The first full month of bball has just ended so lets take a look around the league and see what’s going on:
New York Knicks – 13-4 after playing one of the hardest schedules in the league. As expected they are banged up; Amare, Shumpert, Camby and Kidd are all out and Felton looks like he’s going to play with a bone bruise in his hand. This hasn’t stopped them from holding a 20 point lead in 8 out of their first 16 games. Tough D, Melo averaging the most points per 36 minutes and Chandler on pace for the all time highest FG% for a season have been huge reasons why the Knicks are on such a tear. By the end of the month everyone except Shumpert is supposed to be back so it will be interesting to see if that makes them better or provides chemistry issues. And hopefully Rasheed Wallace can stay on the court more than 90 seconds next game without getting ejected.
The Brooklyn Nets are right behind the Knicks in the standings, however they’ve played a much easier schedule. They did survive an attack by Rajon Rondo. Even though they have the worst crowd chant and the worst mascot it looks like they are going to be a good team.
Andrew Bynum hurt his knee (the supposedly good one) bowling. There is no timetable for his return. Is it possible to be a part of a three team trade where all 3 teams got worse?
Rondo was tied for the second longest double-digit assist streak in NBA history before he attacked Mr. Kardashian. His team is still reeling too. Avery Bradley can’t come back soon enough.
The Toronto Raptors are a very bad team. Kyle Lowry has been the one bright spot. Landry Fields has been terrible but something tells me he’s going to be just fine.
Fortunately for Chicago they are in the worst division in the NBA. It’s totally possible for them to steal a #4 seed without Derrick Rose and then have him healthy for a playoff run. Continue reading
Oklahoma City Thunder: A+: Having the best record in the league sure silenced the whole ‘Westbrook vs. Durant power struggle’. Reggie Jackson seamlessly filled Eric Maynors shoes after his season ending injury and Harden is making a strong case for 6th man of the year. The only concern in OKC right now is the fact that their starting center, Kendrick Perkins, looks 37 and not 27. With no decent backups this could present a matchup problem in the playoffs should the Thunder run into the Grizzlies or Lakers. Right now though they are enjoying life on the top of the standings.
San Antonio Spurs: A+: Another year, another dominating regular season when everyone thought they were finally finished. They’ve been doing this without Manu Ginobili. Greg Popovich has been rationing the older players minutes which not only makes his players fresh for the playoffs, but also develops the younger talent on the team. He remains one of the best/underrated coaches in the league. It also helps that Tony Parker is having one of the best seasons of his career.
The NBA took some heat for the extended and unnecessary lockout. It’s time for damage control. So the very first thing David Stern did, before the ink was even try on the new CBA was to kill the Chris Paul to L.A. trade. Winning the new CBA and getting 3 billion dollars back from the players was only the beginning apparently. David Stern is officially mad with power, he’s jumped the shark, he’s turned the NBA into a dictatorship….
What does this mean for the upcoming season? No one knows. I guess David Stern can now pick and choose whatever deal he does and does not want to approve. The NBA under Stern’s regime has been accused of being fixed for a long time. Ask Sacramento fans. I guess every trade has to be followed by “If David Stern Allows It.”
The sad part about this is the Hornets will never even come close to getting this much for Chris Paul. They were about to get Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round pick that Houston had acquired from the Knicks. Who is even going to come close to that? New Orleans basically received an entire starting lineup for Chris Pau. Houston would have gotten Pau Gasol and the Lakers would have gotten Chris Paul. We are now robbed of seeing Derrick Caracter and Ater Majok as the Lakers front line once Andrew Bynum gets his annual injury. OK, it wouldn’t have been that bad, the Lakers would have two trade exceptions after that trade, one worth 8.9 Million, so in theory they would have been able to fill the void on the front line with a pretty decent player.
So far the backlash from this has been pretty heavy. Twitter exploded as soon as this was announced, fans from EVERY team were pissed, even the usually loyal writers at ESPN wrote a number of articles criticizing this move. Oh and Chris Paul is planning on suing the NBA. He has a good case too. If New Orleans can’t trade Chris Paul by the end of the season (and I bet a lot of owners are going to be scared to even try, think about how awkward practice is going to be when Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol show up), he won’t be able to sign a max contract with that team. That means he could lose up to 30-40 million dollars.
Nice work Stern, what’s the next move? Are you going to make all the trades yourself for now on?