Tomorrow night is the much anticipated opening night of the season. Everyone's got something to be excited about.
Miami trolls out the 3 Kings
Boston brings out the "old men"
LA gets their new championship rings
And we, well we get to see Yao Ming in his first regular season game, and hear Kevin Harlan's annoying commentary about how "short" the Rockets were last year, and how scrappy they play (b/c lets face it, Marv's calling the Boston/Miami game).
We get it already. Houston's the nerdy science girl who you don't think about dating, but when you see dolled up, you go "DAMN! You're hot!" Yeah yeah, blue collar all the way guys. Kobe may have his glitz, Boston has the prestige and Miami is the hottest thing since sliced bread, but you better watch out for this team guys.
So here are my keys to success for the year.
1.) Health- Not just for Yao, but for Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Aaron Brooks, Chase Budinger, Kyle Lowry and Jordan Hill as well. This team is a low playoff seed without Yao this year, but with him, I'm with Chris Sheridan over at ESPN saying they're the #2 team out West. The key guy is Scola though. You take him off, and this team is dead in the water. Yao may get back to his 18/8 numbers, but for now he's a 12/7 guy. Scola's gotta keep staying healthy for this team to have a shot.
2.) Chemistry- The national media is making a big fuss about Brook's contract demand...and I just don't see this as an issue. This is the most unselfish team in the league (more on chemistry later)
3.) Defensive Identity- A lot of this falls on Shane and Chuck, but if Kevin Martin and Aaron Brooks don't start to resemble even mediocre defenders, we're dead meat. Still, I've seen teams with pathetic defensive individuals put in Top 10 team defensive efforts (2006 Dallas Mavs for instance). Get back to that defensive identity and you're in some good shape.
4.) The Two-Faces- On one end, Yao on the floor makes them a legit dump to the post and pop shots team. With Yao on the bench, they become last year's more disciplined Golden State Warriors team. That could make for some exciting basketball, as long as the team keeps straight the mode they're playing in.
5.) Making the RIGHT trade- I love Carmelo Anthony. I'm not going to lie, but he's NOT the kind of guy we need on this team. If we add a small forward to the lineup, it has to be someone who can shoot EFFICIENTLY, will play willing defense, and can fit with this team. Danny Granger and Andre Igoudala are two guys who come to my mind (and a lot of other Dream Shakers as well). If we do make a move, be it for someone who can help the team, not be T-Mac II.
So what do you guys all think?