ONE: It’s that time of year where every man and his dog starts doing NBA team previews for the upcoming season. It’s a fun time, because no matter how bad your team is, you can still convince yourself that with a bit of luck you’ll be in the playoffs. You can use words like “potential” without consequence, because after all, it’s a “preview”. You just don’t know how hard that player busted his ass during the off-season, how much better his jump shot really is, how your new teammates will gel, or how they’ll handle that new coach. So to satisfy your thirst for completely over-enthusiastic appraisals of your team’s upcoming year, go no further than the 2009 NBA Blog Previews, graciously facilitated by Celtics Blog. Here is a schedule of all the team previews over the coming month, many of those blogs being among my regular daily reading. You will notice that yours truly is due for a Mavs preview in a couple of days. Why the Mavs? Guess you’ll just have to wait and see on Oct 6th.

TWO: Don’t know if you’ve heard that story of the body-fat bet between Charlie Bell and Andrew Bogut, but it’s quite amusing. In other Bucks news, here’s yet another article talking about the importance of the health of their starters. Is any other team’s success this season so dependent on it’s players health? Part of me thinks Bucks fans and Milwaukee media have made too much of this, almost as a pre-excuse should things turn pear-shaped during the season. But when you stop to think about it, you realise the Bucks are a team who could contend for 8th spot in the playoffs if Redd and Bogut get through a full season unscathed. Go watch clips of Michael Redd at his best if you don’t believe me. But with an injury or two, or with a longer than expected recovery time, the Bucks could easily drop to East cellar dwellars. And I mean right down the bottom of that cellar. It will be an intriguing season for a team who not very long ago was in the playoffs and looked like staying there for years to come.

THREE: Really enjoyed this piece about Shane Battier and the upcoming season for the Rockets, as well as his duel with Kobe Bryant in last year’s playoffs. That Rockets-Lakers series for me was perhaps the most entertaining of the entire playoffs (with the exception of Bulls-Celtics of course). A big part of that was watching Battier and Kobe go at each other. I love watching really great defenders play – not just “good” defenders, but the truly elite ones. You feel like you’re watching an artist at work, someone who prides themselves on every defensive action on the floor. Someone who doesn’t just want to keep their opponent quiet, but who believes they can stop them on every possession. That’s the feeling I get watching Shane Battier, and to see him playing against an offensive player as gifted as Kobe was one of the real treats of the entire season for me.

FOUR: The Sport Count have not only gone black with a cool new look (like it boys), but they’ve put together the 5 steps to make Allen Iverson’s championship dream in Memphis come true. Do I think any of those 5 steps will come true? Improbable, but not impossible.

FIVE: I just came across this bit of home-grown NBL news via One Man Weave. Apparently, this season’s NBL on Fox Sports will be commentated by none other than Brian Taylor and Dwyane Russell! I don’t know what I’m more in shock about. The fact that Steve Carfino – a long-standing face amongst NBAMate’s own Wall of Fame – has left the commentary box, or the fact that BT is going to be commentating basketball. For any one not aware of the extraordinary character of Mr Brian Taylor, I think this clip sums it up pretty well. One of my all-time AFL favorites for on-field antics.

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SIX: On the topic of AFL, I need to say a couple of things about Brendan Fevola. I find it almost spooky that barely a month ago I wrote this piece about Fev, stating: “a whole new chapter in the Brendan Fevola story is going to be written. And I’ve got a feeling that chapter is going to be pretty remarkable.” How prophetic I was, for all the wrong reasons. I’ve spent hours arguing the reactions and over-reactions to Fevola’s antics at the Brownlow. I struggled to comprehend the initial backlash, but I understood that due to Fev’s history the club had to handle it carefully. Hence the $10,000 fine. But then it ballooned out of proportion, no doubt owing to the showing of footage on Footy Show the following week. All of a sudden, my Carlton hero was on the trading block and I was left shattered, shaking my head in complete disbelief.

There have been a lot of rumors swirling around regarding what Fevola did on Brownlow night – I’ve probably heard them all. All I will say is this: the Carlton Football Club know the full story. If they believe Fevola’s actions warrant trading him to another club – even losing cash in the process – then I’m 100% behind the club. No player is greater than the club. If even half, or a quarter of the rumours I’ve heard about Fevola on Brownlow Night are true, then there is only one option – he has to go.

The frustrating thing of course, is that if Fev is traded he’s likely to buckle down and enjoy an incident-free remainder of his career, kicking hundreds of goals in the process. He just came off his best season ever.  Whoever gets Fev in a trade is picking up a career 800+ goal kicker in their prime. Do you know how utterly ridiculous that is? That may be the hardest thing to swallow for Carlton fans, knowing that the Fevolution was just getting started, that the man destined for the big stage was just warming up. I still love ya Fev, and I’ll always love watching you. I just don’t know if I’ll be cheering for you again.


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