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!





San Antonio Spurs Season Preview

24 10 2008

My NBA South West Division preview continues with the San Antonio Spurs:

San Antonio Spurs

2007-08 Standings 56 – 26, 3rd Western Conference

2008-09 Predicted Record 54 – 28, 2nd South West Division, 4th Western Conference

Projected Starting Five:  Fabricio Oberto, Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen, Michael Finley, Tony Parker

Sixth Man:  Manu Ginobili

Without Manu Ginobili for the first part of the season, Tony Parker will have to take on more of the load offensively.

Without Manu Ginobili for the first part of the season, Tony Parker will have to take on more of the load offensively.

The San Antonio Spurs are the closest thing currently to a dynasty in the NBA. With Tim Duncan on board they’ve won multiple titles (1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007) and been quite simply the banner team for success. Sure there have been pretenders, Detroit in the Eastern Conference has been the other consistently excellent team during that period but they managed one title, the Spurs four. ¬†The only thing that has eluded them has been back to back titles. If 2008/09 follows the pattern of previous seasons then the Spurs will be winning title number five next June.

The success of the Spurs hinges on two men: coach, Gregg Popovich and future Hall of Famer, Tim Duncan. Both men are intrinsically linked and are the only constants in all the Spurs titles. The first title in 1999 was won with David Robinson as the other half of the twin towers. Robinson retired after his second championship in 2003 and Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker became Duncan’s primary sidekicks.

Tim Duncan is one of the best players in the NBA. Seemingly the perfect big man, the only weakness in his game is his erratic free throw shooting. He dominates with consistency and class and is a true franchise player.

Duncan’s primary sidekicks remain Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Parker is one of the quickest players in the NBA and it’s still hard to believe he is still only 26. While perhaps not as good as Chris Paul and Deron Williams he is still capable of taking over a game down the stretch as he can get in to the paint at will.

Ginobili is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and it says something about his character and the culture of the Spurs that Ginobili is willing to come off the bench for the good of the team. However there is a nagging sense that injuries and age is catching up with Ginobili. He will be missing from the lineup until at least mid December as he recovers from surgery on his ankle.

Bruce Bowen is the designated stopper of the Spurs. Typically Bowen guards the opposition’s best perimeter player, whether that is Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash or Paul Pierce. He does this through a variety of legitimate and dirty tricks. He also remains a capable outside shooter from the wings. Ime Udoka is his designated heir.

The remainder of the Spurs are a mix of veteran role players and intriguing talent. Michael Finley and Kurt Thomas are the kind of no nonsense veterans that the Spurs value – they seldom make mistakes and know how to play with the superstars on the team.

The San Antonio Spurs will again be dangerous this season. It’ll be interesting to see how they cope with the rising powers such as the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Hornets.

Coach:

Gregg Popovich is arguably the best coach in basketball. Every year people whisper that maybe this is the year that they will finally slip back but every year they are contenders come the playoffs.

Bench:

Manu Ginobili better get healed quick as there is a worrying look to the Spurs bench. However it wouldn’t surprise me to see some of the newish players on the roster, the rookies such as George Hill develop into something. After all this is a franchise renown for finding gems at the tail end of the draft.

Star Player:

Tim Duncan remains one of the best players in the NBA and arguably is a top 10 player of all time. Everything the Spurs do revolves around him.

Team MVP:

Manu Ginobili is the key to the Spurs. He gives them an x factor that few teams can match. Arguably it was his banged up body in the playoffs that cost them a chance at defending their title. Let’s hope that the ankle surgery he underwent will have him right for the season.¬†

Final Prognosis:

The San Antonio Spurs will contend for the title again. Personally I’m hoping that they make it through the West to face the Celtics for the title. I would love to see Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan facing off for the title. I don’t think it’s going to happen though.

 

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