The 2014-2015 NBA season is upon us. Some players have gotten better while others have gotten worse or plateaued. The return of Lebron James to Cleveland and their acquisition of Kevin Love have been talked to death, so I won’t be talking about that. There are other things that can be discussed that will happen during the NBA season.
For the first couple of years in Blake Griffin’s career, he was known as soft. Players (usually Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, and Surge Ibaka) would push him around and he would just take it. The last year, Blake started fighting back a bit. Once that happened, players had to find other ways to try and stop him. But now, Blake has extended the range on his jump shot. So to add on to his already stellar athleticism and his post game, teams are going to have to decide whether or not to double him or let him hit fifteen foot jump shots. Once those keep falling, he will be pump faking and going to the basket for a dunk. The one piece Blake is missing is hitting his free throws regularly. Once that happens, there won’t be anything that can be done to stop him on the offensive end. To add on to his offense, Blake has always been a great rebounder. He’s Karl Malone without playing dirty. Don’t be shocked when he’s the league MVP or at the very least all NBA First Team.
Chris Bosh’s Miami Heat
Lebron James is no longer a member of the Miami Heat. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news Heat fans (the three of you who were actually Heat fans and not LeBron followers or band-wagoners), the Heat will still be one of the four or five best teams in the east. While they don’t have James, Luol Deng is going to add the defense that Lebron did and more importantly, Chris Bosh is going to play like he did in Toronto. Bosh was never really fit to play second and third banana. Whenever Lebron was out or Wade was injured (which happened frequently) Bosh stepped up and performed above and beyond what was expected of him.
Bosh will be an All Star this year and will show why he is worth the max contract he got. Dwayne Wade, on the other hand, will unfortunately be a shell of his former self. Wade spent his entire career coasting on his ability to get to the rim. But Wade is a year older and still playing on knees made out of Legos. He never learned how to play in the post like Kobe and Michael Jordan did once they knew their athleticism wouldn’t last forever. Wade won’t have many twenty point games, he will still put up 15 or more. Granger will also be helpful coming off the bench if he can stay healthy. All and All, the Heat will be OK.
The Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks did something last season that no other team did. They took the San Antonio Spurs to seven games in the playoffs. The Dallas Mavericks are a complete basketball team. Monta Ellis is no longer taking a ton of ill-advised shots, Dirk hasn’t really lost much of a step in his advanced age, Tyson Chandler is back and will be playing limited minutes during the season leaving him ready for the playoffs, and the addition of Jameer Nelson was a smart move. Nelson will do wonders coming off the bench. Chandler Parsons will learn a lot playing and practicing along with Dirk and he will also be there to give Dirk a night or two off to avoid any nagging injuries. While The Mavs have some great players, all of that would have meant nothing if Rick Carlisle wasn’t such a great coach. He has coached and motivated them to overachieving and beating the Heat in the finals and the Spurs to a seven game series. Do not be shocked when the Mavs come to town and beat your favorite team.
What do the Celtics do now?
As a big Celtics fan going on 25 years, it is sad seeing what they are going through. Because we don’t have any big time players and aren’t located where it’s not seventy degrees or hotter, The Celtics aren’t a free agent destination. We didn’t have a pick that was going to turn into Tim Duncan or Paul Pierce and while Jared Sullinger is going to be a better than solid player, this is going to be a bad season. So what’s the good news? We have trading pieces. Rajon Rondo will not be a Celtic by the trade deadline and neither will Brandon Bass. I have always thought that a straight up trade Rondo for Westbrook would be a good idea. But the Celtics could also offer up Brandon Bass and Evan Turner and hope to get another player out of the deal. Jeff Green is also a tradable piece to a team that’s looking for another guy that can give them fourteen points a game. More than likely look for a deal for Rajon Rondo, Brandon Bass, and or Jeff Green to the Knicks for Tim Hardaway Jr. and another player. This works out for both teams and has been rumored for months. The Celtics did little to nothing all summer, so look for Danny Ainge to make a big move this year before the trade deadline.
The Lakers Soap Opera
This is going to be absolutely great. Kobe is going to be a grumpy old man and hate everything that his team is going to do all year. Nick Young is going to take so many bad shots that Kobe’s head might actually explode. Kobe is going to hate it every time Jeremy Lin turns the ball over trying to break a press by himself. Basically, Kobe is going to be all over the place. He is old enough to not speak to the media about his frustrations straight forward, but he will drop a few subliminal messages. Even if he doesn’t, his facial expressions on the court will be more than enough.
The Golden State Warriors and The Phoenix Suns
These will probably be the most fun teams to watch all season long. Both teams love to run. Both teams are going to give you a highlight play at least once a night (if not more), and both teams will be able to compete with any team in the league. The competition between the two teams will be even better towards the end of the year when the race for playoff placement starts. Phoenix barely missed the playoffs last year and I have a feeling that Golden State will be fighting for that eighth spot come March.