Category Archives: NBA

Quick Hits 7/14/09

So I have taken a couple days off, mostly because I was not moved to write.  But with the shocking news of Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo splitting-up, I felt compelled to voice my concerns.

Jessica and Tony

So, you’re saying there is a chance?  No, there is not.

Timberwolves Coaching Search

The rumors out there is that the TWolves are looking at Mark Jackson, Kurt Rambis and Rockets assistant Elston Turner.  I would be OK with Rambis or Turner, but not Jackson.  HE HAS NO HEAD COACHING EXPERINCE!!

Maybe Jackson will have the respect of the players, but still, I am not ready to throw the team Mark Jackson.

NBA Summer LeagueJonny Flynn

The TWolves rookies have been playing well and Jonny Flynn looks legit.  Wayne Ellington is playing well.  Check out the highlights at ESPN.com.

Ellington has scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in two games.  Ellington pulled down 8 rebounds in the first game and then scored 22 points in the second.

In two games Flynn is averaging 11.5 points, 10.5 assists and 6.5 turnovers.  But looks to be able to control a team and get to the basket and finish against bigger players.

I just wish they would trade Rick Rubio.  Say good bye to the Spanish wonder and get some draft picks or young talent.

Blake Griffin had a steller debut. 27 points and 12 rebounds.

I am putting it out there – Rookie of the Year comes down to Griffin, Flynn, Steph Curry at Golden State, James Harden at Oklahoma City and Tyreke Evans at Sacramento.  Girffin may not get as much PT with other bigs in his way. file_23_8

Soccer T-Shirt

I am eagerly awaiting this original Landon Donovan inspired soccer t-shirt I bought at www.objectivo.com.

They have some pretty original shirts.  Check them out.

FIFA Rankings

In the ranking releases on July 1st, Brazil claimed the No. 1 spot after their championship in the Confederations Cup in South America.  Moving up from No. 4

The US moves up two spots to No. 12 while the Spainish team fell to No. 2.

Ranking Team Pts
Jul 09
+/- Ranking
Jun 09
+/- Pts
Jun 09
1 Brazil 1672 4   384
2 Spain 1590 -1   -171
3 Netherlands 1379 -1   -63
4 Italy 1229 0   -63
5 Germany 1207 -2   -171
6 Russia 1161 3   -6
7 England 1135 -1   -90
8 Argentina 1091 -1   -112
9 France 1082 1   15
10 Croatia 1031 -2   -169
11 Greece 1001 6   79
12 USA 983 2   36
13 Switzerland 930 3   -1
14 Serbia 925 6   55
15 Denmark 909 9   73

www.fifa.com

Random Basketball Awesome Fact of the Day

Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson are a part of what elite group that Carmelo Anthony has the possibility of joining?

If Carmelo wins an NBA title, they will be the only three players since 1979 to win a NCAA, NBA and Olympic Championship – I think.  I am trying to find info to say other wise.

Now prior to the high school revolutiona and the one-and-dones, it was seen more often.  But I am struggling to find others in the last 30 years.

NBA Updates

I had not planned on posting until after the draft, but with all the excitement, speculation and trades, I had to comment. 

Shaq to the Cavs

This is a good trade all around.  The Cavs get a player who people forget had a good year with a team that struggle to utilize him.  He scored 18 points a game and grabbed nine boards. 

For the Suns it gives them cap space, but more importantly, it allows the offense to flow from Steve Nash to Amare Stoudemire and not be forced to dump into the post. 

The Cavsnow have three good big man who are all very different and will add so much depth to this team.  The one thing they still lack is a player who is not LeBron that is a guard, over 6’6″, and can guard, ala Mickael Peitrus. 

Note to Shaq:  This is LeBron’s team and you are a part of it.  Come in, join the laid back vibe, have fun but remember, this is not 2001

Yao

I like Yao and I feel for the Houston Rocket nation.  Yao is an extremely talented player and has been a ambassador for the league and for the Chinese, but he can not stay healthy.

