Very close. The 2011/12 NBA season kicks off in but a few, short weeks - and NBA fans are experiencing a veritable myriad of emotions as the lockout ends, and the NBA begins again. The months of wheeling and dealing in the trade-season will be crammed into the space of a few weeks.
I thought I'd ask a few of my NBA colleagues within the Bloguin Network what they felt about the coming season... 3 questions:
1. What's your general feeling about the upcoming season? A cramped, manic schedule starting Christmas Day...
2. Discuss your team... what's the Yuletide season hold for you?
3. Predictions: MVP, Eastern Champ, Western Champ... and NBA Champion* (surely we'll need an asterisk this season???)!
Away we go...
College Wolf, T-Wolves Blog
1) Relieved. I'm just glad there is going to be a season. If not, there would have been a plethora of unanswered questions for pretty much every team in the league (except the Bobcats, no one cares about them. And screw Michael Jordan.) Unfortunately I expect a "sloppy-ish" season that will probably have more injuries and bad play than usual; but a shortened season is better than no season.
2) There are still a ton of things that remain to be done with the Timberwolves. How will Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio fit with the team? And what about new coach Rick Adelman? How do all our guys get rotational minutes and steady playing time? Will Kahn make some more mores? Something needs to happen, as we've still got too many guys that could make an argument for playing time, and positional logjams all over the place. I'm not worried about Rubio's play nearly as much as some "experts" this past off-season, and just can't wait to see him on he court doing his thing and leading our team. I've still got high hopes for him and his unrealized potential.
EC = Bulls
WC = Thunder
Champions = Thunder*
Jeff Fox, Hoops Manifesto
1. I like the shortened, "cramped, manic" schedule. Should be action packed with little down time.
2. As a long-time Phoenix Suns fan (since the late 80s – word up to KJ, EJ, Chambers and the crew), I'm expecting basketball Santa to put coal in my stocking this year. But as long as they don't ship Steve Nash
out of town (especially not to South Beach), I'll be happy enough.
2. MVP – Kevin Durant
, Eastern – Miami, Western – Lakers, Champ – Miami (excuse me – I need to go vomit now).
Ezra, The Purple & Gold Blog
1. When a good friend of mine text me that the new season is starting on Christmas, I thought he was just playing a mean joke. Of course, that didn't stop me from looking it up online. Sure enough, everyone is saying the NBA is back. I thought 66 games isn't bad at all. It's definitely better than the 54 games back in '99. General opinion on a shortened season says the younger teams will benefit more. But that all depends upon how much they prepared themselves for a lockout season.
2. Mike Brown
mentioned in the Lakers press conference last week that he's planning on using a lot of the regular season games as practice games to help the players learn the nuances of his playbooks. That's really not something they can avoid this season considering there are more than 200 plays (as I heard) in his offensive book alone and that there will be only 2 pre-season games scheduled for each team in the NBA before the official season starts. So there really isn't a whole lot of practice time at all. But we should get an idea on how much the Lakers want to win this year on opening day.
MVP: Kevin Durant
East Champs: Miami Heat
West Champs: Lakers
NBA Champs: Lakers
Rob (Brumbygg), With Malice
1: I'm just doing the happy dance that we have a season at all! I think the 66 game season makes it meaning and not just a sprint to the playoffs, but keeping your guys fresh is going to be a big challenge. I
njuries that might normally cost a few games in a suit could now mean 6-10 out of uniform and that could have a big impact of playoff hopes.
2: First off, the Celtics have to sign some players! Big Baby
isn't coming back and I'm not convinced we'll see Jeff Green
in... well, green. I am genuinely excited by the talk of the CP3
trade, but I'm also excited by talk of Santa Claus coming to my house on Christmas Eve - and it doesn't mean either of them are going to happen. I think the condensed schedule is going to hurt Boston and while we'll make the playoffs, we need to be very lucky with injuries as well as Doc managing minutes effectively for us to go close.
3: Miami to win the East and Dallas to set up a re-match of lasts season's final. Miami to get LBJ a ring.
Andre Purtell & Mookie Schiralli, The Fantasy Dudes
Q1: So, the protracted process that was the lockout, leads to a contracted NBA season. As a fan, what's to like?
Perhaps the only silver lining on the clouds which shroud the approaching 66-game NBA season exist in fact due to (rather than in spite of) its brevity.
Ponder this: year after year we are told that the real season starts when the playoffs begin. Veteran teams rest their players during the dog days of the regular season, holding out those gaffer-taped bodies in preparation for the "real season" to commence.
This time around, with the shortened regular season, each game takes on an increased importance in the final standings. The lesser number of games reduces the likelihood of injuries, as much as it reduces the likelihood that players sit out with minor injuries, "just in case".
On the other hand, this make-do season provides some negatives. Whoever wins it all will have an asterisk firmly affixed to their title, in much the same way as the San Antonio Spurs' 1999 NBA Finals victory was tainted.
The nature of the schedule means that teams will need to be ready on the fly, with little time to acquaint themselves with new teammates or opponents. Whilst veteran squads may have an advantage due to the shorter schedule (due to their experience and lessened chance of injury), conversely the increased number of games per week will mean that young squads with unity under their collective belt like the Oklahoma City Thunder suddenly have a much better shot at things.
Most important of all, it's time for NBA Fantasy Drafts!