The first NBA season following last year’s shortened lockout season has been one of intrigue, disappointments and blockbuster moves. Although the season is still young, it is shaping up to be exciting and unpredictable with a very formidable Western Conference and a rebuilding Eastern Conference.
Basketball fans in our area have much to complain about as the Knicks and the Nets have delivered nothing but heartache and false hope. The newly moved Brooklyn Nets appeared to have a lot of promise this season with their off season trade that brought talents Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to team up with all-star point guard Deron Williams and up-and-coming center Brook Lopez.
However, it appears that KG and Pierce are in the twilight of their careers, bringing leadership and intensity but not much else to a struggling Nets team with a penchant for losing. The bright spot for the Nets was Deron Williams, who is injury prone, as is Brook Lopez, who has also struggled with injuries this season. Head coach Jason Kidd has a lot of decisions to make with a young bench and a veteran starting five but none of those decisions have resulted in wins as the Nets remain at a dismal 5-12 record.
“It was a bad decision hiring Jason Kidd,” said Omar Keita, a Ramapo junior. “They have too many injuries, and they need to give the ball to their key players more.”
Worse off in the East is the New York Knicks, who have notched a record of 3-13 even with superstar Carmelo Anthony, who battles hard night in and night out without much assistance. With defensive force Tyson Chandler benched with a broken fibula, the Knicks have had to pick up the pieces, relying on Melo to do it all.
A streaky J.R. Smith has the ability to light a fire, as does newly acquired Metta World Peace, but that does not always translate to wins. There is hope for the Knicks in Andrea Bargnani who has done well in orange and blue, but for the Knicks to truly break from their slump, they need their young talent to mature quickly.
“They’re just not playing together as a team anymore. It’s still really early, but how much better can it get? They could make the playoffs, but they wont be as good as they were last year,” said senior Frank Dapolito.
In the East, the breakout team has been the Indiana Pacers, who have a habit of winning with a phenomenal start to the season, 16-1. The Eastern Conference finals loss has left the Pacers hungry, and the talent of their starting five has clicked. Paul George is on the rise and is surrounded by excellent teammates in George Hill, Roy Hibbert and Lance Stevenson.
The Miami Heat are on their tail with a record of 14-3 and of course will have the best player in the game, Lebron James, to lead the way. It is also important to note the heartbreaking injury of the recently returned Derrick Rose, who takes with him the hopes of a deep Chicago playoff run.
The West is truly where all of the real competitive action lies with Portland, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers all vying for the top spot. Even the worst teams in the West are superior than some of the middle-of-the-road teams in the East. This conference has been one of incredible talent and interest and has seen more competitiveness and fight than it has in years.
Just about every team has a shot at the playoffs, and it will be exciting to see how things shake out come playoff time. But as for now, NBA fans can sit back and enjoy an unforgettable season to come.