And there goes the neighborhood
The NBA season is under way and the teams thought to be noteworthy and credible this year, are proving their worth . Off to what appeared to be fast starts are the reigning champions , the Miami Heat . And within the Heat’s conference , the Eastern , so too are, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks . All three teams , will certainly be looking to viewed as credible candidates for the NBA title .
The Nets in their multimillion dollar home, the Barclays Center , in Brooklyn, New York , houses NBA’s newest and most fashionable venue. So much so , the “Barclays” , as the venue , is being commonly referred to , could soon, very well challenge the Staples Center and Madison Square Gardens , as “the place to be seen” , as an A-list celebrity within the NBA . However , much of that will be predicated upon the amount of success attained by the current team. There’s a reason why team owner, Mikhail Prokrov , invested heavily and significantly , not only, in purchasing the team , but also the Barclays Center /Atlantic Yards Development , itself . All-told , the financial outlay made by the Russian billionaire , is said to be in excess of $1.2 billion for a majority stake in the development, and a 100% stake in the NBA franchise.
Leading the way for the Nets this season , has been their All Star point guard, Deron Williams, along with Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. The Nets too my mind , still have a long way to go, before any real claims can be made that they capable of knocking off the Heat, much less the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs , Los Angeles Lakers , Boston Celtics and a vastly improved Los Angeles Clippers’ franchise. Albeit , that both LA franchises, are now vying, to see who is now “the top dog” in the “City of Angels”.
The Nets are coached by the versatile, Avery Johnson , along with a vastly experienced stable of assistants . Johnson has been keen to emphasize that his team will play an up-tempo style of basketball , while not getting away from the basics , and specifically , that of defense. And it is here , ” defense” , where a number of teams will be challenged over the course of this season to actually prove their worth , because as we know , in the postseason , it is simply not just about putting up over 100 points on the scoreboard and coming away with a victory , but also being able to defend a damn lead.
It should come as no surprise that the Brooklyn Nets will seek to make a name for themselves as the “new kids on the block” within the Big Apple. New York has craved a competitive and sought well determined rivalry with regard to an NBA franchise . Now the city has two teams in the Nets and New York Knicks . And as rivalries go , this will be one to savor , not just for the rival sets’ of fans , but also for the NBA as a whole . Commissioner David Stern , and his soon to be incoming successor , Adam Silver .
When Silver ascends to the commissioner’s post , he will most certainly seek to change the persona of the NBA , which over the course of Stern’s tenure has become what can be best described as his own personal fiefdom , and his autocratic style of ruling . There can be no denying that the commissioner’s reign while being fruitful for the league , it has also become antagonistic in recent years between the league hierarchy , the NBPA (Players Union) and their its hierarchy. Executive Director Billy Hunter , for his part, has come under a great deal of scrutiny , beyond the handling of last season’s labor stoppage . There are ongoing allegations , concerning the union leader , and whether or not he allowed a close family relative access to league funds and the misappropriation of almost $4 million . No clear signs as to how four million dollars have gone astray from the union’s coffers , for which the NBPA President , Derek Fisher , has yet to give a definitive answer , and how it is that Hunter , still remains in his current role , without their having been an in-depth investigation of this matter by law enforcement . Well it was just a thought , but look , even the FBI or Justice Department are liable to fudge that as well .
Coming into the season , it was felt that Anthony Davis, having been drafted number one overall by the New Orleans Hornets . It was felt that the young rookie would be making a mark for the Hornets. And while the player is still finding his footing , it has been the Portland Trailblazers’ — Damian Lillard , who has come out of nowhere , setting the league alight with his presence , and leading the team with a great deal of authority. Now while I’m in doubt that the Blazers will be a contender for the NBA title , but it will not be happening this season , as the team remains a work in progress.
Well after the apparent shock has now worn off , it would appear that fans of the Los Angeles Lakers (7-8) are still not so sure what to make of the Mike D’Antoni hiring , after the abrupt firing of Mike Brown , a mere six games into the season . GM Mitch Kupchak , and SVP Jim Buss felt that the team was not heading in the right direction , under Brown. And whatever one might think , it has to be perplexing to the Lakers’ fans that six games into the team’s schedule both the general manager and a senior vice president felt that the franchise was not on the right track. Unless , I’m mistaken , both Buss , Mitch Kupchak and principal owner, Dr Jerry Buss , felt that Mike Brown was the “ right man” for the job, as the successor to Phil Jackson .
