and united with a top PG in the league, we will find out what kind of player he really is. I think DWill might like him more than Boozer even if he can’t hit the outside jumper consistently.
Carlos Boozer, Chicago – Speaking of Boozer, I’m just wondering how many games he will play now that he has his new contract. The Bulls are a great team on the rise, but they will need Boozer out there to get themselves some home court advantage in the playoffs and avoid the top seeds in round one. I never really liked him, but it will be interesting to see how his season goes running with Derrick Rose opposed to Deron.
The whole Knicks team – Amare Stoudemire was the headliner, but they also got Anthony Randolph, Raymond Felton, and a couple other fan favorite Warriors who aren’t really headliners, but could have a good year. I think D’Antoni’s system will work a little better this year with Felton over Duhon. Felton was stuck in the slowest offense possible in Charlotte with Larry Brown. Now he jumps to a team that has fifteen more possessions a game, and has a coach that wants him to distribute. I doubt the Knicks will be relevant, but they made some moves horizontally just like my career path. I’d keep Felton in mind for your fantasy drafts…
Shaq, Boston – The oldest team just got older. Not sure what Shaq has left in the tank, but it seems like he’s getting along with everyone so far. I think he’s finally accepted that he’s not what he used to be. We’ll see if that keeps up though. I don’t see how him and Rondo will work on the court together, unless Rondo has been working on his jumper all off season.
October 19th, 2010 at 11:54 am
Well the circus this NBA season will come down to who wants to watch and be part of the , LeBron’s cabale as it sets sail. That’ll be the storyline that Stern wants out there for public consumption as everything else will pale into comparison . ‘nough said !
October 19th, 2010 at 12:54 pm
Nice column, Chappy…so who’s your pick for ROY, Wall or Griffin?
October 19th, 2010 at 2:47 pm
Thanks Dave! I’m leaning towards Griffin. Mainly because he actually has a supporting cast that can teach him a lot. I’m sure Baron and Kaman are giving him all the info he can handle, and sitting on the bench just watching and getting mental reps for a year has to help him be a little more prepared than Wall. If nothing else he is used to the travel schedules…
I think Wall could win because he has nobody else on his team to steal the stats, especially with Gilbert already giving up on the season! I’m taking Blake though as my front runner. Who would be your pick?
October 19th, 2010 at 10:17 pm
I put the over/under for Boozer’s games played at 58. Any takers?
I’ve heard lots of talk lately on either Cousins or Griffin taking Rookie of the Year (wasn’t Blake drafted LAST YEAR?) but my money’s on Wall to walk away with it. In fact, he might make Washington compete for that final Eastern playoff spot. (Did I just say that?)
Jefferson might just be money on my all-NBA fantasy team. I like him to finish top three in the league in FG%, assuming Jerry Sloan doesn’t make him cry in the interim.
Another over/under on the season? I’ll put Shaq’s minutes at 14 per game. Nothing like a fat, rested Shaq come May.
And what would happen if the Magic finished with the best record in the East, meaning the Celtics and Heat would have to play each other as the 2-3 seeds?
Dude, where else can you get such bold NBA predictions in a single comment?
October 20th, 2010 at 8:35 am
I’ll take the under on Boozer to 58 haha!
Wow, Washington pulling out the 8th seed!?! I guess you don’t need a winning record to get that spot, so it could happen. Then we’ll hear the argument for Wall like we heard with Jennings last year…
I’ll take the over on 14 minutes a game for shaq. He might be past his prime, but he’ll get at least as many minutes as sheed did last year (22 per game).
What seed were the Celtics last year? 4 or 5? Whatever it was I don’t think they care what seed they are as long as they get in, and if they end up as a 4 then they’d play your Magic in the second round!