With the NBA season being in its infancy, and due to the fact its only lasting 66-games soon to be near its conclusion, I decided I better type something up and post it up here before Brendan lost all faith in me and blocked me from the website. I’ll get onto our Cavaliers in a minute, but first here are ten things that I’ve taken interest in so far this season.
#10 - Greg Stiemsma is out blocking KG: At the time of writing this, Greg Stiemsma is ranked fourth in the NBA in blocked shots. I know we’ve only played like, 7 games, but still. Him averaging over twice as many blocks as KG, and that is just amusing to me. I don’t know what this illuminates more, the fact that Greg Stiemsma is playing for the Boston Celtics, or the fact that Kevin Garnett relies more on scaring people to death to be a good defender than actual defending itself.
#9 - Rajon Rando's jumper: If Rajon Rondo could develop a reliable jump shot he’d be the best player in the history of the NBA. Well, not that good but you get my drift. Sooner or later, some guy is going to get pissed off at him getting into the lane every 8 seconds for a layup and is going to take him out. My money is on DeMarcus Cousins, dude is just unhappy.
#8 - Demarcus Cousins On Trade Block: Speaking of Cousins, am I the only one of us who’d rather fancy a Cousins/Varejao swap in a deal of some sort?
#7 - Paul George is a beast: He really is. Supposedly having grown two inches over the summer to a gaudy six foot ten inches, the sublimely talented wing out of Fresno State has impressed me a lot this year. He’ll be in with a shout for MIP come season's end, you just watch.
#6 - Nate McMillan is awesome: Nate McMillan has his Brandon Roy and Greg Oden-less (remember these two were labelled as the future stars of this team and the reason Portland would perhaps contend for titles for years to come) Blazers ranked 4th in points per game and 3rd in rebounding. LaMarcus Aldridge is playing like a guy who has accepted the term of “Franchise Player”. They have two of the very best wing defenders in Batum and Wallace, and a scoring punch in Jamal Crawford off the bench. Portland are a damn good team and will be a tough seven game series for anyone.
#5 Kevin Love: Kevin Love. Kevin Love. Kevin Love. Kevin Love. Kevin Love is averaging 26 and 15. Kevin Love has one year left on his contract. Kevin Love is going to get paid.
#4 Which injury will have a bigger impact in the Southwest: Ginobli or Randolph? Memphis hasn’t really got anyone on the bench who can come in and step up on a consistent basis. Darrell Arthur has talent, but on a regular basis it’s yet to be seen. The Spurs have James Anderson and Gary Neal, who between them might be able to match Ginobli’s points per game total, but his ability to knock down a big shot outta nowhere? Not a hope. His ability to go off for 30 on any given night? No chance. Both sides better hope their missing pieces return sooner rather than later to be in with a chance of winning our star prize.
#3 Bulls and Heat atop East: The Bulls and the Heat are far and away the two best teams in the East, it’s not even close. Chicago are more balanced with the addition of Hamilton, he’s done a real nice job of being another scoring option and is knocking down 12 points a night on 45% shooting so far. Deng, Boozer and Noah are all playing at a very high level while remaining within the team concept and Derrick Rose is just simply Derrick Rose. Miami are basically a juggernaut who looks pretty darn good right now. Finishing 56-10 isn’t out of the realm of possibility for these guys. They lead the league in points differential, and have possibly the toughest defensive wing rotation in the NBA with Wade, LeBron, Battier and Haslem all capable of shutting down their opponent night in night out. It’s tough to look past them being honest right now, which sickens me.
#2 OKC's Chemistry: Out West, if Oklahoma can find that chemistry we all know it’s capable of displaying, they could quite easily run away with things. They have a superstar, a genuine sidekick (just don’t call him that), a superb bench (led by James Harden, a guy I abused so much before), a great coach and a fanbase who are as passionate as any other. They can be an exceptional team, possibly even great. But for that to happen, they need to start getting back to the basics of team basketball. It will help too if Durant stops shooting 8-26 in games, but that we know will happen for sure. It’s the other variables that concern me.
#1 Cleveland Cavaliers: Let’s talk about our Cavs for a minute. At 3-3, we’ve pretty much started the season as I expected. I thought we’d win our three home games and lose our three road trips. People need to realize that when you talk about CLE, you’re talking about a team that is in transition and that is very young. I don’t know if Jamison will stay around for the year, but if Tristan can play like he did against Charlotte on a somewhat regular basis, I’d ship 'Tawn out faster than you can say Baron Davis. Omri Casspi has struggled a little bit so far, and you can see that Kyrie is still figuring things out. Varejao is going to give you energy every night, dude is just a workhorse and it’s safe to say I think every Cavs fan is a huge admirer of our very own Sideshow Bob. We’re still figuring each other out as a unit, the shortened season and lack of practice opportunities won’t help that, but I really do think we’re heading on the right track. It’s just that the month of January is going to be brutal – b-r-u-t-a-l.
David O'Leary is a diehard Cavs fan who covers the NBA from Ireland. Follow on twitter @DOL17