Some say the NBA should just ditch the first 2 months or so of the regular season since nobody except for hardcore basketball fans care on what happens in the early games. Well... don't people ignore the first part of any season of any league? Unless it's the UAAP and its ilk since there are only 14 games to go around.
So thanks to the lockout, it finally happened. The NBA starts its season on Christmas. By the end of the season, the players are dog tired... then it's the Olympics. So while we wait for the abbreviated season to breeze through us like a back-to-back-to-back, let me give you the Top 10 stories we'd have to look forward to this coming new year of hoops, that doesn't include player movement.
10. The rise and fall of the Spurs
The Spurs rose to the top at the now much-discussed 1999 season, when they won the title in 50 regular season games. Phil Jackson, who was tending in garden, shouted blasphemy just as he shouted the same thing when Barry Bonds broke the home run record. Heck some say it started with their elimination by the Teddy Bears last season; I say it started when Tony Parker screwed Brent Barry's wife.
9. Timberwolves: Barangay tagay of the NBA?
Not on the sense that Kahn has instilled a never-say-die attitude on the northernmost team in the league. It's just that Kahn has a point guard fetish. Maybe he's following Jong Uichico's philosophy of hauling guards (not necessarily points) just as fantasy owners haul big men like Lindsay Lohan hauls girls that look like dudes.
8. Fan backlash?
It's a long shot, but what's a longer shot are teams painting "Thank you fans on their hard courts just as the NHL did when they robbed Canadians of their national sport.
7. The fall and rise of the New York Knicks
While the Spurs were able to sustain into pseudo-dynasty their pseduoasterisked 1999 championship, their Finals opponents at that time weren't able to replicate the feat. I blame Isiah.
6. Swan song for Stern?
Fans show their David Stern love every draft when they enthusiastically boo him just like Bieber fans squee when they see the name "Bieber" on their tickets. Fans accused his regime of fixing games, favoring bigger market teams, favoring the LA Lakers, favoring the LA Clippers, and just being the overall suckjob that he did. Stern saw the expansion of the game into a full-fledged global sport, made the league big in China (although this will be tested with Yao's retitement) and by giving the Miami Heat the 2006 title to piss of Mark Cuban.
5. Rise up, Clipper Nation!
Clipper Nation. It's like the TNT Tropa. The Ube Republic. Women who watched the Azkals because of the football. It doesn't exist. Will it exist now? Would we see the rise of Lob Angeles after decades of neglect?
4. Mavs' title defense
The Mavs are of the unlikeliest NBA champions in a long time. They're also most underrated defending champion since the 1999 Chicago Bulls. Well, if you'd exclude the 1999 Bulls, you'd probably have to go back to the 1995-96 Rockets since Michael Jordan will cream the opposition, although the Rockets may have been highly-rated to be the West's representatives in 1996. Aside from those two, you've got to ask the elders on what was the most under-rated title retention campaign in the NBA.
3. Last hurrah for Tinseltown hoops?
Would this be the last time the Lakers would be seen as a legitimate title threat? Kobe's not getting any younger, their starting five is not as deep as last season's, and the Clips just arseraped them in two preseason games... well that's not the first time that happened.
2. Would the players really get tired?
Let's face it, basketball is not baseball. In baseball, the ratio between doing something productive and throwing up is 9:1. In basketball, you'd only throw up when you want to piss Metta World Peace off.
1. Miami Heat: 2012 NBA asterisked champs?
Let's face it. If they win, some people will cry blasphemy. Phil Jackson skipped the season after the lockout; and while he's not as young as Santa Claus, will he come back next year to correct on what could be the wrongest thing ever done to basketball? Aside from the Decision?
And now... let's jinx the upcoming season!
Per division rankings:
PAC: 4. LAC, 5. LAL, 8. PHX, 12. GSW, 14. SAC
SW: 2. DAL, 3. MEM, 6. SA, 10. HOU, 15. NO
NW: 1. OKC, 7. DEN, 9. POR, 11. UTA, 13. MIN
CEN: 2. CHI, 7. IND, 9. MIL, 10. DET, 15. CLE
SE: 1. MIA, 4. ATL, 6. ORL, 12. WSH, 14. CHA
ATL: 3. BOS, 5. NY, 8. NJ, 11. PHI, 13. TOR
West: OKC def. PHX, LAC def. LAL, DAL def. DEN, MEM def. SA, OKC def. LAC, MEM def. DAL, OKC def. MEM
East: MIA def. NJ, NY def. ATL, CHI def. IND, BOS def. ORL, MIA def. NY, CHI def. BOS, MIA def. CHI
Finals: MIA def. OKC