serious NBA lackage

6 11 2008

Man, it’s just over a week into the season and I’ve remembered why I hate the coverage of the NBA down here in NZ. I have seen one game, yep, one. The Boston Celtics versus the Chicago Bulls. It was a no contest, the Celtics were too intense, too focussed and way too skilled for the Bulls. At least I got to see Derrick Rose. The kid is going to be gooooood. ¬†

I was supposed to watch the Spurs versus Suns but it got bumped for the World Series. What do I care about the World Series? Bah. This afternoon it’s the Cavs versus the Bulls. I’ll watch it when I get home from work. I’m feeling a bit meh about the contest (why oh why couldn’t they have shown us the Rockets versus Celtics earlier this week?) but at least it’s a game ūüôā

I’ve been watching highlights on NBA.com but its not the same – hell, highlights make Vince Carter look like an MVP!

Some thoughts on the NBA season: 

  • Greg Oden’s injury is depressing – I still think the Trail Blazers have enough to make the playoffs but will Oden be there? He hasn’t even made it through one game so far!
  • I think Denver definitely “won” the trade with Detroit. Chauncey Billups gives them a legitimate point guard who can distribute and take over a game when necessary. If they had kept Marcus Camby then they would be a dark horse favourite out west. Detroit on the other hand acquired Allen Iverson who is still an amazing athlete and scorer as well as possessing a juicy expiring contract. Yet I don’t feel this trade. Does AI’s game fit with the Pistons? He’s a ball hog and when he achieved his success in Philadelphia that was their gameplan. Detroit play a more structured team game and I’m just not convinced that AI is a good fit. Where does he play? At the point? In place of Richard Hamilton? Off the bench? It’ll be interesting to see.
  • The Celtics will lose a few games through the regular season that they shouldn’t (like the Indiana loss) but they’ll be dominant by the playoffs.
  • I don’t think the San Antonio Spurs are done, despite starting 0 – 3, but I think there are worrying signs. They’ll make the playoffs but we’ll have to wait and see how Ginobili comes back from his layoff.

Anyway, there’s my thoughts so far. You guys in the states don’t know how lucky you are!

Advertisements




Denver Nuggets Season Preview

5 10 2008

My NBA Northwest Division preview continues with the Denver Nuggets:

Denver Nuggets

2007-08 Standings 50 – 32, 8th Western Conference

2008-09 Predicted Record 42 – 40, 3rd Northwest Division, 9th Western Conference

Projected Starting Five:  Nene, Kenyon Martin, Carmelo Anthony, Allen Iverson, Chucky Atkins

Sixth Man:  JR Smith

Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson are one of the highest scoring duo's in the NBA. Is that enough to propel the Nuggets to glory?

Anthony and Iverson are one of the highest scoring duos in the NBA

Despite a 50 win season last year never felt like a successful one for the Denver Nuggets. They scored lots of points, with Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith AND Allen Iverson it would be hard for them not to, but there was a sense of inevitability in the way they were swept by the LA Lakers in the first round.

They play basketball in an entertainingly frenetic style, more Suns/Warriors score at all cost than Celtics/Spurs lockdown defence. And it worked for them, 50 wins is a good season by anyone’s reckoning, only with Anthony and Iverson they were touted as title contenders and anything less was a failure.

So in the offseason what did they do? They traded away their best defensive player, Marcus Camby, essentially for nothing. Camby erased many of the mistakes that the Nuggets woeful defensive players made. Without him in the paint the onus falls on Nene. ¬†I don’t think he’s up to it. Like most of his colleagues Nene seems to be all about the offence.

I have a feeling that for the Nuggets the loss of Camby will not be a catalyst to improve their defensive play but rather be a spur to score more points. Why worry about defence when you can outscore your opponent?

At least the Nuggets are well equipped to do that. Iverson continues to amaze with his ability to score points as well as his cockroach like ability to survive contact. One day you fear that the continual pounding his body takes will put him out for good but so far he has proven remarkably durable.

Anthony’s moments of immaturity are well documented and you have a sense that one day he’ll grow out of them and be an absolute stud. I can’t help wondering what he would have been if he’d been drafted by Detroit. Already Anthony is one of the more difficult cover’s in the NBA however he needs to develop at least a modicum of defensive nous.

The third scorer the Nuggets can draw on is the mercurial JR Smith. He is extremely streaky but if the streak is favouring him watch out as he score in volume quickly.

Coach:

George Karl has had success in the league. He led the Sonics to the Finals and almost guided the Milwaukee Bucks to them as well. At first he seemed a good fit with the Nuggets but now I am not so sure. If they struggle early it wouldn’t surprise me to see Karl fired.

Bench:

The Nuggets have a solid looking bench led by rising star JR Smith. Also off the bench is Linas Kleiza who has shown flashes of All Star potential. However his growth is stymied by the players ahead of him. Up front might be an issue with the Nuggets with Steven Hunter and Chris Andersen the primary backups to Nene and Kenyon Martin.

Star Player:

The Nuggets are blessed with two superstar players: Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson. Both score lots of points but display an alarming lack of defensive urgency.

Team MVP:

The Most Valuable Player on this team isn’t Anthony, Iverson or Smith rather it is former overall number one pick Kenyon Martin. For too long Martin has thrown his weight around with bully boy play only to be challenged and found wanting. If he can become the player his talent always suggested then the Nuggets will be better than advertised. I’m not betting on it.

Final Prognosis:

The Nuggets will have another whirlwind season but this year they will fall short of the playoffs. It should be the signal to blow this team up.

 

You can find an index of past Previews here.





NBA Season Preview Index

3 10 2008

Atlantic Division Previews:

Boston Celtics Season Preview

Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview

Toronto Raptors Season Preview

New York Knicks Season Preview

New Jersey Nets Season Preview

Northwest Division Previews:

Utah Jazz Season Preview

Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview

Denver Nuggets Season Preview

Minnesota Timberwolves Season Preview

Oklahoma City Thunder Season Preview

Central Division Previews:

Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview

Detroit Pistons Season Preview

Chicago Bulls Season Preview

Milwaukee Bucks Season Preview

Indiana Pacers Season Preview

Pacific Division Previews:

LA Lakers Season Preview

Phoenix Suns Season Preview

Golden State Warriors Season Preview

LA Clippers Season Preview

Sacramento Kings Season Preview

South East Division Previews:

Orlando Magic Season Preview

Miami Heat Season Preview

Atlanta Hawks Season Preview

Washington Wizards Season Preview

Charlotte Bobcats Season Preview

South West Division Previews:

New Orleans Hornets Season Preview

San Antonio Spurs Season Preview

Houston Rockets Season Preview

Dallas Mavericks Season Preview

Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview