LOOKING FORWARD TO SPORTS IN 2012:
THE NBA by Arik Wonsover
BA fans were delighted this holiday season when they woke up to find that Santa stuffed their stockings with the gift of an NBA season. With an off-season chock-full of drama that no one really cared about, it’s a relief to know that the future of the NBA is secure for the near future (knock on wood). With all the legal mumbo jumbo now in the past, it’s time to look forward to the New Year in basketball.
DIAPER DANDIES From Kobe Bryant’s return to greatness to the Knicks stinking up the Garden, this year has been full of surprises. Maybe the biggest shocker of them all is the surprisinglycompetitive rookie of the year race between Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio. In a draft class short on big name bluechippers, Irving has emerged as a sure-fire star. He is the first number one overall draft pick for the Cleveland Cavaliers since the self-proclaimed “King” James; oddly enough, Irving’s numbers have been remarkably similar to Lebron’s first year. Lebron’s rookie season- 20 points, 5.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game Irving’s rookie season (thru 19 games)- 17.9 points, 4.8 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game.
PLAYER TO WATCH Irving is in good company in his rookie of the year race, as my “player to look forward to in 2012” candidate Ricky Rubio has mesmerized audiences. Last season you’d probably find as many empty seats at a Minnesota Timberwolves game as you would find at a WNBA game. But Rubio’s flashy passing skills and adept feel for the game forces fans to tune in. He’s filling the stat sheet with 8.8 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game early on this season. His stats don’t even begin to explain how special this kid is, you have to see it to believe it.
ANTICIPATED MATCHUPS I simply cannot wait to see what the 2012 playoffs will have in store. Will the Bulls make it past the Heat? Will Lob City dunk its way to the title? Will Lebron win one of the seven championships he promised? With the playoffs set to begin after the end of the regular season on April 26, we unfortunately won’t be able to answer those questions at the moment. So for now, I’ll give you my two most anticipated matchups that might never actually happen. Bulls vs. Heat- This one’s a no-brainer. Ever since the Heat beat the Bulls in five games last season, I’ve been seeking revenge. After a controversial 97-93 Heat win over the Bulls in Miami on January 29, I would do anything short of cutting off my own arm off to see these teams lock up again. The Battle for L.A. – This past offseason the Clippers spurned the Lakers by acquiring Chris Paul. This matchup has hardly been a rivalry in the past, but with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as the co-mayors of Lob City, the Clips are making the Lakers sweat. Kobe won’t give up his city without a fight, and this matchup fits the bill. The 2012 offseason will see teams lineup for a chance at acquiring superstars Dwight Howard and Deron Williams. With Brook Lopez suffering a foot injury that will keep him out most of the season, the Nets chances of extending Williams and acquiring Dwight Howard are deteriorating. The Nets don’t exactly have much of a pitch considering they’re an annually sub-.500 team; even a move to Brooklyn doesn’t add much appeal. For Howard, the Lakers continue to look like a likely target, but the Celtics, Clippers and the Bulls are still in the mix. If the Mayans predicted the calendar correctly, this could be the first and last NBA season under the new CBA. I’m gonna watch this NBA season like it’s my last. You should do the same.
The Spread features Adam Bouska and the NOH8 Campaign