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2012-2013 NBA News and Notes

November 1, 2012

Basketball, Features, NBA

The NBA is upon us, and with the start of a new season comes a few things that must be noted.

To start, the LeBron James hate machine will not end just because he won a championship.

The phrase “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…” will haunt James’ mind like Uncle Leo’s voice did to Jerry when he neglected to
say hello. (Seinfeld fans get the reference, and really, they’re all that matters) LeBron has admittedly said that he wants to one day be considered the best basketball player of all-time.

That fact, his promising of seven-plus championships, as well as dubbing (and tattooing) himself as “King James”, is going to make the LeBron bashing a mainstay until he attains at least half of those seven-plus rings.

He’s the best player in the NBA, hands down, but he’s also one of the most disliked (particularly in places like Cleveland, Boston, and Chicago), and that isn’t going to change at the hands of one singular championship ring.

The Los Angeles Lakers could be the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles of the NBA.

They have the potential to be a championship team with former and current all-stars, loads of MVP trophies, and some of the best defenders in the league, but don’t be all that shocked if they under perform.

Mike Brown in no way runs the ideal offense for this group of players. He’s a defensive coach who likes to run a half court offense, and that’s far from perfect for players like Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.

The ceiling is there; it’s just a matter of if they can reach that ceiling or if they’ll fall on their face like Vernon Davis trying to dunk a football through the goalposts. (That may have been weeks ago, Vernon, but people don’t forget.)

The Houston Rockets will be a fun team to watch.

James Harden didn’t want to leave the Thunder. Why would he? Playing alongside a top-three and top-ten player in the league and likely continuing to rack up loads of Sixth Man of the Year trophies (the most bittersweet of all trophies in sports), there’s no way he preferred to leave that situation. But OKC didn’t want to pay, so they sent him packing to Houston.

The Rockets are making him a starter and he’s going to use that opportunity to make the Thunder regret their decision, you can bet on that. Similarly: Jeremy Lin. You have to believe he’d rather be in New York’s backcourt over Houston’s, if for anything to be playing in the city of New York, but that’s not how it played out. Love him or hate him, Lin is a polarizing figure in the NBA landscape.

To top things off is Houston’s new starting center. That man: Omar Asik. Anyone outside of Chicago (his former squad) may have never heard his name, but to fill those people in, he’s a giant, borderline albino foreigner who has the potential to be a vastly entertaining (courtesy of mainly his amusing appearance) basketball player to watch.

Houston might not even be a playoff team yet, but they are a team with a new identity that NBA fans should appreciate watching if for anything because they’re playing with a chip on their shoulder (well, Harden and Lin are at least).

Finally, Derrick Rose being out indefinitely is an inconvenience for all NBA fans.

Rose is the only man to win an MVP award outside of LeBron to anyone born since 2008. When the league loses a superstar athlete, particularly such an explosive and compelling point guard for one of the league’s most popular teams, basketball is worse off for it.

The Eastern Conference has improved in the last few seasons with Indiana and Philadelphia becoming contenders, but with the Bulls basically out of it this season and a Boston Celtics team that is still pretty old, the East is Miami’s to lose.

For that reason alone, a lot of fans (see the first paragraph) will be unhappy with the team that will likely be defending their title in the Finals in 2013. Rose’s #thereturn couldn’t come soon enough for the NBA.

And, of course, a big thank you to the NBA for filling baseball’s void of a solid complementary sport to the NFL. (No, NASCAR, driving a car is not a sport.)

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