With the NBA season back, having begun a few days ago, I thought I would take time to jot down some of my first impressions.---
1. Russell Westbrook Is
Still a Jackass
In the Thunder’s season opener against the Spurs, they put themselves in a perfect position to win the game. However, Westbrook reverted back to his old ways and refused to give the ball to the best scorer on the planet, Kevin Durant. Westbrook turned the ball over on consecutive possessions, and then on the final play, completely lost his mind and ran to guard a ghost on the opposite side of the floor while Tony Parker netted the game-winner. With Harden out of the picture, it seems clear that Russ believes he must do even more than last year, which will only lead to more and more mistakes, along with costing my guy Durant a real shot at a championship.
2. That Harden Guy Can
James Harden was traded from the Thunder to the Houston Rockets less than 48 hours before the beginning of the season. The perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate is no longer the Sixth Man; instead, he's The Man. Harden scored 37 points while dishing out 12 assists, not forgetting his five rebounds and four steals, in a Rocket’s victory. Now that Harden has the chance to showcase his full abilities as the go-to scorer on his team, he could continue to put up astronomical numbers like these and make the Rockets a team to keep an eye on.
3. My Jazz Are Going to be
The Utah Jazz opened up their season with a 113-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. The Jazzmen had at least six players score in double figures, and Derrick Favors had 10 rebounds off the bench. The newcomers for the Jazz (The Williamses, Mo and Marvin, along with Randy Foye) were instant contributors and showed that they will be a major factor in the Jazz’s success this season. Questions remain about the status of some of the Jazz big men, but even if a trade is swung midseason, the Jazz have the potential to be a very dangerous team in the West.
4. Mike Brown Cannot Coach
The dude has Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol in his starting lineup, yet he cannot win a game. With superstars such as these, Brown has them running the boring Princeton offense full of back-cuts and systematic play reads. He has Nash sitting in the corner, Kobe already complaining, and Dwight missing free throws like he hates them. If Brown doesn’t figure it out soon, he will be out the door as the Laker's head man.
5. The Heat are for Real
After picking up Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, the Heat made it clear that they want to repeat, and it looks like they are going to do just that. Ray Ray had 19 points off the bench against his former team, and the Heat manhandled the Celtics, while Lebron played only three quarters. Adding dangerous shooters like Allen and Lewis make the Heat very difficult to guard. Do you sag off Ray? Let Lebron go isolation? Both questions seem idiotic, but are certainly running through opposing coach’s minds as the gameplan for the Heat.
6. Tim Duncan is Still a
Dominant Big Man
Duncan has reinvented himself already this season, putting up monster numbers against the Hornets on opening night, and again against the Thunder. Who knows if these numbers will last throughout the season, but as of right now, Timmy is still blocking shots like it's ’03 and making posters out of hopeless defenders.
7. The Rookie of the Year
Race is Going to be Fun
It became clear very early that the ROY will go to either Anthony Davis of the Hornets or or former Weber Stater Damian Lillard now of the Blazers. Lillard posted 23 points and 11 assists against the revamped Lakers, and Davis had a solid line of 23 points and 9 rebounds against the aforementioned Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Both players will serve as building blocks for their teams moving forward, and the ROY race will certainly be one to watch.