Friday, November 30, 2007

Another30Days - November, Western Conference

1. San Antonio Spurs: Tony Parker is playing at a level so high, the Eiffel Tower got nothing on him. Once again it must be said: the Spurs should be seen as the blueprint on how to successful build a championship team. A joy to watch.

2. Phoenix Suns: The problem remains: no defense. Trading away Kurt Thomas wasn’t the wisest move by Steve Kerr. Once again this team will win a shitload of games during the regular season, but probably won’t get to the Finals because they bump into the Spurs (Horry pun intended)

3. Utah Jazz: Carlos Boozer is playing for MVP this year. He might not say it himself, but his teammates do. Andrei Kirilenko got his head straight this season, and Deron Williams is the fourth best point guard in the NBA. Nice team you got there, coach Sloan.

4. Dallas Mavericks: And they only will get better. Brandon Bass is playing nice for them off the bench, and since we’re speaking about bench players, Avery Johnson is back with the usual starting five, bringing Terry and Dampier back into the line-up. The result? A win. And many more to come.

5. New Orleans Hornets: After they started at 9-2, they’ve gone 2-4 since. Still, the Hornets are capable to beat any team in the League. Chris Paul will lead these guys into the playoffs. Yeah I said it (I try to be a bad-ass on some days. I fail in my attempts most of the time).

6. Los Angeles Lakers: Did you see that move by Jarvis Crittenton against the Rockets? Jesus F. Christ that was awesome. Kobe distributing the rock, scoring when needed, playing ferocious defense, still the best.

7. Denver Nuggets: Maybe I’m wrong. I expect so much more from this team, but they need to win some more before they can be considered as an elite team. They’ve got all the pieces, so I’m wondering what is going wrong over there.

8. Golden State Warriors: The Stephen Jackson effect is undeniable. 0-6 without him, 7-1 with him. The most fun team to watch, and most likeable too. Baron Davis is playing like a superstar right now, and Monta Ellis is heating up after a slow start.

9. Houston Rockets: Same shit every year. People call them a contender, as they should be, but they’re not proving anyone they are. Rick Adelman needs to find out why the Rockets aren’t winning games they are supposed to win.

10. Los Angeles Clippers: Injuries keep haunting this team. We all knew Livingston and Brand were out, but Cassell can’t stay healthy either, and Mobley and Maggette are playing with pain everyday. The bright side? Chris Kaman is better than last season. But otherwise consider this season as a lost season already.

11. Sacramento Kings: When you look at their roster, they should be able to win some games. Too bad I haven’t seen any of them to figure out why they aren’t winning. Ron Artest seems healthy, and they still have Kevin Martin’s scoring. Expect a trade coming up in the next couple of months, whether it’s Bibby, Artest or Miller.

12. Memphis Grizzlies: What can be said about the Grizzlies? In my opinion they are a team without identity, they’re not very good in anything specific. Rudy Gay is a true player though, and Navarro keeps getting better. Watch out for that guy later this season.

13. Portland Trail Blazers: Talking about lost seasons; when I learned that Oden would be out for the season, I still thought the Blazers would win more than they would lose. Apparently I was wrong, because young Brandon Roy and his crew aren’t getting the job done so far.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves: Will Al Jefferson basically travel the same career path as KG? Call me in ten years, Anyway, if you are on the Timberwolves, you can always keep the following in mind: at least you’re not in Seattle.

15. Seattle Supersonics: As expected, Durant can’t do it all. Having Chris Wilcox on your team helps though. And if you are on the Sonics, keep the following in mind: there’s a chance you won’t be in Seattle in the near future. And that would actually be sad if Seattle was left without a franchise.

Another30Days - November, Eastern Conference

I’ll try to write a blog on the first of every month to take a look at both conferences and see where every team is at, and what they have done in the past 30 days. Sure, you can just go to and check the standings, but my blog is more fun. Did I say fun? I lied. Hanging around with Phil Jackson is fun, if you like comments about calling your own player a leper, and comparing games to Brokeback Mountain. I’m glad this guy signed on for another two years in L.A.. Bring on the quotes Zenman! Enough about him, let’s take a look at the East, and ask ourselves what Paris Hilton asks a different guy every night: who’s on top and who’s at the bottom?

1. Boston Celtics: Damn man. We all knew they would probably win some games, but personally I didn’t think they would gel this quickly. Watching them is knowing you are seeing something special.