Get well Yao!

TONIGHT

This will be a fun night, I hope the Clippers mess it up and the T’Wolves don’t and do not pick Thabeet.

I hope feel good with any combo of these players after pick 6:  Tyreke Evans, Jonny Flynn, Steph Curry, James Harden and Ricky Rubio. 

At the 18th pick:  Sam Young or Eric Maynor.

28th pick:  Derrick Brown or Chase Budinger.

I sure there will be plenty to write about tomorrow.

NBA Loser Wish List

As 94% or so of the NBA teams are at home, or the beach, and not playing in the NBA Finals.  So the teams that we close, but yet so far away – everyone sing it -  must start to think about what the playoff loser needs to make the leap to the Finals.

Cleveland Cavs

  • Scottie Pippen – or someone to take that role.
  • A mid range jumper and a post game for LeBron James.
  • Someone over 6’5″ who can play perimeter defense.
  • Charles Oakley – see Scottie Pippen.

Denver Nuggets

  • JR Smith to pull his head from his butt.
  • Chauney Billups to stop jacking ill-advised three and get the ball to Carmelo.
  • To stop making stupid plays and fouls.

Boston Celtics

  • Two new knees for KG.
  • Brain Scalabrine in street clothes.
  • For everyone named KG, Paul Pierce and Jesus Shuttlesworth to become younger.
  • Doc Rivers to learn how to coach.

Houston Rockets

  • A really talent doctor.
  • Trade Tracy McGrady.
  • Ron Artest to stop jacking ill-advised three and get the ball to Yao.
  • Good medical insurance.

Atlanta Hawks

  • Decide what kind of team they want to be.
  • A trade for a real post player – get rid of Marvin Williams.
  • Mike Bibby to take less money.
  • Another All-Star level player.

Dallas Mavericks

  • Depth in the post with better rebounding – there is another German in Chris Kaman who is pretty good and may need a new home.
  • Jason Kidd to continue shooting well.
  • Josh Howard to play like Jason Terry.

Miami Heat

  • Say good-bye to Jermaine O’Neal.
  • Find experienced player through in free agency or the draft.
  • Another Dwayne Wade – just 6’11″.

Portland Trailblazers

  • A better point guard or Jerryd Bayless to get sometime.
  • Travis Outlaw to continue evolving.
  • Rudy, Rudy, Rudy!
  • To go back a couple years a pick Kevin Durant instead of Greg Oden.

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Sign Andre Iquodala!  SERIOUSLY!
  • Elton to play some basketball!
  • A consistent shooting guard.

San Antonio Spurs

  • Tim Duncan to reverse his aging.
  • Manu.  More Manu!
  • Another scoring option as unless Duncan can take care of his issue.
  • Gregg Papovich to shave that damned beard!

Chicago Bulls

  • Make a decision on Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordan.  Please!
  • A shooter guard over 6’4″.

New Orleans Hornets

  • Bring back Jeremy Pargo!
  • Some other than Chris Paul to score 20 points a game.
  • Low post toughness.

Detroit Pistons

  • Get younger, quick.
  • Let Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace go.  It’s time boys.
  • Athletic, slashing shooter guard who can get to the rim.

Utah Jazz

  • Sign Carlos Boozer for less money.
  • See last point for the Pistons!
  • A legit 6’11″ low post player who only blocks and grab rebounds – Dwight Howard?

NBA Finals Preview: Lakers Vs. Magic

More so than the regular season, the playoffs are all about match-ups and how you take advantage of those situations.  The Orlando Magic have taken this idea to a whole new level and ridden it all the way to the NBA Finals.

As the Magic finished off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, it only seems natural to look at the Finals and the match-ups that will make or break a teams chance at winning a title.

Point Guard: Laker’s Derek Fischer Vs. Magic’s Rafer AlstonRafer Alston

I will ignore the fact the Hedo Turkoglu handles the ball about 70% of the time, especially after opponents made baskets.