Issues were already abound, with regard to the Lakers, prior to the start of the season. An out of shape,Dwight Howard came into camp . with his game, rusty , and one or two lingering ailments , that as of yet , do not seem to have been cleared up. Factor in , Howard’s acquisition alongside that of an aging Steve Nash , and you can see that these maneuvers were more, “ an act of desperation” , rather than actually seeking to secure the franchise’s long-term future and their viability as a truly competitive force within the Western Conference and the NBA as a whole . Howard’s addition to the roster , will reap the benefits in due time , but the real issues concerning the Lakers , lies in the fact, that the team’s bench is extraordinarily weak , and that from a defensive standpoint , this is but a marginally average team, in spite of the pundits may well think . All that glitters is not necessarily gold , especially when it’s now , the “Purple & Gold” of the Los Angeles Lakers .
The one constant for the Lakers, will be Kobe Bryant , and as his game goes this season , then so do the fortunes of the team , and their expectations for the year. Granted , Howard, and Pau Gasol are meant to be added offensive weaponry for the franchise . Yet, can anyone truly say that the course of an eighty-two game schedule , the two will ably assist Bryant ? One-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year , Metta World Peace , may have “some game “ , but he’s now becoming more known for his comical post-game sound-bytes, than for anything that he’s said to be doing on a basketball court for the franchise . As to Steve Blake , and the fact that he remains the backup point guard to Steve Nash , suggests that the Lakers’ situation is far more dire than the front office , is clearly willing to admit , at this juncture .
A narrow 2 point loss (79-77) by the Los Angeles Lakers , to the Indian Pacers, on their home-court, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California, on Wednesday night , has to be seen as a tremendous disappointment by Mike D’Antoni and coaching staff. Yet to mind , it is still early days yet in the NBA season, and we barely at the quarter-way point , of an arduous eighty-two game schedule, that will be littered with obstacles for all thirty teams of the NBA . Next up for D’Antoni’s players, will be another home game, on Friday night , when they face the Denver Nuggets , in a Western Conference match-up. Needless to say , win is imperative for the Lakers’ franchise , if they are to remain in close pursuit of the leaders within the Pacific Division , the Golden State Warriors (9-6) and the Los Angeles Clippers (9-6).
Now in spite of the Charlotte Bobcats’ historic season of ineptitude for the 2011-12 schedule , it has to be said their 7-59 mark from a truncated sixty-six game schedule, doesn’t look as if is about to be threatened. But yet , the Washington Wizards (1-12) now seem intent on doing their part to actually make that a reality , this season. I may well have been misguided in making the prognostication in Sports Chump’s NBA contest that the Bobcats would once again end up with the worst record in the NBA, this season ! If things hold true as they are , then the record percentage-wise will be seriously under threat by the Wizards.
The Washington Wizards started off their season with ten consecutive losses , and the team earned their very first win of the year, with a two-point, 84-82 victory over the Portland Trailblazers, on Wednesday night , on their home-court at the Verizon Center , in Washington, D C. Now, far be it for me to suggest, that the Wizards are an extremely bad team , that head coach ,Randy Wittman , and his coaching staff are simply out of their depth . Yet ,what other explanation can be put forth, to suggest why this team in particular has the record , they have earnestly gone out there and earned ? . Can anyone come up with a succinct answer to this ? If so , then do chime in with a comment . Can anyone come up with a succinct answer to this ? If so , then do chime in with a comment .
