First of all, wow. The lockout did not affect the 2011-12 season as badly as we thought. You could always make the ‘older teams were short changed’ argument but c’mon, we are smarter than that. The 2 most exciting teams in the NBA met in the final with the obviously (but sadly, yes OKC fan here) better one winning it quite easily (chalk one up for anti-climaxes).
But, what’s past is past. Time to move on. Time to evaluate the trades and make fresh predictions for the new season. Predictions which, if the 2012 finals are any indication, will fail so badly that we might as well add a disclaimer to NOT take anything seriously.
The 2012-2013 season starts off Oct 30 with Cavaliers facing the Wizards (meh!). The match of the opening night is undoubtedly when the Champs Heat visit the Celtics. Ray-Ray back to the place where he got his first ring. A lot has changed since he was traded from Seattle to be a part of the New Big Three at The Garden. He is older but not as fit as then. But, he still retains the ability to strike fear into every bench in the NBA. Given that he plays the same position as Dwayne Wade, it is uncertain what kind of role Eric Spoelstra and Pat Riley have in mind for him but since the Heat don’t follow the conventional positioning system (evidenced last season when LeBron played the floor general during stretches while playing the 4 during defense), it should be very interesting to see this develop. The Heat have potentially the most diverse of line-ups they could use to devastating effect, more so since Lebron finally has the monkey off his back and now has no one to answer to.
The Lakers start their season the same day against the totally messed up Mavericks. Not only did they mess up their trades and still NOT manage to get either Dwight ‘Superman’ Howard or Deron Williams, they also let the 2 Jasons (Terry and Kidd) go without proper backup. I would say this season is going to be just as tough as last season for them. Hopefully, they build themselves up better for the season next year. But that’s not what that game is all about.
The Lakers got a new weapon baby. He is 38 and has more hair than the last old guy to lead the offense. Steve Nash‘s induction into the purple and gold is another one of those things I’m looking forward to this season. Nash operating the pick and roll with Bynum (or Howard) is going to be a nightmare. Even though Nash has lost more than a couple of notches in the speed department, he is still the best TRADITIONAL pass-first Point Guard in the league (something the Lakers could use). Nash could make up for his non-existent defense by giving the Lakers a direction offensively, especially since they are looking to the Princeton offense to guide them this season.
The Brooklyn Nets‘ retaining Deron Williams was a bright move but the same cannot be said about the Knickerbockers dealing out Jeremy Lin. Granted, he may not be the best PG in his division even, but he was good and he could have been given the chance to drive home the Linsanity throughout a frankly disappointed MSG.
How the Bulls manage to stay afloat without Derrick Rose is something you just cannot imagine. They even traded Omer Ashik among others to kinda break the back of their bench. There is only so much anyone should expect Luol Deng to do.
The Clippers will be raring to go out and prove who the better team in Los Angeles is. With the addition of Lamar Odom at the PF, and the remaining squad pretty much intact (apart from Moe Williams’ departure perhaps)
The thing I am personally looking forward to is how the Thunder get back after their, frankly, disappointing debut Finals performance. They have the most talented young roster in the league and now they have the experience of how NOT to play in the finals too. With a smarter Westbrook, a more aggressive Durant and more support offensively from the Human Shot Blocker Ibaka the future for OKC looks brighter than most teams. Scott Brooks’ contract extension should only make the whole team atmosphere that much better.
October 30 can’t get here soon enough. Here’s to surviving the 3 non-NBA months.