For The Love Of Basketball 67th edition
Come on and get ready…
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME BASKETBALL?!!!
Thun, Thun, Thun, THUN!…
Corny, I know, but whatever.
And so it begins. The NBA’s back and all is right in the world again. Well, relatively speaking of course. But anyway, please forgive the hyperbole; the season is upon us and I’m just a little excited.
It was a rather quiet off-season despite the US Basketball Team’s failure to win the gold, Ben Wallace’s surdiculous (absurd + ridiculous) new contract, Larry Brown’s paper chase, players crying over the new ball, Stephen Jackson lickin’ shots in a strip club parking lot, and… Sebastian Telfair allegedly (he was cleared of this) ordering a hit on Fabolous.
Nevertheless, it’s time to get down to the real. The Miami Heat prepare to defend their crown and repeat as champions, while the other 29 teams try to knock them off the throne. We all know only a few teams have a real shot at accomplishing that task, but it’ll be real interesting, not to mention fun watching everyone else take their respective shots. The majority of prognosticators are picking the Spurs to win the Glory if not the Heat to do it again, but I have a strong feeling that neither will be celebrating when all is said and done. Miami is a one shot pony and I believe San Antonio’s time has come and gone.
I’m thinking we’ll have a surprise champion in June and as long as it’s not the Phoenix Suns, I’m good with that. And yes, I’m hatin’.
No one seems to like the Pistons anymore since Big Ben bolted for Chicago, and having Flip Saunders as your head coach is enough to make anyone nervous, but on the strength of their core personnel (Billups, Hamilton, Prince and R. Wallace), I think they’ll be fine.
The Bulls on the other hand I think are a bit overrated. They gave a fortune to Wallace (who’s inept offensively), traded for P.J. Brown (whose clock is ticking), and are reliant on two jump shooting guards (Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon). Hmm… It ain’t happening for ‘em.
And of course people think the Cavs can challenge just because of the mere presence of LeBron, but with that supporting staff he’s running with, I’d say anyone who thinks they’ll win the title is delusional.
But enough with that, I don’t want to be like everyone else by predicting who will and won’t win the Glory. I want to pay attention to the long push for the title, the regular season. I know some people say it’s too long and it’s almost meaningless because the playoffs are what truly matter, but I enjoy the ups and downs of the grind because what happens during that time span is unpredictable and that’s what excitement is all about.
–Will Amare’ Stoudemire regain his form and how will he fit into a Suns lineup that has succeeded without him?
–Will Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady stay healthy enough to propel the Rockets to prominence?
–Can Carmelo Anthony take the great momentum he built during the summer to lead the Nuggets like a true star does?
–Can the Lakers become less Kobe reliant?
–Can the NBA handle being in Las Vegas for the All-Star Break without taking a public relations hit?
So many questions asked, only the games will provide the answers.
The Bottom Line
I’d like to preface this season by stating these facts regarding my upcoming columns.
–“For The Love of Basketball” is not a space where you’ll find standard or Associated Press news pieces. It is where I get to state my biased and unbiased opinions about the NBA and life in general.
–I don’t live by the journalist code of not rooting in the press box. I’m a Lakers fan, period!
–I give everyone involved with the NBA a fair shot of entering my good graces (that’s right, I said it, MY good graces). Some have already failed to do this, so if you get the impression that I don’t like a particular player or coach, now you know why.
–I’m taking no prisoners this season. I’m calling ANYBODY out who deserves it except for Lamar Odom. After the tragic summer he’s had, I’ll give him a pass this season.
–Despite the number change, Kobe will always be #8 to me.
–At times, I will talk about non-related NBA topics such as the sad state of rap music and how after Jay-Z and Nas drop their respective albums I’ll probably never buy another rap album again.
–And finally, if Steve Nash wins the MVP again this season I may seriously harm someone.
So there it is, now it’s just a matter of time before they throw the ball up and we get it going.