Just some quick thoughts rattling around my skull:
The Nugs--Here come the injuries once again. It was already tough enough to move Kenyon & his putrid contract, now there is little to no chance they will ever move him until the last year of his deal. Who's going to take him now that his knees are heavily suspect? Even the Knicks, the only team that would have entertained the idea of taking on KMart before the injury, are not that dumb & desperate, especially with David Lee playing well. Also, Nene is already scuffling with injuries as well, and it's only a matter of time before Camby misses his obligatory 20 games. If the Jazz can stay healthy, they should cruise to the NW title.
Also, this team continues to shoot the long ball poorly--25.7% from 3pt, dead last in the NBA. JR Smith is the only guy who's decent (39%), the rest of the team is shooting a combined 19% from 3pt. They have to try to move Joe Smith ($8 mil expiring deal) for some more shooting.
By the way, I thought the Kenyon deal was dumb at the time, not after the fact. They already had Nene, and they struck out at getting Manu or any other 2-guard and Kiki could not sit on his money, like he should have. If he just sits on the money, he could have been a big player in 2005 when the 2-guard crop was nice--Joe Johnson would look pretty nice next to Melo, huh Kiki. Then they just couldn't sit on their money the next summer & decided to get a 3rd PG, not to mention their second PG named Earl, for no reason and eventually dealt him mid-season for Ruben Patterson.
Kiki Vandeweghe--Speaking of Kiki, who signed him to a studio analyst gig? It's not that he is that bad, or obnoxious, or annoying, it's just something about his voice & personality that would be more suitable for children's programming. Like he should be hosting Blue's Clues or Sesame St., you know what I mean. Just listen to him. Maybe Kiki could be the nouveau-Mr. Rogers, where he wears a buttoned-down sweater with the old-school Nuggets jersey with the Tetris-style skyline underneath. Not really sure why the ESPN brass cut down on Legs & Greg Anthony, thought they were very good in the studio. Their pure basketball analysis is better than Chuck & Kenny's.
The Pacers--I knew I was reaching when I picked them to win the Central, but to get blown out by Celts is unexceptable. I had higher hopes for their offense with the add of Harrington & Carlisle's insistence that he would loosen the reins on the offense. But they still look like the team that bogs down for long stretches as always. They are only shooting 43% from the floor & 34% from 3pt. Lucky their solid defense has carried over from last year, although they were surprisingly bad vs. the Celts. Have to find a way to infuse more fluidity into the offense. One way is to deal Stephen Jackson. He just holds the ball too long and has a habit of firing up ill-advised shots, like he does off the court.
Kevin Martin--Can't say enough about him. Feel even better about this since I grabbed him in the later rounds of my fantasy draft. I felt I had a steal who would give me 15-16 ppg, but no idea he would explode like this--23.8 ppg on 54% shooting & 40.6% from 3pt. Loved his poise in the playoffs last year, so this is why I felt losing Bonzi was not a big deal. Just miss the modified high-top fade he was rockin' last year.
Dwight Howard--Been saying this since last year--Dwight needs to be getting more shot attempts. Only averaging 8.6 attempts per, last year he only attempted 10.7 per. The dude is shooting 60% this year & he shot 53% last year--Brian Hill needs to get him touches now. Not sure if Dwight is reluctant to look for his shot or Brian Hill just is not finding ways to get him involved. Dwight needs at least 15 shot attempts per game. He comes out of the gates with a monstrous first game where he decimates the vaunted Bulls' interior defense, and then has only two other games where he attempts over 10 shots; I don't get it.
The Grizzlies--I guess I am a little disturbed when the Sports Guy lumped the Grizz & Fratello in with Doc Rivers in his latest article, and I felt the Grizz & the Czar needed to be defended. I am not sure why alot of people are so down on the team & Coach Fratello.
How could you expect much at all from this squad. Who is exactly suppose to score for this team? Mike Miller is a 15 ppg guy at best, who struggles to create his own shot. Chucky Atkins is their crunch-time scorer right now. Chucky Atkins!! Fratello has no choice--who on this team can create their own shots? I felt this was a problem going into last year's playoffs: outside of Gasol, where's the scoring punch? I mentioned in my season preview that Rudy Gay is their best pure scorer with Pau out, but he's still a rookie.
I think Fratello has done a pretty good job with the hand he was dealt. I thought the Grizz would keep games close and they have--their 6 losses have been by an average of 6.5 pts. That's all Fratello and his emphasis on defense.
Fratello has always been an underrated coach--his teams usually defend well. The Grizz were 4th in the West last year without much secondary scoring punch behind Gasol. I understand Fratello could be gone because of the new ownership, who probably have Quin Snyder or Johnny Dawkins lined-up for the gig. (Personally, I have my fingers crossed for Greg Koubek.) But Fratello is not the issue, it's the personnel he's been dealt. So people need to be realistic with the Grizz.