The winner of this match-up will be determined by who shots better and turns the ball over less.

Fischer is most effective as a spot-up shooter, but his shooting numbers late in the season and in the playoffs have been pretty poor.  He has averaged 26.3 minutes a game has shot 12-for-51 from distance (23.5%) and 35-for-118 from the field for 35.6% for a total of 7.1 points a game.

Alston has been scoring more, 12.7 ppg in the playoffs, but is also more prone to turnovers, 1.78 a game.  But his role is very similar to Fischer: “hit open shots”.

Alston is winning the ultimate PG stat assist per game: 4.4 to Fischer’s 2.4.

Advantage: Alston – In the playoffs, Fischer has scored in the double figures, five, in as many games as Alston has not. (Excluding game 5 of the Celtics series when he was suspend.)Kobe Bryant

Shooting Guard: Laker’s Kobe Bryant Vs. Magic’s Courtney Lee

Look for a continuation of a Lee – Mickael Pietrus combo, but Bryant still tops their scoring totals 26.8 to 19.2.  Pietrus has taken on the Brice Bowen role for the Magic as the defensive specialist and guy in the corner hitting threes.  Lee has a nice mid-range jumper and is more of a slasher then Pietrus.  And Kobe is Kobe.

Both Lee (6’5″  and 200 lbs) and Pietrus (6’6″ and 215 lbs) physically match-up well with Bryant (6’6″ and 205), but you are talking about Kobe.

Advantage: Kobe – It’s Kobe.

Small Forward: Laker’s Trevor Arzia Vs. Hedo Turkoglu

hedo-turkogluArzia is long enough and athletic enough to match-up and stay with Turkoglu.  Turkoglu has issues with players that are quicker than he is, not bigger.  But Ariza has size (6’8′) and speed to stay with Turkaglu from the perimeter to the post.

Turkoglu has been inconsistent with his shooting in the playoffs, but he always is willing and able in the clutch.  His scoring is down to 15.2 ppg from 16.8, but his assists are slightly higher and in Orlando’s closet games, the Magic look to Turkaglu to make their offense go.

Arzia is definitely not the first, second, or third option on offense for the Laker’s, but he is averaging 11.4 ppg while shooting 50% from behind the arc.

Even though this match-up will be close, I think Turkoglu will find ways to get his numbers and be the go-to guy in the forth quarter.

Advantage: Turkoglu – To many ways to score.

Power Forward: Laker’s Pau Gaso and Lamar Odom Vs. Magic’s Rashard LewisLamar Odom

Much like the shooting guard situation with the Magic, Lamar Odom very well could start at the four spot and then Gasol would move to the five spot.

Lewis is Orlando’s forgotten man, but the Magic would be forgotten without him.  He has caught fire in the playoffs – 19.4 ppg, 40% shooting from deep and 44% total shooting) and has the best offensive low-post game on the team.

The issue with Lewis is that he is a match-up problem for 99% percent of the teams in the league, the Laker’s are in the 1% and Laker’s coach Phil Jackson has no problem flipping starting line-ups if he feels it betters his team, and while I am not convinced Gasol can or will guard Dwight Howard, he cannot guard Lewis.  But Odom can.

Odom is Lewis, just a couple years older and not as consistent of a shooter.  Odom does have a low post game that is hard to stop and he is a lefty, which is always tricky.  Odom is a better rebounder than Lewis (9.5 rpg vs. Lewis’ 6.1 rpg) and Odom, when on and busting his butt, is the deference on this team.

This match-up comes down to Odom deciding how hard he wants to play.  While Lewis has scored 14 or more points in every playoff game, Odom has only done it six times.  But the Laker’s are 5-1 in those six games.  So if Odom plays like this is his last chance at a title, the match-up goes to the Laker’s, but I am not sure he will.

Advantage: Odom - when he plays well, the Lakers win.

