A FEW CRAZY THOUGHTS BEFORE THE NBA SEASON STARTS
I hate the off season, mainly because mindless speculation annoys me so much. I don't want to think about how new pieces will come together, a new coach's impact, or if a draft pick will pan out. I want to see it happen. As the NFL season's proven, early season narratives are usually stupid. That said, here's a few things I'm considering:
- •I'm worried about LeBronKyrie has his injury problems. Kevin Love is coming off surgery after his dust up with Kelly Olynyk. Shumpert is out for weeks. I don't think Varejoa has ever played a full season in his career. That leaves LeBron, JR Smith, Thompson (who missed all training camp and preseason, and Mosgov (who's faced some injuries in the lead up to the season) as the NBA players. Lebron is 30, and will most likely be without support for most of the season. I'm worried about his body holding up for the season.
- •Similarly, what about Tim Duncan?Spurs fans have, rightfully, seen this off season as a coup. They retained their key players, AND added one of the top three, arguably, power forwards. But we have to continue the tradition of asking how much longer Duncan can do this. He's 40 years old, and what if he plays like it? Getting Aldridge is huge, but they had to give up Splitter to do it. Splitter absorbed most of Duncan's "bigman" duties, freeing him up to do Duncan stuff. Aldridge is a different player. Will Duncan's age show?
- •Melo was happy punting last year, spending most of it injured. Now that he's healthy, how long is he willing to lose?And could we see him traded? There's been a lot of talk about potential Melo trades, but I have a few of my own. And they're shocking. What about Melo and Calderon to the Bulls for Rose, Gasol, McBuckets, and a first round pick? The Knicks are taking a risk on Rose, which is why they get a pick, and they get a starting PF familiar with the triangle who can help in their playoff push. The Bulls have to assume Rose is done and getting a go-to scorer in return is a massive return.
- •The Clippers are really, really annoying. Is somebody going to murder them?It's, honestly, hard to to feel bad for Chris Paul's lack of playoff success. One the court he one of the most irritating players of all time. As the team's leader, his attitude has infected the rest of the team. They whine and complain and pout for the full 48 minutes. Even likable off-the-court personalities like Blake Griffin and JJ Redick are dragged into these escapades. Throughout the preseason they've gone at the Warriors and Blazers. At what point does somebody decide enough's enough?
- •Speaking of the Warriors, I'm really enjoying their "pissed at the world" phase.Winning a championship is often compared to a hangover. Recapturing the fire, the desire, it takes to win it all is hard after a team gets their first ring. Once-hungry players feel as if they're able to coast their way to a repeat. That hasn't been the case with the Warriors. The narrative surrounding their championship has been their luck avoiding injuries. The Warriors players are taking it personally. I hope their fiery new persona carries over into the season.
- •Mario Hezonja is the best and I love him so much and the nickname "Cro-be" is the best, even if it will never catch on and he is good. I love him and it is mutual. He loves me too.
- •The Wizards are going to be extremely good. Maybe Finals good. Maybe.Putting out a prediction like this is scary, but of the playoff teams in the east I think the Wizards could make the biggest jump. Losing Paul Pierce is huge, but his off-court impact should carry over, even without him physically being in the locker room. He made the young players aware of what winning takes; Porter looked completely different last year. Pierce is being replaced by Jared Dudley, a more understated leader, but still extremely admired throughout the league.