Monday, December 22, 2008

NBA Review, Part I

The NBA season is now a little over a third of the way finished, and I have seen every team play a number of times except the Miami Heat. For some reason I still have not caught them. But I will. No matter. I decided today to go back and look at my pre-season thoughts on the NBA, found here and here, to see if I where I was right, where I was wrong, and any other thoughts I have on all things NBA.

Oklahoma City Thunder: I have seen 2 games from these guys, and they are even worse than I thought they would be. I was right when I predicted PJ would be a goner by New Years, and the drafting of Jeff Green and Russel Westbrook has not worked out thus far. Durant has not looked very good either, by the way.

Memphis Grizzlies: I caught them the other night and they played a really competitive game. I really like OJ Mayo and Rudy Gay. They both take and make some crazy shots. I was wrong however, about Mike Conley. Doesn't look like he will be anything special, as he has had plenty of opportunity and hasn't done much with it. I also like Marc Gasol. He's a real banger and could be a good role player for years to come. Memphis is definitely on the upswing.

Minnesota Timberwolves: I predicted the axe at some point for Whitman if this team did not improve, and he got that axe sooner than even I thought. This team has been extremely disappointing. The main problem is that their guards are just awful. Foye can't shoot, nor can Telfair. McCants couldn't throw it in the ocean from the shore. Gomes hasn't shot well. The only two guys shooting well, Jefferson and Miller, have to watch game after game as McCants and Foye jack up horrible shot after horrible shot. I take bake my prediction that this team is on the upswing. Kevin Love appears over matched and is not a good fit for this team at all.

New York Knicks: Thank goodness for Mike D'Antoni. I've seen 3 Knicks games this year, and although they lost all three, at least they were watchable. Make no mistake, the Knicks are not a good team, but they are much better than the last few years. They have a similar problem to most bad teams: Bad shooters. Other than David Lee, none of them can shoot with any accuracy.

Milwaukee Bucks: I was wrong about this team. They have been much, much better than I expected, and actually decent to watch. They still let Redd, Villanueva, and Jefferson huck up too many bad shots, but the defense has improved, bless Scott Skiles' little red ass, and overall, despite a brutal starting schedule, the Bucks might have a shot to gel and fight for the 8th spot in the East, much to my surprise.

Charlotte Bobcats: This team is a microcosm for all bad teams. Case in point: Raymond Felton, shooting 39% from the field, shoots 12.6 shots per game. Emeka Okafor, shooting 59% from the field, shoots 9.0 times. It isn't that hard, coaches: Make the players pass the ball to the guys who can shoot and let them shoot. If they won't, get players that will. I still hold that Larry Brown is out of touch with today's players and in the long run this is going to end badly for Charlotte.

New Jersey Nets: The Nets have to be one of the biggest surprises in the NBA. Devin Harris is playing out of his mind, and Vince Carter is actually trying, which I didn't think he would. He still may be traded, but this team is headed in the right direction because of solid coaching and great play from the role players. Don't get me wrong, the Nets are not a good team, but they are much better than anyone expected.

Sacramento Kings: This team is just awful. It can't defend anybody, which negates the teams relatively decent shooting touch. That being said, there is some good stuff for the future. Hawes and that rookie Thompson everyone thought they reached for look pretty promising, and Brad Miller should probably be traded for more talent. John Salmons is surprising everyone with his play. Kevin Martin has, for the most part been injured and disappointing when he did play. He may be this years player who was called so underrated that he actually became overrated.

LA Clippers: You may ask yourself how I ranked the Clippers 22nd in my preseason list, but if you check it right now, they have the 24th best record, so I wasn't that far off. This team is, however, even worse than I thought. They just can't guard anybody to save their lives. Baron Davis is shooting so horribly. 17 times a game at only 37%. How is that possible? Oh, partly because he shoots 6 threes a game at only 29%. Have fun the next 5 years as he only gets worse, Clipper fan.

Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have been about what I thought, but I think they might have a better future than I stated. Danny Granger is playing awesome. Once they get Dunleavy back, they could contend for the final playoff spot in the wide-open bottom of the East.

Miami Heat: It has to be said, Dwayne Wade is challenging LeBron for best player in the league. He simply wills this band of miscreants to victory waaaaay more often than any mortal should. The big question remains: will he stay healthy? I predicted no, but hope to God that I am wrong, because he is fantastic. The rest of the roster is only so-so, but if they can pick up Boozer in the off-season, they would vault back up towards the top of the East in my estimation.

Atlanta Hawks: Wow, the Hawks are showing what just getting to the playoffs can do for a team, and proving me dead wrong. Even though they lost to the Celtics in an epic 7 game series, they seemed to learn so much and gain confidence that is carrying over to this season. They have a very balanced starting five, and you can tell that Joe Johnson figured out that no one can guard him. The bench is still to thin to compete for a title, and lord having Josh Childress would help that situation, but I'll tell you this: The Celtics are glad they probably won't be an 8 seed this year. (By the way, the big difference between last year and this: defense. The Hawks claimed they learned that from the C's and it shows.)

Chicago Bulls: I'm not even going to talk about the Bulls. Just Derrick Rose. I apologize, Derrick Rose, baby, for what I wrote about you. You are the real deal and once you get a little bit of an outside shot, you will be completely unstoppable. Please forgive me, Derrick Rose.

Golden State Warriors: I was dead wrong on these guys, as well. They are just horrid. Don Nelson has done a terrible, terrible job with this roster. Better hope that Monte Ellis can play point, because no one on that team EVER PASSES. These guys are atrocious to watch. I might throw up.

Washington Wizards: Wrong about these guys, too. Brutal. Just brutal. Think Gilbert is going to turn this mess around? Me neither. They just signed him to a six year deal. Wizards fans, put the pistols down, you aren't the Bullets anymore.

Denver Nuggets: I guess we found out that Allen Iverson is a cancer, and like the cancer that Doctor's removed from Nene's nut last season, the removal of said cancer can be rejuvenating. I mean, this team is night and day from last year and early this season. Billups is a stud. If healthy, he's a top 5 point in my book. Nene is much better than I thought, and Kenyon Martin looks rejuvenated. This team is a better defensive team than I thought they would be, relying on a team concept rather than letting traded Marcus Camby try to do all the defending like they did last year. Still not a top notch championship team, they will be a tough out in the playoffs for whoever gets them.

Part II Wed.


Jim said...

I have to agree that the Hawks are good. It is incredible what playoff experience can do for a team. They have a worse roster than they did last year (see no Childress) and they are still 4th in the east and have only lost two games at home this year. Like last year I pray that someone else gets to try and beat them in the first round of the payoffs other than the Celtics, because this team is scary athletic and gaining confidence with each victory.

I hope that the second half of your story says something about how Rajon Rondo should be an All-Star because he is playing completely out of his mind and NOBODY can guard him even though he still can't shoot!

Good read, Boydie.