The bouncing ball and the NBA

The bouncing ball and the NBA

By Tophatal

The NBA season is but a mere eight days old , and already we have seen the rise of the Houston Rockets and the effect that the James Harden trade had added excitement to this franchise . And now with it comes the expectation of tangible success , as Kevin McHale and this team are riding on the crest of a wave.

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Slideshow .

It is still early days yet , but there are no real early surprise as the season unfolds, It is still early days yet , but what has come to the fore , have been the number players now on the NBA injury , which in certain instances will deal a great blow to the championship aspects of so many teams. As of Wednesday night, the New York Knicks (3-0) remained the NBA’s lone undefeated team , as they lead the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference by 1 ½ games over the Philadelphia 76ers (2-2). My own inclination is while the season still remains in its infancy , we are unlikely to see any real surprises . Questions will undoubtedly abound , as to how effective the rookies will be , and the sort of impact they are like to have for their respective teams. With the New Orleans Hornets’ Anthony Davis already sidelined with a concussion , it now also begs the question how safe is the game of basketball within the NBA ? This season , a strict new criteria has been initiated by the league hierarchy , which already has a number of coaches questioning the over-zealousness of the league. Hornets’ head coach, Monty Williams hinted that he was not entirely happy with the fact that Davis would have to miss two games , but also with the league’s new stance on concussions. Far be it for me to suggest , but I would have thought more prudent to err on the side of caution , rather than risk the health , livelihood and the investment placed upon a player, rather than reinserting the athlete back into a game, when he has not been fully cleared by a medical professional !

If the fast start of the Houston Rockets has come as a surprise , then most certainly the fact that the New York Knicks, apart from being unbeaten , it is the fact that the team is playing solid defense over a forty-eight minute period , and that they are doing so without the aid of Amare’ Stoudemire , who remains sidelined by an injury. In Stoudemire’s absence, others have stepped up to the plate , to aid Carmelo Anthony in the team’s offensive productivity , while Tyson Chandler leads the defensive efforts on this roster. It seems somewhat idiotic at present that there would be calls for Amare Stoudemire to be traded at this point of the season , when the trade deadline is not until early February , but there is a thought that the return of the power forward would upset the cohesive flow of the team. Clearly, head coach, Mike Woodson at present, is unwilling to address the issue , while the front office led by GM Glen Grunwald remains mute on the subject. Any proposed trade of Stoudemire to begin with , is littered with pitfalls , as the player is still owed in excess of $62 million over the three remaining years of his existing contract. The sheer idiocy of the fans and analysts alike , who raise such a premise , when having no full knowledge of the inner workings and the business side of the NBA, is a clear indication , as to why this country finds itself in such an economic mess . Sheer stupidity, not only runs amok within the federal government , but also within a large majority of a clueless sporting public , whose IQ is barely above that of a gnat.

So all is not quite right in ‘La-La Land , as the beleaguered Los Angeles Lakers (1-4) now find themselves at the base of the Pacific Division , looking up at divisional leaders , the Golden State Warriors (3-2), who are followed by the Los Angeles Clippers (3-2), Sacramento Kings (2-3), and Phoenix Suns (2-3), in that order . With all of the hoopla made after the big splash with the Lakers’ acquiring two-time league
MVP
, Steve Nash and three-time Defensive Player of the Year , Dwight Howard , all the elements were said to be in pace for this team to be dominant within their division and the Western Conference. An out of shape, Dwight Howard reported for duty , chiming in that he was ready to bring a great deal of success to a franchise that has simply known nothing but success for the greater part of its existence. Nash, the “ ageless wonder” , remains sidelined by a leg injury (leg contusion & swelling of the knee) that is taking longer than anticipated to heal.

If there is said to be one coach who will be under a great deal of scrutiny this season , then it will have to be Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers’ issues last came to light , with the team’s dismissal in the 2012 NBA Playoffs , by the Oklahoma City , who would go on to be the 2012 Western Conference champions , and losing finalist to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals of last season. That disappointment spoke volumes as to the deficiencies of the team in 2012, and why GM Mitch Kupchak and Lakers’ SVP, Jim Buss made the decision to revamp the roster . Success, and by that I mean the Los Angeles being viewed as a perennial contender and going deep into the playoffs , is the deepest desire of the owners of the franchise, with the ultimate goal of being crowned NBA champions.