Center: Laker’s Pau Gasol Vs. Magic’s Dwight HowardDwight Howard

Can anyone say polar opposites?  Gasol is finesse and Howard is strength.  Gasol is crafty while Howard is a better athlete.  Gasol can hit from 17 feet, Howard will hit you with an elbow – and then get suspended for it.  Gasol is soft on defense, and Howard is the Defensive Player of the Year.

Howard average 5.33 fouls a game against the Cav’s (we’ll call that the LeBron Effect), and fouled out in half of the last six games.  Howard will be able to keep his counterpart in check mostly by holding his ground, but he can get into foul trouble when flying to the rescue when helping on weak defense.

While Gasol is never considered the defensive power that Howard is, it is interesting that in the playoffs, Gasol is averaging 2 blocks a game and Howard 2.2, but Howard out-rebounds Gasol 15.4 to 11.3.

Gasol has been tougher in the Laker’s last two games, but he will get out worked and physically out matched against Howard.

Advantage: Magic – Gasol can’t stop Howard, but Gasol will be productive and make Howard guard him.

Bench

Both teams have a few players that come in to change the game.  For Orlando it is Pietrus, Marcin Gortat, and Anthony Johnson with Pietrus as the only bench player contributing offensively and getting meaningful minutes (25.3 a game).  The Magic have shorten their bench up in the playoffs unless their is foul trouble, then we may see Tony Battie.

Gortat has been a nice surprise and has stepped-up when Howard gets in foul trouble.  In the game Howard was suspended, Gortait played 40 minutes, grabbed 15 boards and had 11 points.  Jameer Nelson could be a nice spark – he has been a Laker killer this season – or he could also mess up the chemistry the team has found in the playoffs.

The Lakers are deeper than the Magic and typically run with Luke Walton, Lamar Odom, Shannon Brown, Jordan Farmer and Sasha Vujacic.  They also have Josh Powell and DJ Mbenga to bang with Howard and give up their twelve fouls.

Odom should start, so Bynum will come of the bench and add height, skill, and muscle and is the best match-up for the Lakers to play Howard straight up.

Brown has jumped over Farmer as the first guard off the bench and provides a spark of the bench.  Brown is a much better than he was in college, but still has the hops to throw it down.  He is also shooting 44% from the floor and 48% from behind the arc.

Jackson has always relied on his bench, we saw it with in Chicago and he continues to rely on them in crucial moments in the game.

Advantage: Laker’s – too much talent.

Coaching – Laker’s Phil Jackson Vs. Magic’s Stan Van GundyPhil Jackson

Not sure how you can argue against Jackson, so I will not – there is not much argument.  Van Gundy is underrated, but not that underrated.  Jackson has nine rings.

Advantage: Laker’s – he needs one more ring to cover all his fingers.

Grand Total: - Laker’s – 4 and Magic – 3

This series will be a battle, and it always comes down to match-ups.  The game changing match-up is Odom Vs. Lewis.  Both are going to be tough guards for the other, but Odom has been the unreliable.

The Laker’s should win, but the Magic have been proving all the critics wrong.  So I am picking the Magic in six games.

NBA vs. College Basketball

This argument comes down to one thing:  In the NBA, players play for the name on the back of the jersey.  In college the players play for the name on the front.

Too simple?  Yes.

True?  I think so.

Quality arguments can be made to point out the positives and negatives on whether the NBA or college basketball is superior. Even after this article, you will still have a preference, and that is good.  Yet I believe that a vast majority of sports lovers assume that the NBA is “better” because the talent is stronger and the players are more mature – last point is debatable.

One disclaimer – everything is the NBA is about money, and a good portion of college ball is as well, but the NCAA can’t admit that.  With that said, I will not need to breakdown the “why do they play”, because we all know.

Let’s breakdown by certain factor’s.  And I will decide the winner of those categories, and the side with the most “points”, wins.

JerseysLeBron James

NBA - Every team in the NBA has at least three different jerseys (if you are the LeBrons, you have 17).  The jerseys range from classics with the Lakers and Celtics, to the WNBAish with the Timberwolves and the Kings.  And you will always know the players because the names are always on the back.