2. Orlando Magic: I’m afraid I’ll jinx them when I’m writing too positive about Stan Van Gundy and his guys. But I’m overestimating myself, so here goes: second place in the east is unexpected, and I’m impressed with all of them. Dwight Howard might be the best big man in the League right now. Not only the East, the whole League. Turkoglu, Lewis, even Nelson are benefiting from playing with him. I hope they can continue this far into the season. I like ‘em.

3. Detroit Pistons: Do they need Webber or not? The Pistons aren’t themselves so far, they aren’t dominating. Injuries don’t help though. So far Rasheed Wallace missed some games, Rip Hamilton isn’t 100%, and rookie Rodney Stuckey is still out with a broken hand. I won’t be surprised if they take over the second spot at the end of December, though.

4. Toronto Raptors: Jorge Garbajosa is out indefinitely, Bosh still isn’t himself, T.J. Ford hasn’t played for over a week, which is concerning to say the least when you at his history. Bright spot for the team is of course Jamario Moon, who does a little bit of everything, and a lot of things right. You can’t say the Raptors are disappointing; the just got bit by the injury bug.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: The only reason the Cavs are in fifth place is…. Drumroll please…. LeBron James! How surprising. If you had to pick the MVP after one month of play, the only right choice would be James. He also picked up his defense this season, but I’m wondering how in the world he can keep this up for a full 82 games. Four triple-doubles already; Jason Kidd got competition.

6. Indiana Pacers: They play better without Jermaine O’Neal, so what does that mean? Trade him? Wait and see if he’ll improve (health-wise)? Tinsley sometimes looks like he can be a good point guard, Danny Granger might be an All-Star one day, and Mike Dunleavy shows he’s capable of putting up decent numbers on any given night. A player just needs an opportunity and the right system to play in. At least he proved Don Nelson wrong. Not that the Don cares, but still.

7. Milwaukee Bucks: Another surprise, but if you look at their roster, it makes sense. A lot of players can flat out score the ball, Yi is struggling a bit right now, but that’s only fair after a strong start of the Chinese rookie. Michael Redd is playing the best ball of his career so far, saying playing against Kobe Bryant during the summer on Team USA made him a better defender. Scary though, now he can do it all.

8. New Jersey Nets: Jason Kidd is really getting frustrated (but still has four triple-doubles already). Could this season be the end of the Kidd-era? RJ is playing like an All-Star, Vince isn’t, rookie Sean Williams is getting in highlight reels both offensively and defensively, and the rest of the Nets are reminding me of The Four Tops: it’s the same old song.

9. Washington Wizards: Gilbert Arenas will miss three months. Worst case scenario? He would miss the rest of the season. Is Washington doomed? Yes, but that has more to do with George Bush than the Wizards. Not all hope is lost, because Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison are playing at such a high level, along with the always useful Antonio Daniels, this team will eventually win more games than they will lose.

10. Charlotte Bobcats: So far I don’t think I saw even one game of the Bobcats, but I thought they would have a better record than they have right now. When I think of the Bobcats I always think about Jason Richardson. If I ever had a chance to ask him one question, I would ask him: “Do you feel you were getting screwed by the trade?” I think being on the Warriors would be better than to carry the Bobcats.

11. Atlanta Hawks: For some reason, I have doubts it will get any better than this. They might win one, they might lose two after that. They’ll surprise some teams, but eventually will lose some more. I can imagine Hawks fans having hope for this team, and there are good reasons to show for it, but when April comes they won’t be in the top eight.

12. New York Knicks: When they played the Celtics in Boston Thursday night, Marv Albert said that he never saw a loss like that in his broadcasting career. When Marv Albert says that, you know the Knicks have problems. First of all (I’m sounding more like Barkley everyday): This man saw more basketball games than The Netherlands as a whole. I’d like to add that Marv was also did a lot of Knicks games a few years back, so he knows what he’s talking about. This was embarrassing. For the Knicks as an organization, for Isiah, the players, us as fans, and even the NBA. This was a nationally televised game, how can you lose by almost 50 points? Are you kidding me? Something’s gotta change – fast.

13. Philadelphia 76’ers: The Sixers are frustrated, although I hope Andre Iguodala will have enough patience and also broad shoulders to carry this franchise. Recent rumors tell that Andre Miller will stay in Philly for a while, so that’s probably good news. The bad news? The team sucks more than Paris H…. nah, too easy.

