It may be cold outside, but the NBA is red hot right now. With four elite teams, a log jam in the Western Conference and a genuine superstar on nearly every team, there is alot to discuss , so here is a few things you should know:
After being the Joe and Joe Sports preseason darlings and then proceeding to go 13-20, the Philadelphia 76ers have gotten it together. Before Monday's loss to Dallas , Philly had won 7 in a row and are currently sitting at 20-21, good enough for second place in the Atlantic division and the seventh seed in the East. With Elton Brand scheduled to return soon and an upcoming seven game home stand, the Sixers are poised to go on a run.
Brandon Roy is shaping up to be his generation's Paul Pierce. A scorer who is willing to do a little bit of everything else, Roy is leading a scrappy Portland squad to their first season over .500 since 2002-2003. Sure they will get bounced in the first round of the playoffs, but the Blazers are headed in the right direction.
If one of our readers happens to be the guy that engraves the "Comeback Player of the Year Award", you can save some time in May and just carve "Nene" into the trophy now. (Joe and Joe full disclosure: I just looked and the NBA Comeback Player of the Year award only existed between 1980-1986, but I had already typed the above, soooo... anyway, Nene is having a nice year after recovering from testicular cancer.)
Yep, I was completely wrong about O.J. Mayo.
I was going to argue that if Yao can stay healthy, the Rockets have to be considered one of the favorites in the West because of their defense, but EVERYBODY is playing D out west. The Nuggets, Mavs, Lakers, Rockets, Hornets and Suns (???) are all in the top half of NBA teams as far as opponents field goal percentage goes.
Toronto's chances of resigning Chris Bosh in 2010 are now at 0.00001%. The margin of error on that prediction is +/- 0.00001%.
The Cavs are a completely different team this year with the addition of Mo Williams and Lebron's improvement after spending the summer with team USA. Losing Zydrunas Ilgauskas for several weeks would have submarined Cleveland last season, but this year's squad just keeps rolling. If Z and Delonte West can return to full strength, the Cavs have the deepest squad in the NBA and have to be considered the favorite in the East.
(This post was started in August; I lost direction for a while, and obviously we've got some new information, a la the actual gameplay, ...
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