October 31, 2008
The NBA season kicked off this Tuesday so it’s time for some thoughts.
Aldridge and Roy
Greg Oden gets hurt in his first game in the NBA and is now out 2-4 weeks. People are making a ton of Sam Bowie jokes but I feel these are misplaced. As are the feeling that Oden should be the savior of the franchise. With players like Roy, Aldridge, and Fernandez there are plenty of other places to go. The Blazers will just have to figure out a way to utilize Pryzbilla in the starting line-up which is something that worked pretty well last season. Plus as the season moves along I’m predicting other players on the team will improve as well such as Channing Frye, Travis Outlaw, Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez. It was one game and it was against an LA team firing on all cylinders while it looked like only Rudy Fernandez was at full speed on Tuesday. I still have high hopes for the TrailBlazers and expect them to reach the playoffs regardless of what Oden does. John Canzano of The Oregonian agrees with me.
Then we have my Golden State Warriors. With an off-season where we lost Baron Davis and Monta Ellis was injured in a freak moped accident (how bizarre is that) things are not looking great for the fans of Oakland. Luckily Correy Maggette was added to the mix and in his first game came out and led the team in scoring. Stephen Jackson played well also. Al Harrington is asking to be traded, and I feel that it’s probably time to let him go anyway as he doesn’t seem to be fully utilized in Nelson system. Hopefuly a complementary piece can come back in trade. I’m a fan and I hold out hope that they can make the playoffs, but things are going to have to fall into place pretty quickly for that to be an option.
People are talking about how the West is falling off compared to last year. And it pretty much had to. So many teams were at a basically level point of competitiveness in the West last year as the former(?) powerhouses of San Antonio, Dallas, and Phoenix saw a slight decline while other teams are becoming the new powerhouses like New Orleans, LA Lakers, Utah. The Rockets have maintained for a while, but adding Artest seems a savvy move that I think will pay dividends over the next couple of years. I think they’ll at least make it out of the first round of the playoffs (finally!).
The East is looking better with the Knicks and Heat looking like they could be competitive as opposed to the total pushovers they were last year. I still think the top of the east comes down to Boston, Detroit, and Cleveland, but the Raptors are on the rise and Dwight Howard and the Magic are nothing to trifle with.
My initial feeling is that we’ll see a New Orleans vs. Detroit final as New Orleans figures out how to make it through the playoffs and Detroit’s young talent becomes more valuable while the veterans will see little drop-off. I give it to New Orleans, though.
May 20, 2008
Last night the Hornets lost to the Spurs finalizing the final match-ups in the Conference Finals. The Hornets did an amazing thing this year, they made people realize how good they were and got their attendance to a point where it no longer seems like they’ll have to move from New Orleans. Chris Paul had a breakout year to become the best point guard in the league. The Hornets got much needed experience (which really looked to be what San Antonio used to finish the Hornets at home.) Look out for them next year.
I’m taking San Antonio in 6 over the Lakers. A lot of people have the Lakers as a favorite, and a Lakers Celtics Finals would be crazy, but I still think the Lakers are a year away. The Spurs have had a much tougher road to the Conference Finals. When they played the Suns it only went 5 games, but it was 5 hard fought games. Plus they didn’t get a rest because the Hornets took down the Mavs in 5 games as well. Then it took 7 games to put away the Hornets. I have a feeling that the Lakers will come out big in Game 1, but wil then start having problems in Game 2. Kobe has been good, but it seems like he’s shifting back into a me-first offensive style. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how the games actually play out.
Boston against Detroit should be good times. The “best team of the regular season” has been anything but in the playoffs. If not for Paul Pierce having the biggest game of his career (he may have had a better game before, but this was a game 7 shootout with Lebron James) the Celtics could have been sent home. If a Cleveland player (other than Lebron and Delonte) was able to hit a couple of shots it could have made the difference. Then it also took the Celtics seven games to beat the Hawks? I am going to pick Detroit in 6 for this series. Detroit knows how to keep their composure, and they look like a better team than they were last year. I don’t see Boston being able to maintain unless Ray Allen is able to make his presence known. Boston won’t be able to maintain for long if they don’t turn things around. The Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers are both teams that should have taken Boston no more than 5 games a piece to beat. They are currently underachieving by 4 losses at this point (by my reckoning). I think it may be too late for Boston to turn things around. Detroit is going to be fresh when they tip off tonight and I think that they have a real chance to steal home-court advantage in one of the first two games.
Again time will tell, but I’m feeling that we may be seeing a Detroit vs. San Antonio Finals again. David Stern will not be happy, and neither will I. But then again the Hornets were the last team in contention that I was able to root for. Now it’s time to root for good games and see which team is truly the best this year.
April 23, 2008
After a week of rest it was time to break down the playoffs. And then we talked about hockey again. We’re getting better at it, although we’re still pretty bad. The non-hockey stuff though, pure gold.