It’s been some time since our last roundtable, so this week we’ve decided to bring in a couple of new contributors as well as a familiar face or two to discuss some of the recent hot topics in the NBA. We’ll be looking at everything from the Warriors playoff hopes, the Thunder’s challenge without Westbrook, The Knicks chances of taking the East, the Boston Celtics troubles, injures and Jason Collins’ recent news. To kick things off we welcome back Tom Read from the #BelieveTheHype podcast, as well as SidelineAgenda.com contributor and all round sports nut Alex Young, and Houston Rockets/NBA social media commentator Terry Goldfain to the party along with regulars from NBA Nation Australia Nick Caro and Sam Monaghan. Lets go!
After yesterday’s embarrassing loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and his untimely ejection from the game early in the third quarter, and what appeared to be a confrontation with GM Mitch Kupchak (later dismissed) Lakers center Dwight Howard finally opened up to the world via Twitter in an attempt to rectify what he felt to be one of the most disappointing seasons of his career. Howard, widely regarded as the league’s best center, was ejected from yesterday’s game following his second technical foul for questioning the officials non-call after what he believed to be a hard foul. In the midst of all this, the Lakers were down by 20 points and Dwight being ejected at this point essentially spelled a loss before the game was even over, and the end of the 2012/13 Lakers season.
Today Tracy McGrady signed with the San Antonio Spurs for the rest of 2012-13 season. McGrady has been absent lately, he has not played in the NBA since May 2012, having signed with Chinese team – Qingdao Eagles Continue reading
Howdy folks! We’re back today with the latest team season preview taking a look at Western Conference favorites the Oklahoma City Thunder, Perennial dark horses the Philadelphia 76ers (or will they be?) and southern giant killers the San Antonio Spurs. Enjoy!
Oklahoma City Thunder
How Will They Do?
Oklahoma City are the NBA’s darlings, rising out of the ashes of the Seattle Sonics. Last year they fulfilled what most predicted – making it to the NBA Finals before being steamrolled by the Heat juggernaut. This season brings another series of high expectations and even more challenges. As the Lakers rebuilt and retooled for another assault on the title the Thunder took stock and made very few changes. Last season was an important moment for this franchise as it gave them the irrational confidence that they can now reach the highest heights. The biggest story line coming out of this camp this season will be can they re-sign James Harden? Currently the team is cash strapped. They hold the contracts of Durant, Westbrook, Perkins and Ibaka in their hands. Harden is the icing on this cake, coming off the bench with confidence, fearless determination and one of the best ball handlers in the league. Harden’s presence cements this team atop the Western Conference, without him there is an air of uncertainty. We really like how the Thunder have built upon their roster and given themselves depth at most positions. Collison & Jones backing up Ibaka & Durant as newest Thunder recruit Thabeet brings size off the bench. Harden, Maynor and Cook act as dynamite off the bench lifting the tempo of the team whenever they are on-court. Sure it’s not the deepest team in the league but it’s one of the most reliable, you know what you will get from your bench. Very similar to Moneyball it’s about working your way to a win any way you can. Coach Brooks knows this, has assembled a squad capable of challenging every team in the league. This team is one of the most explosive and dynamic in the league, a League Pass must every night. There is no doubting they have the talent, if they can just sprinkle in a dash of experience (gained from the 2011/12 Finals & Olympics) this team could destroy the Western Conference. Look for them to pick up 55-65 wins this year.
When a new NBA season approaches, we all tend to get rather excited.
Excited about all things new…
Aside from starting afresh, we get a new roster to get excited by.
We get excitement of our respective teams tip-off, new rookies, new everything…
We also get some new jerseys to get hyped up for.
This 2012-13 season has seen numerous teams, change things up jersey-wise and here are some of those….
In what can only be described as an attempt to provide a fresh, youthful look to an aging side, the San Antonio Spurs have unveiled what will be the new clash jersey worn during many of the team’s home games this coming season. The grey kit, has the iconic Spurs logo emblazoned across the heart will be worn 12 times throughout the regular season and the reaction to it has been mixed. Many believe the plain nature of the jersey suggests the team is preparing to make room for advertising and deviates too much from the original, whilst others say it is a much needed change and look forward to seeing the team play in the new kit.
Rick Pych, Spurs Sports & Entertainment President of Business Operations had this to say:
“We are introducing a new and unique Spurs jersey this coming season. The new design simply features our iconic ‘spur’ logo and it is positioned over the heart as it has such enormously deep roots with our team, fans and the entire community. It’s the first-ever NBA jersey logo without any writing or peripheral design on the front of the jersey and we’re very glad to be introducing this new use of the classic icon of the Spurs to our fans.”
Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green were chosen to model the new-look jersey and the first pictures can be seen below.
Coach: Gregg Popovich
Live music, face paint, chants, the Spurs enjoy some of the most parochial support in the NBA. The Spurs can count Eva Longoria, Selena Gomez ESPN’s Michelle Beadle, and WWE’s Shawn Michaels among their celebrity fans. But the Spurs don’t want acknowledgement they play hard at home or away. The Spur crowd are fiercely loyal, an expectation to win, understand their teams strategy (drafting Duncan whilst Robinson was fading in 1997), one of the classiest crowds in all the NBA (this is reflected in the Spurs attitudes on and off court).
Key Player: Tony Parker
Determined, unstoppable and sneaky describe Parker, he is the only Frenchman you would want fighting for you. A playoff average of 18.9 points per game coupled with 5.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game Parker is a constant pillar in this Spurs team whether its supporting his team from the bench or serving as their coach on the court. He has the speed of a much younger player, the ball skills of some of the NBA’s best ball handlers and the brain’s equal to some of the NBA’s best coaches.
Welcome to another edition of NBA Nations Australia’s Roundtable Discussion
Our Roundtable Knights Are:
Nick Caro: @NickoToGo
Nick How: @Nick_A_How
Leigh Ellis: @LeighEllis
This week we are joined by the 6th man for the Basketball Jones and The Score, Leigh Ellis. Leigh has been working closely with journalists in all areas of the NBA for a number of years and his podcast with JE Skeets and Tas Melas as part of the Basketball Jones are amongst the World’s most popular. Thanks again for coming along, Leigh.
The Nuggets are bobbing in and out of playoff contention. With their huge win today their chances firm . They sit at 7th in the West one game clear of 8th placed Houston and one game clear of facing the ferocious Thunder in Round 1. Denver has 6 games in 11 days before the playoffs begin, only 1 game against the East, so each game will be critical.
April 16 @ Houston
The Nuggets spanked the Rockets in Denver today by 15 points after leading by as many as 20 points. Faried dropped a double-double and is emerging as another great draft pick from the post-Anthony era. The Rockets don’t have anyone who matches up against his big body as well as an OKC or San Antonio. It’ll be a tight hard fought game but the Nuggets should eek out a win.
April 18 vs Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers lead the season series 2-1 and this is a crucial game for both teams. The Clippers will want to come to Denver and pick up a win away from home heading into the playoffs just to keep pace with the Lakers. Denver needs to protect home court. Paul could run wild and slice this Denver defence to shreds, even though he is only 26 he commands the Clipper offense like a veteran. Denver cant afford to drop a game against a Western conference opponent here. Continue reading