If in case you haven’t noticed (I know I didn’t), the NBA is underway. I suppose the reason why I didn’t realize it was on, even if I managed to catch the very first (Spurs* vs. Blazers) and some parts of the second (Rockets* vs. Lakers), was because of all of the pre-season games shown over and over Basketball TV, so much so that you tended not to pay too close attention anymore.
Then when I realized the crowd was pretty big, plus the fact that the games were actually non – yawners, did I finally realize – hey, I think the season has actually started.
At any rate enough with the long introduction – here again are a few things that got into my head as I watched the first few games, and even now with game going on as I write this (Dallas vs. Cleveland).
- The guy that I most want to do well – has got to be Dirk Nowitzki. Even as I watch him now – (he’s brilliant btw, and looks like he’s off to his old self with those brilliant jumpshots of his) – I have to wonder what in the hell went through his mind when he choked last year. And make no mistake about it, that was a choke. A very bad one, in front of the whole world to see, and when it counted the most. It is easy, I realize now, to just get angry at him and mouth what his coach said, which is that ‘I never lost faith in myself’, but can we really begin to comprehend the pressures that a person goes through when competing at the very highest level of their discipline? I left it at that for most of the year, but when I read this article, where it says not a single NBA GM has voted him to repeat as MVP this year, then that has got to sting more than anything. As such, Dirk has got my vote. By virtue of the GM’s lack of confidence in him, making him an underdog (and of course since I’m Pinoy I always prefer the underdog), I want Dirk to succeed. So please Dirk. Go back to Germany and find whatever it is that had made you so good to begin with. Take as many Australian tours as you need. Do everything you gotta do. Just win MVP one more time and make everyone believe in you again, ok?
- Kobe. Ahhh Kobe. Seriously, I want him out of LA. Not for any reason other than the fact that it’s just the right thing to do! There are three things that ‘make’ an NBA team. Upper management aka owner(s), the team itself and the fans. If any of these are unhappy by the slightest, then it’s not gonna work. When I watched Kobe at the Ultra the other month (courtesy of the terrific people at Nike and Ogilvy – yes I still owe everyone a writeup of that sorry), Kobe presented himself as a true professional without the slightest hint of arrogance or ego – (a completely believable scenario considering he has nothing to prove to anyone anyway). Even friends at Ogilvy who personally picked him up from the airport had nothing but praises from him. After a 40+ hour flight from the US, they told me Kobe was completely game and was full of energy, and never acted up in any way. I know it can sound like fan – speak, but the truth is I personally don’t believe myself that a person who has achieved so much can be anything but disciplined and professional. If it sounds like I’m taking sides in all of this, well, not completely, considering the somewhat brash behaviour he displayed in coming out on radio shows. But again, after what I saw I will give him the benefit of the doubt. At any rate, the whole thing is a mess and it doesn’t look like it’s gonna get better. So the right thing to do is for him to just take off to another team. I think it’ll be good for the NBA as a whole actually, especially if it’ll give us a chance to view him try to make a contender out of it.
- The Spurs as Champions. Again. The Spurs played very well in the first game and as long as their solid foursome of Duncan, Ginobili, Parker and Bowen is intact, they look awesome. So do we chalk it up as another Spurs year? God I hope not! Those guys are so dominant that it just gets boring as heck. Ok well, maybe Tim Donaghy had something to do with it and had twisted things in this or that favor so in the end, we ended up with the Spurs steamrolling over a hapless Cleveland and someone else should’ve been there instead. Whatever. Just please let’s not have another sleeper of a Finals. I can’t imagine that does the league any good.
- Celts Alive! – I watched a few preseason games of theirs (obviously they’re getting coverage again and it’s great to see Paul Pierce), and while Pierce and Garnett are outstanding, my man Ray Allen was not. Not to worry (I hope), since those were ‘only’ pre-season performances, but man o man I am counting on him to keep his side of the action up. I was a big fan of him when he was in Milwaukee along with the Big Dog Glenn Robinson plus Sam Cassell and I thought they had a championship run going but it fizzled out, so I’m still looking for a ring for him. Obviously, I can’t say enough about Pierce and Garnett. Watching Garnett is like watching a video game in real life. You never know exactly if that is the limit of his ‘powers’ and you keep willing him to do more, and he does. I’m not sure what other options they can exercise, other than suit Danny Ainge up again, to get a decent point guard on their bench. It kinda reminds me of way back (sorry can’t remember which season) when the Suns were lacking a PG so they gave Kevin Johnson a ring and just like that he was handing off assists to Shawn Marion in a beautiful mix of old and new. Ok ok I know Ainge is old but hey its free to fantasize right? Anyway I think that it’s suffice to say that if they don’t think of something we’re looking at 2008-2009 for these guys. I know that sounds heartbreaking, but hey, a good PG is crucial.
I guess those will do for the moment. I’m sure there are a great many things to talk about such as the Durants and the Odens, the Knick fratboys, Penny(!) making the roster and Kirilenko’s strange behaviour among many others, but the main thing is – another NBA season is upon us. A ton of games, hours of footage and miles and miles of ranting, raving and rambling from me. Let the games begin!