Do you feel that?
The butterflies in your stomach, the sweaty hands and nervous figiting, the anxiety and excitement.
That can only mean one of two things, either your girl is taking a pregnancy test or the playoffs are just around the corner. I’ve been married for 12 years so I know my wife isn’t pregnant because you’d have to actually have sex for that to happen. So it must be playoff time.
First of all, is anyone at all doubtful of who I am routing for? For those of you that this is your first time in class, I am a Lakers fan all the way. I was always a Lakers fan too, this is not a bandwagon situation here. Even when they sucked a few years ago, I was still cheering them on. Everybody was talking about how bad of a person Kobe was when Shaq was traded and that he was a rapist after that altercation in Denver (I still don’t buy that, he’s a cheater but not a rapist), but never once did my loaylty waver.
I knew that we would one day rise again.
…but I’m not here to talk about the Lakers, there in the playoffs already and more than likely cemented into that number one spot in the West. There are other issues on my mind today. Issues such as Dallas and Pheonix fighting for the 8th spot in the West and who’s going to end up winning the Northwest division.
First of all, Dallas and Pheonix. Fighting for the playoffs? Are you serious? Didn’t they both win 60 games just a few years ago? Now they are fighting to stay alive. It is just me or does this not feel right. NBA legends and future Hall of Famers like Shaq, Nash, Nowitzki, and Kidd are in danger of missing the playoff, while fairly unknows like Roy, Aldridge, Mason, Von Wafer and Brooks are preparing to make their first big splash. I’m not saying that I’m bothered by it, it just feels strange. I am a huge Portland fan and I’d much rather see them get into the playoffs and gain some valuable experience then to watch Phoenix get crushed by my Lakers.
Portland needs this experience, it will help them grow. Pheonix, on the other hand, what can they gain from a first round exit? It’s not like the experience is going to help them for next year. Next year they will only be older and slower and worse then they are now. Hopefully, if they don’t make the playoffs Steve Kerr will blow that team up. He has a lot of nice pieces to trade if he decides to rebuild. Nash, Hill, Barnes, Barbosa and Richardson will bring back some nice young talent and expiring contracts for sure, AND I know some contenders would love to have them for short term runs at a championship. Shaq is the only one that may be trouble trading, but hey let’s look on the bright side, he only has one year left on his contract and when his contract is over Pheonix will have $20mil to spend. I would even go as far as shopping Stodamire because I don’t think he’s going to resign in 2010 anyway. The smart thing to do is for Kerr to sit down with Stodamire explain that they are going to build around him and “Twin” Lopez. I wouldn’t let Stodamire go without a fight.
Don’t get me started on Dallas. Again, for the students joining us for the first time, I live in Germany. Rooted in Germany with a house and family, not just visiting. That would mean that I consider Dirk Nowitzki “one of our own”, you know what I mean. I’m not a typical fan, but you always want one of your own to succeed to an extent. Like most European basketball players though, I consider him a role player. Of course a larger role than most role player, but a role player nonetheless, like Gasol. Pau has a huge role, but we are not counting on him to cary us. We have Mamba for that, but Pau will win you a game or two. He will neutralize the output of most opposing big men such as Duncan, Boozer or Ming, but he’s not asked to do anything outside of his abilities. Dirk on the other hand is and has been asked over and over again to carry the Mavs and I just don’t think it’s in him personality to be selfish when he needs to. A lot of people try to compare him to Larry Bird but I think he’s more like Kevin McHale with a jumper. Don’t get me wrong, the boy can ball, but he’s no leader in my opinion. With that said, he also has one year left on his contract. He’s already come out and said that he is willing to take a pay cut in order to leave Dallas with enough flexibility to sign another good player. If I were Dirk, I would take that “pay cut” mentality all the way to Cleveland. I would ask my agent to get me to a team that just needs me to win a championship. Couldn’t you just see Dirk playing the 4 spot next to Howard, for instance. Put Lewis at the 3 spot and trade Trukoglu. Championship in Orlando.
Beside for Pheonix and Dallas, another hot topic right now is the Northwest division. Right now Denver, Portland and Utah are seperated by only 1 game. I’m not at all concerced about who wins the Northwest division as I am who will be the lucky team to match up against Utah in the first round. They would scare me if I were a Houston or NewOrleans fan. Utah will (not might) will eliminate both of them. If they end up in the 7th or 8th seed, they will compete hard but SanAntonio and LA will beat them in a series. Houston and New Orleans won’t have a chance now that Boozer is healthy and D.Will is playing like the stud I always knew he could be. Brewer, Miles, Price and Milsap has really come on this season and Okur and Kirelinko always comes to play. The Jazz are the 3rd best team in the West but due to misfortunes and injuries have slipped to the bottom half of the playoff bracket. Well, there healthy now and they’re hungry…no, starving. We’re just waiting to see who they get to feast on in the first round.