FINALLY!! NBA BASKETBALL HAS COME BACK!! Christmas day marks what is sure to be an intriguing season, the first shortened season since the Spurs won the first of their three championships in Tim Duncan's career. A shortened schedule is great not on the business side, but for some older teams who have seemed the last few years to wear out from the long grind. They should benefit with more stamina and energy down the playoff stretch with a shorter season.
All bets are off on this one instantly if Brandon Roy and Greg Oden are both not on the roster. But if they are, this is a top 5 western conference team. Ray Felton enters to provide the big time PG they need who can score alongside Aldridge, and I love Nolan Smith the rookie from Duke. Most probably I would say put him as the second backcourt with Roy and start Felton and Wes Matthews with Aldridge. Camby is a great starting center and Oden gives excellent pop off bench if healthy, while yes that is a big if, in limited NBA action, he rebounds and defends well enough to be apart of a great roster alongside Gerald Wallace and NIc Batum at the SF.
For me this team is Overrated and cocky. The Lakers proved in the Finals with Artest and Bynum that all you have to do to beat this team is push back. That's it. I am embarrassed as a NBA fan at Rajon Rondo and much more at Garnett and Pierce. The Celtics get in more fistfight brauls and confrontations than anyone by far. However there is no arguing their credentials, they won one (and only one) championship and lost to the Heat in the Heat's first year together, but their old legs do benefit from a short season.
There was legitimate potential that the careers of Kidd and Nowitzki could have been over if there was no basketball this year, A short season though gives them their best chance of a repeat they could have asked for. While I don't think they can get out of the west this year, I expect them to remain contenders on the low end with the Grizzlies and Nuggets of the league.
In what I believe along with many is the Swan Song Season for the leagues best PF ever Tim Duncan, The spurs defense and three-point shooting legitimately gives them what I believe is 1 last shot. In a short season the legs of Ginobili and Duncan will rumble and Push along with all the tops in the West. They can beat any team so long as they stay out of a track mete with the Heat in the Finals.
Kobe Bryant is still a prideful guy, but fact is he does not have the same young legs as Wade and Lebron. But with a shortened season, who needs the youthful legs? Fisher is also an older guy who is scrappy but increasingly needs Shannon Brown and other Lakers youth to emerge. Short year and health for Kobe could return him to MVP form, he will still close but now will have energy needed unlike last year and Game 7 of the Finals in 09 when he ran out of gas.