Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Things I Think I Know From The Early 2012 NBA Games

This Could Get Tiresome
5) The Knicks are good now... but won't be later.

After taking both ends of a home and home against the Sixers, the Knicks are 4-0 with a 19+ point per game differential, and lead the Atlantic by two games. They move the ball, Carmelo Anthony is working hard on defense, Jason Kidd and Steve Novak give them a deadly bench duo, and the fan base is rallying around them, especially after that post-Hurricane Sandy win over the Heat. With a healthy Tyson Chandler in the middle and Raymond Felton looking spry at the point, and the still very useful Marcus Camby now on board, they are worlds ahead of where they were defensively last year, especially on the second unit. There's nothing that they haven't done on the court that hasn't looked impressive.

But here's the problem... it's all going to go down hill from here.

First off, Amar'e Stoudamire is going to come back at some point and ruin that good defense and ball movement. Then, Camby and Kidd are going to get worn down and/or injured. J.R. Smith is going to eventually freak out over minutes, or do some other damned fool thing, because that's just who he is. When the games start to go south, coach Mike Woodson won't be able to rein it in, Anthony will go back to Hero Mode on offense and (let's be kind) conserving energy on defense to try and fix things...

And, well, that's how a great early start turns into losing the division and being one and done in the playoffs. So enjoy it while it lasts, Knick Fan.

4) Los Angeles' best NBA team this year... will be the Clippers.

Start with the starters, where DeAndre Jordan looks like a candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year so far, and Blake Griffin looks healthy and they have Chris Paul in a contract year. But the thing that I really like about this Clipper team is the bench, where Eric Bledsoe is effective, Jamal Crawford is being used properly, and Matt Barnes is doing Matt Barnes stuff. They'll also get Grant Hill and Chauncy Billups back at some point. That's solid, and maybe head coach Vinny del Negro has had the job for so long, he's no longer turrible at it. Stranger things have happened.

Now, the Lakers? They'll get it together as soon as (a) they actually bring in a coach, or (b) they completely tune the coach (and, well, Mike Brown has had teams do that to him before) and run everything on their own. They'll also struggle on defense no matter what, since Steve Nash is a turnstile right now, Kobe isn't getting any younger, and Dwight Howard isn't healthy, and might not ever be again. Add it all up, along with the age of the roster, and you can see why I'm going Clip Joint for the title of best LA team.

3) Golden State might actually be fun.

As always, this comes down to Stephen Curry staying upright, but eventually that has to happen, right? They still don't defend well enough to matter but Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut seem to care a lot, and there's only so much that can go right before Marc Jakson ruins things. Possible 45 wins here after all, which for Golden State is serious party time.

2) Televising Philadelphia right now should not be allowed.

They aren't going to be that much prettier when Andrew Bynum cracks the rotation, and their best players are people who would not start for True Contenders. And if coach Doug Collins can keep them near .500 while players get well and the three-ball shooters learn their roles. that's all well and good... but until then, Hurting Of The Eyes is gonna happen. When your best hope for pretty is Spencer Hawes moving the ball, that's ugly.

1) Miami isn't just the best team in the league right now -- they are also the only team that can beat Miami.

Hopefully they start getting bored, or hurt, or caring about individual stats, or something. Because right now, they just look like a juggernaut. And what kind of fun is that, really?

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