Words by Phlip
And with the packing up and giving away of the NFC Championship by my San Francisco 49ers – specifically receiver Kyle Williams – I can return my full focus to basketball.
I would say there has been a bit to talk about, but the fact is that the schedule and GUARANTEE of back-to-back games has worn on the older teams, to the point where…
the Celtics are looking so bad that the original “Big Three” (apparently except for Pierce, as he has been loyal to the organization and apparently they will do him the same) are on the trade blocks if the right deal comes along.
The Mavericks have allowed Dirk a week to get himself into shape. I actually chuckled at this, questioning “why hadn’t he bothered with being in shape over the summer?” Questions are being asked if he still has it or if he peaked in the Finals last year.
The Lakers have YET to locate an offensive cohesion and are losing embarrassingly, albeit to good teams.
No one is talking about the Phoenix Suns.
San Antonio can lose to the Kings and Rockets in consecutive outings.
Even the mighty Miami Heat can be caught off-guard, losing one to the Milwaukee Bucks.
… meanwhile, youth is reveling in a season where fresh knees are rewarded and with that in mind….
No need to go any further into the Clippers, the media has been providing them that all season so far.
The Pacers and 76ers are looking quite impressive in the eastern conference these days, keep an eye on them.
The Denver Nuggets are the surprise of the entire basketball-aware populace, since NO ONE (not even fans) can name their starting five without Google, but they’re making the best of what SHOULD be helping the Knicks if not for that Carmelo trade.
The Thunder are still as good as everyone thought they would be, and apparently the Russell Westbrook situation(s) of the playoffs and earlier this season were not enough to scare the team off of extending him for 5 years and $80million. I, on the other hand, don’t see that as such a great thing. Look, I think Westbrook is good, no problem with them extending the guy, but NOTHING about him makes me think that he is 94% as valuable to his organization as is Kevin Durant, but they insisted on paying him like he is. My problem is that I REMEMBER the playoffs last year and the arguments week before last. This approach to signing players is what has Chris Bosh on the contract he is on right now. Oh well, there is a reason I am not an NBA GM I guess.
The Bulls are still the Bulls, and even forge ways to win with their superstar out and possibly bothered for the remainder of the season by it when he returns. That is what well-coached teams do.
All told, the season is still somewhat young and with the trading deadline still far(ish) out in front of us, major moves can (and will) be made (or attempted) to right some ships in time for the playoffs, or a push for them. I have not lost faith in my Lakers, but I never had any in Mike Brown, so while I worry not about the ability of the on-court talent to pull it together and salvage a 4 or 5-seed going into the playoffs, I am TERRIFIED that Mike Brown will eventually be soundly out-coached like he has been any other time he has been there.
Baron Davis is said to be back in practice, but is in TERRIBLE shape, conditioning-wise. All of my previous Knicks jokes aside, this cat will NOT be the answer at Point Guard for them. I am beginning to think that the crux of their problems stemming from the lack of a PG is their comeuppance for NOT keeping a star Point Guard in Chauncey Billups.
Boston showed signs of life last night and while it may not do much for the hopes of their season when it all matters, may have re-spawned the Dwight Howard trade talks with that 87-56 (yes, final score) showing.
The coming weeks will separate the wheat from the chaff, with the real contenders asserting themselves as such and the pretenders being sent to the drawing board.
The lockout is all but forgotten…
Words by Phlip