I had the sudden urge to write at this odd hour for no reason other than a want for the catharsis such action bestows. I’ll keep this short as my bedtime beckons. That excitement you felt last night was the realization that the NBA season is now upon us.
Dwight Howard was utterly dominant last night in his matchup with Yao Ming, leading many observers to hail the Magic center as reborn after a summer of rigorous training sessions. I’m not so sure the cause of his production was anything more than the helplessness of his counterpart, with Yao still gingerly recovering from surgery.
A video emerged on the internets this evening of one of those sessions, with Howard taking instruction from former Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon. Dream has sort of emerged in recent years as parallel to those artists only post-mortemly recognized for their majesty. Oddest part of that clip was DH12′s insinuation that he (along with Hakeem) is “an undersized center.” Not sure if that was meant in jest but Howard has as much claim to the “undersized” label as former Suns center Oliver Miller.
Lebron James and the Heat made many reconsider their choice of the ‘under’ on the quest for 72 with an impressive Miami Thrice debut. We saw last night that James will finally learn, through Chris Bosh, what Kobe Bryant has known his entire career – the ease with which the game passes with a capable big man in tow. Barring injury, I don’t quite see how this team can possibly lose. In fact, in the next four years–while Wade remains relatively in his physical prime–this year stands as the lone campaign which one could reasonably bet against them. Kobe Bryant continues to age and the Heat will surely attract talent each subsequent season with an MLE at its disposal. A more restrictive collective bargaining agreement is the only thing that can stop this cast from sheer historic dominance.
Will Greg Oden ever get healthy? Will Yao Ming? How will Blake Griffin fare? Will the Spurs finally slip?
With Allen Iverson’s exile from relevance, this marks the first season in 15 in which the league is void of the shoot-first point guard breed (of Iverson, Marbury, Francis) which ushered in a cultural revolution and left purists pulling their hair in frustration. Somehow, at some point earlier this decade, it again became cool to pass and high school phenoms under 6’3 were taking pride in the art. A greater sociological inquiry by persons far smarter than I should be conducted because I’m interested how this leap suddenly occurred. Did high school coaches suddenly begin stressing ‘pass-first’ mentality in reaction to the wave? But why would the kids listen? Iverson and friends were a cultural phenomenon and icons to be emulated on the streets. You don’t just relinquish such idolatry at the behest of one’s old, unhip, wrinkling coach…..?
I’ve promised myself retirement to slumber by 11, so I have ten minutes to excrete whatever else on this subject comes to mind: look for a Jazz renaissance with Al Jefferson now flanking Paul Milsap in the latest incarnation of Jerry Sloan’s evil.
John Wall will be fun, I think, but cool point guards became cliche a while back. Do not allow me to forget to recount the tale of my excitement upon news of the Francis trade, an admission of which I should feel much more embarrassment than I currently do. Man, that era was really, really bad and tragically pitiful with regard to the blind faith we placed in hopes of his maturation. (Sadly, I suspect similar sentiment will be espoused in the near future about the belief that Yao might ever regain health. I’d insert a sad-face smiley here if that sort of thing were professionally or even socially acceptable in this space.)
Tomorrow the Houston Rockets take the hardwood once more. I promise I’ll actually cover the games this year as long as they remain relevant.