With the All Star Games in New Orleans, it’s time to take a step back and examine the season thus far and name some teams that have surprised the NBA as well as teams who are falling short of expectations.
For starters, I’m really excited to the changes to the 3 point contest as well as the dunk contest happening tonight. With one of the racks in the three point contest being an ‘all money ball’ rack, and the participants can place this rack anywhere of the 5 available spots, this is a game changer for the contest. For a shooter who may be either hotter in the corners, straightaway, or at the ‘elbow’ spot, they can place it at their ‘sweet spot’ to maximize their point total. With the dunk contest being a ‘East vs. West’ competition and a 90 second ‘free style’ dunk session to determine who will go first, it should be fun to see how each team can get creative and wow the judges and the crowd. Based on the the names and the dunks that have been done so far this season, I think the East has a slight edge on tonight’s contest.
Now, I’ll keep my surprises and disappointments short to save time. If I feel like expanding on them more, I’ll do so in a later blog post.
Surprise: The Portland Trailblazers- In the same division as the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Trailblazers have made their case as the best team in the western conference by being, at one point in the season, the best western conference team from a wins-losses perspective. Currently, they’re in he 5th spot, but in the conference that is loaded with great teams AND they’re all within a game of each other for seed rankings, it’s quite obvious that every game matters. Portland was on my list a few years ago as a disappointment, but they’re a surprise so far. I’m hoping they can continue with their great team play from Damien Lillard and Lamarcus Aldrige to maybe propel them into a deep playoff run.
Disappointment: The New York teams- Yes, both the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets have been quite disappointing so far. With the Nets, who have acquired Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and hired former player Jason Kidd as their Head Coach, it was clear that they were looking to be competitive this year and maybe next year and be in talks with the Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls as the best teams of the East. But they’re slow start, combined with injuries and Jason Kidd having some growing pains as a coach, they’re currently 24-27 and at the 7th spot in the east. In a conference that only has 2-3 elite teams, this was supposed to be the year they take the division by the throat. This was supposed to be the year that they compete and possibly beat the elite teams of the east, but it has yet to happen. Now to be fair, the Nets had a great January. Can they keep it up? We’ll see but I’m not sure. Now the Knicks, on the other hand, will be lucky if they make the playoffs the way they’ve been playing as of late. Their team defense is inconsistent, the roster, besides Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith, are not much of support in terms of contributing to the offense. And on top of that, their Head Coach, Mike Woodson is on the hot seat because of this mess. Is it his fault? I’m not sure on that, but he’ll probably be the scape goat and get fired by the end of the season if not sooner. If the Knicks were smart, they’d trade Carmelo Anthony and get players that can play in the New York Knicks’ system.
I’ll expand upon these and other thoughts later. Until then, enjoy your weekend.