How can you not love playoff basketball, especially this season’s version of postseason antics? It has at once been exhilarating and boring, expected and surprising, heroic and deflating. What is left is right, up is down, yet it all is normal in the same prism that previous playoffs have been seen in. Read the rest of this entry »
As the Gilbert Arenas saga evolves from comedy to tragedy, a familiar topic is once again linked to the NBA. The ever present Hip-Hop culture once again surfaces as a catch all for the actions of Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton. Somewhere along the line David Stern and other league executives decided to marry the NBA to hip-hop and, but clearly they didn’t know what they were getting themselves into.
Given recent player actions, it seems as though the dark side of hip-hop has also managed to infiltrate the league. With its “bling-bling” gaudiness and “I gotta get paid” ruthlessness, this culture isn’t exactly synonymous with the average NBA fan. To the NBA’s credit, welcoming the music of Will Smith and L.L Cool J is a terrific marketing move, one certain to help the league resonate with younger fans. However, when welcoming the mainstream side of hip-hop, the NBA also opened the door for violence, drug-abuse, gang related sub-culture, and other misnomers of traditional thug life personified by players such as Allen Iverson. When he entered the league, Iverson was the poster boy for this thug life ruthlessness; he was a walking middle finger pointed directly at David Stern and his efforts to improve the image of the league.
1. Los Angeles Lakers: OK, an early home schedule is good and all, and Pau Gasol is back and doing work, and everythings clicking. But, there is no but, the Lakers are the number one team in the league. However, I’m not sure Kobe’s increased scoring is a good sign or not.
2. Atlanta Hawks: Disclaimer: Yes I am writing this after watching their cold effort in their falling to the Orlando Magic, at home. But coming into Monday this team was still on fire, yes they deserve to be here now. Next week? watch out.
3. Denver Nuggets: Coming into the season I was concerned about Denver. Yes, drafting Ty Lawson is a HUGE plus, but they made no offseason moves to improve the team. But then, Carmello Anthony stepped up, he finally is dishing out points and rebounds like a true superstar. Tracking Anthony’s development at a recent trip to the pool really sold me on the Nuggets, they’ve come a long way. They had Allen Iverson around this time last year.
1. Denver Nuggets: The Nuggets keep winning, in the West. Carmelo looks like he’s playing with more determination than ever, second in the league in scoring, the team is winning on the road, and J.R. Smith has had a hot return off of his seven game suspension, possibly due to his desire to be called by his real first name: Earl. The Nuggets’ ascent is surely helped by the Lakers’ current slump, but for now the Nuggets are enjoying their time as the Western Conference’s best team.
2. Atlanta Hawks: The Ivy Leaguer is a prophet, the Hawks have raced to an early 8-2 record. They have beaten both the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic, does a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers earn them a spot in the Eastern Conference elite?
3. Phoenix Suns: The Suns sit at the three position this week. With a very respectable record of 9-2, with losses coming to the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers (last year’s NBA Finals) both played on the second game of back-to-back series, the Suns still impress the Champ.
1. Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers played without Bynum and Gasol last night and still resulted in victory. The Lakers are the top dogs in the league right now. No questions about it. Lamar Odum also translated well into his role on Keeping up with the Kardashians.
2. Boston Celtics: A slip up against the now formidable Phoenix Suns lost some credibility as well as the near win over the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves cost the C’s to slip to #2 in my rankings. However, they still head their own conference and very well could earn homecourt advantage, minus any major injuries.
3. Phoenix Suns: Surprised? Maybe a little but the Suns are the hot team in the league for now. You forget this team has Steve Nash, Amare Stoudamire, and Jason Richardson. As well as a rejuivenated Grant Hill and an up-and-coming Channing Frye. Will they stay at three? Probably not, but this is Week Two.
Setting: the Franchise and the Champ are watching an ESPN double header with the first game being the Miami Heat at the Washington Wizards.