14. Miami Heat: Shaq seems to be playing a little bit better, but Dwyane Wade isn’t entirely back though. He even says so himself, because he can’t get up. Forget about his spectacular lay-ups, he isn’t dunking right now, not finishing strong, and he said it will take some time to get that explosiveness back. But having Wade back at least gives the Heat a chance to win a game every now and then. But they are as unpredictable as Denzel’s character in American Gangster.

15. Chicago Bulls: Scott Skiles will be out before the All-Star break. Skiles got the skills, no doubt about it, but it just doesn’t work anymore with the players. It must be stated that it isn’t entirely his fault, because his players give a lacklustre effort, which in no way should be allowed. This should’ve been one of the top teams in the East, and winning only three games is just sad.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Can I Keep My Jersey?

I’m worried. Already. Yes, I know it’s early, but I’ve got every right to be worried about my favourite team; the New Jersey Nets. When I started to write this blog, I decided that I didn’t wanted to be just some fan who only blogs about his own team. That wouldn’t seem interesting to me, it wouldn’t be interesting to you (who?) and I’ve got plenty of basketball love to spread around. There are 29 other teams in the NBA who I’m keeping an eye on, I watch more than only Nets games, plenty more. I read everything, about every team, every player, every game recap. But my love for the Nets is like Shakira. There are plenty of women in this world who got curves, but there’s only one where the hips don’t lie. In retrospect: yes, I do realize that lines like that will never, ever make me a successful writer. There goes my hope in being the next Paul Shirley.
The state of the Nets is a reason for concern, because after nine games, they are 4-5. Their first game of the season was a win against the Chicago Bulls, who went from contenders to pretenders in a matter of weeks. But since then, four of five losses were by 20 points or more, the worst one against division rival Toronto. Boston already beat them twice, and Orlando smacked them like Shakira’s booty, winning by 25 points. And of course the heartbreaker against the Hornets, a team that makes me glad that they are in the Western Conference. Chris Paul and the gang are downright scary.

It’s frustrating, I’ll tell you that. I’ve been following the Nets since ’97 (reading assignment: first ever blog, summer ‘07), and with this team it’s always a rollercoaster ride. If there is any team that is more inconsistent than the Nets in recent, let me know about it, because I can’t think of one right now. Watching the game against the Hornets, getting behind, battling back, getting a nice lead, losing it again, and get beat by Chris Paul in the end certainly leaves me with mixed emotions. And even though it’s that early in the season, it’s easy to see that it is now more than ever time to shake things up a little bit. And I don’t mean trading one of their stars. Who would you trade? You don’t trade Kidd, Carter can’t be traded because of his contract, and the one that is always talked about on being traded, RJ, well, that’s insane. The guy started the season by absolutely playing the best ball of his career so far (if you forget about the last two games, it’s hard, but just try), and he’s the one who has to carry the Nets offensively. So far, even a healthy Vince Carter isn’t producing right now, and who knows how long it will take until he finds his rhythm after he comes back from his ankle injury. So barring trades, start the rookie, Start Sean Williams. Of course he won’t win games for the team, but at least he gives them fresh legs, inside presence, athleticism, and another option for Jason Kidd to throw lobs to. And yes, he was a non-factor too against the Magic last night, but I’d give it a try if I was Lawrence Frank.

So Carter is injured, Nenad Krstic is back but not really back. It will take a while before he will give you 15-20 points every night, maybe even a couple of months. In a couple of hours the Nets once again play at home, and the Miami Heat (with Dwyane Wade playing) will pay them a visit. Reasons to be optimistic? Yes, because the Heat really have problems. They are 1-8, everybody is criticizing Shaq, and the rest of the team is awful. Then again, Wade is back, and Carter won’t be playing tonight. I hope I’m able to watch this one tonight. Why I’m using the word “able”? Because I have to rely on p2p sites to see it, and that doesn’t always work, and also because sometimes I have to close my eyes when the Nets lose another 10-point lead with just a few minutes to go and then lose the game. Can I get my Nets back? The team that gave me two Finals appearances, the team which once again gave me hope that this could actually be the season where they will crawl back into the select group of teams in the NBA that we call “elite”. The Nets don’t belong in the lower half of the NBA. The only good lower half in the world is the lower half of the aforementioned lady. Kidd and the gang lost four games in a row now, but tonight is a new night, a new opportunity to regain respect, only to be accomplished with a win.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Super? Bad?

