Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Random NBA observations

NBA observations for March

  • I know I'm probably begin repetitive here, but it has to be some kind of record how many teams were decimated by injuries. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (tibial knee fracture) was supposed to return this season, but he was formally shut down for the remainder of the year on March 12. Eyes on the prize, I guess. The Denver Nuggets (31-38) lost yet another key cog, with J.J. Hickson (torn ACL) joining Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, and Nate Robinson. Talented Milwaukee Bucks big man Larry Sanders (orbital bone fracture), who received a hefty four-year, $44 million contract in the offseason, can go home and figure out where it all went wrong this year.
  • The status of Kyrie Irving (strained bicep tendon) is still up in the air. The two-time All-Star will be re-evaluated in early April. He could very well require no surgery and be fine, but he might also be lost for the remainder of the season. If the Cavaliers somehow lose Irving on top of spoiling their top pick on Anthony Bennett, the Dion Waiters drama, and the failed Andrew Bynum experiment, heads will roll.
  • Zen has arrived in the Garden. The New York Knicks were plodding through a disaster of a season, with a mountain of losses, injuries and finger-pointing, but all that ends with triangle master Phil Jackson as their freshly minted president of basketball operations, right? They are 10-5 in March, for what it's worth.
  • The Beasts of the Easts took a bit of a stumble this month. Sure, Indiana (52-22) withstood a 38-point assault by LeBron James, but the Blue and Gold went just 8-9 in March. Miami (50-22), which is dealing with nagging injuries to Dwyane Wade, among others, barely outdid them, going 9-8. Despite a 61-point outburst earlier in the month, James is not happy with sleeved jerseys and how they bother his shooting form. New commish Adam Silver plans to have a little talk with him about all the complaining.
  • The San Antonio Greybeards Spurs, on the other hand, are a league-best 57-15 (the team's 14th consecutive 50-win season), riding a 17-game winning streak, and generally looking like they might just go all the way. That organization is just so damn impressive
  • Will the age limit be raised to 20 to make more mature NBA declarees and allow for more scouting? 
  • The Philadelphia 76ers narrowly avoided setting a new futility record, halting their record-tying 26-game losing streak with a 123-98 win against the Detroit Pistons. My gut tells me that Philly brass had rather lost that game, though, and improve their chances at Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins in the NBA Draft. Wanna know something sad? Even with the team's blatant tanking, they are still better than the Milwaukee Bucks. Ouch. Fans are barely showing up, but Milwaukee is already rolling out its "Bucks MVP Full Season Membership" plan.
  • There are some rumblings that Chicago Bulls MVP guard Derrick Rose (MCL) might perhaps possibly return for the Playoffs. He is reportedly recovering way ahead of schedule and has been practicing with the team's second unit. If he returns in some capacity, the fourth-seeded Bulls (41-32), who have once again wonderfully stayed afloat thanks in no small part to energetic center Joakim Noah (12.4 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 1.5 BPG), become even peskier.
  • The 2013-2014 season is quickly drawing to a close. Several teams were already eliminated from the Playoffs, and others will follow in the next couple of days, so 1) matchup positioning, and 2) the battle for the 8th seed start coming into focus, with New York and Atlanta battling it out in the East, and Memphis and Dallas fighting in the West. Enjoy it while it lasts!
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