It’s a brand new year and the L.A. Clippers are on a 17-game winning streak. There’s no stopping the Chris Paul-led basketball team, the Clips are outmanning the other 29 NBA teams with their deep bench and inside-outside scoring of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. I think there’s going to be a lot of firepower, especially with Matt Barnes and Jamal Crawford as well as Eric Bledsoe on that Clipper bench. Look for Ryan Hollins and Ronny Turiaf to provide defense and energy behind DeAndre Jordan and Griffin. It’s a close matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the Milwaukee Bucks and the Indiana Pacers in the Central Division. Of course, can’t miss the East matchup of division leaders between the New York Knicks in the Atlantic division and the Miami Heat in the Southeast division. I like the Oklahoma City Thunder’s chances of ruling the West with their dominant basketball play behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and of course, bench scoring weapon Kevin Martin.
I was unimpressed by the Miami Heat’s ability to start basketball games, especially tonight’s game against the New York Knicks. They started out slow and flat. The Knicks were sharp and on the ball. If Lebron James and Dwyane Wade were starting a fast basketball game, they must know that their defense must lead to their offense and so, they must be able to showcase their basketball talents. They will play Miami Heat basketball and they will win basketball games this way. They will not win basketball games against the New York Knicks, if Wade and James start shooting 3-pointers. The Heat will win games if Wade and James see enough ball-time to score and their role players like Shane Battier, Chris Bosh, and Mario Chalmers make open shots. I am impressed by James Harden’s scoring outbursts playing for his new team, the Houston Rockets. Harden has had a couple of good NBA scoring games so far. He and Jeremy Lin are playing awesome. I am biased, but I am also very happy by how the Chicago Bulls are playing. Nate Robinson is thriving in his role with Chicago and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is giving him reins of playing point guard for him. I like how the Bulls have handled the Derrick Rose situation by having a three point guard rotation with Kirk Hinrich, Robinson, and Marquis Teague. Until then, the Bulls sit tight and hold the fort until Rose returns completely and rehabbed from his torn ACL injury. Carlos Boozer is a decent basketball player, although he has good hands, he is not the fastest or the most athletic player you want the ball to have in his hands. He can make a 15-foot jump shot and he can score and dunk with the best of them, but he will not run fast or do the most athletic thing you can think of. I don’t think you can do anything with a stretch-four in Vladimir Radomanovic, if I do misspell his name, I apologize, let me check, that’s Vladimir Radmanovic, because he is playing behind Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson. I really like and dig the L.A. Clipper’s additions in Grant Hill, Lamar Odom, Jamal Crawford, and Matt Barnes. They will contribute to a deep Clipper team that will help them beat talented NBA teams like the L.A. Lakers, the Miami Heat, and the Boston Celtics.
Matt Barnes is officially an L.A. Clipper! Why is that?! This Clippers team is going to scare me than the L.A. Lakers. They have Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, and now Matt Barnes, three veteran players who know how to help their team win. Most of all, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan are leading the way for Lob City. Do you see that dude Blake Griffin on television? He’s huge. Some guy I was reading a news article on says Blake Griffin looks like a football linebacker. He does look qualified and he has the body and physique to be a football linebacker. However, Griffin is a professional NBA basketball player and he is a big dude and I wouldn’t want to be messing with someone who could mash my brains out. Having a recent acquisition like Jamal Crawford from the Portland Trail Blazers would definitely help out the L.A. Clippers. Ronny Turiaf, Ryan Hollins, and Willie Green are also recent acquisitions brought to the Clippers via trade and this could be a dangerous team to watch out for, besides the L.A. Lakers.
With the addition of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, they have also signed Chris Duhon as well as Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks. No longer will the Lakers have to deal with Andrew Bynum and his immature and childish behavior on and off the court, as cited by Chris Ross, my fellow basketball writer and colleague (and also co-conspirator). Bynum is sent off to Philadelphia now in Kobe Bryant’s hometown. As the Lakers prepare for next NBA season, get ready for a lineup consisting of Steve Nash at point guard, Kobe Bryant at shooting guard, Ron Artest as small forward, Pau Gasol at the power forward, and Dwight Howard at center. With a bench that has backup point guard Chris Duhon, backup forward Antawn Jamison and backup shooting guard Jodie Meeks as well as recurring bench roles such as Matt Barnes, Steve Blake, Jordan Hill, Devin Ebanks, and Troy Murphy, this is a Lakers team that is now a dominant force and should be reckoned with. There are a lot of question marks such as, how will they compete with the 2004 Lakers that had Gary Payton and Karl Malone alongside Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Will the 2012-2013 version of the Lakers be better or worse than the 2003-2004 L.A. Lakers? That’s what we want to know. That’s what we want to find out.
Kobe Bryant is 33 years old and he has plenty of basketball lives left to play until he retires from the NBA. How do we rebuild these Lakers around him? Keep Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Metta World Peace, and Matt Barnes. Get rid of Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake. If possible, the Lakers should get more younger and athletic. They should try and get Goran Dragic and Terrell Harris, two young point guards who are eligible at the end of this 2012 postseason. They should let Sessions and Blake walk away. They’re not included in the Lakers’ future plans. They should keep rookie Darius Morris who stayed in Los Angeles with the Lakers his rookie season.