10/27/2009 - a holiday in my little world

Why, you ask?

Well, because it is the beginning of the NBA season this year.
Those of you who read my last post to completion knew that though.

If you've not acclimated yourselves to where my loyalties are, I would suggest perusal of any of my prior basketball posts for some information.
I am a basketball FANATIC, and a lifelong Lakers' fan.
I do not allow my fanship of the Purple and Gold to cloud my common sense as it relates to basketball... I DO, however, agree with current prognostication that they are naturally the team to beat in their own (terribly overmatched by them) division and conference.

I FURTHER agree with assessment that the Shaquille O'Neal experiment in Cleveland will need to remain to be seen, no one is installing them as de facto Eastern champs again after June's "Debacle at Disneyland," as I will henceforth refer to the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.

I become a bit worried about drafting bigs not named Yao Ming or Dwight Howard at the #1 overall spot in the draft these days, now that I open MSN and see that Blake Griffin, my pick for Rookie of the Year, will sit indefinitely with what is assessed as a broken knee cap. He will be sorely missed for the 6 weeks that is usually the minimum for broken ANYTHING, especially when one considers that they play a representative quarter of their season's games (20) in that period of time.
If Greg Oden's fragility before this was an indication of what may be to come here (which it won't, I think Griffin is in better shape overall), my fears -- born of the ghosts of Andrea Bargnani, Kwame Brown, Andrew Bogut and the aforementioned Greg Oden, compared to Derrick Rose and LeBron James as non-bust #1 overall picks -- are supported wholly.


The return of Kevin Garnett and arrival of Rasheed Wallace -- contingent upon the condition of KG's knee and control of 'Sheed's temper -- renders the Celtics a team not to be ignored. This COULD prove insurmountable to the teams at the top of the conference last year.


Unless...
Unless LeBron spent the time this summer doing more than hiding his getting dunked on, making excuses for poor sportsmanship in defeat, having bicycle adventures with his buddies and talking about how he would like to dunk on George Bush.
This really is one of the most frustrating things about the boy with me. If he had the same passion for the game of those who he claims discipleship of, Oscar Robertson, Majic Johnson and MJ, or even that of Kobe Bryant, but I am not entering that comparison today then he would be the modern age equivalent of Michael Jordan in Magic Johnson's body.

Marinate on that for a moment. Jordan came in the league skinny and a poor shooter, but was quick and could jump out the gym... He put it on the weight room, and shot thousands of shots in practice to get it together, all while maintaining and bettering what was already good about his game. All this while maintaining a hands-on approach to the production of those expensive-ass sneakers that get/got high schoolers stabbed up.
Magic was fleet-footed and had a STILL-unmatched court vision helped by being 6 inches taller than anyone else playing his position, and was also a gym rat, I understand to be monkey-strong, regularly bench pressing upwards of 250 pounds like it was nothing, even AFTER he copped to having become "damaged goods".
At best, LeBron James, by virtue of having come up AFTER both of these individuals has the distinct advantage of being able to learn from them. Again, at best, this could make him into a combination of the two. At worst, he will be what he is right now. Don't get me wrong, now. That isn't necessarily a BAD thing, outside of a squandering of full potential.


I also worry about the replacement refs...
The players and coaches will be naturally wary of them, and when the unavoidable bad calls DO happen, they will become vocal. Punitive action will ensue, up to and including some suspensions. It remains to be seen just when this transpires, but I am willing to bet that it will begin sooner than later.

*EDIT, typed that too soon*
Looks like no replacements will be working regular season games after all.
[source]
As you were...

All prior predictions remain valid, with the exception of Blake Griffin as Rookie of the Year, since he became injured. Even still, I offer that with a caveat.
No, fuck that!
This was a weak draft crop. If Blake Griffin only misses 20 games and comes back with even POTENTIAL, not even breaking out of the glass ceiling, he will still win Rookie of the Year. I will call it his luck for coming into a team with very low expectations.

If Ron Jeremy Stan Van Gundy convinces Vince Carter to play some defense and not hog the ball from all of his teammates, and then The Magic finish anywhere in the top 3 in the Eastern Conference, then he will win Coach of the Year, as he well should and should have last year as well when it was given as a gift to Mike Brown.
If not, it will go to Gregg Popovich or Jerry Sloan, both of whom are perennially deserving of the award, if only for what they CONSISTENTLY get to the playoffs with.

In all, I am very much looking forward to basketball season's commencement this evening with the Boston Celtics vs. the Cleveland LeBrons Cavaliers, followed by The Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Los Angeles Lakers in a Lakers designated home game in the arena they share occupancy of, of course following the unrolling of a banner and the handing out of some rings.
Yes, I make no qualms with being a homer for the Lakers.

The start of the basketball season, and my resulting excitement for such, is a fitting end to what has been a DAMN good day for me, more on that in a bit.
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