Random NBA Thoughts (January 17, 2009)
The National Basketball Association has seen a lot occur in the season thus far.
Allen Iverson has been traded to the Detroit Pistons for Chauncey Billups, a trade in which people were saying the Pistons got the better end of the deal had shown why Billups has more championship rings than Iverson will ever have.
He isn't selfish, he doesn't need to take 20 shots a game, he is a good defender, and a better leader than Iverson. The Nuggets have played much better than the Pistons have since the trade.
While Carmelo Anthony is benefiting from his new teammate, Richard Hamilton is struggling with his. This shows that you can just be an underrated star in this league and be a championship-type player rather than a superstar with an ego and bad leadership qualities and never win a ring.
We have seen Dwyane Wade come back to the Wade we all loved. He showed in the Olympics that he is going to come back strong and has proved to us that he is still in the top three players in the league, right below the King and the Black Mamba.
Speaking of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, this season James is showing that he is a better player than Bryant. I've said it before, all LeBron needed was great defense the ability to shoot from the perimeter before he can be considered as good as Bryant, and he has worked on those aspects. I didn't think I would say it this early in the year, but LeBron is a better player than Kobe this season.
Bryant and the Lakers are playing well, but they are struggling on the defensive end, the end where LeBron and his Cavs have vastly improved on which is one reason why they are a perfect 20-0 at home this season.
Last team to start off this well at home? The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls who went on to win the championship led by whom else but Michael Jordan.
The Orlando Magic are proving their critics and doubters wrong this season by becoming a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.
They are currently second place in the East and are playing great basketball. With Dwight Howard in the middle, Jameer Nelson showing how good he has become, Hedo Turkoglu showing he can become a clutch option, Rashard Lewis playing up to his contract, and all the outside shooters on the team, the Magic will be a tough team come playoff time.
Going from teams that are doing well to teams that aren't doing so hot, let's move on to the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks.
The Suns are struggling under new coach Terry Porter. Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire aren't getting to run as much as they have under Mike D'Antoni and the record is showing that they aren't too happy about it. Everyone on the squad except for Shaquille O'Neal who is playing terrific so far.
Dallas is becoming the Sacramento Kings of a few seasons ago. They do well in the season, but can't win the championship in the post-season. Right now, they aren't even playing well in the regular season. While Mark Cuban is regretting the Jason Kidd/Devin Harris swap, the team continues to struggle.
Danny Granger deserves some props right now. People didn't know if he had the ability to be a franchise player, but this season is showing that he is a candidate for the most improved player award. The Pacers are still young, but are getting better. Granger is averaging 26 points, five rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a block per contest.
That's what the NBA is looking like right now in my eyes. Hopefully, the entertainment of the league continues because this season is loaded with potential.
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