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NBA Report: Down To Business

Words by Phlip

I know where y’all WANT me to start, but I must come back to that later on in this post.

Strangely (or not so strangely, actually), the “leading scorers” now about 6 games/2 weeks into the season is weird to me. LeBron James is only now cracking the top 5 in scoring while Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant are separated from the top spot by only .01 point per game. A curious note to this Kobe’s .559 shooting percentage as of this morning. It suggests to me when combined with his STILL scoring over 27 a game that he is playing smarter offensive basketball, perhaps respondent to his knees being older than his and my own combined chronological ages.

The admission of James Harden to that fraternity and Kevin Durant’s omission from it is also telling of their respective fortunes compared to what EVERYONE expected at the beginning of the season. Yes OKC still leads their division and Houston is last in THEIRS, which is spot-on where we expected, but it seems that Durant needed Harden to be able to get his numbers more than Harden needed Durant. Consider that Harden has also attempted the third most field goals in the NBA thus far and that the names above him on that list are LaMarcus Aldridge and David West. When Amar’e Stoudemire returns from injury and the Knicks start losing, Carmelo will easily dwarf that number.

Speaking of the Knicks…

I am eating crow for now, but I do not have faith that they will carry it out when they’re back to full strength. I am impressed that they have won like they have and against the teams they have beaten, really I am. They’re the last team in the league without a loss, and their opponents this week will be a couple of very good road games in Orlando and San Antonio. I will pencil them in for a win in Orlando and to taste their first defeat in San Antonio.

The Bulls are doing what I said they would, and the Heat are not (yet). The Bulls can and should remain consistent to what they have shown us thus far, their fans need not worry until the playoffs when star time will be sorely missed.

Miami needs not worry at all…

They’re in a VERY weak division and even having the target placed upon them of being the champs will not make them easy marks for every team gunning for them. As their team being the sum of their parts, I don’t really have it in me to bet against these guys yet. Not until (unless) someone gets hurt badly.

Okay, I’m done dancing around the elephant in the room. Let’s talk about the Lakers.

I am going to attempt to play this up to the positives…

Firing Mike Brown was the answer. Hell, not hiring him in the first place was actually the answer, but unloading him before all was lost was a good thing. The names being tossed about – Phil Jackson, Brian Shaw and Jerry Sloan – were all good ones. Phil can manage egos, as can Jerry Sloan and Brian Shaw already had the respect of the rank-and-file members of the team. One name I did NOT want that was being mentioned REALLY hardcore was Mike ‘Antoni (no D). Phil did it to himself by asking for too much. He was reportedly willing to take the job, but only if he got a relaxed travel schedule as well as full personnel decisions, to bring his staff back (which means the Lakers would have to ask for permission to talk to Brian Shaw anyway), $10mil a season and to bring Scottie Pippen onto the coaching staff as well.

And now for the positive.

D’Antoni’s issue in Manhattan was that his players – well, the most important one in Carmelo – did not like or respect him, and that served to undermine any authority he may have had. On the other hand, this is a Lakers team that features a Steve Nash who can thank D’Antoni’s offense for his hall-of-fame career and a Kobe Bryant who has loved D’Antoni since he was a kid in Italy. With that in mind, the agreement of the top two names in the locker room (and first two people to touch the ball) should be the cosign they need to make this work on paper. On paper. On paper…

I see why it COULD work, but I need the people tasked with playing defense to be disciplined enough to do so with a coach who WILL NOT ask or even suggest that they do. Everyone other than Nash is capable. I am praying for the best and bracing for the worst. Suns and Knicks fans know why I am bracing for impact on this one.

This week will feature some interesting games – Celtics/Bulls, Knicks/Magic, Wizards/Bobcats (LMAO!!!), Cavs/Nets, Spurs/Lakers, Knicks/Spurs, Lakers/Rockets and Heat/Clippers to name a few. I enjoy that we get such good games early on in the season to keep interest up while NFL Football is still bubbling hard. As the only professional sports that I have the attention span to care about, I am fine with Basketball coming in while Football goes hard, and then handing off just in time for the NBA to get even more interesting.

I expect in the next couple of weeks to see the Rookie of the Year and/or MVP races to become either more competitive or absolute runaways. As ever, expect to see me here next week with an opinion on whatever takes place.

Words by Phlip
@callmephlip

Strangely (or not so strangely, actually), the “leading scorers” now about 6 games/2 weeks into the season is weird to me. LeBron James is only now cracking the top 5 in scoring while Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant are separated from the top spot by only .01 point per game. A curious note to this Kobe’s .559 shooting percentage as of this morning. It suggests to me when combined with his STILL scoring over 27 a game that he is playing smarter offensive basketball, perhaps respondent to his knees being older than his and my own combined chronological ages.

