Thursday, November 02, 2006

NBA: Hock and The Commander Discuss Opening Night

Dustin Hockensmith: The NBA season is officially underway, and we saw some pretty exciting things on Tuesday. To start, I can't say how impressed I was by Tyrus Thomas and how disappointed I was to let him slip off my fantasy draft radar. You see this kid play? He's a little raw offensively, but he's got the kind of game-changing athleticism that makes all Amare Stoudemire comparisons legitimate.

Supreme Commander: Tyrus Thomas is a beast and it's a shame his nose broke. You have to love that he thinks he will be able to play. Rookies tend to get "injured" or gassed as the season progresses. A schedule around 30 games compared to the 82-game NBA grind is ridiculous, especially with the excess of NBA groupies. Do you see any rookies or guys who just signed fat contracts essentially quitting basketball, to professionally bang groupies?

DH: If someone told me that Thomas broke his nose on the rafters at AmericanAirlines Arena, I might actually believe them. I don't know if I necessarily see guys who will quit the game to professionally bang groupies, but I see some who will 'multi-task' more than others. That's one thing you have to respect about NBA players; many are full-time athletes, sinners and adulterers at the same time.

SC: That's what people don't seem to understand. Stephon Marbury scores 20 and gets 8 assists... or at least he used to before he just straight-up started sucking donkey dong. He used to pretend to play and pad his stats by only passing when he'd get an assist or halting the offense to set up his lay-up... anyway, that's not my point. What I'm trying to say is basketball stats are nowhere near as meaningful as in baseball. Tyrus Thomas' stats mean something because they come when he hustles, just like Adam Morrison's game-winning jumpers will mean something. guys like Marbury only score in the first three quarters or don't feed the post because he won't get an assist.

Now that we're talking performance, who's your breakout performer of this coming season? I'm going with Chris Wilcox.

DH: I like Shaun Livingston to have a big year. Still not much of a perimeter game, but while he's gained some needed pounds, Sam Cassell has gained another year of existence on Planet Earth. Give a healthy Livingston even as many as 25-30 minutes per night and we'll see something close to 12 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. I think we'll also see Deron Williams have a breakout season, he has such great instincts and vision, and I hope to see a guy like Nick Collison find himself and start producing.

The question is, before we see most teams play a game, who you got winning it all? I think Dallas is hands-down the best team in the NBA and beats Cleveland in five games in the finals.

SC: I love Dirk, but he just doesn't scare anyone. He's a goofy white dude. Cleveland has LeBron and should be much better this year, but the team is still located in Cleveland. I cannot imagine a championship in Cleveland.

I'm going with the Houston Rockets over the Orlando Magic. TMac and Yao have health issues. Everything went wrong last year, this season will be different. Adding Bonzi to the mix (who is playing for a contract) is big, and Shane Battier is awesome. Luther Head is underrated as well.

Every established team in the East sucks and I like Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard to blow up. Grant Hill will play 5 great games, die, then Turkoglu will step in capably. JJ Reddick won't be a NBA star, but he sure can stroke it from deep. The additions of Darko and Arroyo at the trade deadline will push the Magic over the top.

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