Let the Balls Descend
The Decision. The Nike Ad. Will Carmelo stay or will he go? An army of ESPN reporters following every move of the Miami Heat. The Heat Index.
Sorry I can’t do it. I can’t buy the hype of this NBA season in all of it bloated presence. The NBA tried to position themselves and an NFL-type 24-7-365 league, but there’s only one problem with that: they don’t have the on-court product to match the hype. NFL games are watchable all season long whereas NBA December games are awfully hard to watch save the last five minutes of each game. Are we really wanting to watch the Indiana Pacers hosting the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 26? Or how about when the Washington Wizards come to town to face the Lakers on Dec. 7?
On July 8 I was sitting in the Dodger Stadium press box trying to ready a notebook piece on the upcoming Dodger game against the Chicago Cubs that night. I knew “The Decision” would be broadcast on ESPN and made every effort to avoid it. However the multimedia crew at Dodger Stadium blasted the show on DodgerVision making it unavoidable to everyone who wanted to find solace at the ballpark.
The collective horror all of us so-called “media folk” had while this was unfolding kept rising and rising. C’mon Jim Gray just ask the question. Why are we getting a pregame roundtable? Why hasn’t Jim Gray asked the question already? This could have been done in ten seconds. Wow, what an exercise in ego-stroking.
Yes I didn’t like it, I wrote that I didn’t like it then I let it go. But the NBA, ESPN and other media outlets couldn’t let go allowing this story to fester on and on until what remains now is a gangrened zombie that cannot be stopped.
Well that is until they fail to win the NBA Championship.
Thanks to all the inches, air time and online columns dedicated to this Heat team, the Lakers quietly slumbered in the background of the national consciousness. They’re only the two-time defending NBA Champions. While they lost Jordan Farmar, Josh Powell, Adam Morrisson and DJ Mbenga, they added Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff. Also reinforcing the bench are draft picks Derrick Caracter and Devin Ebanks.
But the Lakers’ injuries will haunt them in the early part of the season. Center Andrew Bynum will be out most likely until December, and Kobe Bryant has played limited minutes in the preseason because of this myriad of injuries. Lamar Odom helped lead Team USA to a gold medal in the World Championships during the summer putting a lot of mileage on those legs. Sasha Vujacic got engaged to tennis star Maria Sharapova. Barnes had off-court distractions involving allegations of beating his girlfriend. And Ron Artest is just as crazy as ever if not more.
Don’t be surprised if the Lakers don’t come out of the gate strongly, but they’ll get it together when it counts in March. Hopefully.
With that, here are the NBA Predictions.
- Orlando Magic
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Boston Celtics
- Miami Heat
- Chicago Bulls
- Atlanta Hawks
- Washington Wizards
- New Jersey Nets
- Dallas Mavericks
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Utah Jazz
- San Antonio Spurs
- Denver Nuggets
- Memphis Grizzlies
- LA Clippers
Eastern Conference Champions: Orlando Magic. Western Conference Champions: Los Angeles Lakers.
NBA Champions: Los Angeles Lakers in 6 games.
So we now officially know the Miami Heat will win the Title.
The NBA season gets underway with the Miami Heat at Boston Celtics 4:30 p.m. on TNT with the Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers at 7:30 p.m. on TNT which can also be heard on AM 710 KSPN.