Great to have the NBA back. What a week of story lines. The Beard going beserk for the Rockets averaging 41 points a game so far. The Lakers are 0-3. Toronto inexplicably signing Derozan to an extension. Charlotte besting the Pacers to start the season 1-0. The Celtics starting 0-2. Big Baby throwing in 29 in a win over the winless Nuggets. So what can we draw on from the first few games of the season?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Will Harden lead the league in scoring? Probably not but he definitely is out to prove he is a #1 option on a team after his controversial trade from OKC. Look for Harden to be a top 10 scorer this year for the Rockets.
The Lakers have looked awful so far losing their first three games. They fell to Dallas, Eddy Curry plays for the Mavs, enough said. Portland also beat the Lakers. The Blazers are talented and a team to watch for this year. Liliard is a scoring blur at the point guard position and should push for rookie of the year. Mathews, Batum, and Aldrige are all young and solid players. Last night the Lakers loss to their rivals the Clippers. They looked slow and unable to overcome a large lead because of their age and pace of play. Kobe had to take over and scored 40 points. There has been lots of gesticulating and finer pointing on the court from the Laker players. Steve Nash is down with a leg injury and LA has no bench. It is early and the panic over the Lakers start is hilarious to observe from afar. How long until the Princeton offense is abandoned? Will Mike Brown lose his job if this start continues for another month or so?
The Bobcats victory over the Pacers was a pleasure. Charlotte is hapless team with little talent. The delight from the players over the W was almost collegiate. The Pacers will struggle without Danny Granger, they almost lost another nail biter to the Raptors in their first game. Paul George has not made the leap to being an elite player after last years playoff struggles.
I expect the Celtics and Nuggets will start winning games and be among the top seeds in their conference.
The Raptors began the season with a last minute loss to the Pacers on Halloween. JV was a pleasure to watch getting a double double in his first NBA game. Lowry was ferocious. Calderon was huge off the bench. Bargnani got his points with a horrendous shooting percentage, ugh. Derozean showed a willingness to go to the hole and take contact. The other wings, Fields and Ross, however were atrocious. Fields clunked his way through the game and Ross didn't seem ready for the bright lights of the league. In the end if they had figured out how to stop David West the Raps should have won going away. Things to look for as we go forward. Who will produce on the perimeter and wing aside from Derozean? How long before the high screen offense from JV and Bargs is neutralized and does a high low post with that pair take over? When will Lowry flip out on some of his passive teammates?
With the advent of November came contract extensions for players on rookie deals. Harden got 5 years for 80 million. It looks like the Beard will be worth every penny. Steph Curry extended for 4 years and 44 million. Health and staying on the court make me wary of this deal. Lawson re-upped with the Nuggets for 4 years and 46 million. Lawson is a top ten point guard and somehow the market values that salary for his production. In a widely chastised move Bryan Colangelo resigned Demar Derozean for 4 years and 38 million. Stat geeks have continuously pounded the numbers and concluded that Derozean is not a below average. So why did Colangelo handicap the Raptors financial flexibility by signing Derozean to an extension? To validate the high pick spent on Derozean. Colangelo outbid himself on this one. It would have been better to wait out the season, see what the market is for Derozean, and what was on the market for the Raps. Derozean is the Raptors #3 option behind Lowry and Bargnani. Hopefully at 23 years old he continues to develop and proves us all wrong.. However, this all could have been taken care of in the offseason.
Looking forward to catching the Raptors game tonight versus the Nets. Will the emotion of Superstorm Sandy and the regular season opening of the one billion dollar Barclay's Center be too much for the Raps to overcome?
I also will keep an eye on some CFB. LSU and Alabama face off in an SEC tilt which is sure to be a boring defensive battle. Out west Oregon faces their first true test against USC. Some points will be put up in this one and I hope USC can hang in there and make this one close