Grady Lee Thomas
With the NBA kicking off its 65th season on Tuesday, the time has come to assess what is new around the league, as well as who will make a push for championship contention.
Unlike the NFL, where there is parity amongst its teams, the NBA hosts an annual slugfest between a handful of household known teams. The teams that jockey for postseason greatness are the usual suspects: the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs and now, due to the resigning of South Beach’s favorite son Dwyane Wade and free-agent acquisitions of Chris Bosh and LeBron James the Miami Heat.
There are a host of middle of the road teams, such as the Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks, and Utah Jazz — all of whom are more than capable of placing one of the NBA’s top teams on upset alert.
The Portland Trailblazers, Denver Nuggets and Washington Wizards are in the back of the pack, deciding whether or not they can contend for a postseason slot. With a healthy Gilbert Arenas and number one overall draft pick, guard John Wall from Kentucky, the Wizards hope to bring quality basketball to the nation’s capital. Everyone loves to see the underdog pull through.
At the bottom of the league with no success in sight, are the Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves. A few years and quality draft picks that can contribute immediately should be able to remedy this issue.
Fading away like a dimly lit candle are the Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons.
The Detroit Pistons have seemingly self-destructed their once-great team of seasoned veterans. The Pistons are beginning to the resemble the NFL’s Detroit Lions – a professional football team that could not buy a win from Tim Donaghy, the ex-NBA referee who wagered on NBA games.
The 2010-2011 NBA season will feature new uniforms for all of its 30 teams, made by licensed manufacturer Adidas. The new uniforms, known as the “NBA Revolution 30,” are the lightest and most technologically advanced uniforms the NBA has ever worn.
The uniforms are 30 percent lighter, dry twice as fast as previously used material, and are made of 60 percent recycled materials, so they’re green.
So, what else is new in the NBA for the 2010-2011 season? For starters, there are a few superstar players who shuffled teams. As alluded to earlier, James and Bosh left their respective teams in order to join Wade in Miami-Dade County. The New York Knicks lost the LeBron sweepstakes, but landed all-pro center/power forward Amar’e Stoudamire. Carlos Boozer opted to leave the Utah Jazz en lieu of the up-and-coming Chicago Bulls, who have a realistic shot at going far into the postseason.
That being said, it is pretty easy to distinguish the contenders from the pretenders in the NBA. Every team has a glimmer of hope during offseason workouts that their squad could make a playoff run and win the support of their city, but those hopes are usually slashed by the Samurai sword of reality in the NBA. Therefore, a lot of puppies are left on the porch, while the big dogs run through an 82-game season toward a championship.
Grady Lee Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.