There's been a lot going on in...well, just about everything... in the last few weeks, and I've really for the first time gotten so caught up in news and world events that I've forgotten about sports (really Steve, how many times have we had this many consecutive conversations without talking about basketball?). But now that I've got a clear-headed moment, my thoughts have drifted back to the NBA...
Not sure if you agree, but this statement is true for me: for the first time I can recall, I actually have legitimate and exciting reasons to watch every NBA team this season.
Think about that!
Think about football. Before last Sunday, who would watch a Browns game? Bills? Dolphins? No one, 'cause they suck!
In baseball... well if you watch anything other than Red Sox-Yankees, I don't know how you stomach it.
But I am absolutely ecstatic about every NBA team's opening game. I can't wait to see them get back to the court.
Sorry Patrick... I didn't know that would mean your boys would be in THAT kind of court...
(By the way, MAJOR kudos to Jemele Hill for her article about Isiah Thomas--any man abusing black women and making stereotypical and ignorant statements against our people should receive the Imus treatment. Let's not just punish WHITE racists.)
(Sorry... I couldn't stay off the subject forever.)
So here are my reasons to look forward to watching every team this NBA season.
Acie Law IV. The Hawks, along with their new (unnecessary) (strange) (whats red, white and blue got to do with a hawk?) uniforms, finally got themselves a legitimate point guard. Law is a leader, and he's a very polished player, along the lines of Deron Williams of Utah. Even if he has some early struggles as did Williams, I expect he'll have a number of assist opportunities to Josh Smith and company that'll be worth a couple of replays on YouTube.
...29 to go...
I'm not even gonna waste my time. The Kid. The Truth. The Artist Formerly Known as Shuttlesworth (I'm sorry, I just can't call him Jesus... feels weird). Ring or bust. They're a must-watch.
The poorly-named Bobcats (Mr. BET Owner, it's very corny) might actually be the sleeper team of the year. Even though they are quite young, the Bobcats is a team of high achievers on the collegiate level who actually played very competitively last season despite injuries. And the core of this team has actually been together for two years now. They could reasonably, barring injury, make a run into the 6-8 range of the playoffs.
They'll be worth watching simply because they're a playoff team and an Eastern Conference contender. But there are two things I'm really excited about: 1) the development of Luol Deng (who should be ready to have his breakout year), and 2) what happens if this team does NOT win a championship. They seem scared to make any moves now, because Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler improved so much after they left Chicago. The team's got a lot of talent, but if they fall before the Finals again, somethings got to be done.
I think this is the year... this is the year LeBron gets some help. There are so many stars and quality players in limbo on bad or rebuilding teams. Plus, there's no way the Cavs can march back to the Finals using that same team. The other Eastern teams improved far too much for that to happen. So Cleveland should be on the move--and if you saw how much better LeBron was this summer when he played with quality teammates, you should be as excited as I am.
Instead of trading older players and rebuilding, the Pistons actually made themselves stronger by keeping the older guys and bringing in high-quality support players. Rodney Stuckey looks like he'll be the 3rd guard Joe Dumars has been looking for to fully reinact his "Bad Boy" days. Along with his new Vinnie, he signed Amir Johnson to contract, who can serve as understudy to Rasheed & Dice. All this means is limited minutes for the older guys, and an added freshness and intensity in the later rounds of the playoffs. This team should be explosive--and much better to watch.
Okay... this is a tough one. I don't really think J O'Neal is a franchise player. I thought they should've kept James White last year... at LEAST for marketing purposes (slam dunk champ in '08!!!). And in their quest to remove the "thugs" from their team they seem to have traded every talented player they had...
So why watch them, you ask? I'll tell you why...
That's all I'm gonna say.
If we could somehow get Kobe traded to this team (and get him, Shaq, Penny, and DWade on the same team), I would honestly move to Miami.
But yeah... I'm very interested to see how much of PENNY that "Penny" still is.
Or as one writer so eloquently put it... he's depreciated to more of a "Peso."
I wanna see Yi. There's really nothing else to care about in Milwaukee (which kind of explains why he didn't want to go there--and Charlie Bell was willing to forsake US Territory to get away).
After watching Jason Kidd on the USA Team, I'm a fan forever. J-Kidd for President. J-Kidd for MVP. J-Kidd for...well, all the things that we've thrown at Steve Nash over the last 3 years for doing half the things that J-Kidd's already accomplished. I love him so much, I actually would be willing to see him go to LA and help Kobe--just to see him get a shot at playing for a title.
Ok, thought about it... forget that last part.
Will Isiah still be the coach? Will there be a locker room shooting? Will Marbury lose the rest of his mind and start charging $120 for Starbury products? I can't even imagine what's in store for the Knicks, and I haven't even talked about basketball yet! This could be a playoff team! Knicks fans, I envy/pity you. If they win, it's gonna be an incredible season. If they lose...wow...
I'm already exhausted, so let's make these shorter: I want to see how many games into the season someone on the Magic looks at Rashard Lewis and finally realizes: "Did we REALLY pay this guy $14 million?" That move may have single-handedly destroyed Dwight Howard's chances of ever winning a ring... in Orlando. Run away, Dwight!
I love Iguodala's game. He's a star on the rise, in the same way Michael Redd & Tracy McGrady ascended into prominence after being apparently typecast as a role players. How good can he be? I know the Sixers are gonna stink, but he's got Most Improved Player potential.
Can a team built to dominate EuroBasket dominate in the NBA? The Raptors are fast, versatile, and a good shooting team. Even though their GM came from the Suns, they seem to be built after the Spurs model. They definitely have enough to be a quality team in the East. Plus I'm excited to see Chris Bosh ascend to star status.
Two hints as to why you should watch the Wizards:
1) He has the best blog you can find.