So every team has played a couple of games so far, and it’s time to put down some first thoughts on the new season. Some teams are playing above expectations, and other teams just downright suck. It happens every season that teams that are supposed to be contenders, start off 0-4 in the first week, but still manage to get 50 to 60 wins at the end of the season. So I’m not putting down any predictions here, but just boring the people with some random observations.


New Orleans Hornets: Chris Paul will be the League’s best point guard within the next few years. Setting a career-high in assists (21!) against the Lakers is quite a feature for that young man. In that same game, Peja Stojakovic was playing like it was 2004, while he was still jacking 3’s for the Kings and scoring 25 a game. Although he got 10 three-pointers against L.A., he’s still quite inconsistent. Understandable, because he’s missed a lot of time in the last couple of seasons, so let’s hope he stays healthy. With Tyson Chandler and Paul getting double-doubles every night, paired with promising forward and leading scorer David West, this good start is no coincidence. The Hornets are for real.

Boston Celtics: Wow. Obviously everybody thought they would be good. I’ve seen a couple of games now, and they are really, really good. No need to say more.

Indiana Pacers: They proved me wrong. At least so far. I didn’t expect them to start off 3-1. I didn’t expect Danny Granger to put up all-star numbers, and I really didn’t expect Mike Dunleavy to average 20 points, with almost 9 rebounds. Even Ike Diogu did well before he got injured. Other than that, the Pacers aren’t that bad after all, and who knows how good they can be when Jermaine O’Neal starts playing well.

Los Angeles Clippers: 4-0? Without Elton Brand? Sam Cassell scored 35 points the other night? Cuttino Mobley had 33 a day earlier? I’m impressed.

Kobe Bryant: For an unhappy guy he still puts up the numbers: 30,5 ppg (on 50% shooting), almost 8 rpg (career-high) and 4,5 apg. I an earlier blog I wrote that Chicago should “get Kobe”, but Kobe belongs on one team, and one team only, he’s a Laker. And he always should be a Laker.

Manu Ginobili: Manu? Yes Manu. He is doing it all. Sure, LeBron James might have better individual numbers, but shining on a championship team like the Spurs, where nobody is a “superstar” due to their winning formula by winning together in a total team effort, Ginobili really stands out. Give him the Sixth Man award already. Manu was playing like a superstar in the playoffs and Finals of 2005, and this year he shows he’s still there.


Disappointing teams so far: Washington, Denver, Chicago, Miami and Cleveland. With the Heat and the Cavaliers, I can understand they have trouble winning their games. They simply don’t have the personnel that will help Shaq or LeBron to win more (if any, in Miami’s case) games. But the Wizards, Bulls and Nuggets all should be able to do more than their mediocre outings so far. Are the Bulls distracted because of all the trade rumors, or that Deng and Gordon didn’t get new contracts? Agent Zero’s knee is still a problem And: is Eddie Jordan a problem? And the Nuggets have everything to be top team in the League. It’s still early, so there’s a lot of room for improvement.

Vince Carter: Come on Vince. Come on! You know how to score, in every way possible, so do it, shoot it, hit it. Do whatever, but put up some points my man. A high percentage is preferable. Luckily you got teammates who are picking up the slack, but you’re too good to be playing like this.

Chris Bosh: Everybody hates Chris? Of course not. Everybody loves the guy, simply because of the fact that he’s one of the top big men in the Eastern Conference. But it’s not showing in the first couple of games. Like Carter, he’s got the team around him to pick up the slack, but Bosh isn’t himself at the moment. Are injuries still hampering him?

Pat Riley: Classy move of calling out Shaq. Yeah, that helped. If that’s his way of motivating a 16-year veteran, I’m not sure it’s the right way. Besides that: Pat Riley shouldn’t have signed that extension, there’s no way in hell that he will coach another three years. His team is a mess, with a superstar who yet has to play his first game of the season, an unhappy center, and a roster made up out of guys being at the end of their careers, or who are nice complimentary players who can’t pick up the slack when needed. Oh, and Tricky Ricky Buckets. Riley’s career was all “Magic” in the eighties, but now with 2008 in sight, the magic seems to be gone.