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Nothin' but Net: What we now know
By Jim Brighters, NBA Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The NBA is at the quarter pole of the 2013-14 season.
We now have a large enough sample to pass judgement on various things. The picture has become clearer and it's never too early to flaunt knowledge. Knowledge is sexy.
For instance, we now know THE EASTERN CONFERENCE IS A DISGRACE.
The Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat are championship contenders. The rest of the Eastern Conference is a joke. How big a laugher? The Pacers and Heat are the only two teams with a winning record against Western Conference teams. Only three Western Conference teams don't have winning records against the East.
It's bad. Who's third? The Atlanta Hawks? I guess. The Chicago Bulls still? Could be, plenty of talent still there. The Brooklyn Nets? Why not.
The ninth team in the West would be third in the East. Before the season, people thought the Bulls and Nets would be legit contenders. Derrick Rose's injury and Jason Kidd's ineptitude derailed those predictions.
The East has been so bad that people are commenting the league should do away with divisions. While the idea that the league should eliminate divisions because of this singularly bad season is far-fetched, know that the levels of stink the East has shown are boundless.
We now know JASON KIDD, MUCH LIKE MILK, WAS A BAD CHOICE.
We now know BRAD STEVENS, JEFF HORNACEK AND BRETT BROWN, UNLIKE MILK,
WAS A GOOD CHOICE.
We now know PAUL GEORGE IS A SUPERSTAR AND THE LEAGUE MVP RIGHT NOW.
He is fourth in the league in scoring and his evolution from bench player to mega-star is impressive. George would also probably be the Defensive Player of the Year if the big tree named Roy Hibbert didn't man the middle for George's Pacers.
This season he is shooting 47.5 percent from the field, 43 percent from long range, averages 5.7 rebounds per game and 3.4 assists per game, which is a great number for a forward. George is even top 10 in PER, which I'm told is a good thing.
What's sad is LeBron James will probably win again. Sure, he's worthy, but enough. George is having almost every bit the season James, or Kevin Durant is having and his team is the best, so reward that.
We now know MIKE WOODSON WILL GET FIRED FOR LETTING THE NEW YORK
KNICKS GET BAD.
We now know THERE ARE FIVE TEAMS THAT COULD WIN AN NBA TITLE: PACERS,
HEAT, SPURS, THUNDER AND BLAZERS.
The first four are no-brainers, but the Portland Trail Blazers are legitimate threats to win the NBA championship. It's a superstar league and Portland has two in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. They score effortlessly, however their defense needs work.
Portland's bench was historically bad last season. The Blazers improved it and now, they own the best record in the Western Conference. Will they continue with a .826 winning percentage? Doubt it, but they've already beaten the Pacers and Thunder this season.
We now know TANKING IS WORKING.
The Sixers, Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors are all actively not trying to win too many games. The goal is a top-three pick in this loaded draft and the Raptors have the best record of the lot at 7-13.
It's also interesting how great the fits would be for these three teams and the three top prospects. Kansas' Andrew Wiggins is Canadian. Boom, Raptors. Jabari Parker of Duke is a devout Mormon. Where do a lot of Mormons dwell? Utah. And Julius Randle and Philly fit because they are the only two left.
We now know YOU CAN HAVE ANY TORONTO RAPTOR YOU WANT.
We now know, based on All-Star voting releases, LEBRON JAMES WILL LINE UP AT CENTER FOR THE EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STAR TEAM.
We now know KOBE BRYANT IS SUPERHUMAN.
Aside from coming back a little early from a torn Achilles, at the age of 35 mind you, Bryant is now going to play some point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Steve Nash is hurt and has one foot into retirement. Steve Blake was playing well in his place, but he dinged his elbow and will be out for six weeks. That leaves Black Mamba to assume some point guard duties in just his third game back.
There will be doubters about him being too selfish to play the point, but bold prediction time - Bryant will be great in the role.
We now know THAT IT WILL ALL CHANGE OVER THE NEXT 60 GAMES.
- Movie Moment - So Bruce Wayne won't "execute" that man at the beginning of "Batman Begins." Noble, right? Well, Bruce then sets the house on fire, with that man locked in a cage with no chance of escape. Or, someone lets him out, this guy freezes because he has no shirt on. The point is, that guy died anyway because of Bruce Wayne.
- TV Moment - Sarah Palin will host "Amazing America With Sarah Palin" on the Sportsman Channel. That's a pretty lofty fall for Mrs. Palin.
12/13 15:51:29 ET