5 Things We Learned so Far This NBA Season
It took the NBA long enough to start...at least they soothed the pain with an exciting, and unexpected, start to the season.
Christmas day, enhanced so much by the start of this season, started with the Knicks seemingly stopping, at least momentarily, the Celtics' reign as kings of the Atlantic Division.
In the following hours, Kobe's Lakers would lose to the Bulls, the Heat would put a huge damper in the Mavericks lifting of the banner, and the new-life Clippers ruined Mark Jackson's coaching debut.
Needless to say, it has been an extremely confusing season. That's not to say that we haven't learned anything either.
Here are the five things we learned in the first three days of this young season.
These Knicks Are for Real
Carmelo Anthony's face on your left exemplifies every New York Knicks fans face at the end of every season this last decade.
Loads of money, sometimes loads of talent--yet always loads of losses. Though every season starts with buzz in the Big Apple, it never seems to be a successful, or even a playoff-bound one.
In this young season, after having only played one game, New York has, at least in my opinion, officially solidified themselves as a "legit" team—a team bent on winning it all.
Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire are both bona fide studs on offense and showed hints of promise on the defensive side of the floor as well.
Even without them, Tyson Chandler is a defensive presence in every scenario.
Baron Davis, Shumpert and Douglas are all guards who will keep this up-tempo team in place.
Finally, after a long, long time, the Knicks are back.
And New York couldn't be happier.
There Will Not Be a Repeat Champion This Season
There's such thing as a championship hangover.
Going 0-3 might be pushing that label a bit too far though.
It's not as if the Mavericks know they have the tools to win it all again and that they're just in a bit of a slump as of now. They lost perhaps the glue to their over-achieving defense in Tyson Chandler, they lost their best driver in J.J. Barea, and other valuable pieces such as wingman Caron Butler.
The Mavericks had a Hollywood like season last year, and they played great the whole way through the playoffs.
But the losses they suffered, added on to Dirk's and Kidd's ever-aging bodies, are too much to handle.
They may still be a decent team, but even thinking about a championship is too much.
Clippers Are No Longer Los Angeles' Other Team
For years now, the Clippers were merely Los Angeles' other team. The Lakers' were by far the powerhouse in L.A., and the Clippers had to watch as they gathered ring after ring, and they gathered lottery pick after lottery pick.
With no disrespect to the Lakers, who I feel still have the over all better team in the city, that powerhouse mantra no longer remains.
Blake Griffin is one of the fastest rising stars in the NBA, and the addition of a top ten player in Chris Paul makes them one of the elite teams in the league.
A championship season this year is a bit far fetched, but one in the near future is within reach.
Time To Take Apart the Celtics
Much like the Mavericks, the Celtics have started their season 0-3. Though last year was tough, getting somewhat humiliated by the Heat in the second round, it seemed reasonable to keep the Big Three together one more year.
Now...that idea seemed foolish. True, Paul Pierce has yet to suit up, but Garnett and Allen are aging must faster than expected by the second.
Rondo is playing out of his mind, but it's not sensible to expect him to do much of anything when he's the only player doing much of anything on either side of the floor.
My suggestion: trade either Allen or Garnett for either a very high draft pick or an up-and-coming young player.
This season isn't going to result in a championship--both the Bulls and Heat are simply too good for them to overcome in a seven-game series.
Yet, they might as well go into the offseason with more than simply Rondo to look forward too.
It was a nice ride while it lasted, but it's time to accept the fact that it's over and move on.
That Was a Very, Very Weak Draft Class
Give some mercy to those who had a high draft pick last year; that draft class was absolutely horrid. By far, the weakest draft since 2001, which will forever be remembered as the year the Wizards decided to take Kwame Brown with the first pick.
Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Kemba Walker and others are all fine players--but not nearly enough to revive a franchise, which are what lottery picks are meant to do.
No team has significantly improved because of their picks, which goes to show their problems. In fact, most teams that were in the lottery last year are being projected to find themselves in the exact same position at the conclusion of this year.
Which might not be a bad thing, considering how good this upcoming draft should turn out to be.
Finally, my rookie of the year prediction is: Derrick Williams. Though honestly, that doesn't mean much this year.
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