I promised an extensive NBA Eastern Conference breakdown, and here it is. The Raptors are going to be the worst team in the NBA and the Heat are going to be the best. I challenge you to name 3 players on the Toronto Raptors without looking up their roster…John Wells Stevens couldn’t even do it. He confesses to this and lends his sports prowess to the show. Please enjoy.
Many have wondered if the fans would come back after a lengthy and sometimes messy lockout. When the overnight ratings for the Christmas Day games came in earlier today, I think we got our answer…everyone just wants to watch some good basketball. The games averaged 6.2 million viewers, which is up from 6 million last year. According to the Associated Press, the Bulls-Lakers game was the third most watched regular season game in ABC history, and the Celtics-Knicks game on TNT that led off the coverage was up 48 percent over the same time slot last year (Bulls vs. Knicks on ESPN). The NBA has as much if not more talent than any other era in the history of the game. The story lines are compelling and the coverage of the games are second to none (except for when we have to listen to Jeff Van Gundy of course). With the packed season we’re going to have games available to us just about every night of the week….perfect timing now that we can’t watch MAC football games on Tuesday night anymore.
I feel like the lockout didn’t even happen. Couldn’t be more excited for opening day in the NBA this weekend. We’re in for a thrilling and fast-paced season with plenty of story lines and more than enough phenomenal players. This is part 1 of a two-parter previewing the NBA season, purely addressing the makeup of the Western Conference. Find out why I think the Clips are going to be the second best team in the West this season.
The buzz around the NBA community all off-season was that Kobe Bryant has been voraciously preparing for this season because everyone has been saying that he had lost a step. In his last press conference at the end of last season he told everyone how excited he was to start preparing so that he could prove he was still the best.
I’m not going to pretend like I don’t love stuff like this. Kobe is one of the ten best players of all-time and seeing a guy like that perform in ways that no one else can is unbelievably enjoyable to watch and talk about. You don’t have to like him. I’ve never been a big fan of Kobe and the way that he handles himself, but as a sports fan, I love the fact that he is willing to offer up his firstborn child to win a championship. That’s why we loved watching Jordan and Bird, and that’s why we love watching Tom Brady and Tiger Woods. It doesn’t matter if you like them or love them, we will be forever interested in seeing what they do in that big moment because we know that they just might do something that we’ve never seen before.
That’s why seeing the Lakers (and David Stern) completely screw up this off-season has been so depressing. Although I believe Kobe has actually lost a step, I still think he’s capable of being the alpha dog on a championship team, and I desperately want to see him try to take on Lebron and Wade in a seven game series. Here’s what we clearly know: With the current makeup of this Lakers roster, they are going to be worse than they were last year. There’s no way around it. They obviously were getting older and slower, and the Mavs absolutely exposed them for what they were last year in the playoffs. Well, the Lakers traded their third best player (Odom) to the team that rolled them in the playoffs and replaced him with….ummm….Josh McRoberts and Troy Murphy (yikes).
If Kobe was playing for the Toronto Raptors right now (Current Starting 5 – Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, James Johnson, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani – check out the bench if you want to continue laughing… http://espn.go.com/nba/team/depth/_/name/tor/toronto-raptors) he’d still figure out a way to get that team into the playoffs. Because of the state of the Lakers right now, maybe we’re in for another “screw this, I’m going to drop 50 every night” kind of a season from Kobe, which may be even more entertaining. Having said that, unless the Lakers figure out a way to get Dwight Howard on the roster (seriously, give up Gasol and Bynum…you’ll immediately be better and be a title contender in 2012-2013…think how good Lebron, Bosh, and Wade were with a team full of “dudes”…the same thing would happen in LA with Kobe and Howard) they are a middle of the pack playoff team in the West. OKC, Dallas, and the Clips are all going to be better, and the Trail Blazers, Spurs, and Nuggets are going to be competitive. On the bright side, maybe we get to see Kobe drop 81 again….
John Wells Stevens lends his soothing voice to the program to discuss the glorious return of the NBA, the Packers quest to perfection, and the thrilling close to the college football season….and some brief commentary on the Robert Allenby v. Geoff Ogilvy upcoming cage match at Wrestle Mania.
We all woke up yesterday morning to the phenomenal news that the NBA Lockout was soon to be over. The owners and players have agreed to a new 10-year deal in principle. The deal still needs to be ratified by both sides, and some other secondary issues still need to be decided upon (i.e. drug testing, minimum age to enter draft, etc). Throughout the day I was following the fan response on Facebook and Twitter and was shocked to see the animosity that so many had for the NBA. “I don’t care if the Lockout is over. All the players are overpaid anyway. It’s going to take a long time for them to get me back watching games.” (Note: The idea that players are overpaid is absurd. The market sets their value based off of what you and I are willing to pay to watch their games either on TV or in the stadium. As long as we keep showing up and paying what we do…the players will continue to make the same amount. I believe the phrase is, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.”) Do you remember this kind of angst towards the NFL players when the Lockout was finally ended? I don’t, and I frankly don’t understand why people are so upset at the NBA for this. Sure, the Lockout lasted a few weeks longer, and the debate was a bit more contentious, but was it really that much different? I would have loved it if they would have wrapped it up sooner, but let’s be honest, none of us were going to start watching until Christmas anyway….
The summer movie season was kicked off by just the right movie…if you haven’t seen Fast Five yet, it’s time to make it happen. Full review of Fast Five, Thor, and a look at the upcoming movie scene over the next two months. Oh…and you know I couldn’t go through a full podcast without talking NBA Playoffs. Dwight Howard will be a Laker in a few short months. Count on it.
Have I seen Water for Elephants yet? No. Has today’s guest, Jake Welch, he says no….but someone that loves Pattinson as much as he does couldn’t have missed it opening night. A potpourri a topics on this week’s show: NBA Playoffs, Team USA, NFL Draft, a touch of baseball and soccer, and a few comments about our personal lives that may or may not amuse you.