The Final Buzzer – 66 Related Thought, Observations and Ramblings of the early NBA season (7/1/12)
First of all, Happy New Year! I hope that your holidays are treating you well and you’ve all eaten like Eddy Curry does over a normal week.
Now, since my last lockout related post, SH!T HAS GONE DOWN IN THE NBA. And instead of doing a league preview (well, it’s a bit late now since the season’s started), I’ve decided to drop 66 random NBA related thoughts, observations and ramblings for you all to enjoy and digest like that lovely honey glazed Christmas ham that auntie [insert auntie name who baked the ham] made for the family in honour of our shortened 66 game regular season!
So without further ado, let’s do it!
1. Thank Christ the lockout is over! Seriously, I was two weeks away from following the ANBL. TWO WEEKS! Please never let it get as bad as it did ever again NBA/NBA Players Union. You owe it to your fans (me)!
2. Seriously, the drop off in talent between the NBA and the ANBL is gargantuan. If Kevin Seraphin played in the ANBL, he would probably lead the league in scoring, rebounding, block shots and win the MVP award. Who’s Kevin Seraphin? He plays for the Wizards. Yeah I’ve never heard of him before either. That’s how much better NBA players are. You see Dillon Boucher locking down Mo Evans? Let alone LeBron? Come on!
3. How messed up was the whole Chris Paul trade situation? As a Lakers fan I was excited and hesitant about the trade when it happened. To be honest, I was kind of relieved when it fell through as I’m a big fan of both Gasol and Odom and I thought that our length was the Lakers best advantage against opponents.
4. Then it gets vetoed by the NBA for ‘basketball reasons’. What the hell are ‘basketball reasons’?
5. SERIOUSLY NO ONE HAS GIVEN A LEGITIMATE ANSWER FOR WHAT ‘BASKETBALL REASONS’ ARE.
6. From what’s reported, it was Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert who was advocating for vetoing the trade. The same Dan Gilbert who wrote that letter in Comic Sans MS after LeBron LeDitched him for the Heat.
7. LeBron is playing some fantastic basketball right now and it seems like he’s finally added a post game! Why he didn’t do it sooner is a question for another day, but now he’s looking much more dominant with a post game at his disposal. He needs to start winning titles, otherwise the whispers of his continued failures will begin to grow louder.
8. Vetoing the Chris Paul trade effectively screwed up 4 franchises:
- I. The Hornets – Put in limbo with Chris Paul. No one wanted to deal with them because their GM wasn’t calling the shots any more. And as long as the NBA owns the Hornets, which free agent would want to go and play there? It was tough enough to attract free agents before the NBA took over ownership.
- II. The Lakers – Had to have an awkward confrontation with Gasol and Odom which resulted in Odom requesting a trade. They then would’ve started All Star Chris Paul at PG instead of 37 year old Derek Fisher. Trade is vetoed, Paul starts for the Clippers and the Lakers must turn back to El Presidente to be their starting PG again.
- III. The Rockets – Thought they were securing a talented big in Gasol to help their frontline. This then would’ve led to them signing Nene to have a Gasol/Nene front court which would’ve been pretty sweet. The Gasol trade falls through, Nene resigns with the Nuggets and they’re now stuck with Jordan Hill (who sucks, yet would still dominate in the ANBL) and Samuel Dalembert.
- IV. The Knicks – Ran away from the trade discussions after assuming Chris Paul was dealt to the Lakers. They then panicked and offered Tyson Chandler a massive deal. Chandler signs, the Paul trade is vetoed and the Knicks are now stuck with Chandler. Spike Lee puts up a brave face but is dying on the inside.
9. The whole Chris Paul trade veto situation was such a perfect storm. And by that I mean everything that needed to happen did. The owners had to all be in the same place to decide that they didn’t like the trade (they were together to sign the new CBA). David Stern needed to be there (he was). I don’t think the NBA would be able to veto a trade normally, but because the Hornets are owned by the NBA, they have the final say.
10. With the NBA returning, they ramped up their marketing for the Christmas day tip off. No one markets the NBA like TNT. And with the addition of Shaq to their broadcast team, their commercials became instant classics.
11. Like this one:
12. Shaq’s Achilles looks fine in the video. The Celtics must be pissed watching that!
13. Enjoyed this commercial so much I went and bought the song off iTunes (it’s by a band called Rare Earth if you were wondering).
14. You can tell everyone was having a good time coming up with these.
16. And this one:
17. Seriously I love these:
18. Only TNT should make NBA commercials. Take their opening video for the season:
19. They mix Bill Walton seamlessly interacting with Tim Duncan!
20. They have Magic and Kobe running out together!
21. Magic assisting Kobe!
22. Magic high fiving Kobe!
23. There’s Spike Lee taunting Bill Russell!
24. Dirk defending Bird!
25. LeBron dunking on Dr. J!
26. Dwight getting blocked by Wilt!
27. Blake Griffin dunking on Hakeem!
28. Larry Bird assisting Ray Allen for a 3!
29. Amare chest bumping Patrick Ewing!
30. Derrick Rose fist bumping Michael Jordan!
31. Probably one of the greatest NBA commercials ever. Bravo TNT, Bravo!
32. The Russell Westbrook/Kevin Durant sub-plot is beginning to stir after an altercation on the bench. It was also covered by the awesome J.A. Adande. Bill Simmons compared it to the Avon Barksdale/Stringer Bell sub-plot on The Wire (a reference I now get because I’ve seen The Wire). It’s probably overblown but still interesting to keep an eye on.
