How the Mighty have Fallen!
How the mighty have fallen! At the beginning of this season I was excited to see some of the reconstructed teams in the NBA, teams like the Lakers, Hornets, Jazz, and Nuggets. All were to be really exciting to watch with their new faces, and young exciting rookies. I was also excited to see what could be a revamped Eastern Conference with Shaq going to Miami, and the emergence of the Pistons, and Pacers. Instead of all this great basketball I find myself watch NBDL rejects, and bench clearing brawls.
The Lakers are the defending Western Conference Champions. They traded away their big man Shaquille OíNeal to the Miami Heat for Brian Grant, Lamar Odom, and Caron Butler. Them with Kobe Bryant and Vlade Divac were to bring a new era to Lakers basketball. Instead they have brought frustration, and boredom to Laker fans everywhere. The Lakers have been beaten by 15 or more points at least five times. And though they do have a winning record. The team struggles on the road, and is just 3 games above .500. Kobe Bryant the so called leader of the team hasnít been delivering either. Bryantís numbers offensively are good, but his defense lacks, and he doesnít pass as much as he once did. But this canít be all blamed on Kobe. The Lakers supporting cast has made a consistent effort to be inconsistent.
The Hornets who where 500 last season, made the move to the Western Conference after the Charlotte Bobcats expansion into the NBA. And they have looked very out of place in the west. The Hornets have won just two games, Ironically against Western Rivals Utah, and Golden State. But the Hornets have been dealt a plethora of injuries. Baron Davis, Jamal Mashburn, and Jamaal McGlore have all been lost for extended periods of time. The Hornets are considerably worse then any other team in the NBA right now. On a nightly basis they get outplayed in every aspect of the game. It leaves one to wonder, just how long Byron Scott will keep his job?
The Jazz made a lot of noise this off-season signing Carlos Boozer in a very controversial deal. And signing Mehmet Okur away from the world Champion Pistons. The jazz also started off the season extremely hot going 6-1 and beating opponents by nearly 20 points a game. Since then they have managed to win just 5 games. And only one of those games was against a team with a better record then the Jazz, the Philadelphia 76ers. The Jazz also managed to lost back-to-back games at home against previous winless teams, New Orleans, and Chicago.. To make matters worse, the Jazz lost all-star small forward and league leader in Blocks Andrei Kirilenko for nearly 20 games, and should be getting him back this week. But even before Kirilenko got hurt the team was struggling. Having won just 2 out of their last 6 when he was injured. Jerry Sloan has never had to worry about his job, but he might start worrying because the Jazz are bad, and not the good bad. The bad as in ďI canít watch thisĒ.
The Denver Nuggets acquired forward Kenyon Martin from New Jersey, and he was to be the answer to their problems. Instead the Nuggets have found more problems. After an embarrassing opening night loss to the Lakers, the Nuggets would go destroyed on their home floor by the Jazz, then go back to Utah only to get blown out again. The Nuggets did put on a small winning streak for a while, but have faltered again in recent weeks. Their struggles have been so bad that head coach Jeff Bzdelik was fired, and former Los Angeles Lakers player, and Los Angeles Sparks head coach Michael Cooper replaced Bzdelik. The Nuggets too have been hit by the injury bug, they lost Carmelo Anthoney for a few games, and have lost three point champion Voshon Lenard for the season to a torn ACL. But even before then the Nuggets have struggled, and may only have won these games because other teams where struggling more.
The Pistons and Pacers put on a great Eastern Conference finals last year. The Pistons would win, and then go on to beat the Lakers for the title. But since then both teams have looked like a shell of their past selves. The Pistons took a hard hit losing many key role players including Corliss Williamson, and Mehmet Okur. Both teams struggled in the beginning of the season, and when things had just started looking up for both teams, they played each other. And the biggest brawl in American Sports history began inside the Palace at Auburn Hills. The brawl left the Pistons without defensive superstar Ben Wallace for five games. But that was nothing compared to the hit the Pacers took. The pacers lost Defensive player of the year Ron Artest to s season long suspension. They lost key reserve Stepehen Jackson for 35 games. And they also lost leading scorer Jermaine OíNeal for 25 games. That suspension was later reduced to 15 games. The Pacers ended up going around 500 during OíNeal suspension.
In conclusion the NBA is marketing its product as the greatest game on Earth. When in fact the product is sub-par at best. Its getting better but maybe Expansion wasnít the right idea. It seems with the exception of the Heat, Sonics, and Suns all the other teams are struggling more this year then they did last year.
Written by: Michelle Trachtenberg