Hoping to ‘love this game’ once again

Chris Duprau

As I mentioned earlier in the year, the NBA is no longer horrible to watch. I still wouldn’t call it the most exciting sport in the world, but it has improved leaps and bounds when one compares it to how bad it was three years ago. This year I’m actually pretty excited to see what happens, as the playoffs are more wide open then a fat kid at the Pit buffet.

Since the actual seeding is not even set yet, I’m just going to give my thoughts on some teams that I think could either do some damage, or just be really exciting to watch.

I begin with Chicago, or as they are now known, the “Baby Bulls.” After seven years of rebuilding, all those draft picks seem to finally be coming together into a exciting team.

Now I am forced to hate the Bulls due to the fact that as a Knicks fan I can never forgive or forget the ’92-93 Eastern Conference Finals and the many fouls on Charles Smith in game five (although this would all be a mute point if he had just DUNKED IT!)

The difference for the Bulls has been the guard play of Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich. These two players have stabilized things on offense and made it possible for the inside games of Eddie Curry, Luol Deng and Tyson Chandler to be effective.

Chandler is a beast, but there is always a 40 percent chance that he’ll snap and go Ron Artest on an opposing player. If you ask me, though, that just gives you one more reason to watch.

Another young team on the rise is the Denver Nuggets. This team has been the hottest team in the league since George Karl took over, moving from 11th in the West to now making a push at seventh and higher. ‘Melo seems to finally realize that there is such a thing as defense and will occasionally play it.

Kenyon Martin, Nene, Marcus Camby and ‘Melo form the most prolific dunking frontline since the CDC (Crazy Dunking Crew) which consisted of Camby, Latrell Sprewell and Larry “Big L” Johnson. That bunch took the eighth-seeded Knicks to the NBA finals, and I would not be shocked at all if Denver causes more damage than Doug Petock on a rampage in these playoffs.

By now I think all 12 of my readers have come to the realization that I may have a man crush on Dwayne Wade. That may be a bit of a over exaggeration, but he is my favorite player since the “John Starks Era.”

This postseason the whole country will realize what I’ve been saying all year. This team is built to win, thanks to good leadership and a combination of youth and veterans. Has anyone else enjoyed Eddie Jones’ “return from the grave” season? I could have sworn he retired like three years ago.

That and the fact that they’re going to go deep into the playoffs means you are guaranteed to have a ton of Shaq one-liners and a recipe for success.

Get this. The Washington Wizards are going to make the playoffs. Not only make the playoffs but get the four seed. Shocking, I know.

Three players on the team Antwan Jamison, Larry Hughes and Gilbert Arenas average 20 or more points per game, which means any one of them can take over the game at any time. The problem is, aside from Jamison, there is very little playoff experience on the team. I think they’ll be fun to watch, but I expect a first round exit from this team.

Finally, the running and gunning Phoenix Suns. For years this team was only exciting because you got to watch the Gorrilla dunk at intermission. Nowadays, though, you get to watch dunks happen all the time, and doubly on Sunday. With the health of Tim Duncan in question, the path for the Suns to reach the finals is open. Steve Nash leads the way throwing alley-oops to anyone and everyone.

Amare Stoudamire, Shaun Marion and my boy, Quentin Richardson, are a scoring dynamo. In the past week, Stoudamire has been averaging a tremendous 37 points per game. If Nash can stay healthy, they have a more than legitimate shot to get to the finals, and from there, who knows what can happen? Most importantly, though, we’ll finally be able to see the Gorrilla dunk in prime time once again. Treeeemendous.

As you can see there are some interesting stories and teams to look at this NBA postseason. Yeah, there is no L.A. or N.Y. in the mix, but you know what? Good. Change is good, and for the first time in a while, I actually believe the NBA is fannntastic.

Next week I’m going to try and reach out to my readers, so if you have a burning question, a comment or a sweet one-liner e-mail it to me at [email protected].

Until then, keep on keeping on.