Monday, December 1, 2014

Random NBA Observations: November 2014

November 2014 NBA Storylines
All is not well
Oh, how time flies.

The first month of the 2014-2015 NBA season is already in the books. That means the time has come to dust off my Random Observations concept. Here's 10 things you need to know about what happened in November:

The Kobe Conundrum


"We are not a 3-11 team," said Kobe Bryant about the Lakers. And he's right. The Lakers are actually a 3-13 team. To be fair, it's not all on Kobe and his mammoth 2-year, $48 million contract extension. Losing Steve Nash less than a week before the start of the season and losing promising rookie forward Julius Randle during the team's season opener doesn't help, either. Will Kobe be traded as a result? It's a waiting game right now.

It's fitting, though, how Kobe's 32,000th point and record 13,421st missed field goal attempt are the high points of the team's campaign so far.

No Durant, no Westbrook


With league MVP Kevin Durant working his way back from a fractured foot, the Oklahoma City Thunder suffered another blow when 20-5-7 point guard Russell Westbrook broke his hand. The Thunder are 5-12 as a result. Sure, Russ returned on Thanksgiving, helping his team down the Knicks, 105-78, but having Durant - who is apparently "healing at an accelerated rate" - would bring the Thunder back to respectability. Reggie Jackson, who has been trying his best to keep OKC afloat with his 19.5 PPG & 7.5 APG, could surely use the help.


Worst team in NBA history?


The Philadelphia 76ers are so bad it's not even funny. The team's 0-16 record is already the franchise's worst start ever, and the terrible play of Nerlens Noel and ROY Michael Carter-Williams certainly isn't helping. This is what tanking looks like, kids. The Sixers are literally favored in ZERO of the remaining games. Their best chance is on March 30 at home against the Lakers. Yikes.


LeBron's Cavs slow out of the gate


Just like LeBron's 2010-2011 superstar Heat squad, which started 9-8, the Cavaliers enjoyed a similar slow start at 8-7. Not quite what the world was expecting of them. They'll put it together eventually, but right now their offense isn't really clicking, and Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving have to do a better job on the defensive end. Oh, and what is up with loose cannon Dion Waiters? He lost his starting two-guard spot within the first month. Ship him out for Corey Brewer already!


Everybody gets extensions!


The Warriors extended Klay Thompson (4 years, $70 million), the Timberwolves did the same with Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio (4 years, $55 million), and so did the Jazz with Alec Burks (4 years, $42 million). While Thompson and Burks are earning their money, Rubio sprained his ankle on November 7. He joins team captain Kevin Martin (broken hand) and Montenegrin bulldozer Nikola Pekovic on the Wolves' injured list.

Jimmy Butler, on the other hand, turned down a 4-year, $40 million extension from the Bulls. He wants to test the market as a restricted free agent next year.

The curious case of Derrick Rose


With Butler, Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah doing most of the heavy lifting, the 11-6 Chicago Bulls are not in a bad place. The health of former MVP Derrick Rose, however, must at least be worrying them. He has already missed eight games with hamstring and ankle injuries. It might not please Bulls fans, but apparently the 26-year-old point guard is "thinking about long term. When I sit out it's not because of this year."

Fourth fiddle no more


Kawhi Leonard is doing it all for the 12-4 Spurs.


First-name basis


Ugh, first the NBA pushed those short-sleeved jerseys on us last Christmas, and now they're coming out with the "first-name jerseys". I actually like the front of the jersey - there's nothing wrong with putting a team's logo and a uniform number on the there - but the back hurts my eyes. I mean: what the hell is up with those ugly nameplates? These gimmick jerseys must be profitable around the holidays, I guess.


The mighty have fallen in Indiana


Just a few short months ago, the 56-win Pacers reached the Eastern Conference Finals. They are 7-10 on the young season, superstar Paul George is out for the year, and with no one able to pick up the offensive slack, Frank Vogel's squad appears to be setting itself up for next season and beyond.


New York and the Bermuda Triangle


Even with Carmelo Anthony (who is dealing with an ailing back) in the lineup, wins are hard to come by for the 4-14 Knickerbockers, who are playing with little desire under new coach Derek Fisher. After going 37-45 and missing the playoffs last year, the Knicks are once again not living up to expectations, and I bet it's just a matter of time before the complaining, blaming and finger-pointing starts. I can't help but wonder if Melo is already regretting not jumping ship to Chicago or Houston?

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