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10 Things in the NBA to Look for in ‘13

December 31, 2012

Kobe Bryant: If there were any genuine Kobe-haters left, please go watch another sport. This guy continues his illustrious career by putting up career number. Some may say he hinders the Lakers’ chemistry because he puts up too many shots. But when you’re shooting 48FG%, 38%3FG% and 85FT%, you’re really not to blame for the early season struggles. Those field goal percentages are all career highs, just so you know. When people started to think he would decline, he got better. That’s what Kobe does, shutting up the doubters. I can’t wait for the rest of the season to see if he maintains this level of play. He’s playing a lot of minutes lately, so it’s still to be seen if his body can hold this load of playing time throughout the playoffs. Another thing to look for: How long is Kobe going to put up with Dwight laughing the entire game.

Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks: It took Lebron 9 years to win a ring, it took 9 years for Carmelo to be fully engaged in both ends of the court. What a difference it makes! It isn’t just playing defence which makes him a MVP candidate, it’s his whole demeanour on the court. He’s leading his team now, watch him being the one that huddles the team, that talks non-stop during play. He’s an entirely changed man. Consider the fact Melo has grown up, JR Smith has found a brain, Felton & Kidd shooting the basketball at a high clip, Tyson in the middle and the Knicks look like a real threat in the Eastern Conference.

 

The Clippers: Coming of a hot December, the Clippers’ streak now hit 17 in a row. They are currently placed in the first slot in the Western Conference and are the team to beat in the NBA. If you take a closer look at the Clips, you’ll rarely see a player playing thirty plus minutes. Their bench has been playing unbelievable, led by Jamal Crawford, the clear frontrunner for the Sixth Man of the Year award. Because of this minute distribution, it seems the Clippers could ‘easily’ play this pace deep into the season. Another big factor in their success, is their cohesiveness, proven their highlight antics on and off the court. (Just a reminder, they still got Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups itching to get back on the court, scary right?)

A common view:  Clippers’ starters celebrating their bench’ success.

 

The Golden State Warriors: Possibly the biggest surprise this season, is the success of the Bay Area. After a horrid first season plagued by injuries, Marc Jackson seems to be the perfect fit for this young, up and coming team. Led by Stephen Curry and David Lee, the Warriors should be sure, they’ll be represented in the All-Star Game. The big question is whether Curry’s ankles are going to hold up throughout an entire season. He already surpassed his amount of games played in comparison to last season. Carl Landry and Jarret Jack prove to be the extra value this Golden State team needed. They’re still waiting on Bogut to make his return.

Andrew Bynum: This guy has managed to create a highlight reel off the court by just visiting (or not visiting) the barbershop. He has stacked up a big list of injury causes not related to basketball and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to question his passion for the game. He has injured his knee in Jet Skiing, picking up playboy bunnies and bowling. We’re all waiting impatiently for his new hobby and hairdo.

Andrew Bynum is a clown, period.

Derrick Rose: Coming of an MVP season, everybody in Chicago was thinking championship. Then, well, we all know what happened. The Bulls are currently in fourth position in the Eastern Conference, proving they’re more than just Derrick Rose. It’s still not sure just when Rose is about to return and I’m not sure if it would be a smart decision letting him play this season. To be honest, it’s not like they would win anything this season.

The Comeback: We already had Ricky Rubio’s comeback and it looks like Ricky still needs a lot of time to adjust to a gruelling NBA season which includes a bunch of backtoback games. In the meantime, Shved or ‘The White Mamba’ is busy creating an impressive rookie campaign. The Washington Wizards are dying to get John Wall back. But I don’t know if Wall is so enthusiastic returning to a sinking ship. Last but not least, Iman Shumpert and Amar’e Stoudemire. Shumpert should make a huge difference in perimeter defence, which the Knicks severely lack. The comeback of Stoudemire is pretty bittersweet. The Knicks are playing very good in the absence of Stoudemire, I’m really curious how Woodson is going to manage Amar’e back into the rotation.

Misfits: Andrea Bargnani talking smack about his own team and Demarcus Cousins cursing at his own coach. After these two managed to decrease their own popularity, it’s clear they would be on the trading block. We’re talking about two potentially good players on crappy teams. They both have the power to improve a great team into a championship contender for years to come. It will be exciting, as always, when that trade deadline inches closer and closer.

Rookie of the Year race: As of right now, it’s crystal clear Damian Lillard is the ROY. Anthony Davis has been injured a couple of times, while Lillard is blossoming as Portland’s first option. I expect Anthony Davis to gradually improve as the season gets older to transform the Rookie of Year race into a 50-50 discussion. (Anthony Davis’ co-rookie Austin Rivers, is silently putting up the worst Rookie number of all-time, yikes!)

Kevin Durant – Lebron James: Has the future of the NBA ever looked this bright? I really think this is going to be the Bird – Magic rivalry the NBA has been looking for. Last years playoffs were obvious, when Lebron had that historic game in Boston to tie the series 3-3, the NBA collectively crapped their big boy pants. The LeChoke joke was gone. But Durant was not to be outdone. From game-winning shots to leading his team against Dallas, San Antonio & The Lakers. We all knew even before the Finals took place,  that OKC-Miami matchup is going to be something we’ll see a couple more times down the road. It’s clear Durant and Lebron are the top 2 individuals in the NBA. Like Lebron, Durant has developed into a do-it-all player with virtually no weaknesses. Concerning these two, the sky isn’t just the limit.

As always, I’m curious what you’re opinion is! Don’t mind dropping a comment below! Thanks

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