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NBA WEEKLY: The East Is Not So Beastly

Everything we thought about the Eastern Conference before the season was wrong. Okay, so maybe it’s way too early to make that bold statement, but a few teams that were supposed to be legit playoff contenders are off to slow starts. And the Bobcats are 3-3, even though they still refuse to play Ben Gordon. Hey, show BG7 some love.

Here in Chicago, Derrick Rose obviously doesn’t look like his old self yet. In the past, Thibs’ teams could compete on off nights because they were relentless on the defensive end. But so far, the offense is stagnant and the defense isn’t as dominant. Be patient with the Rose/Butler backcourt, and we can all hope that Jimmy Buckets transforms into that second scorer this team so desperately needs. As for the bench, Mike Dunleavy Jr. finally had a good game against Cleveland. Maybe he will stop looking so confused all the time. (Thanks to our friends at BarstoolSports for this lovely image.)

The Knicks look awful, and with Tyson Chandler sidelined four to six weeks after breaking some sort of bone, things might get even worse. Prized off-season acquisition Andrea Bargnani can’t dribble with his head up, play defense or rebound the ball, but besides for that, he’s been extremely productive.  And Melo remains an elite scorer who’s never won anything in The League.

Coach Mike Woodson might already be on the hot seat, judging by chants during the Knicks’ embarrassing 31-point home loss to San Antonio on Sunday:



Speaking of that beat-down, Tony Parker took Iman Shumpert to the woodshed. Whoa, there’s our old pal Mr. Bargnani, unable to move.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets may be an elite team in April, but they’ve lost four of their first six games. Deron Williams still has all-star talent but he’s been so banged up the last two years that it’s been awhile since we’ve seen the dominating game he displayed so frequently in Utah.  And, Kevin Garnett can’t hit a shot. But as long as everyone’s healthy for the playoffs, the Nets should be fine, if rookie head coach Jason Kidd can define roles, settle on a rotation, and let Paul Pierce take the ball from Joe Johnson during crunch time.

How far can they get? Well, as we’ve learned, never underestimate KG:


-On paper, the Rockets look like one of the best teams in the league. But Dwight Howard needs to start demanding the ball in the post and James Harden should at least pretend like he cares about playing defense.

-Eric Bledsoe is averaging 20 points and seven assists for Phoenix. Just based on the eye test (Thanks League Pass Preview!), he’s one of the best athletes in the NBA. Explain to me again why he didn’t play more for the Clippers? Oh yeah, Vinny Del Negro was coaching.

-Speaking of new superstars, Anthony “The Brow” Davis has officially arrived in New Orleans. Not only is he averaging 23 and 11 in the young season, but he’s actually become the Pelicans’ go-to offensive threat in the 4th quarter. Just don’t make me look at the team’s mascot:




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