So apparently it has been like 2 weeks since I wrote something last. During that time I went to Mexico, my son learned to walk, and 13 trades happened in the NBA, including two of the 12 best players being traded from West to East. Football is still at a stand-still, the NFL draft is still 40+ days away, and Miguel Cabrera is still an alcoholic.
I just want to assure you that just because football is done and basketball is boring until the playoffs and I just don't give a crap about march madness, that doesn't mean that I will be completely done writing until next August.
In fact, during my Mexico trip I re-read one of my favorite books, Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott, and it inspired me that maybe I should be more intentional about writing. Not just spewing random thoughts about sports, but actually writing about stuff. Telling stories. Choosing words carefully. Not just throwing out opinions and seeing how fast I can type.
Back in school people used to say I was a pretty good writer. I wrote some kick-ass haikus if I do say so myself. So since the world of sports really doesn't have a whole lot of interesting stories until the NBA playoffs, I'm thinking about writing just for the sake of writing.
But until then, here are four random thoughts about the NBA, because so dang much has happened over the past 2 weeks that I've gotta say something.
#1 - Carmelo to the Knicks, Deron Williams to the Nets.
These trades happened within hours of each other, but they couldn't have been more different. Carmelo has been a virtual nomad for an entire season, and the subject of more trade rumors than the rest of the NBA combined. Deron Williams was thought to be the rock of a pretty good Utah team, and arguably the NBA's best point guard. Carmelo, on the other hand, is arguably the NBA's most effective scorer, though Kevin Durant might have something to say about that. Either way, it was two of the league's 12 best players (#8 and #10 in my recent rankings) and they dramatically shifted the landscape of the NBA playoffs.
Utah and Denver are no longer teams in the chase for a title in the near future. Both teams are in full-fledged rebuilding mode. Stupid? Probably. But wise to get something for their stars before it was too late. With those two teams out of the equation, but likely in the playoffs, it makes the West a 4 team race.
San Antonio - the 1 seed.
LA - the defending champs.
OKC - the trendy pick.
Dallas - the sleeper.
No one else in the West stands a chance. Portland and New Orleans might put up tough first round battles, but Denver and either Memphis/Utah/Phoenix will be swept away. In the near future, you've got the increasing age of Kobe and Duncan, the likely relocation of Paul and Nash, and the worthlessness of Brandon Roy's knees, thus making the West a completely crappy conference within about 2 years. It might be Oklahoma City and Dallas in the Western Finals for about the next 5 years. And I'm okay with that.
Meanwhile, the East just went from good to great. Miami is already the most stacked twosome since Kobe and Shaq, and the team nobody wants to face in the playoffs. Boston has 4 stars and a great bench. Chicago has the league MVP and two studs in the frontcourt. Orlando has the league's best big man and a decent but unspectactular supporting cast. Now enter New York, who has two scoring machines and a championship-tested point guard to keep the team focused and give them a defensive mindset for the first time in 15 years. And New Jersey, who won't compete this year but will be ready next year to make the leap into the playoffs and possibly be a tricky team to beat if Brook Lopez progresses.
Two years ago, 7 of the 10 best teams in the NBA were in the Western Conference. Now, after a crazy trade deadline, the opposite can be said.
#2 - Four Detroit Pistons players stage some kind of a walk-out, but then return to the team days later.
What the heck? Really? I heard about this in Mexico are truly didn't care one bit. They are unwatchable and completely uninteresting. I can't believe Rip and Tayshaun used to be so important to me. In fact, the password for my cell phone voicemail is 2232 - Tayshaun's #22 plus Rip's #32. How far they've fallen. Pathetic.
#3 - Kevin Love is three games away from history.
In case you haven't heard, I predicted back in October that Kevin Love would lead the NBA in rebounding. When Bill Laimbeer became an assistant coach with the Twolves a couple years ago, I read a quote from Love saying that coach Laimbeer would help him greatly as a rebounder, and his goal was to win a rebounding title. (Laimbeer did twice, in 85 and 86.)
Well not only is K-Love leading the league, in rebounding, but he's shattering the standard. Right now he's at 15.5 per game, and if he keeps it up he'll have the highest mark since Dennis Rodman in 1991. In the last three games he only has 54 rebounds, so we'll see.
But what's most impressive is the streak of consecutive double-doubles. Right now Love is at 48 straight games, dating back to a November 19th game against the Lakers in which he went scoreless, shooting 0-7. The record since the ABA merger is 51 games, set by Moses Malone in 1979. (Wilt Chamberlain had something like 200 straight double-doubles playing against white guys who were shorter than me.) In all likelihood, Love will break the record in 4 days against Dallas. One of the most impressive records in NBA history, about to be broken by an unknown white guy on a terrible team. Wow.
#4 - Blake Griffin jumped over a car. Kind of.
I don't know if you stayed up til almost midnight to watch the dunk contest two weeks ago, but if you did, you probably regretted it. It was a stupid waste of time.
There are few Michiganders who love Blake Griffin more than me, but I'll even admit that he shouldn't have won; in fact he should have finished fourth. He had the least personality, the least creativity, and frankly did the least impressive dunks. The car thing was cool, but to be honest he jumped over the very front edge of a small crappy Kia. I wanted to see him completely leap over a BMW. It would have been like me jumping over a elephant's tail and saying I jumped over an elephant. Wait, do elephants have short tails? Bad example. But something like that.
Serge Ibaka should have won the contest, and Javale McGee should have got second. But I understand why Blake won. It was in LA, and it was good for the NBA to have him win. I just wish he would have really earned it. It was embarassing for the other guys to completely outdunk him and then lose. And the worst part was seeing Cheryl Miller interview all of them. She is atrocious.
Well, that's all for now. Happy March. Less than a month til I go to the Bahamas!