When the average fan purchases a jersey they are usually supporting the individual, not the team.

84254635MW087_NCAA_Second_RCollegeThe college jerseys are not as visual creative and rarely do you have “throw back night”, but I have not seen a jersey that makes me wonder if they accidentally put on the girls team’s jersey.  Certain schools will never put the names on the back, and some have removed the players name to drive the point home that we are one team – not just players.

When the average fan (or alumni) purchases a jersey they are usually supporting the school, not the individual.

Also, you can just by a jersey with any number and unless the player is incredible and the number is retired, you might be able to use it again and again.

Winner = Tie, both are sweet.

Arenas

NBA - The NBA is full of teams with new stadiums that are shiny, glitzy, and in HD.  Now, name two famous/historic stadium.  Madison Square Garden, huh, wait there has to be at least one more…nope.  That’s it.

CollegeUnlike the pro’s, the undergrads study in historic buildings.  Cameroon Indoor Stadium, the Hoosier Dome, Williams Arena (Minnesota), etc.  And there are many more.

So this comes down to personal preference.  Do you like the old or new?

Winner = College.  I think everyone needs a reminder of those who have been there before.

CheerleadersBKN-CELTICS-LAKERS-GAME 1

NBA - They have many costume changes and get to perform a ton, and might even get to be on a  calender or two.  The downside is that there are probably more implants in the NBA than in college.

CollegeThe cheerleaders are typically less “dancy”, and there is more traditional cheer leading.  Sometimes co-ed, so pyramids and flips are frequent.   But my wife thinks it is weird – and a little creepy -  that the fans are gawking at teenagers.  Good point.

Winner = NBA.  At least they get paid and they are legal.

Rules

NBA - Six fouls, 48 minutes, 24 second shot clock, 8 seconds to get over half court.

The rules in the NBA lean towards the one-on-one game.  The introduction of the “zone” has made it better.

College - Five fouls, 40 minutes, 35 second shot clock, 10 seconds to get over half court.

The college game leans towards team play and strategy.

If the college game would increase the foul limit to six and increase minutes, this would not be a contest.  But they have yet to do it.

Winner = NBA.  Sometimes 5 fouls just is not enough.

Referring

NBAI am not even going to factor the case of a certain ref named Tim into this equation, that would be unfair.  Some experts say that refs control the games in the NBA more than any other element, and can then pick a winner and it becomes obvious in the way they call the game.

The league has been calling touch fouls on anyone in the area of their stars for years, but now, anyone can get tick-tack fouls on their way to the basket and on the perimeter.  Prime example – hand checks.

College - Every time a player steps on the court they have to be ready to adjust to whomever calls the game – the same is true in the NBA, but I think the refs are a little more consistent.  Plus, the way the game is called usually allows the players to play a little more, which is why we watch.

Winner = College.   Give the players a chance to play.

Jerry SloanCoaches

NBA -The coaches on certain teams are more high school counselor than NBA coach.  Teams are made up of grown men who are trying to make a living and have ego’s as big – or bigger than most of their second homes.

If the association, unless you are a top-tier coach, you are more expendable than the worst players on their teams.  Coaches rarely get credit for wins, but always get the blame for loses.

Breaking into the ranks of head coach is more difficult in the NBA than any other sport, but once you are in the coaching carousal, even if you are fired – you stay on the ride.

College - Coaches are the face of the program. And everyone is very aware of that.  Some would say that coaches in college have bigger ego’s and need to be the center of attention than their counterparts in the league.

A college coaches duties are pretty year round and always changing with the different roster that appears each season.  You have recruiting and players leaving early which means the ability to adjust on the fly is very important.

There is a better chance for coaches to get their “break” and land a good job.

Winner = NBA.  Longer season, but recruiting is not in the job description.  And you don’t have to deal with alumni.

Crowds

NBA - One could swear that the mute button is on until halfway through the fourth quarter.

