I've held off talking about the NBA season in order to view a few games first before shooting off my mouth. I've seen enough, so on this Thanksgiving morning, as my wife is baking downstairs, a few things about the season come to mind.
I take back what I said about the league being more equal. It's not. There seems to be a growing divide between strong and weak teams. Some of the weaknesses come due to injuries like the Thunder's loss of Westbrook and Durant. Will they be better once they return? Certainly, but it will take some time for them to return to form, so I don't see them making a serious run at a Conference.
The same case can be made for other teams with star players rehabing or trying to make comebacks from serious injuries: D Rose from the Bull, for example.
Any road (that means anyway in Northern England) missing star players is not the principal reason in my mind that the NBA looks to be top heavy, with a few very strong teams and a great number of mediocre ones. I'll not mention the lousy ones as they are easily identifiable and not worth discussing.
So lets look at mediocrity. I have a theory about what's caused this mediocrity in the NBA this season. Here's the way I see it. A) If a team's starting five include players that would and should be bench players, that team has a problem that will lead to mediocrity. Example: New York Knicks.
B) If a team's starting five includes a player or players that are not on their way up or at the top of their careers, but are on their way down, that team has a problem leading to mediocrity; The NY Nets for example.
Some NBA teams, unfortunately, are experiencing both problems A and B, a recipe for disaster.
And finally, C) if a team's bench includes players that are not talented enough to be bench players, that team will be suffer problems: Portland Blazers and the LA Clippers for example.
Let's take a quick look at the teams I mentioned.
Knicks: Dalembert is not a top tier center. Prigioni is not a starting 1 or 2 guard. JR Smith and Stodemire are on their way down, their best years gone. Acy and Aldrich??
Nets: Garnett is very on his way down. D Williams, I'm afraid, has lost it and is on his way down. He'd be a good player off the bench, but might gain too much weight in that capacity. Teletovic and Bogdonavic, although good players, are not starter material.
Clippers: The Clips are carrying a bunch of players who're over the hill, trying to squeeze something out of their experience. Turkoglu and Davis, for example. Hawes is getting way to much playing time for a guy who is a backup center, and I know people will disagree, but I believe Crawford is on his way down.
The Blazers: So they upset the Rockets last year. They did it with a fabulous starting five, who couldn't sustain the intensity the rest of the way and won't be able to keep up the intensity this season either. Blake is definitely seen his better playing days. Kaman is over the hill and Freeland should be playing in Europe. Crabbe and Thomas are very average.
Granted that I'm a little prejudice, being that the Golden State Warriors is the team I played for, but the Warrior roster does not suffer from these problems, A, B, or C. Barnes, Lee, Bogut, Curry, and Thompson are starters that could be and would be starters on any team in the league; The Flash Brothers are young and on their way UP. Lee is a vet at the peak of his game, and Bogut is reborn after a long period of health issues, at the peak of his game. Green, Igodala (although one could argue that Igudala's best years are behind him), Spieghts, Barbossa, and Livingston (the comeback kid) are solid players off the bench. Ezili is on his way UP. So is the rookie Holiday on his way UP. The same could be said of Rush, trying to get back to the player he was two years ago, Up or Out? Kumic?
Check out my theory against the rosters of your favorite teams and see where it takes you. Be objective. Compare the starters and bench of the most successful teams, Compare players. There are more mediocre players in the League than there sould be, and too many good players whose best playing days are behind them in starter roles.
Since this is Thanksgiving, I'll skip the poem and simply count my blessings that I got to play in the NBA for ten years with and against some of the finest men I've ever met.
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.