11/26/08

What I'm thankful for

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I do have a lot to be thankful for in my life, but we won't go into that. We, as NBA fans, also have a lot to be thankful for in our basketball lives. Here is what I'm thankful for this NBA season.

The Knicks: Finally, one of the most storied franchises in sports is revived. It has been a tough few years for Knicks fans. As we all know, they have made some big moves in the past few years to compete this year and the next, and to set themselves up for the 2010 free agency period. This has to be encouraging for Knicks fans. Finally, some sense behind the moves of the Knicks front office. Good job Donnie Walsh.

The rookie class: This has been an amazing rookie class. Derrick Rose, OJ Mayo, and Michael Beasley are living up to the hype. After that, they have also been pretty solid. Russell Westbrook isn't playing as bad as the Thunder's record would suggest. He has been a steady contributor, and the rookie dubbed as 'most likely to bust' by myself and Greg Johnson, is proving us wrong. Unexpected rookies making an impact right now are DJ Augustin and Jason Thompson. Augustin dropped 25 and 11 assists and 5 rebounds in Jason Richardson's absense. The Kings also have to be happy with Jason Thompson's surprising development by averaging 11.4 pts and 7 rebs. Virtually unknown coming out of Rider, Thompson has potential to be a great player in this league who can be a legitimate 2nd option for a lot of teams, and also to be a very good defender. Golden State also got two great players who were undrafted in DeMarcus Nelson and Anthony Morrow. As a Wake fan, I was obviously bias against Nelson, but he has been a surprise for not even being drafted. I was also bias against the Georgia Tech star, Morrow, but I have always respected his game. Morrow has a very bright future in this league, and the Warriors proved the 'huge upside' phrase that gets thrown around way too much. Rounding out the great rookie class surprises are Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and Mario Chalmers. All of which are making big impacts for their teams right now. Also, dont forget the Lopez twins who have been contributing some solid numbers recently.

The closing gap between East and West: For the last few years, the West has dominated the NBA landscape. It is great to finally see the gap closing in the league so we can stop the talk about re-doing the conferences and what not. It makes for great basketball, and it makes it fun to be a fan. It reinforces two levels of fanhood. The first is of your team, and the second, is of your conference. A fan can always stick to the side that "my conference has x,y,z teams" which always make for good NBA debates.

The Boston/LA rivalry: We got enough of this during the Finals, but it seems like we will be able to see this historic rivalry relived. As a Laker fan, I'm thankful for my teams success and I acknowledge that both Celtic and Laker fans are outrageously priviledged. Nonetheless, as a young basketball fan, it is great to be a part of such a historic rivlary revived. Many fans only get to read about the historic rivalries related to their franchises, and even fewer fans get to re-live the rivalry again. We could be on the fringes of that rivalry being re-started if both teams can keep this level of play for the next 5 or 6 years even if different players are apart of the rivalry.

The Donaghy scandal being left behind: When the scandal broke, it was a hit to everyone involved in the NBA, including the fans. It is now safe to say that the fallout from the scandal was less than expected. After the Pedowitz report and fast action from the league office, we have been lucky that it did not affect the sport more than it did. We can now rest and be reassured that it was just an isolated incident. We all know that it could have been much worse than it turned out to be. The basketball nation can now start a new chapter in the sport's history, and putting behind one of the darkest moments in sports history behind us.

Izzy

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Anonymous said...

Don't close the door on Eric Gordon. Definitely not too late in the season for him to make a run at the ROY award. 24 and 25 points with 4 and 4 steals in his first two games as a starter, I'm thankful I picked him up in my fantasy league. As far as Westbrook goes, one thing I've learned is to never turn your back on anyone that flat out knows how to win basketball games. Same reason anyone would pick Rose over Beasley. Keep up the good work with the blog