Kobe Bryant , seasoned veteran, current face of the franchise , and elder statesman of the team, still remains eager to win , and like his younger counterpart LeBron James . That appetite, and zeal to be viewed as amongst the very best to have ever played the game, winning multiple titles , remains at the forefront of their reasons to be playing, and entertaining the fans. Between the pair, Bryant and James have won six NBA titles , four league MVP awards , and three NBA Finals’ MVP awards , and Olympic gold , representing Team USA at the Olympics.

What we have witnessed from the Lakers through their first five games , have been the defensive deficiencies of the team . Mike Brown’s failure , and that of his coaching staff , in trying to instill this trait in his players , has been the primary reason behind many of the Lakers’ lackluster performances this season . Metta World Peace , one time Defensive Player of the Year, has lost a considerable step or two , as a defensive stalwart, and as an offensive presence. While I have always been a great admirer of the Los Angeles Lakers from afar , I now get the feeling that as Kobe Bryant approaches the twilight of his career , this franchise will simply lose traction as a perennial contender for postseason honors ! When Kobe has an off-night, there is no one , that you could actually point to , and state categorically , that player will actually lead by example and pick up the slack. If you clearly believe that I am wrong in that context , then clearly state your reasons why ?

As an impassioned fan of the San Antonio Spurs , it is my hope that the team will have learned profound lessons from their experiences of last season , and specifically from the events that led to their ouster in the conference finals to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Gregg Popovich , remains the quintessential coach , admired by his peers and fans alike. Popovich , is amongst the four current head coaches in the NBA, with an NBA title on their resume`. Rick Carlisle , Erik Spoelstra , Doc Rivers , and the current Spurs’ coach , are the only individuals with that distinction currently coaching in the NBA. It certainly now gives credence as how thin the current makeup of the coaching fraternity just happens to be within the NBA. And one should consider the following of the twenty-two NBA finals decided since 1990 , fifteen of those finals have dominated by the presence Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich , finally holding aloft the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the culmination of those Finals. What says about the dominance of these two individuals as NBA head coaches , certifies the fact, that both will be future inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame .

The knock against the San Antonio Spurs in recent seasons , is the very fact that , Tim Duncan , Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker are getting old , and have lost a step or two . Last I looked , this trio, as part of this franchise, are one of the nascent reasons behind some of the Spurs’ most historic moments ,while along the way , since the triumvirate have been together , they have guaranteed the fact, each year over the past decade ,with the exception of the curtailed seasons , they have finished with an above .500 record and have averaged 50 plus wins in each of the seasons mentioned . No other franchise in NBA history can match that feat , in having established such a run.

The makeup of the Spurs’ roster this season , is a blend of youth and experience. Team GM, R C Buford , team owner,Peter Holt and Popovich have established a successful franchise, that still remains the envy of the NBA . . Buford through judicious choices in the NBA Draft , and making the most of the free agency market over the years has been able to assemble a roster that he and Popovich believes will be competitive over a long and arduous season. The team’s choice in this year’s Draft was Marcus Denmon , taken as the 59th pick overall in the third round of the NBA Draft by the Spurs. Denmon is likely to spend some time in the NBA Development League , honing his game before that expected call-up to contribute as a starter on the team. Marcus Demon will be assigned with the Spurs’ D League affiliate , the Austin Toros . Taylor Jenkins and his coaching staff will seek the young rookie’s skills , as they have previous done with DeJuan Blair , Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter , players who are currently on the Spurs’ roster, and proving to be invaluable assets for the team this season. If the team is to prevail over the course of the season , then it will be incumbent for the Spurs to get consistent performances from their heralded trio , as well as from the role players on the roster.

