Teams in the NBA fall into four categories: Competitors, Over-Achievers, Under-Achievers, and Non-Achievers. Competitive teams are those that have a realistic chance to go far in the playoffs. Over-Achieving teams are those that have limited personnel but are working hard as a team and could surprise, but in the end don't have a chance of going beyond the first round of the playoffs. The Underachieving Teams are the ones with reasonably strong personnel, but not playing to their potential for one reason or another. In my experience, underachieving teams usually don't get it together. Non-achieving Teams are just that, weak. They are weak for a number of reasons: marginally talented players, players who are quite talented but don't play as a team, ineffective coaches, ineffective administration, ineffective ownership or team in the midst of rebuilding, the Magic and Celtics for example. These teams will remain at the bottom of their divisions throughout the season.
Competitors: LA Clippers, Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls. However, these team should not be too caught up in their greatness or one of the over-achieving teams will surprise them.
Over-achievers: Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Portland Blazers. Charlotte Bobcats, Toronto Raptors. Each of these teams are probably one solid draft pick or strong trade away from becoming a Competitive Team. Hats off to these teams, especially the Bobcats.
Under-Achievers: Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets. On paper, lots of star power, but. . . Get your s--t together fellows or you're going to be an embarrassment.
Non-Achieviers: LA Lakers, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Washington Wizards, Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavs, Boston Celtics. Something is fundamentally wrong with these teams. Such as: they lack the right personnel, good coaching, imaginative administration, inspired ownership. They maybe on their way up (rebuilding, Magic and Celtics for example) or on their way down, (teams that don't have a clue), but you won't see any Non-Achievers in the playoffs this season.
The Winter Olympics are coming up. I've been watching the U.S. Curling Trials on TV. It's more exciting than watching the Bucks play the Cavs. Here's a poem I wrote about the sport of Curling.
Curling by Tom Meschery
Let's hear it for curling, a sport in which
two brooms, like blockers in the NFL
(I"m thinking Packers, Greenbay in the snow)
lead the running back, a guy named Stone
(not exceptionally fast, but relentless)
down the icy field; masked fans in parkas,
sipping from flasks. They're watching curling
on local ice, while I'm enjoying building
this extended metaphor, thinking that Milton,
had he a sense of humor, which there's no
evidence he possessed, might have appreciated.
My wife also enjoys curling. "What's not to like
about a sport played with brooms?" she asks.
"The ice needs cleaning, and the players
are only doing what any good wife would do."
She's talking to me while dusting,
which comes before vacuuming, a rule
in her sport that must never be broken.
What my musings are all about...
Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.
The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.
The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.