Weekly, Jeff from Hoops Manifesto's been asking questions of Bloguin NBA. Always coming up with some interesting ones, here's my responses from Week 3...
1) The Miami Heat have about four more losses than many people who have predicted at this point in the season. What's the problem down in South Beach?
Too many alpha dogs. And too many crucial holes in defense.
I said at the start of the season that there were too many egos at Miami, and it was interesting to hear Erik Spoelstra say "Lower the ego" during a half-time rant vs the Celtics in Miami. And intriguing to hear Udonis Haslem intimate that at some times the effort wasn't as good as it could be.
As all and sundry pointed out, regardless of what awesome defensive efforts Wade/James put out, the Heat have massive deficiencies at the point and at center. Bosh just isn't cutting it. And who have they been burnt with? 4 games against teams with at least competent bigs and elite level points... 4 losses.
Last in the league for points in the paint, last in the league for second-chance points, second last for offensive boards. The offense is lacking as well.
What does this all add up to? Erik Spoelstra, when the Heat isn't on, the heat is on you. Has to be feeling Pat Riley's breath on the back of his neck by now.
2) On the other end of the spectrum, the New Orleans Hornets have started the season off 7-0. Is this a fluke or are they for real?
Long season, short bench. Guys performing above what we would expect ('cept Paul). This amounts to flash-in-the-pan. Guys like Emeka Okafor aren't rookies, they're not going to suddenly transmogrify into offensive beasts.
Sooner or later, they return to the norm.
Add to that, the injury tendencies of both Okafor and Paul... and by the mid-point of the season I don't think NOLA are going to be held in the same degree.
They're doing a helluva lot better than expected tho'... and it may keep the (Chris Paul) wolves at bay for now.
3) Steve Nash is averaging his lowest assist total in seven years (8.9 apg) as well as averaging the highest level of turnovers of his career (4.86). Is Nash finally aging and slowing down or are his teammates to blame?
Phoenix is to blame. Or at least, Rob Sarver is.
Nash has been robbed of any semblance of the team he once had, and Phoenix really owe it to Nash to make up their mind as to whether they're going to compete or rebuild.
Compete? Then put pieces in that can do just that - don't scrimp on paying guys like Amare what they're due.
Rebuild? Then trade Nash to a competitive team. He's owed at least that.
4) Game of the week - just predict the winner - I don't have room to run any writeups. Fri - Oklahoma City @ Boston.
As soon as the general response is up, I'll post a link...