33. How weird has the start to this season been?! Teams winning who shouldn’t be. Teams losing who shouldn’t be. Is this because of the unpredictability of the shortened season? Or is team chemistry a bigger factor?
34. The Heat look very good early on. Why didn’t they play up tempo like this last year? Rookie Norris Cole has proven that he can fit into this team and is playing like a pro. They’re about to be tested though as Dwyane Wade just missed a game due to a foot injury and LeBron injured his left ankle against the Pacers. We’re about to see if the Heat have enough to win with two of their Big Three playing under 100%.
35. How disappointing have the Mavs been? They were blown out in their first two games against the Heat and Nuggets and lost a close game against the Thunder. Not the best start for the defending NBA Champs. They did hand the Thunder their first loss on Jan 2nd, so things are starting to look better for them.
36. And while we’re on the Mavs, how bad has Lamar Odom been? I feel bad for him because he was one of my favourite Lakers and the way that whole situation ended up playing out was terrible. I understand that he’s an incredibly emotional person and felt betrayed by the Lakers. So he asked out and the Lakers granted his wish. But that aside, he’s been pretty sh!t. This guy is the current 6th Man of the Year and looks like he’s fallen off a cliff! It seems like he has no idea what he’s doing on that team. He could form a deadly pick and roll team with Dirk, but instead is just standing on the perimeter shooting 3’s. He has a PER of 5.10 according to John Hollinger’s Player Ratings. To put it into perspective, the league average is a PER of 15. Odom is ranked 290th out of 316 players.
37. I hope Odom can turn it around. He’s such a talent and there aren’t many who can do what he does on the court.
38. The Odom trade gives the Lakers both financial flexibility and removes Khloe Kardashian from courtside.
39. Ricky Rubio is just as good as advertised. His passing ability is great and his scoring has been better than expected. The scary thing is that he’s only probably going to get better.
40. And the Timberwolves are actually quite a fun team to watch. J. J. Barea and Rubio and exciting to watch and Kevin Love is just a monster for them. He rebounds like a man possessed, shoots threes, has a high basketball I.Q and seems like someone who you would really like to play with. Don’t know how close they are to being a play-off team but give them time and they could be a pretty good team in the future.
41. I feel bad for Steve Nash and Grant Hill. They should both be playing on contenders instead of wasting away on a bad Suns team. And their owner isn’t going to trade Nash because he knows the only reason people come and watch the Suns is because they have Steve Nash! A vicious cycle!
42. Injuries have already started to hurt teams. Kobe is playing through a sprained wrist that would sideline any normal human. Kobe is renowned for playing through injuries but maybe sometimes the rest is more beneficial?
43. Who am I kidding, Kobe is balling right now! He’s jacking up shots like Smush Parker and Kwame Brown are his teammates again! He went 6 for 28 in a loss to the Nuggets and then 14 for 29 in a win against the Rockets. The torn ligaments in his wrist must be causing him some pain? But he seems pretty determined to prove otherwise.
44. His knee looks fine though. Maybe the procedure worked?
45. Manu Ginobili has broken his hand and is now out two months after breaking his left hand (which is his shooting hand). Huge hit to the Spurs who continually rely on Manu’s brilliance. That’s true especially now that Tim Duncan can’t carry the team like he once could. Hopefully someone steps up and fills in for his production (you alive Richard Jefferson!?)
46. Zach Randolph is also out around two months after tearing his right MCL. This is probably a bigger blow than Manu’s injury to the Spurs. Randolph was huge last year, helping the Grizzlies upset the Spurs in the playoffs. He really found his place on that team and there are high expectations in Memphis this year. Seeing him go down hurts. His low post play will be sorely missed but hopefully Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol and the rest of the Grizzlies can hold the fort until ZBo returns.
47. The New Jersey Nets have been pretty terrible. Poor Deron Williams. He thought Dwight was coming, then Brook Lopez had to break his damn foot! Now it looks like that trade isn’t happening. Is the Deron Williams trade/free agency speculation about to begin?
