A View Through the Crystal Ball
The NBA at the All-Star Break
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 24, 2013 16:02
Midway through the NBA season, there are clearly more questions than answers. Will the Lakers ever get it together? Will Derrick Rose ever return? Who will make the playoffs? Can anyone beat the Heat? What’s for dinner at Kimball? These are just a small sampling of the questions which keep many diehard fans awake into the wee hours of the morning, and this writer hungry. Thankfully, we will not have to wait for the answers to such questions, as I have recently acquired a crystal ball, from my main man Saruman himself. Before the tip-off of the second half of the season, I am peering into my crystal ball in order to provide a picture of what is to come during these next few months.
Will Derrick Rose Ever Come Back?
This one is a bit tricky as well. Essentially healthy, Derrick Rose could be due back anytime now. However, Rose has casually mentioned that if not fully healthy, he may consider sitting out the rest of the season, which will have huge implications for the Chicago Bulls. With Rose, the Bulls may be the only team in the East who can stop Miami. Without Rose, the Bulls are still a competitive team, and no one will want to play them in the playoffs, but it is not quite the same without him. With this in mind, Rose will re-join the team by mid-March, but will get lost in traffic in the Loop of Chicago, forcing him to miss even more time.
Will the Celtics Be Able to Stave off the Crypt Keeper for Yet another Season?
Kevin Garnett is not going anywhere folks, and until he does the Celtics will stay afloat in the East. Free of the devastating yet mercurial Rondo, the Celtics will continue to place an emphasis on team work and take a work-man’s attitude towards the game. While the team will continue to struggle at times, especially on the glass, the veteran leadership on this team is far too good, even if it is bedridden every other day. Assuming this group makes the playoffs in the seventh
spot, this squad could make some noise, although probably not much more than a plastic trumpet. This group knows how to win basketball games, so it would be unwise to count them out.
Can the Lakers get it going in the Second Half?
The Lakers will make the playoffs no question about it. Although they have not played well by any measures, they will resume their winning ways. There is simply too much talent on this team. With that being said, the Lakers will need to win games in the Pacific Division, which will be no small task considering that the Clippers are currently the best team in LA and the Golden State Warriors are far from slouches. If any team can do that though, it’s this team. Having the star power of Bryant, Howard, Nash, and Gasol can only push you so far. This team needs to gel and Howard needs to needs to be the Superman he is. At their best, this is a team which beats Miami in five games. Head Coach Mike D’Antoni is not going to get that out of this group however any time soon. The best for the Lakers this season would be a finish as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. In the end, the Lakers will make the playoffs and may be able to sneak out of the first round, playing with the memory of former owner Dr. Jerry Buss. After that, Superman may well take flight to friendly climes, leaving the Lakers once again in rebuilding mode.
And the best New York team is……. (Drum roll please)
Wouldn’t it be gosh darn swell if Knicks and the Nets faced each other in the playoffs? Or at least something like that? New York wouldn’t know how to handle itself. Well maybe it could, but it has been a while since the Big Apple has enjoyed any basketball relevance. Sure, the Knicks have been passable the past few seasons, but nothing special, whereas the Nets were a train-wreck prior to their move to Brooklyn. Perhaps slightly better on paper, the Nets have underperformed to this point in the season, perhaps still fighting jet lag from their exhausting exodus from the Meadowlands. The Knicks, solid from top to bottom, have beat the heat twice so far in the regular season, and find themselves only four games off from being the top team in the conference. Both New York teams are .500 against each other. Therefore, the while the Nets are the best team on paper, the Knicks are the best team because they perform in a manner consistent with their collective talent as a team. If they do indeed face each other in the playoffs, it will not be until a later round.
Will Anthony Davis Lose the Eybrow?
As long as Dtrain continues to bring the pain, fans need not worry about their beloved hero losing his signature feature.
Who Will Make the Playoffs?
Perhaps the most pressing question at the midway point, this may be the most difficult question to answer. Injuries, locker room drama, and the illegal possession of firearms (cough Gilbert Arenas cough) always make such predictions difficult to forecast. The top
six teams in each conference should be relatively safe, barring
any injuries or other such aforementioned disturbances. As of