One month has passed in the NBA. Other than everyone is hurt, even the most sage of basketball analysts isn't sure of a lot about this season. So let's take a shot and see what we think know about the 2011-2012 season.
1. "Three The Hard Way" (Big Ups to the Section 357 Show). Chicago and OKC lead their respective conferences by 2 games or more but more importantly. No other team has consistantlly looked like a legitimate contender to catching them. Portland was an early darling but Nate McMillian's grind-it-out style has taken more hold and they have gone back to the team that struggles to score. Philadelphia is a nice story and usually Doug Collins-led teams are a lot better in year two. Sixers are good enough to snag #3 with the struggles of NY and Boston but not a serious threat to win the East. Wait, Miami is #5 in the East, how can they be top 3? D-Wade's ankle is the only mitigating factor in this argument. The Heat are an elite team with Wade and an improved Bosh. Wade's ankle may keep Heat from being #1 but they are still capable of a huge stretch to secure #2
2. "To be the man, you got to the beat the man!!" With apologies to Ric Flair, that famous quote can be applied to the Dallas Mavericks. After a horrid start, the Mavericks are 11-7, just a half game out of third in the rugged Western Conference. While I am still not a fan of Delonte West being a top six player on a contender, as Dirk, Odom, Terry round into form this Mavericks team could be the '10 Celtics. Rick Carisle is still a top three coach in the league and will have them ready as the playoff run approaches
3. The 2012 All-Stars Remixed (East): Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Brandon Jennings, Andre Iguadola, Rajon Rondo
4. The 2012 All-Stars Remixed (West): Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Andrew Bynum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Monta Ellis, Gerald Wallace, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Al Jefferson
5. "Lob City: Its All fun and games..and more": CP3's addition to the Clippers as made them into a contender. However for all of the fun that the Clippers are, they still have their issues in half court offense. Chauncey Billups has become 6-foot Rasheed Wallace and after Paul there isn't another creator on the floor. The Clippers should be in the market for a two guard at the deadline who can create his own shot. The Clippers while exciting could be a first round out still if they don't fix the 2-guard position. Especially if Vinny Del Negro will be coach come playoff time
6. "Peanut Butter, No Jelly.... Ham, No Burger" Big ups to Smokey from the cult classic "Friday for this famous statement and it applies to the New York Knicks. The D'Antonini System does not match what the Knicks have in a ball-stopper in Melo and no point guard who can run the system. Amare Stoudamire , along with issues with his legs, looks lost and has become Carlos Boozer-like. If the Knicks want to keep D'Antonini, they need to make a move for Steve Nash now, not this summer. If not, it could be a long season with a short stay in the playoffs
7. "Some how some way, I keep coming up with funky azz hits like every single day". The San Antonio Spurs are the Snoop Dogg of the NBA. They are old, they should be done but somehow they keep finding ways to get it done. Despite Ginobili's injury and Tim Duncan being 92 years old, the Spurs sit fourth in the West. As much as I wanted to paint them as "Boston West", Popovich continues to wield his magic. A healthy Ginobili and the Spurs become a contender to get out of the West.
8. "Your welcome". Sorry, I like the KobeSystem Commericals
9. "Everyone loves an underdog" One of the surprise treats of this weird season has been the Atlanta Hawks reserve forward Ivan Johnson and his building cult following on twitter. How does a dude averaging 4.9 ppg and 3.1 rpg get a following? Easy, a lot of gold teeth, a lot of hustle, a questionable collegiate background and you get a star. March 14, Hawks at Clippers. Ivan Johnson vs the "OG" Reggie Evans. Never has a Hawk-Clipper game been so closely watched
10. "What about the Lakers?" No show would be complete without the Lake Show. Sitting 10th in the West (more of a reflection of how tough the West is), what do they do to get themselves back in the hunt? The obvious move is bynum/gasol for howard. That trade has been discussed to the point of overkill. The move that should be made is for a real point guard or small forward. Jose Calderon, Kyle Lowry, Danny Granger are names that could be made available. The Lakers always fancy themselves a contender and if that is the case, a move needs to be made sooner than later.