Len's NBA First Half Review/Second Half Preview (PRE-TRADE)
Back in October, I said your contenders were the Spurs, Suns and Rockets. The Spurs are a game and a half out in whats shaping up to be the best division in basketball, the Wild Southwest. The Suns have tied for the conferences best mark and oh yeah, the Rockets are eh. Im allowed to be wrong once in a while, arent I? (After all, look at how much Ive been dead on the money about. Especially when it comes to this here game of round ball.) As far as the pretenders go, Dallas is pushing second, but honestly people, if you cant look at this team and see theyre just a regular season team thats not built for the mattresses so to speak then you need to wear the same cement kicks theyll be wearing in mid-May. Cleveland look ESPN, Im only going to say this ONCE. The Cavs are NOT, I repeat, NOT CONTENDERS. I understand LeBrons the golden boy of the NBA and next in a neverending line of pretenders to Jordans throne. But guess what? Hes only playing out his contract when hell take his new shoes to Broadway (hell, even one of my boys whos an ardent Cavs fan agrees and says, anyone who doesnt see that LeBrons out of here in two years is an absolute moron. Truer words were never spoken). Even though they managed to catch Washington (yet again without Agent Zero) on an off night last night, Im laughing my ass off this morning listening to Skip defend this supporting cast of LeBrons. Im telling all of you right now, if this stays as is and Agent Zeros healthy for a first round showdown with the Cavs Agent Zeros going to have his revenge on the Prince With NY Shoes. (Oh and by the by, Ive never, EVER seen a more blatant show of disrespect for a city and its fans than its most recognizable face coming out with a pair of shoes that sport the colors of its known rival in the Yanks. Seriously, this just goes to a whole new level of F**K THIS CITY!!!. Man its going to be depressing around here when he leaves, I tell ya what.) Detroit. Well, I said that their meltdown was their Buster Douglas moment that would inevitably kill this franchise. A win in Boston hasnt done a whole lot to change my mind since they will more than likely have to do this again in late May, when Boston Garden 2.0 will be rocking and KGs going to be Cenad up out of his mind to get himself a ring. Still, Im not denying this is the best starting five in the league and honestly, theyre probably the one team that if they play up to their potential and doesnt play underneath their competition (see Finals, Eastern Conference 2007), can stop the Celts rejuvenation 2007 tour.
As far as my Nightmare picks went, Im still sticking with Golden State. I think theyre showing how different a team they can be with Stephen Jackson in the lineup. Im one of a handful outside of G-State praying they draw Dallas again in the first round, just so we can get another Avery and the Mavs get pwned moment. I dont think Denver saw Portland being as good as they have been (Oh, Im proclaiming this now so that in a couple of years when this does indeed happen, you can say Len said it first. Two to three years from now, Portland will be back in the NBA Finals. Rip City will return with a real vengeance and by that time, B-Roy should have matured into the stud hes developing into and Oden as decrepit as he is will have adjusted to the NBA game and become the low post presence they need him to be. Theyre the Packers of the NBA right now peeps, next season theyll make a fairly good run in the playoffs with a rookie Oden in the middle. The year after get ready for Rip Citys Revenge.
Ill cover my disdain with the Nets in another article entirely. As far as the Bulls, well, remember when I said they shouldve pulled the trigger on that trade to get Kobe? Im willing to bet you anything Scott Skiles is wishing Paxson had the nuts to do it because more than likely, this years a wash for them. I really didnt expect this team to straight out flop the way they have and it has NOT been pretty. As far as the Heat, Im not on the same bandwagon as everyone else in saying theyre totally finished because this is the Least were talking about here. Unless youre New York and you have a pulse, youve got a chance in this JV league. Im thinking Riles will figure something out to put a nice, young nucleus in place that will convince Wade to stay put and help lead this team into the next decade. I think the Knicks, as long as Dolans at the head of the Atlantics Titanic have no future. I doubt very seriously hell ever fire Isiah and truth be told, Im shocked we havent seen the brown bags come out at the Garden yet. Im ashamed to even have been a former Knicks fan with the way these clowns are playing. Yet as if you needed more reason as for why this conference is so pitiful as of right now, the Knicks are just FIVE GAMES OUT OF THE SEVENTH PLAYOFF SPOT!!! Okay, five and a half, but you get my point. If youve got a pulse, youve got a chance in the Least.
Second half prediction time. Im thinking in all seriousness, your MVP race will come down to CP3, Nash and Kobe. Whoever finishes atop of the West, will more than likely win it. Kind of a duh statement to make, but heres what Im following it up with. The winner this year will have DESERVED IT. Nash has been the best point guard/player in the league three years running (like Rocky V, Dirks MVP NEVER HAPPENED in my book). CP3O has been balling out of his mind and oh, continuing to pile on Paxson whos starting to show signs he might be as dumb as his brother Jim after all, hows that Tyson Chandler move working out for ya. As said on TNTs Inside The NBA aka The REAL Best Damn Sports Show Period, the scouting report on Chandler was that he runs, rebounds and blocks shots. Nah, we dont want him. I see this young man having some epic battles with Oden for years to come in the playoffs. Call it a hunch. Oh, but I will say theres just one thing thats going against me putting my weight behind the Hornets and its something Bill Simmons pointed out in his NBA preview column. Lack of home court advantage. This isnt the NFL where you can get by not holding serve at home. To win a title, youve GOT to have an intimidating presence at home, not a place where the road team feels like they are at home. The Hornets are just seven games over .500 at home and are barely selling out, which is a shame given how good Byrons got this team (hey J-MoMo, hows that coaching move working out for ya? J-MoMo equals J-Kidd). In a seven game series, I really think youd have to take two from these guys at home and then steal at least ONE on the road to put them out. Anything besides that and youre giving them house money to play with. Still, I dont see them holding on to that lead in the Southwest. I think Utahs really scary in that Northwest Division and I do think theyll catch Denver. I dont see the Lakers catching Phoenix without Bynum (guess Kupchak knew what he was doing keeping him after all).
As far as the playoffs go, even with what I know now, I think theres feasibly one team that can legitimately bang with the Spurs and its not who you think. Im going to keep this one under my hat, but I will say theyve got an MVP candidate on their team that no ones taking a serious look at (not yet anyway). I dont see the Rockets sneaking into the playoffs unless one of the teams above them takes a MAJOR tumble and given how tight things are out West, Im not sure if thats going to happen. I think they should trade T-Mac as hes clearly a walking shell of his former self thanks to the back injuries hes having to deal with. But Len, the Spurs are boring. They havent repeated before and its always the defense of their title that trips them up. Let me tell you something, theres a first time for everything. Secondly, youre going to be hard pressed to show me another coach that can outthink Pops for seven games, let alone a team that can outplay them for seven to boot. As I said, I think theres one team that can bang with them, but banging is not the same as BEATING. Spurs will repeat. Period, end of story.