Drunken Thoughts of an NBA Addict: Kevin Durant Needs to Drive, Boston Celtics the Favorite
Hi, my name is David and I'm an addict. I'm addicted to the NBA. Seriously, this season is surpassing the expectations set during the most intriguing offseason in NBA history (and that hyperbole is totally justified. When has the NBA ever had something like "The Decision?"). To celebrate the awesomeness of the 2010-11 season, I thought I might share my thoughts while sipping on a Founders Dirty Bastard (see review after basketball talk).
Screw it, the Celtics are my pick to win it all
Championship picks this early in the season are a shot in the dark. Quote me on that if the Celtics do indeed win and I proclaim myself the basketball Nostradamus. I know that the Heat have the most talented starting five in the league and that the Lakers are the defending champs. However, at this point in the season, I really like the Boston Celtics.
I'm surprised Bill Simmons hasn't written a 3,000 word article in praise of this year's squad. The Big Three are playing well. Rondo is getting assists at a record-setting pace. Glen "Big Baby" Davis and Nate Robinson are picking up where they left off last postseason. Marquis Daniels is healthy and contributing.
Most importantly, the Celtics are deep in their front court. When Kendrick Perkins comes back, Boston will have Shaq, Jermaine O'Neal, and Glen Davis coming off the bench. Both O'Neals are way past their primes, but they can be effective playing 10-15 minutes a game.
The NBA season is barely underway. A lot can happen over 82 games. Usually the top five or so teams in the league take turns being "the best." Right now, Boston is the best.
Dear Kevin Durant, please drive to the basket
It's an established fact: Kevin Durant has a great jump shot. That's why he needs to stop shooting it so often.
High percentage shots are the name of the game when it comes to elite NBA offenses. The best shots come close to the hoop. Durant is ahead of most great scorers at this point in his career. LeBron, Kobe, and even the the great Michael Jordan developed their jump shots over time. KD already is deadly from mid-range in his fourth year.
For an elite scorer, the point of having a deadly mid-range jump shot is to keep the defense from playing off of you (like what the Lakers did to Rondo in the Finals). So far this season, defenders are taking the Ron Artest approach to defending Durant: stay close to him. When the defenders move in, it opens up the drive.
If Kevin Durant is going to take the next step and become a truly transcendent player, he will need to be more aggressive. The league is scared to death of his jumper. Now is the time for KD to make the league fear his drive.
Loved the LeBron commercial, loved Cleveland's response more
A lot has already been said about the LeBron James Nike commercial. It was great advertising, but doesn't hold up to intellectual scrutiny. Foxsports.com columnist Jason Whitlock had an insightful analysis. He observed that using the ad's logic, any decision can be justified using the "I did it for me, not you" defense.
I'm all for individualism. Too many people think that celebrities exist for the greater good. I don't think Tiger Woods owes it to society to be a monogamous role model. Rex Ryan doesn't owe it to the kids to use Sunday language on Hard Knocks. Randy Moss doesn't owe it to the media to give great interviews. LeBron James shouldn't be enslaved to the city of Cleveland for the rest of his career.
That being said, there are consequences when one acts on their own desires. LeBron didn't commit any sins of Biblical proportions when he signed with Miami. His decision to leave Cleveland wasn't morally wrong. However, Cleveland's feelings of betrayal in response to the Nike commercial are legitimate.
LeBron didn't conform to expectations. That is his right. Now he has to live with consequences.
One thing is for sure, it's going to be a great Rookie of the Year race
By sitting out last year due to injury, Blake Griffin inadvertently created the climate for a Rookie of the Year race of historic magnitude. He is joined by Washington Wizard point guard John Wall to form the most exciting first-year player duo in recent memory.
Griffin has amazing athleticism for his size. That in itself isn't saying much. There have been many great athletes in the NBA. What makes Blake Griffin so compelling is the effort he puts forth on a nightly basis. I'm not the first to notice that he plays like a maniac. He is constantly trying to affect the game on both ends of the floor. If Griffin stays healthy, he is the favorite to win the award. Unfortunately, he plays for the Clippers. That leaves the door open for the other rookies.
John Wall is also a phenomenal athlete. Whereas Griffin makes a name for himself with his ups and his motor, Wall will become a household name thanks to his speed. He is already one of the fastest players in the league and will become a top-five point guard as his decision-making ability improves.
The NBA is better when the Knicks are good
First of all, let me say: I AM NOT A KNICKS FAN. New York is probably my least favorite sports city. As a baseball fan, it is my duty to hate the Yankees. As an Atlanta Braves fan, I hate the Mets by definition. Cheering against New York is a passion of all non-New Yorkers. However, that priviledge is nullified when New York teams stink like the Knicks have for the past decade.
That is not the case this year. The Knicks are by no means contenders, but they should make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Amar'e Stoudemire isn't LeBron or Dwayne Wade, but he is an effective scorer capable of leading New York to a winning record.
The new rules are ineffectual
Sorry David Stern, but I doubt fans really care about players complaining. Thank God the new guidelines for handing out technical fouls aren't enforced by the letter of the law. Complaining is only a problem when a player you cheer against does it. For example, to Lakers fans, Derek Fisher is a savvy, intelligent veteran. To opponents, he is a dirty flopper.
Besides, it doesn't really matter what the players say on the court (unless it's tweeted about after the game). Televised NBA games have announcers who point out the mistakes made by officials. In the opening game of the season, LeBron unjustly drew a charge on Paul Pierce. It was clearly an offense foul and the commentators berated the officials for not calling it as such. The next day, Kevin Durant benefited from star treatment as the officials called one of his charges a blocking foul. If Stern wants to stop all the complaining. he should fine announcers.
Beer Review: Founders Dirty Bastard
If you're a basketball fan who doesn't enjoy a quality brew, you can stop reading. On the other hand, if you enjoy a great beer as much as a competitive game, I must recommend Founders Dirty Bastard. Dirty Bastard is a dark, strong Scotch ale. It is only a little lighter than a stout, but its creamy texture gives it great drinkability. It is drinkable and delicious, yet has 8.5% alcohol by volume. Thus drinking Dirty Bastard responsibly is a tall order.
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