Lots of excitement in our house as the Wizards get ready to kick off the NBA season in Cleveland tomorrow. Our early optimism has been tempered by the kind of injuries to John Wall (knee strain) and Nene (plantar fascitis) that always seem to hang around. I remember, I think, 1992, when Rex Chapman, who our fantasy team was counting on to make buckets, missed the entire season with a "bruised instep." He always seemed to be on the verge of coming back, and he never did. When Nene "may or may not be" ready for the opener and Wall will miss "about a month" I get nervous.
Nevertheless, even if they both were healthy, I did not expect the team to make the playoffs. Wall desperately needs to learn how to shoot; Jan Vesely shows only the slightest hints that he can be a decent NBA player; and except for Martell Webster and AJ Price(who, believe me, are nothing to get excited about), the veterans acquired in the offseason (Pargo, Ariza, Okafor) show no signs of being anything other than bored journeymen in the twilight of mediocre careers. This year's first round pick, Bradley Beal, looks like he might be OK, but that does not mean much for the coming season. At 19 years old, and on this team, there is not much he can do.
So other than the Bobcats, I think the Wizards are the worst team in the NBA. The over/under is 31.5 wins, and sadly, I think that it's a bit optimistic. Not a lot to look forward to, but it's still basketball.
Around the league, the Lakers are the most interesting story, and with the Thunder trading James Harden today, I'm not sure what that does to the team. Injuries aside. Only Miami, LA and OKC seem to have a shot at the title, with Boston and San Antonio having the potential to make a run in the playoffs. The Lakers look awfully good on paper, but it remains to be seen whether Howard will be content to just rebound and play defense, and Kobe is willing to let some of the other guys on the team take a few shots. Despite lots of activity and excitement, both of the New York teams appear to have some serious chemistry issues, and nobody else in the league looks like a legitimate threat.
But we're tired of cooking shows in our house, so we look forward to another year of following a perennial doormat. Booker looks improved (although he is also plagued by plantar fascitis) and we were looking for a modest breakout from Seraphim, although he is currently sidelined with a strained calf. We're delighted that Jordan Crawford has been officially assigned the role of "chucker" off the bench, and we're also pleased that our favourite knuckleheads, Javale Mcgee and Nick Young, seem to have found decent landing spots in Denver and Philly. And another favourite and UNC alumnus, Antawn Jamison, who Bill Simmons says "looks about 50" has a chance to win a ring with the Lakers.
So there's still plenty of time to enjoy the Irish run at a national championship, but with the Tigers done it's time for another sport, and we are ready for the NBA season. Last year's compressed schedule meant games most nights, but with the off-season activity and our League Pass, we should be able to find something of interest most nights as the Gs transition into dreamland.