The Baller Shots Way-Too-Brief Nightly Preview
I’m currently writing this while sick as a dog, surrounded by glasses of OJ and snot-filled tissues, so forgive me for any errors. I just had to put something down on this blog, because tonight… tonight is BALL NIGHT!
Finally, the association’s hot-n-fresh season has been brought to our table, and we’re almost positive that the waitress is flirting with us. That is to say, nothing could go wrong with this season. There’s too many entertaining teams, and too many juicy storylines, and tonight is a prime example of both.
Between the quest for a third straight championship and the return of Derrick Rose, the Heat and the Bulls have been pegged as two of the top contenders for the NBA championship, yet neither fan base is sitting comfortably. The national media has overlooked just how frequently Bulls players get hurt. Rose, Deng, Noah, and Boozer have all spent MONTHS out of the lineup at least once in the past three years. The Bulls training and medical staff is one of the most maligned in the NBA, and the way Coach Thibodeau distributes minutes leads me to believe we will see 10+ starts for Dunleavy, Mohammed, Gibson, and/or Kirk Hinrich (presuming he stays healthy himself). The lack of an “off switch” on this Bulls team makes them one of the most admirable and respected teams in the league, but it don’t mean shit if you can’t put your best team on the court for the most important games: the playoffs. I love Jimmy Butler, but the poor kid has already played way too many 48-minute games. Depth is an issue here, folks.
One of the teams the Bulls will likely encounter in the playoffs will be the Heat, whose on-off switch problem doesn’t lie with the team, rather the individual players. Wade and Bosh’s consistency issues were apparent through all last season, including the playoffs. There are rumors, however, that Wade has bulked up quite a bit, and Bosh is finally adapting to his role as a center. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if we saw Bosh be able to play the PF spot more frequently, now that he’s flanked by Birdman and Oden. Throw in the fact that EVERY PLAYER except Andersen and Cole are playing on either an expiring contract or a player option, it’s not hard to see this Miami team actually somehow playing better than last year. KEEP GETTIN’ DEM CHECKS, RASHARD!
The other matchup tonight is for my fellow morbidly curious NBA fans. We’re the kinds of fans that enjoy seeing a late-season Bobcats-Raptors game, just to see who gets put out on the floor. We enjoy seeing a first round matchup between the Heat and whatever poor souls are in the 8-seed. The Lakers looks like they’ll be able to provide such disgusting basketball all season long, Kobe or not. With holdovers like Steve Blake and Jordan Hill mixed with signings like Nick Young and Chris Kaman, this team would be on a path for middle-of-the-road mediocrity. But I got a good feeling about Pau Gasol, you guys (famous last words). If it weren’t for the existence of Mike D’Antoni, I’d say these guys could threaten to grab an 8 or 7-seed. Except Mike D’Antoni does exist, and he is a horrible, system-stuck coach. Why is he coaching this team? I’ve never seen a coach want to coach less than Mike D’Antoni. Ya Pringles-lookin motherfucker.
Anyways, the Clippers are officially the kings of LA now, with a bonafide great coach in Doc Rivers, and pretty good talent. I say pretty good, because if you look at the peak talent level overall, they are pretty good. Full-on good, really. They have really impressive depth at their guard and forward spots, though if they’re going to look to Hollins and Mullens as their backup centers, they could get themselves in trouble defending the paint.
Of course, the real issue will be whether or not Rivers can get Paul and Griffin/Jordan on the same page. Griffin has gotten tagged as a bit of a sensitive (read: whiny) player by the media, and the word is Paul is getting a bit title-obsessed. Rivers’ timetable for success may be shorter than it seems, but considering his presence will upgrade a team that won 56 games last year, he won’t need much time at all.
Alright, I’m going to try to do these on a daily basis, but if I end up, uh, not doing that, well… there ya go. I am trying to make more frequent, original contributions to this blog, so if there’s anything you’d like to hear my words on, just let me know!