Welcome Welcome to December. Christmas is right around the corner and I have bets that the Warriors will have clinched a playoff spot by then. Here we are with another round a of questions by our NBA panelists. Its the NBA Roundtable. This week we discuss Jalil Okafor and his scuffle last week in Boston, and has the NBA East caught up with the West? This and much more.
Let’s get right to the questions.
Entering Saturday, the NBA West comes in with three teams with double digit wins, and the numbers 6, 7, and 8 spots sport just .500 records. While on the other side in the East, there are 5 teams with double digit wins, and the top 8 have records over .500. Is this a early season fluke? Or is the East finally starting to match up with the West.
Todd: It is just an early season fluke. The West is Clearly the tougher conference. Don’t get me wrong the Eastern Conference has gotten a little better but it still has a long way to go. Of course when your teams like miami when they bought their titles a few years ago and Cleveland they can’t even buy their titles.
Steve: No the West is still the Super Conference and that will play out over the next several weeks. By the end of the year the #8 team in the west will have 44 or 45 wins, while the #8 team in the East will have less than 40. Still early to say that the East has caught up.
Chad: Its a fluke the west will maintain its dominance. The east will end up falling apart to where they have sub .500 teams in the playoffs. I believe it will get to the point of having the playoff teams 1-16 regardless of conference.
Bill: It’s just an aberration to this point. The Western Conference has been stronger, sometimes significantly so, for the better part of a decade despite MIA winning a few rings in there along the way. I don’t see it changing anytime soon, either. While the (L)Eastern Conference has made some headway in terms of parity to the Western, it’s still measurably below. There’s few teams that are truly recognized as “good” with the rest occupying the spots of “decent” or “terribad.”
Byron Scott stated that “Benching Kobe Bryant for bad play is not an option, and he has earned the right to take the shots.” Do you agree with Scott, or did he just sign his walking papers?
Todd: I think Byron Scott should scale back Kobe’s minutes a little bit. The Lakers need to learn how to play without Kobe because this is clearly his last year. I don’t think any coach would do any good this year as long as Kobe is on the team, so if you fire him that would do no good at this point cause you still have Kobe. You can’t bench arguably one of the greatest players to ever play the game.
Steve: Well with the news coming out that Kobe is retireing at the end of the season, you can’t bench him at this point. People are actually going to come and pay to watch the Lakers play basketball in hopes to get one more look at Kobe Bryant. Scott won’t be fired for this, but he may be fired because he can’t lead this team.
Chad: With Kobe going ahead and announcing his retirement I think you have to play Kobe on his farewell tour which I don’t believe would impact Scott’s job with the Lakers
Bill: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now: Bryant should have retired three seasons ago. That said, he’s got nothing to prove at this point and cutting back his minutes isn’t going to hurt his legacy; however, what it will do is provide the youth a chance to shine and see who is worth keeping and who should be sent packing. The sooner Bryant is off the roster, the better off they’ll be. He’s not helping when he’s going 3-20. Still, benching him entirely is really unnecessary seeing that even in a less than typical state, Bryant is still better than a good 75% of the existing Lakers roster and that’s saying something.
The Pacers entering Saturday have won 10 out of 12 games. How good are the Indiana Pacers, and can they compete in the East?
Todd: I don’t think they are very good at all. No they can’t compete.
Steve: The Pacers are just two years removed from back to back appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals, they are not a bad team, last season they nearly made the playoffs after being injured the majority of the year. So while they are not going to contend for a championship, this team should be good enough for a 6 seed in the East.
Chad: Playoff team yes; Serious contender I’m not going to say that at this point
Bill: The Pacers have shown that they mean business and plan to be in the conversation when it comes to being considered part of the conference elite. They’ve had some solid wins to this point and while the season is still somewhat young, I don’t see them slowing down. As Paul George goes, so do the Pacers… and he’s playing out of his mind right now after his positional change.
With the Warriors’ record start, everyone on the Roundtable said that they will NOT match the Bulls 72 win season. Do you still stand by that?
Todd: I am going to stick to what i said a few weeks ago. They will not beat the Bulls 72 win season. I do believe they will be the only team in NBA history to go 41-0 at home. The West is to tough and they will get bored. On top of that if they keep winning like they have been, they will clinch a playoff spot by Late December Early January. I don’t even think they will beat the 69′ Lakers mark at 33 straight wins.
Steve: I said before that Golden State will be very close to taking or tying the record held by the Bulls. Right now, they look unbeatable, so I am being serious here when I say that 73 wins is not far fetched, and it can happen. I still say 70 but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they get to 73, or better.
Chad: As a Bulls fan it pains me to say this but being 19-0 at this point would make me believe that they could win 73 games if not more.
Bill: Absolutely. There is little to no chance they eclipse the mark set by the Bulls. They may not even pass the one previously set by the Lakers. As I said before, the Bulls were 44-5 at the All Star break. We’ll see where this team stands at that point. Even though I’m pretty steadfast in my gut feeling, stranger things have happened and nothing is truly out of reach. It’s attainable for sure, but it’ll be one hell of a climb to get to that 73 win mark.
Jalil Okafor was in a scuffle outside a Boston night club last week. According to the audio on the video he was heard yelling, “we got money, and you are broke” Is this an indication that Okafor is just in this for the money, and does not care about the Sixers horrid start?
Todd: I would have to say that is a fair statement. I head about the scuffle but didn’t know there was a video. All I have to say is 0-18. Just for the record battle of the titans Tuesday Lakers vs 76ers total combined record 2-32
Steve: Look at it this way, the incident outside of the nightclub was the most life a 76er looked like all season long. So honestly, there are only a select few guys in any sport that really care about winning a championship. Sure they all play to win, but as long as they are getting their paycheck, they are fine and could care less.
Chad: I heard about the scuffle but did not realize there was a video. The 76ers are a wreck and I can’t blame any of their players for anything they say at this point.
Bill: This is youthful ignorance and petty arrogance at the same time. If you’re going to put yourself out there, being confronted by vocal detractors is a given. Best to keep your hubris in check seeing that your life can change in an instant. Ask Paul Pierce. He very likely could have died after being stabbed in the back but luckily did not. Ask Plaxico Burress. He shot himself in the leg with his own gun and ended up going to prison for 2+ years. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, homie. Just saying. No one ever died by being humble.
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