Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Words by Phlip
And would you look at that… one week down in the NBA season and some people (not me, mind you) barely remember that there was even a lockout in the first place. Television ratings are also suggesting this to be the case as well. With time behind us, though, we have surely learned some things.
The OKC Thunder are as good as everyone wanted them to be last year…
And never mind what happened last night at the hands of Dallas – who we will discuss later – Oklahoma City is real this year. Sometimes in spite of themselves, and I am fully of the opinion that Russell Westbrook will make himself an outsider here, the Thunder have the right pieces to beat any team in the NBA in a 7-game season.
The Miami Heat are as good as they, themselves, thought they were 07/09/2010…
And this time, no one is laughing at them about it. Look I am not a fan of this situation, as arguments have been made as to how the “big three” may have been a large part of what caused the lockout and continued hostilities toward the players from the owners written into the collective bargaining agreement, but that is another post for another time. As assembled, even after having lost their first game last night, Miami could win 59 of their games this season, which is rarified air, occupied only by powerhouse teams in LA (1971-72) and Bulls (1995-96 and 1996-97), speaking purely in terms of win percentages.
Your reigning 2010-2011 NBA Champions, the Dallas Mavericks…
This sentence has been followed by a snicker when spoken all season, if based solely upon their outcomes. To hear their fans call it, the Lamar Odom trade was a coup, to be praised. Lakers fans knew the truth though. He comes appended to a reality star family and is prone to extended periods of inconsistency and/or plain boneheaded play. One could assume that learning a new system would magnify these problems. 4-30 shooting in an ABYSMAL start to the season shows that Lakers fans like myself were not lamenting the loss of Lamar.
Vince Carter has already played himself out of the starting lineup, and I not willing to feign surprise when he has played his way into being traded for a piece that fits better in Dallas.
What, me worry?
The beauty of lowered expectations is that any success is a victory of sorts. Taking a suspended starting Center, an injured main piece and an as-exhibited inept coach and putting them into the microwave that is Staples Center will not produce the desired results. Continuing the NBA and their unexplainable grudge against the Lakers, only one team in the league had 6 games between Sunday and Sunday. Anyone care to guess who that was? Bynum is back now and apparently has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, if his play and assertiveness around the basket (and thankfully not the chests of his opponents) are to be believed, the Lakers are not to be counted as dead yet.
…and still won’t finish better than 4th in the Western Conference.
[Phlip note – and if you’ll excuse me, I am going to cower under my desk and cry now]
Ricky Rubio – worth the wait…
If this kid keeps showing up his starting PG, he will BE the starting PG. Once that happens, he – along with fellow rookie Derrick Williams and established players Kevin Love and Mike Beasley – will win rookie of the year en route to being central to the Timberwolves’ return to relevance (and the playoffs).
When that happens, expect Rick Adelman to see his name in the coach of the year conversation as well.
San Antonio Spurs, (still) not dead yet…
Don’t look now, but we have been writing this squad off as ‘old’ since they blitzed The LeBrons in 2007. Look, I know conventional wisdom suggests that a team carrying this kind of age is not necessarily “it” to compete for titles, but we cannot forget the season they had last year. Yes, I know that included a playoffs flameout, but let us not forget that being the #1 seed in the west that they likely kept another team lower in the rankings than they might have otherwise been.
Fire Mike D’Antoni and bring in a coach that will force Carmelo and Amar’e to play defense up the ability of their considerable physical abilities as terms of their getting the ball at the other end of the floor. Tyson Chandler will only stand for playing cleanup while his “superstars” are playing matador defense in front of him. Sure, forcing the onus of playing defense onto these two will likely send either in search of greener pastures, but think of the upside, here… If you trade EITHER of them, the amount you would receive in return would have to be amazing, giving their considerable contracts.
Small market teams, you guys are funny…
Oklahoma City and San Antonio, notwithstanding, of course. Specifically New Orleans, Charlotte and Cleveland… I find it cute how David Stern has allowed them to think they will compete as if players in free agency will want to go (or specifically stay) there for a period long enough to change the teams’ fortunes.
Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Eric Gordon; hold your heads as your time(s) in those holes are limited.
I guess more than anything, I am just glad that I have basketball back to discuss. NBATV has been giving out a free preview of NBA League Pass from December 25th and going to January 8th, for those who didn’t know like I didn’t until New Years Eve. This has meant a dance of me switching back and forth from game to game for the past few nights, and I love it.
As ever at this time of year, all NFL fans whose teams have recently been sent on their vacations, your attention to the NBA is welcome as well.