Portland's off to a slow start this year and one of the key reasons is Nate McMillan's decision to play Steve Blake at point and move Roy to 2. If you'll recall, just last season, with the team mired in mediocrity, Roy went to McMillan and pleaded with the coach to let him run point and handle the ball more. The result? 13 game win streak. So what happens this year? Nate opens the season with Blake at point. I don't get it. Especially when Blake is a career backup, for fuck's sake.
And who could possibly envision the Spurs starting 1-4? No Manu, no Parker, no bench. Michael Finley and Kurt Thomas look positively ancient. And their D sucks- they're giving up 105 a game. I fully expect them to turn it around and finish somewhere in the 5-6 seed neighborhood. But what if they don't? Could it be possible San Antonio misses the playoffs? We know that LA, New Orleans, Utah, Houston and Phoenix will be there. And Dallas, probably. That only leaves two spots for Portland, Denver and the Spurs to fight over. Pop's teams always start slowly, but not usually THIS slowly. Strange days, indeed.
None of this week's oddities freaked me out quite as much as watching Joakim Noah and Anderson Varejao guard each other in the Bulls/Cavs game. Yuck. I've sung Varejao's praises in the past and also predicted that Noah will someday be a serviceable, if not great, player. But seeing the two of them go against each other? Wow. The horror, the hair, the baby fat. Disgusting.
Speaking of disgusting, how much of a steaming shitpile is the Golden State organization right now? The players hate the coach, the coach hates the GM, the GM hates the owners. Their best player (Monta) won't see the court until midseason. They let Baron go and replaced him with Cory Fucking Maggette. What a botch job. Stephen Jackson has to be wondering whether or not it's a good idea to stay there long term.
The only team in deeper doodoo than GS? The Clips, who've spiraled down to 0-6 and appear to have thrown in the towel exactly two weeks into an eight month season. My buddy Big Ben thinks that Elgin Baylor put a curse on Dunleavy for the backstabbingly rude dismissal. My theory is that any team with Ricky Davis on the roster immediately sucks balls. Let's call it the Ricky Davis Effect- dramatic weakening through sheer exposure. Like Kryptonite for Superman. Or Palin for McCain.
Not all of this year's early surprises are disaster movies, however. The Atlanta Hawks, despite having absolutely no bench whatsoever, are undefeated and just beat the Hornets on the road. Joe Johnson is playing MVP basketball. Horford and Smith are legit. They're beating teams by double digits. I'm genuinely impressed. One injury and they're sub .500 again but Hawks fans (bwaaahaaahaaa!) should enjoy this cohesion while it lasts.
*Note- Josh Smith sprained his ankle against Toronto and is out 2-4 weeks. Sorry, Hawks fans (bwaaaahaaaahaaaa!)
My take on the AI/Chauncey trade: Detroit immediately loses their contender status this year but puts themselves in position to sign Lebron/Wade/Bosh after the season. Good move for them. Denver is slightly better than they were but still has no center and little to no chance of coming out of the brutal West. And they just committed to more money long term. Way to go, Kroenke!