CollegeThe stadiums are always full with students and alumni.  They sing their school songs and go nuts even at 11 am.

Winner = College.  This really wasn’t a contest – the NBA didn’t stand a chance.

Style of Play

NBAThe NBA has long been a league that allows for individuals to showcase their ability to beat defenders one-on-one.  The idea of team defense is all about weak side help, doubling the post and a little zone.  The NBA is quicker at times, but comes down to players making plays in crucial, end-of-game situations.

College- Each squad has to establish their own style and the ability of that team to dominate tempo.  Each possession means more because there less throughout the game.  There are more swings in the success of the team and the crowd can really affect how teams play.

Winner =NBA.  Systems are good, but players should decide games.  And in the NBA they do, if the refs let them.

Postseason

NBA - Finally.  I always feel that way.  Getting through the regular season can be like getting teeth pulled, but the playoffs are magical (see Bulls vs. Celtics).  Many feel the playoffs are too long, the seeding needs to get reworked and that good teams are left out.  But that last point happens in every sport.

College – There are upsets and underdogs making runs deep into the tournament, players can take their lead their team over better teams and make names for themselves.  The only issue is that many times really good get left out on selection Sunday.

Winner = College.  From the brackets to watching the games online at work and every game matters.

Acquisition of Players

NBA – The NBA draft is fun to watch.   It is short and you usually have a good idea of who is going where.

Free agency is a toss-up.  It can help a team rebuild really fast (the Spurs are experts at this), but it also decreases the amount of players that stick with teams their whole careers.  Even All-Stars Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter have played for at least two different teams (T-Mac has played for three – Raptors, Magic and Rockets).

College – Recruiting is interesting to follow and you can keep busy all year round.  With coaching changes and kids changing their minds, it is a very fluid situation.

I understand the “sit-out-a-year” rule when you transfer from one D1 school to another, but think it should be changed if their is a coaching change or family hardship.

Winner = College.  Money is not involved – at least I hope not.  Oh wait.

Final Tally

I think have covers the majority of important issues that make each game unique onto itself.  Even after this extremely logical argument, there will be some that will disagree, and that is OK.  Because you are wrong, or least “less-right”.

Winner = College 6 to the NBA’s 4.

DTP 2008-09 NBA Awards

The regular season has come to a close.  It has been a great season in many respects.  We have seen rookies play major parts on good teams and on bad teams.  We have seen players develop from starters to stars, stars to MVPs.  Teams that should have been better and teams that made us glance at the standings sheet one last time.

Now the time has come when the big boys are no longer playing for fun, it is playoff time.  And to further inflate the ego’s of those making way too much money, we give them awards.

Like everyone that has any opinion on basketball, Matthew and I have our own and we made our choices.  We agreed on some, but not on all.  Either way, enjoy.

Rookie of The Year82989522CC019_Orlando_Magic

  • Matthew’s PickDerrick Rose – This has proved to be a very good, very deep class.  And Rose has stayed on top of it the entire season, ultimately leading his team into the playoffs.  Averaging 17 points, 4 boards, and 7 assists is a pretty nice line for a rookie…..or anybody.
  • Daniel’s PickDerrick Rose – The Bulls played like a bad high school team earlier this year, because they did not know how to use the talent the had.  The coach final made some changes and the Bulls are here.  Rose is the cornerstone for this franchise.

Most Improved Player

  • Matthew’s Pick:  Brandon Roy – Scoring three more points a game and has turned into the undeniable leader of a good, young squad.
  • Daniel’s PickDanny Granger – 7.5, 13.9, 19.6, and 25.8.  This is the season scoring average since his rookie year in 2005.  He has also become a better free-throw shooter since his first season, improving from 78% to 88% this season.  Like Rose, Granger is the cornerstone for his team.   PS – All Star.

