Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Season is Upon Us...

With the holidays comes the much anticipated and delayed opening of the 2011-2012 NBA season. Hard to believe that after its four best consecutive seasons since the end of the Jordan Bulls era the league let a lock out potentially ruin the tremendous momentum it had built up. Luckily for everyone from players to owners to fans it appears eyes will be on flat screens and asses will be in seats come tip off this Sunday in what promises to be an exciting Christmas Day of hoops. As we have a few days to go a previewing the games is a bit premature, but what is timely is looking at a few key pick ups for teams in the hunt for gold and for teams that know it is time to compete:

Tyson Chandler, NY Knicks: It has been years, years, since the Knicks had a player who not only can, but wants to change games through defense, rebounding and his presence. That man is Tyson Chandler. Chandler, who was key to the Dallas championship run last season has openly stated (interview coming soon from ENEW FILMS) that he wanted to have the same affect on the Mavs last season as Kevin Garnett did when he arrived in Boston four seasons ago. He now brings that mentality to New York where the Knicks have not thought about defense since Marcus Camby was running around blocking shots and Kurt Thomas was bumping each opponent to enter the paint at every opportunity. The MSG crowd will not only be in a new look garden but will also finally have a taste of a new look attitude defensively which is necessary to advance in the east regardless of who you have on the offensive end.

Richard Hamilton, Chicago Bulls: Experience, basketball IQ, diverse skill set when it comes to scoring the basketball and hunger for another ring all apply to Hamilton as he spent the 2nd half of his prime in a negative situation in Detroit. With some gas left in the tank, the MVP handling the ball and a team that tasted eastern conference glory last season this is going to be a huge upgrade for the Bulls who were exposed in a big way last postseason as they did not have a consistent second scorer next to Rose. Now with Hamilton, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng the Bulls attack can be a bit less reliant on Rose who can distribute the ball as well as he can score it.

Chauncey Billups, LA Clippers: Yes, they got Chris Paul, which I'll leave to the rest of the world to talk about. The addition of Billups along with Paul is going to pay huge dividends for the Clippers. First off, as solid a leader as Paul is, Billups has that many more years and the postseason battles to draw from to not only assist the Clippers younger talent but Paul as well. Second, is the versatility the Clippers now possess as Billups and Paul on the court together are a nightmare matchup for just about every back court in the league. You have two point guards with extremely high basketball IQ's, who are very strong pick 'n roll players who shoot a good percentage from three and are killer in the 4th quarter. Mix in Caron Butler, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes and the Clippers are going to be very very tough over this 66 game sprint.

With the schedule at 66 games after an abbreviated training camp every night on the court is going to be highly magnified as the development of team chemistry all over the league will be crucial in what will be a very interesting and entertaining 2011-2012 season.

No comments: