NBA Season Review and Preview Part I (San Antonio, New Orleans & Denver)
Was the 2008-2009 NBA season sensational or what?! From training camp until the final buzzer of game 5 in Orlando on June 14th, I was on the edge of my seat. It's been a very long time since I've had a season that I enjoyed as much as last season. I believe the reason is because I am a Lakers fan. You perspective of things kind of change when you come from routing for a team that you hope can make it to the sixth seed to a team that you expect to win it all. For instance, in the 2007-2008 season I routed for Cleveland in the playoffs, do you think I was upset this year when Orlando eliminated them? Not at all. On the contrary, I was ecstatic, overjoyed. I danced at home alone and sang a song called "Cleveland is out". Don't ask me to sing it now, it was a freestyle, pure improv. But it was a happy song and I laughed and had a great time. All by myself, in the back of the house in my office at 4:30am (I live in Germany).
Another team that I grown to really respect and border line fear over that last 10 years is the Spurs. I watch their every move, all the time, you can never count those guys out. Duncan is still in the top 5 big men in the NBA, Parker has estblished himself as a real unstoppable scoring threat and Popovich is a genius, but I know and I believe you know they are not going anywhere without Ginobili. He came into the season with a bum ankle and he never really got healthy the entire season. Duncan also have some problems physically and though a lot of "experts" try to blame it on his age, I'm not buying it. He and Manu will be healthy next year, and with the addition of Richard Jefferson the Spurs will be the second seed going into the playoffs in 2010.
And what happened to the New Orleans Hornets? No, seriously, does anybody know? OK, I guess they had injury problems too but does anyone else feel as though their window has slammed shut? Granted Chris Paul is a outstanding talent, but so is Lebron. Is David West and Tyson Chandler the championship support that you would want to rely on? Don't get me wrong, I really like West game but I think he's a second option like Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh or Andre Igoudala. I know that they have CP3, but the PG is never the first option of offense. I mean, with interior combos like Denver's, with Martin, Nene and Anthony. LA with Gasol, Bynum and now Artest. Even Utah has Boozer, Okur and Kirilenko and that's just in the west. Does N.O. have a realistic chance at winning a championship? I don't think so, and it's getting even worse almost daily. Right now Dallas is trying to sign Shawn Marion. If N.O. is better than Dallas now, they certainly won't be after that trade goes down.
Speaking of Denver, I'm glad to see that Chauncey Billups trade work out. I am a huge Chauncey fan, just 3 or 4 years ago I was calling him the best PG in the league. Now I give that honor to Utah's D.Will, who ironically plays a lot like Billups. Chauncey Billups' presents and leadership did wonders for the development of Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith and the mentality of the entire organization in a whole. The believed they could win, they played like winners, they carried themselves with poise and maturity. Oh, we can't forget the "Bird Man". He was great this season, it was nice seeing him overcome his problems to come out and perform so well. Can they do it again? Yes! Denver is good. Real good and they know it. All of the screaming and preaching about defense that George Karl has been doing over the last few year have finally gotten through. They tried it and it works, it really, really works. With the pain of being defeated in the Conference Finals, a full understanding of what it takes to win and having Chauncey there for training camp and the beginning of the season, this team is very explosive. Handle with extreme caution because they can blow at any second.
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