So, I turned 41 on Wednesday and decided to give my two cents on the NBA season thus far. Here are some of my observations:
— The Lakers surprising 1-4 start. Not the kind of beginning fans and basketball gurus expected, but there a lot of new players in Los Angeles and assistant head coach Eddie Jordan is installing a brand new offense. The Princeton offense is similar to the triangle offense as it relies on a lot of motion and passing. The only players really familiar with the Princeton offense are Kobe Bryant and Steve Blake. Bryant has looked good so far, especially shooting the ball (he’s shooting just under 60%). He’s cut down on the crazy 3-pointers he attempted last year.
Blake played in Washington (2003-2005 when Jordan was the head coach). Blake’s more familiar with the offense than Steve Nash and it showed when Nash was playing. He seemed lost out there. Maybe, this will give Nash time to watch and learn the system so he’ll be ready when he returns. But, it’s also clear the offense needs to be tweaked a little so Nash can get out and run, doing what he does best.
— The Houston Rockets. James Harden may have cooled off a little from his great start the first 2 games, but he’s still averaging 30.3 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game and 5.3 assists per game through four games. He’s making an argument that Oklahoma City was crazy to trade him. There’s a very good chance he’s a contender to lead the league in scoring since he’s going to get the chance to be the face of the Rockets franchise. Jeremy Lin has also showed some reason for Houston to be optimistic after signing Lin and Omer Asik in the offseason. Lin is averaging 13 points and seven assists in running the offense. Asik has shown that he has a voracious appetite for cleaning up the boards with 14 rebounds per game. They might have struck out on getting Dwight Howard, but maybe Daryl Morey knew what he was doing.
—Ray Allen signing with Miami. Allen was accused of being a Benedict Arnold after leaving Boston, but many said he was washed up and the Celtics were better off. Well, well. What a difference a few regular season games make. Allen has played very well off the bench for the Heat and is a serious candidate for sixth man of the year if he can continue this all season. He’s averaging 14.2 points and getting a lot of open looks at the basket.
Rashard Lewis has also been another shrewd signing by the Heat that got better after winning an NBA title, something not many champions can do. Lewis is averaging 9.6 points and can give them an interesting lineup with him either at power forward or center in some lineups with the starting unit. He can stretch the defense with his outside shooting.
— The Dallas Mavericks playing well without Dirk. The Mavs missed out on Deron Williams and Dwight Howard over the summer, but their backup plan was to sign second-tier players to short-term deals. The signings of Darren Collison and O.J. Mayo have given them a younger and more athletic backcourt. Mayo is averaging 21.6 points and Collison has given them 16.2 points and 7.2 assists. Jason Kidd was a mere afterthought on offense last season for Dallas. And it has paid some early dividends as they are off to a 4-1 start without their best player.
Darren Jacks is a regular contributor to OneManFastBreak.net. Send him an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org