With training camps officially starting all around the league, I wanted to give my insight on the biggest story lines of the offseason!
Houston, we have a Howard!:
When Chris Paul immediately opted to stick with the Clippers, all eyes fell on “Superman” Dwight Howard. While Atlanta, Golden State & Dallas were in “consideration,” the only real suitors were Houston or LA. & from everything that I can tell, Dwight’s decision came down to basketball & winning. I’ll be honest, Dwight has handled this situation with relative class, which is nice given the entire Orlando fiasco we went through in 2010. He’s saying the right things & is off to a good start. His brand can only increase in Houston, given the huge following they have in China due to their Yao Ming & Jeremy Lin connections. But ultimately what it comes down to is can this team compete for a championship. The answer is yes, they can certainly compete, but can they actually bring home the trophy? With the roster the way it is, it doesn’t appear so. James Harden is, without a doubt, one of the leagues best scorers & has the clutch gene, but after that the roster really underwhelms me. Jeremy Lin is far from Linsanity that we saw in New York, while Francisco Garcia, Terrance Jones & the rest of the cast just screams mediocre. Maybe they’ll rally around the thought of having arguably one of the leagues most popular players (at least he used to be), but championships come down to talent & chemistry. This team may take a while to gel, but ultimately will be a lot of fun to watch. That being said, I still have the Clippers, Grizzlies, Spurs & Thunder ranked ahead of them in terms of the West.
The Brooklyn Nets go win now or never:
If this trade were made 4 or 5 years ago, it’d be a bigger deal than it is. Unfortunately, it was made while Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett & even Jason Terry, appear to be on their last legs, literally & figuratively. On paper, this team SHOULD scare the other contenders in the East, but for some reason it just doesn’t do it for me. I mean, look at that starting lineup; Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett & Brook Lopez with Andrei Kirilenko coming off the bench. But are they better than Miami, Indiana or Chicago? Everyone’s goal in the league is to “Beat the Heat.” That begins with Lebron James, does this team have the pieces to at least bother Lebron James defensively. Doesn’t appear so. Paul George & Lance Stephenson proved to be capable of at least getting in the way & the Bulls have always had success against the Heat. In a seven games series, Miami can overpower & just ware down this Brooklyn team. It’ll be interesting to see how all this talent meshes. Who takes the last shot? The most intriguing part of this project is new head coach, Jason Kidd. Can he manage all these personalities?
Los Angeles clips Doc Rivers:
In what I believe is the biggest acquisition of the summer, Doc Rivers is now head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers. This team was already loaded with talent, but appeared to be missing something, & that something has arrived. Vinny Del Negro did a wonderful job with this team, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. In a market where the Lakers are king (and deservedly so) the Clippers are making a serious run for Kings of LA. General Manager Gary Sacks knows that now is the time to strike. The Lakers are in disarray & the West is up for grabs. Additions like J.J. Reddick & Darren Collison add depth & scoring. Blake Griffin MUST take a bigger leadership role. Chris Paul is without a doubt going to bring what he always brings to the table, but Blake has to take a chunk of that away. If he’s a superstar, now’s the time to show it. Griffin, in my opinion, is probably the leagues most overrated player. He is absolutely one of the most fun players to watch in the league, but jumping over Hyundai’s doesn’t win championships. He has to form a better all around game. Overall, I think this team is poised & ready for a championship run.
With the first pick, of the 2013 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select… Who?!:
Now, I’ll be completely honest, while I consider myself to be a huge NBA nut, I very rarely follow the NBA Draft unless there is a draft class that you can just not ignore. This year was no exception. No one really stood out as a clear cut number one (next year is a different story, Andrew Wiggins what whaaaaaat!). The NBA universe stood in collective awe when the Cleveland Cavaliers selected not, Nerlens Noel, Alex Len or Ben McLemore. They select Anthony Bennett, power forward, from UNLV. I like the move. Low risk, high reward possibilities. No one really “deserved” to be the number one pick, so Cleveland opted the route of, let’s take the guy we like most. A front line with Anthony Bennett & a (hopefully) healthy Andrew Bynum should be a good tandem. Cleveland is a team on the rise, look out for them in the next two or three years.
Those are just a few subjects I wanted to touch on. The regular season is right around the corner & I can’t wait. I’ll definitely continue to post updates as the season gets closer & closer. There’s nonstop drama & intrigue in the NBA, & I can’t wait to cover it!