Hoops 411: Holiday Season Checkpoints In Basketball Realm

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Ho Ho Ho

Hello again basketball fans. It’s me, your devoted hoops fan here to give you a quick snapshot at what has changed in the basketball realm throughout the last month. I have to admit, this is the weirdest season of basketball that I have ever experienced as a fan. A season where just about every NBA team “wouldn’t mind” finishing 30th as opposed to 1st when it’s all said and done. A season where college basketball is far more exciting and is filled with potential NBA superstars. A season where roster shakeups have not been uncommon. A season that can be attributed to one thing: confusion.

Here are some check points that will hopefully ease your confusion (for the time being)…

4 NBA Teams Playing Against Early Odds

Celtics (10-14): It’s hard to imagine that a 10-14 team would top the charts here. Brad Stevens has the Celts in the top of the Eastern Conference. Does this say more about the team or the conference…? Preseason prediction: 38 wins

Trailblazers (19-4): The rest of this list will be from the West, because all but one team would be in the Eastern race today. Anyway, had to put the Blazers back on this list. 9-2 at the last checkpoint. Still rolling. Preseason prediction: 41 wins

Phoenix Suns (12-9): Look at this team’s roster. No, seriously, look at this team’s roster. 12 wins for these guys is, well, overachieving at this point. Do I see them hoisting the Larry O’Brien? Probably not, but fun surprise early. Preseason prediction: 15 wins 

Roy Mad

Roy Mad

Pacers (19-3): This team is one of those “I told you so but I wasn’t completely sober when I told you” teams. Everybody knew that they had the potential to be great, but with nearly 20 wins at this point, it’s hard to overlook their talent and their demeanor. Their badasses and I kinda like it… Preseason prediction: 60 wins

4 NBA Teams Suckin’ Wind

Chicago Bulls (8-12): This Bulls team is something I’m not used to but am totally used to. Ohio State Football, Derrick Rose, Accounting 2200: My top 3 most devastating events in the last month. This team sucks now. BLOW IT UP- Love, Mack. Preseason prediction: 59 wins

New York Knicks (6-15): This team reminds me of like the 06-07 Celtics. Had Paul Pierce and a talented roster, but “Never caught their stride”. Oh and Greg Oden and Kevin Durant were entering the draft. Knicks Tanking or Knicks Sucking? Time will tell but Melo’s out this summer. Preseason prediction: 55 wins

Brooklyn Nets (8-14): Contrary to the other NY team, I think this team is just having a hard time putting the pieces together. First year coach, a bunch of old farts, and very high expectations. I still expect them to find a rhythm, but will it be too late? Not in the East. Preseason prediction: 55 wins

Golden State (13-10): At 3 games above .500, you wouldn’t expect me to say their “Suckin’ wind”, but the truth is that we all expected big things out of these guys. Addition of Iggy, coming off a strong postseason. They’ve dropped 7 out of 12 and haven’t beaten many great teams yet. Maybe the losses of Landry and Jack were bigger than they thought? Preseason prediction: 53 wins

jason-kidd-bumped-on-purpose-to-spill-drink-for-timeout

Most Impressive College Basketball Teams

Arizona Wildcats (9-0): They were my team to make a note of in the last Hoops 411 (Shameless plug). The Wildcats knocked off Duke at MSG a couple of weeks ago and haven’t looked back since. Are they the best team in college basketball? Well, that of course, is far too early to tell but at the moment they’ve shown they have something special. Will it blossom all season long or will they be replaced shortly at the top spot?

Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0): It would be wrong of me to leave them out of this. Have they beaten anybody to make them worthy of being the “Most impressive team”? Not really. But, this is another classic Ohio State team: Great defense, improving offense, and veteran leadership. They really don’t have any roadblocks in their way, either, until B1G play starts up. Keep truckin’ Bucks, you’re all we have left!

Team to Make Note of Now

Wisconsin Badgers (10-0): *Pauses to go bang head against the wall*. I hate the Wisconsin Buzzcuts (A name given to them by Mark Titus, because name me a Badger without one), but they are the first team to 10 wins in the top 25 and somehow keep winning. They’ve beaten an impressive Florida team, Marquette and Virginia (nothing special) and I have to admit that Bo Ryan just gets it done. Fortunately or unfortunately, you have to keep an eye on Bucky going forward.

Names to Get Familiar With

Shabazz Napier: I was watching the UCONN v. Florida game as this guy single handedly won it for UCONN. He hit a very deep “And-one” 3 late in the game and came down and sprained his ankle. He went on to hit the free throw and then win the game on a crazy buzzer beater. Either way, this senior is catching the eyes of many averaging 16, 7 and 6 as a point guard on the 9th best team in the country.

Joel Embiid: Who? Joel is the freshman center for Kansas out of Cameroon. This guy is definitely the most interesting player in college basketball this year (or at least he will be soon). Chad Ford has moved him around among his top 3 in the draft for next year because he is THAT promising. A 7 footer with comparisons to Hakeem Olajuwon, he is somebody to watch out for as the season starts turning up.

Recruiting News

Myles Turner: Keep an eye out for where this guy lands. He narrowed down his choices to 8 schools: Louisville, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State, Texas, Oklahoma State and Arizona

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