Defending NBA champions , the Miami Heat are the prohibitive favorites to make a successful defense of their title . And it is hard to against the grain , when you consider how talent laden that roster now happens to be. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade , Chris Bosh and Ray Allen , not only add versatility to the makeup of that team , on the bear face of it this might just be a better roster than the Heat team that decisively defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder. . Head coach , Erik Spoelstra , under the watchful eye of his mentor and team President , Pat Riley have molded a resilient team of seasoned veterans with a splattering of youth . Now with their being repeated conversations, that the team is capable of surpassing the Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 record , from their championship winning season of 1995-96 . Are we as such putting the cart before the horse ? Now as good as this Heat team might appear to be on paper , does anyone truly believe that with LeBron James leading this roster , they would be able to challenge that Bulls’ mark ? Never mind the fact that the quality of the rosters then and now would have to be taken into account . What thoughts if any , do you have on the matter ? ? People also seem to be forgetting how dominant that Michael Jordan led team just happened to be , and that is with no disrespect to this current Miami Heat team. . I do believe that the Miami Heat can make a serious assault on that record , but in the end they are liable to fall short .

There seems to be this continued asinine assignation within the world of sports that municipalities are there to provide the billionaire and multimillionaire owners with the facilities needed to house their various sports’ franchises. Nowhere is this more prevalent than each of the four major professional sports __ specifically within the NFL , NBA and Major League Baseball . And along with it comes this apathetic absurdity of the fans who believe it appropriate that municipalities’ resources , be used to build such venues . Someone needs to ask Michael Bloomberg , if he still believe it was money well spent , in spending $775 million to build Citi-field , home to the New York Mets , a venue that in 2012 was never filled to capacity for any of the team’s home games . In light of that, we now have the continued idiocy of what has been an ongoing situation in Sacramento , California between the city , led by its mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson , as he tries to appeal to sense of fairness , from the egotistical traits of Joe and Gavin Maloof , co-owners of the Sacramento Kings’ franchise .

Groveling , as Johnson has been repeatedly doing , as he has not dealing from a position of strength , shows he, and the city of Sacramento , to be in a desperate situation . What might be even more unpalatable about this unsavory affair , is the very fact that the Maloofs have been duplicitous during this whole episode , while David Stern monitors this all from afar. One should remember the events now taking place , are almost an exact repeat , in the chain of events in Seattle that led to the departure of the then, Seattle Supersonics , who, having been purchased by Clay Bennett , were relocated to Oklahoma City. It should be remembered , at the very beginning David Stern and the owners promised that the franchise would not be moved outside the confines of Seattle . Yet lo and behold once the powers that be in Oklahoma City, threw its hat into the ring , with a sweetheart deal of deferred taxes for the proposed new franchise (Oklahoma City Thunder) , all bets were off with the city of Seattle . It should be noted that the commissioner interjected himself in the midst of those deliberations , repeatedly siding with Clay Bennett , rather than being an impartial bystander . A $25 million payout was made to the city of Seattle , and off went the Sonics, to their new-found home. The rest as they say is history , with a forlorn city left with nothing but a white elephant , that once housed an NBA franchise .

For the city of Sacramento, with its own budgetary woes , as the nation is in the midst of an economic blight , shows a lack a of unpreparedness , initiative but above all a complete lack of common sense on the part of the leadership hierarchy of the city, itself. If Johnson feels that his city should be using their much-needed resources to aid a billionaire family such as the Maloofs , without their being any reciprocal offer from the franchise , then whatever the fallout may well be from this all , it will not be of any benefit to the city, while it remains in the midst of a financial crisis of its own making , and further looking to embarrass themselves and their residents, with their continued groveling and ass kissing of Joe and Gavin Maloof. The Sacramento Kings have been hemorrhaging red ink all over the damn place , as this once proud franchise has become a comical caricature of sheer incompetence while being completely mismanaged both on and off the field of play. There is no accounting for apathy or stupidity, but it now apparently, is the norm within the city of Sacramento, amongst its politicians and most certainly amongst the fans, as they consider being screwed over repeatedly by the Sacramento Kings’ ownership group. Couldn’t happen to a bunch of more misguided souls !

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Picture gallery.

