The NBA season kicked off this Tuesday so it’s time for some thoughts.
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.