I love the NBA. I love catching as many games as I can and I love letting people know what I think about the league. After sitting here parked on my coach for the past two weeks, I’ve decided that I want to write an NBA opinion article every couple of weeks or so. It’s a little informal and straight out of this fan’s mind.
Cleveland Cavaliers Start
As of November 9, 2014, the Cleveland Cavaliers are 2-3. Everyone, including myself, thought these guys were going to be a dominant superteam. We should have paid a little more attention to LeBron James’ first season in Miami. Newly assembled teams need time to gel. Most of these players have never played with one another.
Add in David Blatt, a coach with only European experience and you have a bit of mess. It might take him a while to get used to coaching these NBA personalities.
These are multimillionaires who think their shit doesn’t stink. Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters have bad, losing habits. Until they learn to play within the structure of the offense, they won’t be piling up wins. We were promised Spurs’ style offense and so far we have received the low-grade version. It’s the difference between watching ‘Gone With The Wind’ and ‘One Night In Paris’.
Don’t get me wrong, the Cavs will fix this. LeBron has such a great basketball mind. He needs to reinforce what David Blatt is trying to teach. Somewhere along the line, they will begin to win some games.
Teams On A Hot Streak
Last night, the Golden State Warriors (5-0) defeated the Houston Rockets(6-1), leaving the Warriors as the one unbeaten team. Steve Kerr is off to great start in his debut season. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are averaging over 50 PPG between the two of them. It will be interesting to see if they can keep this up. One thing about teams that rely on their shooting is that eventully the shots won’t fall. In the playoffs, defense wins. It will be interested if they can maintain the hot hands throughout the grind of the season.
Houston was short-handed in their loss to Golden State. Dwight Howard sat out due to flu-like symptoms. Maybe Houston wins if Dwight plays. Hard to say. The one thing I can say is that the James Harden-Dwight Howard duo has been better than I thought they would 7 games into the season. Harden is putting up LeBron James numbers early on (25.4 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 7.1 APG) while Howard is controlling the paint (19.7 PPG, 11.5 RPG, 1.83 BPG). When they lost Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik in the offseason, I thought they took a step back. That doesn’t appear to be true so far.
The Memphis Grizzlies (6-1), Toronto Raptors (6-1) and Sacramento Kings (5-1) are right there behind the Warriors as well. The Grizzlies and Raptors don’t surprise me in the least. Memphis is still playing Grit ‘n Grind ball behind Zach Randolph. The Raptors picked up where they left off in last seasons playoffs. Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have a claim to being the best backcourt after the Splash Brothers (Curry & Thompson).
The Sacramento Kings have shocked everyone though. If you really think about it, the elements for a surprise team are there. Outside of the Warriors (Splash Bros. again), the Kings are the only other team that has two players from the FIBA World Cup USA roster (Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins). Cousins, barring injury, will be an All-Star this season. Darren Collison is a steady point guard able to lead the team with a number of shooters on the perimeter. I don’t know if these guys can keep it up but it’s nice seeing someone new enter the discussion.
Say Goodbye To Hollywood
If there are two things I have enjoyed so far, it has been the struggles of the Los Angeles Lakers (0-5) and Oklahoma City Thunder (1-5). I am a lifelong Portland fan, with the Blazers pinwheel on my back. For as long as I can remember there have been two teams that Blazers fans hate the most. One is the LA Lakers. There are a number of fans sprinkled throughout the Portland metro area that claim to be Los Angeles transplants. For as long as Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were winning, I had to hear it from them. Especially after the 2000 Western Conference Finals when they came back from a 16 point deficit to defeat us. Year after year, the Rose Garden (now Moda Center) was filled with cheers of “BEAT LA!”.
Seeing the Lakers losing night and night out sure is entertaining. The next two seasons should be fun because they are going nowhere fast. Kobe Bryant in bogging the team’s salary down, and they have almost nobody with any potential on their team. Julius Randle was going to be their lone bright spot and he’s already done for the season after breaking his leg. I have no clue why they decided to sign Carlos Boozer. They might as well have gone for the first overall pick this season. Hell, they might still have a shot at it which shows how far Kobe Bryant’s impact has fallen.
Oklahoma City doesn’t have a geographical rivalry with us any longer, but I still have a strong dislike for their team. Before they relocated to Oklahoma, we had the I-5 rivalry with the Seattle Supersonics. Portland hasn’t won a division title in 15 years, thanks in large part to the Thunder. I never like to see guys go down with injury but hey, if they are already injured then I’m willing to enjoy the benefit. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will be back within a couple of months. It will be interesting to see if they can climb out of the hole that their teammates are putting them in. I have a feeling we will be celebrating a division title in Portland.
Cold-Blooded Player (Oct. 28 – Nov. 8)
The New Orleans Pelican has his team sitting at 3-2 but that’s not the big news. He is top five in three statistical categories. Davis (24.4 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 4.40 BPG) is dominating down on the block. He has taken that next leap that everyone thought he would. He will be in the MVP discussion all season long. The question isn’t really going to be about his production, but about if he can get his team into the playoffs. Tyreke Evans is balling out, Ryan Anderson is healthy and they have a legit center in Omer Asik. I know I could use him on my fantasy basketball team. I made the mistake of passing on him.
The Pacers will be picking in the top five of the draft this summer.
Nerlens Noel will be top three in Rookie of the Year voting.
San Antonio will have a hard time gaining first round home court advantage.
Stan Van Gundy will trade Josh Smith and/or Brandon Jennings.
Isaiah Thomas will STILL be Sixth Man of the Year.