When Rory and I decided to send emails back and forth previewing the NBA season, we had no idea that James Harden would be traded right after we talked about the Thunder’s chances of winning the Title with him or that the Nets-Knicks NYC basketball megagame would get postponed due to Superstorm Sandy. So yes, parts of this email chain may be a bit outdated even though they’re less than a week old but Rory and I made sure to do our best when analyzing the burning questions heading into the season, like which player had the best Halloween costume. We even managed to poke fun at a few people and teams, and most importantly, each other.
Stone: So I’m sitting here flipping between Pablo Prigioni running roughshod over the Brooklyn Nets at the hallowed basketball ground known as the Nassau Coliseum and Michael Myers running roughshod over Haddonfield, and then it hit me: the NBA season is less than a week away. It feels like only yesterday when the Heat, well, you know.
Obviously, the trend sweeping the league has been creating these superteams and the Lakers followed suit in the offseason by adding Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. Strictly on paper, it would appear that LA has enough talent to significantly challenge Miami. Maybe I’m a sucker for a dominant big man (must be due to either Patrick Ewing or Eddy Curry) but if the Lakers remain healthy, and that’s a big 7-foot if, I like their chances. With Kobe handling the scoring and swagger, Dwight can focus on what he does best: no, not sulking and tearing a franchise apart, but rebounding and playing monster defense.
Queen James finally got over the mountain last year but are we sure that this means that the Heat are going to win not seven, not eight Titles? After the Yankees won the 2009 World Series, I would’ve sworn that A-Rod would never struggle in the playoffs again. Well, I was wrong. Couldn’t you see LeBron choking it up in a do-or-die East Finals Game 6 in Boston with D-Wade hobbled up and the Bostrich hiding his head in the sand? Is that unfathomable?
Or does LeBron go full-on Michael Jordan serial killer on us? If he has it in him, I can’t see anyone toppling the Heat. LeBron was great in the Finals but he wasn’t exactly the Shape. The refs call that foul on him at the end of Game 2, and we might not be singing this song.
The great thing about this season is that there are just so many subplots around the league. We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. OKC has as good a group as anybody. Does their emerging superteam break through or will James Harden’s contract situation doom their chances? Can another team enter the Championship equation? The Clips, the Grizz? Will anybody on Golden State ever play defense? Will Mark Cuban miss Opening Night in Dallas to film an episode of Shark Tank? Will I ever stop asking questions? Will you answer any of them? We haven’t even mentioned either of our teams, playing in the same city for the first time ever. How do you think the first season of the Brooklyn Nets will turn out? Oh yeah, and one more thing: LINSANITY!
Rory: Man, you threw a ton of questions at me, and I’m still recovering from the drinking game I played last night during the Knicks-Nets game (drink every time Clyde Frazier made a rhyme). So here we go:
The key words with these superstar teams is “on paper.” It took two seasons for the Miami Heat to figure it out. Last season, the Knicks looked like legitimate contenders…on paper. I was even hyping up my Brooklyn Nets as a contender a few weeks ago, but the parts haven’t meshed yet and the defense has been lacking. If there is one guy who can create instant chemistry with his teammates, though, it is Steve Nash. And, while the Lakers will be formidable, do not count out the Oklahoma City Thunder yet. Their young guys are just getting better each year, and they still have the assets to make a trade to get another big piece to their puzzle. I definitely see them working things out with James Harden as well, probably getting him to take less money for the team as well.