The NBA season couldn’t return quick enough, and with official tip off already underway, it’s time for ChiSide’s annual NBA season outlook. This year I’ll be posting my thoughts on the unexpected. Last season brought us the unforgettable “Linsanity”, the emergence of the Denver Nuggets and the various trades that put the league on its head the league. With a full 82-game season slated, expect more of the same; expect the unexpected.
1. Kyrie Irving vaults himself into a top 15 player in the league
The 2011 number one overall selection had a rookie season better than superstar point guards Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook had. The next step for him is to become the players both are. While Irving does not have another Kevin Durant-type on his team, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a solid foundation that could make huge strides if Irving steps his game up significantly, which transitions into my next surprise…
2. The Cleveland Cavaliers will be a lot better than you think
Head coach Byron Scott has ironed out the kinks in his first two seasons managing the club. After a 19-win first year, Scott got the Cavs to 21 wins in 66 games (equivalent to 26 wins in 82 games), a seven game improvement. If all goes according to plan (barring key injuries), Cleveland can crack 40 wins. If Irving becomes transcendent, power forward Anderson Varejao stays healthy and second-year center Tristan Thompson makes a jump, the Cavs can win a lot of close contests in a weakened Eastern Conference that has lost superstars Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard.
The X-factor for Cleveland will be none other than Varejao. The crafty Brazilian, in my opinion, is as good as Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah. Varejao is one of the league’s best floppers (yes, this is a good thing) and draws offensive fouls at an astounding rate. He averaged 11 points and 11.5 rebounds in 31 minutes of play through 25 games last year. Noah averaged 10 and 10 last year in 30 minutes throughout a whole season. There’s no doubt that Varejao’s presence is vital to this team’s success.
3. The Los Angeles Lakers will not lead the league in wins
The Western Conference is tough and the Lakers have the oldest starting five in the league with an average age of 32. In addition to a full 82-game schedule, head coach Mike Brown will be preserving the legs of his older starters for a late playoff run. It would not be far-fetched if the Denver Nuggets were able to finish the regular season off with two-to-five more wins than the Lakers. Continue reading
After leaving fans with a bad taste in their mouths at the conclusion of last season’s first round playoff exit, center Omer Asik and guard C.J. Watson have moved on to greener pastures.
In a league where teams can drastically improve overnight (see: 2011 Miami Heat, 2012 Brooklyn Nets), high expectations are to be had when the offseason rolls around. This goes especially for young, contending teams. Where high expectations are held, high expectations are rarely met. This is an adage that generally holds true and can explain what many bewildered Bulls fans are feeling right now in this frustrating free agency bid. Let’s recap some of the moves made so far: first, management lets superstar duster Brian Scalabrine walk (along with more prominent players such as rotation guard Ronnie Brewer, backup center Omer Asik, and backup point guard C.J. Watson). Players like Scals don’t grow on trees. Then, they trade the sharp-shooting Kyle Korver to Atlanta in exchange for a briefcase full of Benjamins and a trade exception (more on this later). And just like that, the bench mob is downgraded into something that resembles more of a sob. Continue reading
With All-Star weekend marking the midway point in the season, I figured it’s time to give away some midseason awards. Continue reading
I really like this spot from Jordan Brand, from the imagery to the music. Well done commercial as always by Nike.
Recently I was thinking about how NBA players and the rap game go hand-in-hand. Lots of players are friends with rappers and some players even try their darn hardest to earn respect in the rap game. This got me wondering which NBA players are comparable to current rappers in today’s modern era. Here are my thoughts on who is who:
Jay-Z is Kobe Bryant
This has to be the easiest analogy one could make about the rap game/NBA. Both are living legends who are still active in their respective industries. Jay-Z and Kobe are both “winners”, as Jay has 11 “rings” (platinum albums) while Kobe has five NBA Championship rings. Oh, both are married to bangin’ chicks as well.
Kanye West is Lebron James
This one might come under fire by hip-hop and Ye fans, but the similarities are striking. It’s no lie when you say that both are disliked people by the general public. Kanye had his moment(s), Lebron has had his. However, both have proven their worth in their industries and are extremely important to both of their games. Both men have single-handedly altered each of their games in someway both for the positive and negative. It’s also important to think of both as “all-around players”. Lebron can do just about everything on both ends of the court, while Kanye can produce, rap, write, and (try to) sing.