Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The new NBA season tipped off last night and we got treated to three teams that should make serious noise and one that might still be spinning its wheels. My initial thoughts...
The Kids Called Him "Mr. Glass"
If you don't get that reference, go out and rent Unbreakable tonight. You have to feel sorry for Greg Oden. The guy just can't seem to catch a break. But, if we're all honest with each other we know that neither him or Lebron are really as young as they claim to be. Just kidding. Kind of. While Lebron has always been a flat out freak of nature, Oden has always just looked old. Last night was no different. If I was a Blazer fan, I would be more concerned with how bad he looked out there than his ankle. The injury looked pretty minor when it happened and x-rays were inconclusive. I think he'll be fine as far as that goes.
His actual skills on the court looked terrible. His movements were slow. He had no offensive game whatsoever. He looked average on the defensive end and that is saved only by his skills as a shot blocker. He looked like he was laboring up and down the court BEFORE he hurt his ankle. I'm hoping he is just still out of shape from sitting out a year and was suffering opening night jitters, but he looked like a bigger project than I expected out there.
Can Mr. Glass bounce back and lead the Blazers back to greatness? Stay tuned....
Let me just get this out of the way. I am a Laker die hard and my posts concerning them will either be filled with praise or completely out of proportion bashing of a poor performance.
Last night's game gave me mixed feelings. I saw a lot of things I liked. Gasol and Bynum looked good together. I think they played off of each other pretty well out there and the duo showed a lot of promise. The team as a whole has been working on defense and it showed. They held Brandon Roy in check and never allowed the Blazers to get anything going all game. Odom looked good coming off the bench. Also, if Ariza can get his jumper steady I don't think it will be long before he takes Vlad out of the starting line-up.
Oh yeah, that Kobe guy looked alright out there too.
On the downside, the team still showed some of the sloppiness that has been plaguing them for a while now. While Kobe is definitely a good facilitator, he also has high turnover games. It is touch for me to figure out who is at fault on some of those, but a turnover is a turnover and better teams will capitalize on it. The entire team needs to play crisp if they are going to get back to the Finals.
The other problem is our guards are selfish. No, I'm not talking about Kobe. Fisher, Sasha, and Farmar jack up a lot of shots. It's good to have guys who are willing to shoot, but I'm definitely old school in this regard. I think the best player on the team should always at least touch the ball on pretty much every possession excluding fast breaks. So with the Lakers, either Kobe or Gasol should touch the ball pretty much every trip. But our guards like to pull up and take shots. Even worse, they like to pull up and take shots when guys aren't in position to grab rebounds. Now if we were talking about consistent shooters, I wouldn't be as upset. But Farmar, Sasha and Fisher are the definition of streaky. I want them to be confident to take open looks, but Phil should probably reign them in a bit if they continue being jump shot happy.
And yes, it is ridiculous to be so critical of a team after a 20 point win.
Lebron Still Can't Shoot or Defend
To me, Lebron and Dwight Howard are the most physically dominating players in the NBA. Lebron definitely knows how to use his size and power to deliver damage on the court. The problems for Lebron remain his suspect jumper and defense. Don't get me wrong, Lebron has definitely gone off on people and knocked down jumpers. He just doesn't do it consistently enough and it was apparent last night. He also is still lacking on the defensive end. Someone with Lebron's size, strength and athleticism could simply dominate an opponent on the defensive end any time he wants. If he truly commits himself on the defensive side of the ball and works out his jump shot, then the best player in the NBA tag is his and his alone.
Celtics Will Be Back in the Finals
The Celtics were the Celtics. I think the losses of Posey and PJ Brown will be bigger than people think, but they are still a force on the defensive end and ultimately I think that gets them through the East again.