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superheadcat
11-05-2003, 01:33 AM
did not tell me much that i do not already know, but is a nice summary of what we should all know, and i cannot seriously disagree about anything in the article.

Early Season Comments

Joaquin Fuentes
11/4/2003

Iím sure that Kobe and Shaq will find yet another way to put their names in the papers in the near future, but other than the battle of the gigantic egos that took place in Los Angeles in the past week, early in the season, there have been quite a few surprises, and I want to take this opportunity to talk about some of the most shocking ones so far.

For starters, there must some sort of weak-ankle crisis in the NBA right now. I donít know about the rest of you guys, but it seems to me that there have been quite a few ankle injuries early in the season. Stars such as Kenyon Martin, Tim Duncan, and Steve Francis have gotten their ankle hurt in the first week of playing. The fortunate news is that it seems that none of the injured players that I mentioned above are going to be away from the court for too long, but still I find myself really hoping that this type of injury does not become some sort of trend during the season. After all, superstar ankles donít come cheap or easy, so when a team is lucky enough to land a pair of those, they should not be destined for the bench.

I have seen LeBron James play his first NBA games, and much to my surprise, James has showed a great on-court poise and comfort for the NBA game. He dropped 25 points in his debut, but the most important thing to me is that James likes, and wants to pass the ball, too. And he does it very well. Another thing that it is going to be a plus for LeBron James is that he has the size and ability to be productive at the first four on-court spots. I particularly like watching LeBron play point guard, because LeBronís point guard game has something of Bernard King in it.

The very unfortunate thing for LeBron is that he has to pass the ball to his fellow Cleveland Cavaliers. I know that fans in Cleveland are ecstatic for having a strong stone to build their franchise around, but with or without LeBron, the Cavs are plain and simply a lousy team that canít win. Despite two great performances by their over-hyped rookie, the Cavs have yet to win their first game in the 2003-2004 NBA season. I expect LeBron James to appear in the highlight reels on the regular basis, but the Cavs will remain at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

If there is one thing that I canít explain so far, it's the Minnesota Timberwolves. The T-Wolves managed to assemble a superb team in the off-season, but somehow such team managed to score 61 points in 48 minutes of basketball. Con someone please tell me how is that possible? I donít think that the absence of Wally World serves as an excuse, and please donít get me wrong here, Szczerbiak is a very good player but not the kind of player that can consistently make up for the 30 extra points that Minnesota missed when they played the Nets and the Raptors.

To make matters even worse for the T-Wolves, KG got himself ejected from the game against Utah, and the Jazz and its faceless team got away with the win. Someone please tell the Minnesota Timberwolves that the season has already started, and that a sub-standard level of basketball wonít get it done against the Lakers.

I am really trying to hold myself from saying this, but after watching Yao Ming play in his first games of his sophomore year, Iím starting to believe that unless something miraculous happens in Houston, Yao Ming is in terrible danger of becoming the next Shawn Bradley. Yao Mingís rookie hype was somehow similar to the one Shawn Bradley got when he finally declared his eligibility for the 1993 NBA Draft, and Bradleyís rookie numbers where very much like Yaoís. However, Yao Ming has an outside game that completely surpasses Shawn Bradleyís in every way, but Yao has to find a way to get it going consistently. Right Now, Yao is not living up to his potential.

The good news for the Houston Rockets is that Steve Francis keeps getting better every year, and he will continue to be a handful for his competitors.

I expected the Dallas Mavericks to win the game against the Lakers, but as I posted earlier, the Lakers, at least in that game, turned out to be much better than the Dallas Mavericks were. However, Dallas has not lost another game, and it seems that the team is beginning to find ways to focus all of its offensive power in the common goal of winning as many games as possible with pure shooting power. Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash are still the team leaders, and Michael Finley, Antoine Walker, and Antawn Jamison are starting to fit together in the same lineup.

I believe the Dallas Mavericks will be like the small snowball that rolls down the hill: it starts small and shapeless, but as it rolls on, it gains shape, weight, and power. Downhill, the Dallas Mavericks could be the biggest snowball of all, but they have to find better team chemistry between their new, trigger-happy faces.

It is very early in a season that it is going to be filled with news that will be good for some, and bad for others. But there is one piece of news that should make everyone happy: the NBA 2003-2004 season has started.


Joaquin Fuentes covers the Dallas Mavericks for FanStop.com. He can be reached at joakinf@infosel.net.mx

thebac
11-05-2003, 03:09 AM
Can someone clarify this for me?

From what I've read, Yao Ming is playing well right now. If not for foul trouble and Francis & Co. holding him back, he'd be playing great (in my mind, he and Duncan are the only two players you'd trade Dirk for at this point). This guy writes that Francis' improvement makes HOU better, and Yao is stagnant in his development. Who's right? I haven't seen any Rockets games. Yao's early stats seem fine (15 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.3 BPG, 1.5 APG, 58% FG%, in 31 MPG). It looks to me that his stats are held down by low minutes and low FGA (9.5 a game). Am I missing something (which I concede I well might, given that I haven't seen any of the games).

Has anyone here caught the HOU games and can tell me if this writer has a point when he says that Yao is probably the next Bradley, and not the next dominant player in the NBA?

[Edit for typo]

michecon
11-05-2003, 08:47 AM
Oh, man. This guy should never write about basketball.

The writing is on the wall. First, there is physic, his strong lower base allow his to bang inside. Then there is coordination, fluidness. If you ever watch he does his baseline move, he did it against Zo and Curry recently, you simply realize Bradly can never be Yao ming. then there is skill, drop steps, hook shot, outside touch, etc. Last not the least, the fire to play the game.

Just ridiculous.

madape
11-05-2003, 09:58 AM
Did he write that last year, or this year? Yao's been tearing people up. In the preseason, he was flat-out dominant. In the regular season, he's been posting double doubles on a nightly basis. He's the most physicially intimidating player to come to the NBA since Shaq, and he has the potential to be even more physically dominant than the Diesel. No one in the history of mankind has been born with Yao's combination of size, strength, and quickness. Yao's made a lot of media pundits eat their own feces in his short professional career. Mark up Joaquin Fuentes as the next man in line at the lunch-counter.

bogey
11-05-2003, 10:09 AM
Yao has been a beast. He has dominated in every game (when he gets the freaking ball). The Rockets are doing better at running through him, but they need to improve more in that department.

I'm with ape...was the written this year or last? I know it says 11/4/03, but it seems odd.