All kidding asides, the fan-base cannot be entirely happy with what they have witnessed or have been asked to endure while in attendance at the Verizon Center, so far this season. Better yet , who should be held accountable for this travesty foisted upon the fans ? Should it be the players , coaches , or management , in this respect ? Ernie Grunfeld , team President ,and Tommy Sheppard, Head of Basketball Operations, in conjunction with owner, Ted Leonsis , bear the brunt of the responsibility for this mess . The truth of the matter just happens to be , this is not a very good Wizards’ team and the roster simply isn’t one, of an NBA caliber contender, much less that of a marginal varsity team. Unfortunately , in the nation’s capital, this is what would be deemed a success, when adjudged against the productivity and success of the US Congress over the past four years . God-damn, this country is in a right fucking mess , politically and in so many ways, on the sporting front ! Anyone who believes to the contrary simply survey the mess that has been presided over by David Stern, Roger Goodell , Gary Bettman and Bud Selig , during that time-frame .
David Stern being the pompous asshole we all know him to be , has taken umbrage with the fact that Gregg Popovich , head coach of the San Antonio Spurs sought to rest four of his team’s starters for a regular season game . That event was an early season match-up against the Miami Heat , a game played at the AA Arena in Miami , Florida . What should be taken away from this all , is in spite of Popovich having rested , Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli, Danny Green and Tony Parker , the Heat were not as dominant , as some might have thought, given the fact that their team was spearheaded by LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. And as the reigning NBA champions , it was felt that this season , James and plethora of role players, will simply romp to a successful defense of their title , while perhaps challenging the Chicago Bulls’ record-breaking 72-10 season of 1995-96 . They very well could , but I think it highly unlikely , when one bears in mind that the Miami Heat struggled to defeat a Spurs’ team that was actually missing four prominent starters in a game played last night . And but for the last-minute heroics of the Heat’s sharp-shooting Ray Allen , we might very well have been talking about an unlikely upset , albeit that it is still early in the NBA season.
As to the commissioner’s action, in wanting to perhaps financially penalize the San Antonio Spurs and the head coach. The actions if taken , wreaks of Stern’s self-indulgent and pompous attitude. If David Stern figures , a punishment rendered , will act as a deterrent to other teams around the league who seek to rest their stars , then the commissioner has to be seen as an even bigger asshole , than even I , could ever have taken him for ! I’ll call it like I see it as a matter of fact , the NBA commissioner is a god-damn asshole ! There I said it ! Now anyone out there got something to say about that ? Speak now , or forever hold your tongue !
What if anything do you hope to see during the first half of the NBA season ? And are you of the opinion that the NBA product as you view it , has diminished in terms of the play and coaching ability of the coaches now within our midst ? Chime in with your thoughts on the matter and anything else you believe to be pertinent concerning this article .
Picture and slideshow details below.
(1) San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich talks to reporters before an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Alan Diaz ….
(2) Brooklyn Nets’ Brook Lopez reacts after causing an offensive foul in the second half of their NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Barclays Center , Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, in New York. The Nets won 96-89 in overtime. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …
(3) Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) shoots over New York Knicks’ center Rasheed Wallace (36) in the first half of their NBA basketball game at Barclays Center , Monday, Nov. 26, 2012 in New York. The Nets won 96-89 in overtime. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …..
(4) Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard shoots between Washington Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin , left, from France, and guard A.J. Price during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, in Washington. AP Photo/Alex Brandon …
(5) Wizards’ head coach Randy Wittman , left , is seen here with John Wall of the Washington Wizards in a game played at the Verizon Center , in Washington , DC. The team is off to a disastrous start to their season having lost their first ten games . There have been distinct calls for Wittman’s firing as well as the removal of several —- front office executives of the Wizards’ franchise . Washington Journal / Art Morrow …
(6) Deputy Commissioner, Adam Silver , left , is seen here alongside , NBA Commissioner David Stern . The commissioner formally announced that he will be stepping down as the NBA commissioner, after 25 years serving the league, in that role. Silver , will formally assume the role as Stern’s successor on February 17th , 2014, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary , in his ascension to the position. In the quarter century since , the NBA has gone from being a multi-million dollar business entity , to a $ 4.655 billion global behemoth , with satellite offices in Asia , Europe , Latin America and the African continent . How , Silver intends stamp his identity on the league, that has now become synonymous with the former corporate attorney remains to be seen . Getty Images /NBAE Inc @ copyrighted material all rights reserved .
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