BNN: The highlights and lowlights of the early NBA season



Corey Marine

Eastern Conference

After what has been one of the more interesting offseasons in recent memory, the young ’07-’08 NBA season is starting to take shape. Forward Kevin Garnett and company are in control of the Eastern Conference, while his former team is struggling. Many critics are wondering if KG donning Celtic green has tilted the power scales in favor of the East.

Boston Celtics

As of Dec. 13, the Celtics sport the league’s best record at 17-2 and a five-game winning streak. All stars forward Paul Pierce, guard Ray Allen and the aforementioned Garnett seemed untouchable during the first few games before losing to the Orlando Magic. This group is playing well together, but many people are still hesitant to proclaim them the best team in the East, let alone the league. If, by chance, one of the “Big Three” goes down with an injury, will anyone on that supporting cast be able to step up?

Orlando Magic

In a league with few “great” big men in the middle, the Orlando Magic have arguably have the best one in the league. Center/forward Dwight Howard is doing what he wants to own the blocks, defensively and offensively. The offseason signing of forward Rashard Lewis adds another solid scoring option to the team. With the solid role players around them, this team is a favorite to take the Eastern Conference title.

Cleveland Cavaliers

All is not well in “King” James’ kingdom. Forward LeBron James recently missed a few games due to a sprained finger in his non-shooting hand, causing people to question his toughness. The team had a rough time producing points without their All Star and slipped below .500. The recent re-signing of center/forward Anderson Varejao should provide a much needed emotional lift to the team, but it is clear the team simply cannot afford to have James miss any more games due to injury.

New Jersey Nets

The only major news to report on this team is the recent ordeal surrounding guard Jason Kidd. After sitting a game against the Knicks due to a migraine, The New York Post stated that Kidd was allegedly “on strike” and demanding a trade. Kidd denied all reports.

Miami Heat

It seems center Shaquille O’Neal and guard Dwyane Wade cannot rekindle the fire that led the Miami Heat to an NBA Championship in 2006. Shaq’s age is continuing to show with his declining numbers, and Wade’s aggressive style of play is taking a toll on his body as he continues to play with injuries. Sitting at the bottom of the Southeastern Division has Coach Pat Riley pulling his hair out.

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks are arguably the worst team in the league. Not only are they playing horribly on the court, the team is plagued with issues from it. Coach Isaiah Thomas just wrapped up a sexual harassment lawsuit that cost him millions of dollars, and then he had to deal with an upset guard Stephon Marbury who simply “disappeared” before a game after being told he was not in the starting lineup. After this mess, the Knickerbockers went on to be embarrassed by the Celtics, causing NBA legend Charles Barkley to fall asleep in front of his TV. These Knicks have fans calling for major changes and longing for the days of Houston, Oakley and Ewing.

Western Conference

The Wild Wild West seems to be stable this season. Last year’s good teams are still good. The bad teams are still bad. The mediocre teams, well, they’re still average.

San Antonio Spurs

The defending champs are still playing some of the best ball in the league. They remain a fundamentally sound team under the leadership of Coach Gregg Popovich. The San Antonio Spurs can beat you inside with forward/center Tim Duncan or run a high-tempo offense with guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers (also known as the Los Angeles “Kobe Bryants”) are sitting in the middle of the pack once again. After an offseason that featured frustrated guard Kobe Bryant bad-mouthing the organization’s management, things have quieted down in Tinsel Town. Moving from boos to cheers in just the first game, the Lakers seem to be keeping Bryant for good.

Los Angeles Clippers

Last year’s upstart squad has found their way back to last place of the Pacific division. The reason: star forward Elton Brand has been sidelined all season after having surgery this summer on his left achillies tendon. A return doesn’t appear to be in sight, so the woes might continue from the other team in L.A.

New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets, one of the younger teams in the NBA, have started strong and are destined for the playoffs. They are led by point guard Chris Paul, who is averging 21 points and almost 10 assists per game. In addition to the strong play of Paul, New Orleans is getting strong play on the interior from forwards Tyson Chandler and David West. This balanced team could make a long run in the playoffs.

Seattle Supersonics

Year One of the Kevin Durant-era is not off to a great start. The Sonics, with only one win against a Western Conference opponent over a month into the season, are lacking the veteran leadership needed to pull-out close games. Durant is playing well, averaging over 20 points per game, however this team will be competiting with Minnesota for the Northwest division cellar.