The admission of James Harden to that fraternity and Kevin Durant’s omission from it is also telling of their respective fortunes compared to what EVERYONE expected at the beginning of the season. Yes OKC still leads their division and Houston is last in THEIRS, which is spot-on where we expected, but it seems that Durant needed Harden to be able to get his numbers more than Harden needed Durant. Consider that Harden has also attempted the third most field goals in the NBA thus far and that the names above him on that list are LaMarcus Aldridge and David West. When Amar’e Stoudemire returns from injury and the Knicks start losing, Carmelo will easily dwarf that number.

Speaking of the Knicks…

I am eating crow for now, but I do not have faith that they will carry it out when they’re back to full strength. I am impressed that they have won like they have and against the teams they have beaten, really I am. They’re the last team in the league without a loss, and their opponents this week will be a couple of very good road games in Orlando and San Antonio. I will pencil them in for a win in Orlando and to taste their first defeat in San Antonio.

The Bulls are doing what I said they would, and the Heat are not (yet). The Bulls can and should remain consistent to what they have shown us thus far, their fans need not worry until the playoffs when star time will be sorely missed.

Miami needs not worry at all…

They’re in a VERY weak division and even having the target placed upon them of being the champs will not make them easy marks for every team gunning for them. As their team being the sum of their parts, I don’t really have it in me to bet against these guys yet. Not until (unless) someone gets hurt badly.

Okay, I’m done dancing around the elephant in the room. Let’s talk about the Lakers.

I am going to attempt to play this up to the positives…

Firing Mike Brown was the answer. Hell, not hiring him in the first place was actually the answer, but unloading him before all was lost was a good thing. The names being tossed about – Phil Jackson, Brian Shaw and Jerry Sloan – were all good ones. Phil can manage egos, as can Jerry Sloan and Brian Shaw already had the respect of the rank-and-file members of the team. One name I did NOT want that was being mentioned REALLY hardcore was Mike ‘Antoni (no D). Phil did it to himself by asking for too much. He was reportedly willing to take the job, but only if he got a relaxed travel schedule as well as full personnel decisions, to bring his staff back (which means the Lakers would have to ask for permission to talk to Brian Shaw anyway), $10mil a season and to bring Scottie Pippen onto the coaching staff as well.

And now for the positive.

D’Antoni’s issue in Manhattan was that his players – well, the most important one in Carmelo – did not like or respect him, and that served to undermine any authority he may have had. On the other hand, this is a Lakers team that features a Steve Nash who can thank D’Antoni’s offense for his hall-of-fame career and a Kobe Bryant who has loved D’Antoni since he was a kid in Italy. With that in mind, the agreement of the top two names in the locker room (and first two people to touch the ball) should be the cosign they need to make this work on paper. On paper. On paper…

I see why it COULD work, but I need the people tasked with playing defense to be disciplined enough to do so with a coach who WILL NOT ask or even suggest that they do. Everyone other than Nash is capable. I am praying for the best and bracing for the worst. Suns and Knicks fans know why I am bracing for impact on this one.

This week will feature some interesting games – Celtics/Bulls, Knicks/Magic, Wizards/Bobcats (LMAO!!!), Cavs/Nets, Spurs/Lakers, Knicks/Spurs, Lakers/Rockets and Heat/Clippers to name a few. I enjoy that we get such good games early on in the season to keep interest up while NFL Football is still bubbling hard. As the only professional sports that I have the attention span to care about, I am fine with Basketball coming in while Football goes hard, and then handing off just in time for the NBA to get even more interesting.

I expect in the next couple of weeks to see the Rookie of the Year and/or MVP races to become either more competitive or absolute runaways. As ever, expect to see me here next week with an opinion on whatever takes place.

Words by Phlip
@callmephlip

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5 comments on “NBA Report: Down To Business

  1. DV
    November 13, 2012

    Im hurting for you LA fans. I just dont care for D’Antoni’s gameplan but with all the talent (in the starting 5) how can he fail? Guess well have to wait till crunch time to find out.Im sure Gasol will be traded to help shore up the bench. Bulls will stay afloat in the Top 8 till Rose returns and im willing to bet Boozer gets traded. The Knicks? Im not impressed yet, too early. Waiting for Carmelo to be Carmelo. Miami is Miami but Boston tho…OKC is better after the trade to me. Spurs still dangerous. Clippers are the sleeper, too much depth and talent not to be a problem. Crawford for 6th man (again) and Brick Griffen is overrated.

    Like

    • Tony Grands
      November 13, 2012

      Tonight will set the tone for D’Antoni’s run…

      Like

      • Phlip
        November 13, 2012

        No it won’t
        D’Antoni does not have to show up for work til Thursday

        Like

  2. Curtis75Black
    November 16, 2012

    “Speaking of the Knicks…
    I will pencil them in for a win in Orlando and to taste their first defeat in San Antonio.”

    Hahahahaha !! How about those Knicks !! Scrappy Lil team aren’t they ?

    Like

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