Christmas is next week, which means that most teams have played about 25 games. With a quarter of the season done, here are a few things I’ve liked and disliked about the season so far:
- Charles Barkley leaves the studio – The Chuckster has vacated his seat next to Kenny Smith to do color commentary for two games as only he can do.
- Mark Jackson’s Golden State Warriors – When the former NBA point guard and ESPN analyst was hired last summer to coach the Warriors, I snickered. Jackson was a really good player for a really long time, but he had no coaching experience at any level when he was hired. In his second season, he’s showing that he has the competence to coach in the league by slowly, but surely changing the culture in Oakland as he promised. Of course, the players he’s coaching deserve a ton of credit for that too.
- Knicks vs Nets first two games in Brooklyn – Both teams appear to be playoff bound and they split their two matchups including a Nets’ victory in an overtime thriller. What made these games even more entertaining was the playoff like atmosphere that filled the Barclays Center with the fans seemingly equally divided between the two teams. (More on this later)
- Rajon Rondo – everyone knows how the All-Star point guard runs the show for his Celtics. An underrated aspect of Rondo’s game is him calling for outlet passes loud of enough to be picked up by camera microphones. Usually, we only hear players scream out “And 1” or make other complaints to officials. It’s nice to hear on court communication between a team’s on court leader and his teammates.
- Damian Lillard – The rookie player has impressed everyone that’s watched him suit up for the Portland Trailblazers. He has the early lead over Anthony Davis for Rookie of the Year honors and should be making hoops fans in the Northwest forget about the last highly touted draft pick that went through their parts. This game winner over the Hornets is at the top of his ever-growing highlight reel.
- Kobe Bryant’s Facebook page – I discovered it during the Olympics this past summer. What’s great about it is he often closes his posts with the words “Mamba out”. If you know the story behind this nickname then you’ll understand why I get a chuckle out of this.
- Kevin Love vs Minnesota Timberwolves – I had to ponder over this a few minutes before I decided to put this under the dislike category. In an interview last week with Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarwosi, Love expressed his doubts about the plans of Wolves’ owner Glen Taylor and GM David Kahn. I, too, was perplexed by the 3 year $62 million contract they gave him (Love has a player option for the 4th year) and would likely have been insulted as well if I were in Love’s shoes. That being said, Love did agree to the deal and he should be more focused on proving to the Wolves and the rest of the league that he is a franchise player that can lead a team into the playoffs.
- Alternate Jerseys – The league (re)introduced throwback uniforms to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 1997. From this idea the trendy alternate jersey was born. Some of them (Miami’s, Thunder’s, Bulls’) are just flat-out ugly. Teams also now have the option to choose which jersey to wear during home games. Meaning often times you’ll find a team wearing their “away” jerseys at home.
- Barclays Center’s music and the Brooklyn Nets’ fan base – Malcolm Gladwell has already covered the somewhat shady origins behind the new complex. Now that it’s open for business, they’ve fallen into an annoying habit that other buildings already have. They play music during game action. Loud and often. This is supposed to add to the fan experience, but I think it detracts from it. If I wanted to listen to loud music, I’d go to a club or concert. While we’re on the subject, where did these new Nets fans come from? One would think that any hoops fans in Brooklyn would’ve already pledged fealty to the Knicks. The Nets certainly weren’t selling out games in the Meadowlands. Or is it just a reason for thousands of people to shout “Broookllynnn!”?
- One legged turnaround jumpers – Dirk Nowitzki patented this shot years ago. When he’s healthy and playing it’s a big part of lethal arsenal. Imitation is the best form of flattery and many players, such as Kevin Durant, have tried to imitate this shot. Only problem is, Dirk’s the only one who does it well.