10 Things I Know One Week Into the Season…

November 2nd, 2010 | by Jeff Lind

Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images

1. The Lakers are still the Lakers. Before the season started, I questioned Kobe’s ability to perform with a weak knee and a bum finger. I mean, he’s human (allegedly), and has to break down at some point… right? Well, if it is right it looks like the breakdown won’t be coming this season.

2. The new instant replay rules are arduous. Am I the only one that feels like we’re watching replays at every possible break this season? I want to get the right call, just like everyone else, but I could do without the clear-path instant replay, the who-fouled-who instant replay, and the out-of-bounds-during-any-part-of-the-first-half-replay. Can’t we just let the refs call the game how they see it, and use these replays only during the last 2 minutes of the game (and -maybe- half)? Can’t we just agree that if you lose a game SOLELY because you didn’t get an out of bounds call in the first quarter then you don’t deserve that win?

3. Blake Griffin is crazy good. And crazy, crazy. The guy has no regard for his body, which should excite and terrify all Clippers fans. Excite because he can electrify the entire stadium with one monster dunk. Terrify because on nearly every one of those monster dunk he seems to come down all skiwampis. Every time Griffin comes down in a tweak like that, the fans in the Staples Center collectively gasp (all 66 of them). It’s delicious fear, and it’s a great show.

4. The preseason is meaningless. The Jazz preseason record = 8-0. The Jazz regular season record = 1-2.

5. The Thunder aren’t as good as the media wanted us to think. Yes they beat the Bulls and Pistons, but then the Jazz came to town and exposed how thin the Thunder’s bench was and how helpless they are when Durant is substantially defended. While there’s no doubt that the Thunder will get better, it’s clear that the path to the finals won’t be as simple as some talking heads wanted us to believe.

6. The Jazz aren’t as far along as I’d hoped. After an 8-0 preseason, the Jazz got our hopes sky high… and then got smoked in their opening game. Then they got smoked in their home opener. All of Utah fandome was hammering the panic button. Things looked bleak. Then OKC happened and we all realized that the Jazz aren’t so bad, that maybe we overreacted, and that they are actually pretty good. At least when the offense is flowing. Unfortunately, they just aren’t all that fluid yet. The first two games highlighted the importance of the team’s outside shooting, and what happens when those shots don’t fall. Opposing defenses triple team the Jazz’ low post players, the Jazz miss open shots on the perimeter, and it disables the entire offense. From the inside out, the Jazz need to have confidence in their perimeter scoring.

7. I’d rather watch a player whine to a ref than watch 27 technical free throws per game. Anyone that has watched the NBA this week has learned that the league is cracking down on whining players that complain and pester refs. As a player, you can’t raise hands after a call, make a sad face, or blink your eyes too quickly without the threat of a quick T. In theory less whining is great, but in practice these new enforcements extend games, bore viewers, and force fans to watch teams meander up and down the court shooting technical free throws. It’s misery. The league is attempting to bring an NFL-like professionalism to NBA referee calls, but instead they’ve created this perception of unequal power tilted in favor of the referees. I’m hoping that the rule eventually finds an equilibrium where we do see less whining coupled with more judicious whistle blowing from the refs, but for now it’s just annoying.

8. The West is still STRONG. The Lakers are undefeated, the Mavs have Dirk, OKC is an offensive juggernaut, the Blazers are thrilling in transition, the Spurs have turned back the clock, the Suns can dump 3′s on you by the bushel, the Jazz’ offense is undefendable (when rolling), and as long as the Nuggets have Carmelo they are contenders. Greeeeeeaaaaat. There aren’t any night’s off while playing in the Western Conference.

9. John Wall was the right number 1 pick. Did you see his home opener against Evan Turner and the 76ers? It was ridiculous. Yes he had 9 turnovers, but he also was one steal away from a triple double in his THIRD NBA GAME EVER (29/13/9). Um… yeah. He’s good. Finally, Washington has a sports team to get excited about.

10. Maybe the Jazz should have matched Wesley Matthews’ offer? Nah…

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4 Comments

  1. Vanessa says:

    #7? Agreed.
    My brother and I were talking about this and the thing that really bugs me is that the new T rule is just a band-aid. Of course the players are going to complain, because what wasn’t a foul two minutes earlier against them is suddenly called on them. The NBA needs to markedly improve the refereeing, then maybe they’d have a basis for this asinine T rule.
    MLB, NFL and NHL refs get it wrong sometimes, but it is *nothing* like the NBA.

  2. Jefferson says:

    #7? Just another way for the league to generate revenue. In a slumping economy, they look for anyway to recoup some $ – maybe next they’ll start charging fans to use the restrooms? Is that idea a winner?

  3. Joe says:

    John Wall! Glad I didn’t fantasy-trade him away.

  4. K.Malphurs says:

    #3, #4, and #7 agreed – the point on Blake Griffin is especially funny. I can’t wait to see him play in person, which means I need to hope for that he can withstand an injury a little bit longer.

    #9 – disagree – Obviously I could be wrong because that game against the 76ers showed that he might be the best rookie in the draft, but if I was signing the paychecks I would still rather have his college teammate DeMarcus Cousins. Give me a tall, rebounding machine over a turnover prone point guard who seems more hype than substance.

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