Thursday, November 19, 2009

Early Season NBA Thoughts

The NBA season is underway and teams, players, and coaches are already leaving their unique impressions on this young season.

Whether you like it or not, I'm going to give you my own personal thoughts on what's gone down in the NBA so far.

It's shaping up to be an exciting year.

Elton Brand may have something left in the tank after all.
Ok, so maybe it was just the result of an easy matchup against the big man deprived Bobcats, but maybe it’s a sign that he isn’t done just yet. There’s no doubt that he is, and will continue to be, grossly overpaid. But, if he can dominate defensively like he did last night, I’ll take it. Brand was swatting shots left and right, and seemed to take on a leadership role on the defensive end. I’m crossing my fingers that this was a sign of things to come.

Brandon Jennings is a beast.
How did a player this good fall to number 10 in the weakest draft in a decade?? Jennings is well on his way to becoming Rookie of the Year, and looks like he’ll be a perennial all-star sooner rather than later. I’d like to say I predicted this, but let’s be honest; the only person who saw this coming was Joe Budden. The guy opened his NBA career with a near triple double, and a few weeks later dropped 55 points. Legit superstar in the making.

The Hawks…really?!?
Never underestimate great players in contract years. While most are focused on the Lebrons and D-Wades of the world, everyone seems to forget that under-the-radar star Joe Johnson is nearing the end of his deal as well. Throw in a veteran point guard, a freakishly athletic power forward that finally decided to focus on his inside game, and an up and coming center who is a double-double machine, and you’ve got a rock solid core for a team that could challenge the beasts of the east for supremacy. On top of that, Jamal Crawford has already proven to be a great addition. If Marvin Williams can solve his problems, then they have a legitimate shot at advancing deep into the playoffs.

Will the Nets ever win?
The answer is, well, maybe. Ok, so the odds are against them going 0-82, but they are a really really bad team. Once Devin Harris returns from injury they’ll be able to pick off a few wins here and there, but this team is clearly a few years away (or 1 Lebron away) from contending. On the bright side, Chris Douglas-Roberts is making a valiant effort at bringing the NFL fad of hyphenated last names to the NBA. Personally, I think NBA players should embrace the hyphenated name and really explore the full artistic potential that is hyphenation. How about Danny Granger-Bomber? Eddy Curry-Burger? Luis Butts-Scola? Or maybe Jason Kidd-Mann? The possibilities are endless.

Nuggets or Lakers?
Suns. Just kidding. The Lakers are only going to get stronger with Pau Gasol set to return soon, but the Nuggets could give them a run for their money. If the Lakers stay healthy (that means you, Andrew Bynum), then forget about it. But if they have to deal with injuries, and the Nuggets continue to show improvement, we’re looking at an exciting playoff series next May. The key for the Nuggets: The continued development of J.R. Smith. The player once known as Earl Smith (for about 5 minutes), has proven to be a valuable 6th man, but needs to step it up if this team is going to win a championship. If he can give them 20+ points a night AND begin to contribute in other areas, then the Nuggets will have the firepower to match the Lakers.

Early season awards:
  • MVP – Joe Johnson. Mello has been nothing short of dominant, but JJ has taken his team to another level.
  • ROY – Jennings. From flashy high school player to warming the bench in Europe to tearing up NBA defenses. Just give him the award now.

  • Sixth Man – Al Harrington. It will go to a player on a better team, but in all honesty he is putting up numbers and should get some votes.
  • Coach – Alvin Gentry. Is he the best coach in the league? Not even close. But he has managed to bring the swagger back to Phoenix after Terry Porter tried to take it away. They still don’t play defense, but they’re back to being one of the most fun to watch teams in the league.
  • Most Improved – Trevor Ariza. The FG% might not be there, but he is proving that he is more than just a role player. His biggest competition for the award is probably teammate Aaron Brooks. There’s something going on in Houston right now. Not even Joe Budden saw this coming.
  • Defensive POY – Josh Smith. Maybe I just like the Hawks right now.
One Final Note:
Lebron James is never going to play in the NFL. Stop it, ESPN. Just stop it.

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