What it says on the title. Feel free to gratuitously accuse me of jumping to conclusions after two days of NBA action. It’s what I do best.
1) Tyson Chandler’s departure is hurting the Mavs. I’ve discussed what I think is Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson’s strategy previously – they’re willing to wash this year and spend the next off-season focused on going all-out for the Dwight/Deron pairing to go with Dirk and look at a title next season. While it’s a ready-made advertising slogan (the Three D’s in the Big D) the loss of Chandler is already hurting them this season. Losing to Miami is one thing, but the quicker Nuggets guards – Ty Lawson in particular – were having their way with the Mavs’ D inside.
2) The Timberwolves are the second coming of Rick Adelman’s late-90s/early 00s Sacramento teams. Ricky Rubio is the Spanish Jason Williams (except that he seems quite sane – but more on him later), Kevin Love plays the Chris Webber role, Derrick Williams/Michael Beasley rotate as Peja Stojakovic and Wes Johnson needs to marry a crazy bitch and he’ll be Doug Christie. (Seriously…if you aren’t familiar with the unique combination of psychopath and Stage-7 clinger that is Jackie Christie, Google her and read/watch her exploits). Anyway, here’s a tip – if you need a bandwagon for this year, jump on Minnesota with me before it gets packed once everyone realises how fun this team is to watch and how deep they go.
3) The Lakers are done. Here’s why. There’s no shame in losing to the Bulls – especially in a close game like the season opener. But the Lakers of two years ago would have gone into Sacramento and blown this young Kings team out of the water, or at least played that cruel game of leaving them in it until the 4th quarter before dropping the guillotine. This Lakers team can’t do that. Which is worrying, because after Kobe, Gasol and Bynum this is a pretty poor team on paper. All it’s gonna take is one injury and they’re…dare I say it…a lottery team.
4) I’m changing my Rookie of the Year pick to Ricky Rubio. The ROY award is often as much about how much of an impact a player makes as pure stats. Rubio’s passing skill is otherworldly and he’s not hopeless at other aspects of the game. But his passes (and the finishes that comes off them) have already got the staid Target Center fired up. Soon enough, he’s going to become a major road drawcard as well. Just like Blake Griffin last year, this will go a long way in the eyes of the voters.
5) Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry can and will work. OK, I know I’m going to waffle on this one about 57 times…before the end of the week. But you can win games with two undersized guards who don’t play D – anyone who says otherwise wasn’t paying attention to the amount of time Rick Carlisle played Jason Terry and Puerto Rican Guy together last year.
This Golden State team is playing better team defense than any Warrior team in my memory. Plus, Brandon Rush provides them with a defensive stopper off the bench and Kwame is, dare I say it, providing some defensive steel.
6) Andris Biedrins finally looks like his old self. I’ve slagged Biedrins off plenty over the last couple of years. Hell, I was screaming for him to be amnestied this off-season. However, in the first two games of the season he looks totally rejuvenated. For the first time since 2008, he’s playing with aggression on both ends, running the floor and seems to have even picked up a jump hook. Let’s not forget there’s a reason a lot of people thought $9 million a year for six years was a very reasonable contract at the time. Big guys who can run, block shots, play passable D, rebound, catch and finish – all things he can do – have a place in the league if they play with fire. I don’t know if Mark Jackson’s getting the best out of him, or if becoming a dad awoke the fire inside…I don’t care. I’m just glad that the man we GSW fans call Beans is playing like spicy Mexican frijoles rather than cold lima beans. Now he just needs to get fully back in game shape.
7) Andray Blatche needs to be traded. Blatche has already built a reputation as a malcontent – his bitch session on Twitter about not getting the ball where he wants it further cements it. Unfortunately, it’s also further killed his already low trade value, however some team with a solid veteran core will believe they can get some good out of him. The Wizards are building around John Wall – they don’t need a prima donna like Blatche. Trade him somewhere for a second round pick and a trade exemption.