It's almost here....
Can you hear it? The rhythmic thud of the roundball and the squeak of brand-new sneakers on the freshly polished hardwood?
Hoops season is upon us.
For basketball junkies such as myself, it's an exciting time. The Summer Olympics provided a brief respite from the basketball-less desert of the summer, but it was only a taste.
Speaking of Olympic basketball, their is one word that was used for the American men, and will be used for the Dallas Mavericks:
Redemption for the Jason Kidd Trade. Redemption for the Avery Johnson era. Redemption for the loss to the Warriors. Redemption for the loss to the Heat.
It's the theme of the Dallas Mavericks season, and more for reasons than I've stated above.
It's time for Dirk to show people that his MVP wasn't his peak. A Finals MVP will be. It's time for the people that says that Dallas' window has closed to have their eyes opened.
It's time for a one-time All-Star who has a a rough calendar year, with things within and beyond his control, to put himself back at the top of the game.
It's time for high-upside players like Antoine Wright and Gerald Green to make their mark on the NBA, and lend Dallas some much needed youth, swagger, and athleticism.
It's not going to be easy. With Dallas fighting for recognition in their own division, it won't come easy.
But you know what?
That's just how I like it. I've never bee comfortable with being the favorite. For the last few years, the Suns, Spurs and Mavs have entered the season as favorites to represent the West in the Finals.
Now? Seven Seconds or Less is gone, along with Nash and Shaq's youth.
Manu is out for the first few months, and besides signing Roger Mason Jr., the Spurs have done little to combat Father Time.
Instead we've got a Lakers team coming off a finals performance, and hungry for competition.
We've got a Hornets team with another year of experience, and the best playmaker in the game back for another year.
We've got a possibly rejuvenated Ron Artest trying to help the Rockets gets over the first-round hump for the first time in ten years, and for the first time since they've had two legitimate superstars.
You couldn't write it any better.
So what does Dallas have? A new coach, ready to take advantage of his weapons, even if it means relinquishing controls to his players.
Two hall-of-famers, one in the twilight, one in the afternoon, of their respective careers, both of whom want a title to complete their legacy.
Stay tuned for a more complete preview, of both the Mavericks, and the NBA season.
For now? Well, it just feels good to be writing about basketball again.
And it will feel pretty good to watch it again.