48. Has Tyson Chandler really helped improve New York’s defence? Short answer: No.
49. Golden State have added Nate Robinson. Is that just so Golden States can have SOMEONE represent them during the All Star Weekend? It’ll be in the dunk contest but still! Just kidding. I just don’t know what this really achieves. He won’t help defensively, and with Curry, Ellis and Rush already on the squad, how will Jackson use Nate? The Warriors have the potential to be a pretty good team this year but are clearly a work in progress. They’ve had two solid wins against the Bulls and the Knicks, but some stinkers as well. They’re currently 2-4. Despite Marc Jackson trying to make them into a defence first team, they lack a real team identity and don’t have the right personnel to play the way Marc Jackson envisions them to play. Plus they paid Kwame Brown $7 million dollars for one year. SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS! This is the same Kwame Brown who once told Kobe Bryant not to pass him the ball if he was open because he was nervous about screwing up!
50. Portland currently sitting at the top of the Western Conference? What? Without Brandon Roy and Greg Oden? Say what?! Got to give credit to Raymond Felton for improving and really taking control of this team. LaMarcus Aldridge has been playing fantastically!
51. Poor Brandon Roy. Very sad to see you retire. It’s a shame your knees failed you. You deserved better. One of the great Blazers. Thanks for the memories:
52. Lob City is a cool nickname for the Clippers. It is exciting to see Chris Paul and Chauncy Billups throw lops to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. And how lucky were the Clippers in getting Chauncey Billups off the amnesty waiver wire?!
53. Nice to see T-Mac wind back the clock to help the Hawks hand the Heat their first loss of the season. T-Mac scored 16 points in the 4th quarter and the Hawks exploited the Heat inability to beat a zone defence. They narrowly lost to the Bulls after beating the Heat and have shown that they can hang tough with the Eastern Conference’s top teams. Anything that T-Mac can give them will be a nice bonus. He’s got to fill that Jamal Crawford scoring hole and who’s better than a former scoring champ?
54. I think the Lakers should take a chance on Gilbert Arenas. I think he’s still got something left in the tank. He’s only 29, which is younger than Steve Blake and Derek Fisher, and hasn’t really played in two seasons due to suspension and knee injuries. Plus he’s a low risk high reward player. He’ll be cheap as the Magic are still paying his stupid contract. I only see upside. Plus it’ll be nice to have another person who can create off the dribble other than Kobe.
55. Rip Hamilton has been a great fit for the Bulls. The perfect complement to Derrick Rose. He just runs around screens and hits jumpers and three’s. Good to finally see Rip playing again after the mess that happened in Detroit.
56. Speaking of Derrick Rose, he’s looking very good at the moment. And it looks like he’s added a 3 point game to his repertoire. Good for the Bulls. Bad for everyone else.
57. The Celtics are quietly doing their thing, winning four in a row after dropping their first three games. Having Paul Pierce back helps. It also helps playing Washington twice, New Jersey and Detroit.
58. I’m very much enjoying the new Wizards uniforms:
A nice throwback to the Washington Bullets era without the negative connotation of bullets…and death…
59. Indiana looks like quite a dangerous team this year. They’ve got a lot of the same personnel and have added veteran forward David West from the Hornets. It should be noted that West chose the Pacers over the Celtics because he is greedy and chose money over wins. I don’t blame him. It’s only a two year contract so the Pacers aren’t locked down financially either. Win-win for both parties. Plus the Pacers are deep, have familiar chemistry and can very much make a run at the 5th seed in the East.
60. The Kings have already fired coach Paul Westphal after fighting with DeMarcus Cousins. This led to Cousins demanding a trade. The Kings decided not to trade the player. So instead they fired their coach. Dumb move. You’ve just shown DeMarcus Cousins that what he did is acceptable where they should’ve told him to deal with it and to stop being a little bitch (he’s actually 6’11). Firing Westphal only empowers the headcase.
61. Dwight Howard looks like he’s mentally checked out of Orlando already. But who’s going to take him? Definitely not Los Angeles at the moment because…
62. Andrew Bynum is BEASTING right now! He is looking good, nay, dominant! He’s dunking around people, over people, through people. He’s been great on the boards, worked hard to get good position in the post and has usurped Pau Gasol as the number two option behind Kobe. He’s just has his first 20/20 game of his career and is on track for his first All Star appearance. He’s playing how people have always wanted him to play, and as a Laker fan and fantasy owner I couldn’t be happier! Now if only Kobe would pass him the ball more…
63. What I like about Bynum’s emergence is that Pau Gasol has seamlessly shifted to the teams third option. This is nothing against Gasol, just a testament to how good he is at doing what’s best for the team. He’s moved his game further from the basket to allow for Bynum to have space to operate inside. Gasol has a great midrange game that other forwards don’t possess and still has the ability to post up and use his guard-like footwork to score.
65. It’s sad how the Charlotte Bobcat’s best player is their owner.
66. Oh NBA, welcome back!
67. Bonus number. Yay! Seriously this is just too good to not include! The Kwame Brown Draft. This is just so awesome on so many levels. The fake SportsCenter studio, the fake draft set up to look like the NBA draft, the blonde reporter, the respective fan bases in bars waiting for the results. Just such a well done video. My favourite quote from the video: “Darko is a zero, but Kwame Brown is an absolute cancer.” Brilliant.
And that my friends, is The Final Buzzer.