Sunday, February 2, 2014

Random NBA observations

  • I wish it weren't so, but the injury bug has not yet loosened its grip on the NBA. Granted, Marc Gasol is back. And so is Rajon Rondo -- who had been away from the court for 29,233,380 seconds. The price? Eric Bledsoe (meniscus), Jrue Holiday (stress fracture), Chris Paul (shoulder), Avery Bradley (sprained ankle), Ama're Stoudemire (sprained ankle), Kawhi Leonard (broken hand), Andrea Bargnani (torn ligament), Mike Conley (sprained ankle), Nate Robinson (torn ACL), and Rudy Gay (Achilles). A recent report also suggested that Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari could will indeed miss the entire season.
  • All has been pretty quiet on the trade front. The Celtics traded Courtney Lee, and later Jordan Crawford & MarShon Brooks, and the Brooklyn Nets shipped Tyshawn Taylor to the Pelicans for a future pick. The Rose-less Chicago Bulls, who swung two trade so far, sending 1) Luol Deng to Cleveland for the quickly-waived Andrew Bynum (now with the Pacers) and three future draft picks, and 2) Marquis Teague to Brooklyn Tornike Shengelia, have easily been the most active. The team is also seeking to deal Kirk Hinrich (Warriors?) and Mike Dunleavy (Rockets?), and reportedly plans to waive forward Carlos Boozer after the season.
  • Somehow, the Brooklyn Nets flipped a switch in 2014. They are 10-3 with point guard Deron Williams Shaun Livingston at the helm. At 4 games below .500, I wouldn't exactly start planning a parade, but at least they are improving. The Knicks, on the other hand, remain a train wreck. The team is reportedly already preparing for Carmelo Anthony's departure.
  • Just imagine: the Minnesota Timberwolves could have had superstar guard O.J. Mayo. Oh wait. The bearded one is on his third team in as many years, his field goal percentage has dipped below 40%, the Milwaukee Bucks are 8-38, and Mayo is pointing fingers.
  • The Rookie of the Year race has been pretty lopsided, with No. 11 pick Michael Carter-Williams (17.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 6.6 PPG) ahead by a landslide of any other 2013 draftee. Now there are rumblings that MCW's draft mate and tantalizing 7-footer Nerlens Noel is cleared to practice. The bar is low: if he scores a bucket somewhere in his first six games, he will already be more succesful than No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett.
  • Two enigmatic Smiths might be wearing out their welcomes with their respective teams. Josh and J.R. have not at all enamored their coaches and fans lately. Detroit has reportedly initiated talks with Brooklyn about a Josh Smith-for-Brook Lopez swap, but Houston and Charlotte are also said to be possible suitors. J.R. Smith, who apparently found it necessary to do this during a game, has been linked to Oklahoma City, but his contract (which runs for $18 million through 2016-2017) and shooting (.378 FG% & .364 3P%) are not exactly pretty.
  • Despite pleading to fans not vote for him, 15-time All-Star Kobe Bryant was chosen to represent the Western Conference at the All-Star Game. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, and Blake Griffin will join him in the starting line-up. The Eastern Conference starters are Kyrie Irving, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony.
  • The Durantula has been on a scoring march all season, but he appears to have kicked his game into another gear in 2014. I can't decide what I find more impressive: his five 40-point games? His 12-game streak of 30-point outings? His career-best 54-point game against the Warriors? Somehow, without Russell Westbrook, the Thunder are 38-10 and sitting first in the West. That's a baaaaad boy.
  • And what's up with the NBA's obsession for these hideous sleeved jerseys?

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