At this point of the NBA season , what if anything has been the biggest surprise to you ? And which teams do you believe will be amongst the league’s big contenders over the course of this NBA schedule ? Chime in with a thought as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below.
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(1) Houston Rockets’ James Harden (13) is fouled by Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried (35) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Houston. Denver won 93-87 . AP Photo/Pat Sullivan …

(2) New York Knicks’ Rasheed Wallace (36) celebrates with Tyson Chandler , right, at the end of the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, Nov. 5, 2012, in Philadelphia. The Knicks won 110-88 . AP Photo/Michael Perez …

(3) PHILADELPHIA – NOVEMBER 5: Carmelo Anthony (7) of the New York Knicks shoots against Dorell Wright (4) and Thaddeus Young (21) of the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on November 5, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images …

(4) The Knicks’ Amar’e Stoudemire , left, smiles along with Raymond Felton during Media Day at the New York Knicks training facility in Greenburgh, N.Y. Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle ….

(5) FILE – This July 11, 2012 file photo shows Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown, left, and owner Jim Buss laughing during a news conference at the basketball team’s headquarters in El Segundo, Calif. A report from USA Today says the Lakers have fired Brown after a 1-4 start to his second season in charge of the team. The newspaper report Friday, Nov. 9, 2012 cited Brown’s agent, Warren Legarie, as the source of the information. AP Photo/Reed Saxon …..

(6) Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak talks about the NBA basketball team’s firing of coach Mike Brown, during a news conference in El Segundo, Calif., Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will coach the Lakers against the Golden State Warriors later Friday while the club’s top brass searches for Brown’s replacement. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes …

(7) In this photo taken Oct. 21, 2012, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant passes the ball as a fan holds up a sign regarding Lakers coach Mike Brown during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings in Los Angeles. The Lakers fired Brown on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, after a 1-4 start in his second season in charge. Prior to the start of the preseason , former Lakers’ great , Magic Johnson , indicated that the the franchise needed to win and win big this season , as Mike Brown would be under an all too public microscope, because of the mere fact that was thought to be a deeply talent laden team . Looks can be , oh so deceiving , and the Los Angeles are simply proof of that . With the rumors now seeming to foment that Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak will seek to gauge former head coach Phil Jackson and his interest in returning the team, that he guided to five NBA titles during his tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers . AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill …

(8) Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) looks for an open teammate past Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Johnson (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game , Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Miami. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee …

(9) From left to right Joe Maloof , Sacramento mayor , Kevin Johnson and Gavin Maloof , are seen here prior to an NBA game in 2011 . The Kings’ ownership and the city of Sacramento are in the midst of what best can be described an acrimonious deliberation process concerning the retention of the franchise and the building of a multimillion dollar facility in a joint public and private enterprise partnership for the Sacramento Kings. At present the franchise plays in the Power Balance Pavilion Arena in downtown Sacramento , California . The venue is now twenty four years old , and in need of a major upgrade, however, the franchise ownership group is unwilling to pay for the renovation in partnership with the city. AP Photo / Mark Hall ….
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NBA related links : Kings reportedly talking to Virginia governor about relocating

Pacers’ Granger has knee procedure , to miss three months

Monty Williams fined over remarks on concussions

Lakers’ guard Blake fined $25,000 by league

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NBA posts within this site & NBA pieces

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NBA news & …….. archive news

NBA important dates

2012 NBA Draft

NBA schedule 9th November

NBA results 11/08/2012

NBA standings by division

NBA standings by conference indicating margin differentials

NBA transactions

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NBA team valuations’ list

NBA top salaries

NBA team salaries

NB: Note there is a ‘ soft salary cap’ mandated by the league hierarchy of $58.044 million for the 2012-13 season

NB: At the time of my beginning to compile this article , I was not aware that the Lakers had just fired the team’s head coach Mike Brown , after franchise’s disastrous 1-4 start to the season . For more details on the story please click on the links provided below.

Los Angeles Lakers news & news features

Lakers’ news courtesy of Yahoo.com

Lakers fire Mike Brown after 1-4 start

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Hot chic pic of the day Tahiry Jose`