Most Disappointing Team

  • Matthew’s Pick:  Phoenix Suns – Even without Amare, they’re like an all-star team from 5-10 years ago.
  • Daniel’s Pick:  Detroit Pistons – This team is rebuilding.  But you still have Rip, Rasheed and Prince.  The trade for Allen Iverson was not good for this season, but it will be good for the future.  Even so, this team was sad. 

Most Surprsing Team

  • Matthew’s Pick:  Denver Nuggets – Who would’ve guessed they would be the No. 2 seed in the West?  Not me! 
  • Daniel’s Pick: Charlotte Bobcats - They made a huge push late in the season and were close to making the playoffs. They beat the Lakers twice and have a solid group of players.  Just don’t pick-up AI. 

Sixth Man of the Year

  • Matthew’s Pick:  Lamar Odom - Sure he started a few games.  But his ability to be a solid option in the starting five when called upon,  stregthens his case.  
  • Daniel’s PickJason Terry – He is pretty much a stater.  Terry plays 33 mins a game, scores 20 points per game and is the man for Dallas in the clutch.

 

Coach of the Year:NBA/

  • Matthew’s Pick:  Stan Van Gundy -  Anytime you linger around 60-wins, you should be instantly part of the discussion, and he made things work pretty well without Jameer Nelson.
  • Daniel’s PickMike Brown-  66 wins and 16 loses.  His team scores 100 points per game and only give 91 (which is best in the league).  Yes, he has LeBron.  But this team is about defense.  And they allow their opponents to only shoot 33% from distance and 43 from the field (best in the league).  And he has LeBron.

MVP

  • Matthew’s Pick: LeBron James- He leads his squad in points (28), rebounds (8), assists (7), blocks (1.5) and steals (1.7).  That is ridiculous.
  • Daniel’s PickLeBron James – See above with one addition.  His squad =  best in the league.

Good Year to be an NBA Fan

You have to love how the sports seasons align.  It really is brilliant.  Just when the NFL season ends, college basketball gets good.  Just when the Final Four ends, baseball starts and the NBA Playoffs are just around the riverbend.

For those who have not been paying attention, this has been a good year to be ankobe_lebron NBA fan.  A few reasons:

1.  Kobe vs. Lebron

David Stern must be loving life right now with these two guys playing in his league.  The two best players in the world happen to be playing on the two best teams in the league.  They both have charasmatic personalities and, by the time they’re both done, they will have established themselves as 2 of the top-10 players of all-time.  Yes, I just said that.

2.  Lakers vs. Celtics

Everybody likes history.  Having these two teams once again part of the league’s elite has been fun to watch.  The only thing better than seeing these two teams clash again in the Finals would be seeing Kobe vs. Lebron in the Finals.

3.  A Lot of Fun-to-Watch Talentroy

Dwight Howard is a physical freak.  Chris Paul brings the playground to the NBA and does it well.  Dwayne Wade is an absolute stud (in the class of Kobe and Lebron, but his team keeps him out of the #1 discussion above).  Chauncey Billups is reminding people that he is really good at basketball regardless of the team he’s onBrandon Roy is the new guy in town, and is making me more resentful of Kevin McHale with each game he plays (the T-Wolves drafted him and then traded him).

4.  The Spurs Aren’t Favorites 

I’ll be the first to say that I appreciate how the Spurs play.  The Big Fundamental is consistently underappreciated.  But I’ll also be the first to say that they are boring.  Effective?  Extremely.  Entertaining?  No.  They’ll make the playoffs, but now that Manu Ginobli is gone for the season, they won’t get far.  That leaves room for more fan-friendly teams like the Blazers and Jazz and…everybody else.

5.  The East is Back    

The Eastern Conference has basically been the JV version of the West since Michael Jordan retired (from the Bulls).  But now the East is home to 3 of the top 4 teams in the league with the Cavs, Celtics, and Magic leading the way.  Not to mention, the Atlanta Hawks play a pretty fun brand of team basketball, and Dwayne Wade always makes the Heat a dangerous squad.  

Lesson for today:  watch the NBA Playoffs this year.  You will not be disappointed.