By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
The drama-filled NBA is stuffed with knee-jerk reactions and definitive statements. Many are extreme (Mike D’Antoni will be the Lakers savior), while others are warranted (Mike D’Antoni’s offense is likely an upgrade from what Mike Brown was running). But either way, we love to hear and dissect those league-wide opinions. So here’s a (hopefully) rational and weekly place to follow the ongoings across the NBA:
Stock Report – Who’s up? Who’s down?
Rising – LaLa Land
As expected, it’s been a circus. And the Mike Brown firing, only five games into the season, seemed like a massive overreaction. But things are on the upswing. The Lakers have won two straight since the firing, in pretty convincing fashion, and the general mindset of the team seems to have eased a bit. Plus, Mike D’Antoni and his transition system fit the Laker personnel (Steve Nash in particular) and the players have publicly endorsed the hire.
Falling – Andrew Bynum
The key piece Los Angeles gave up in the Dwight Howard trade has as many points and rebounds this season as I do. And it’s going to be like that for a while. Philadelphia’s big-bodied center hasn’t practiced since the 76ers acquired him and, earlier this week, it was announced Bynum would be out until at least January with a bone bruise in his right knee. Not exactly how they envisioned this marriage starting.
Rising – New York hoops
The Knicks are the last remaining unbeaten team in the NBA, playing only four games but winning them all easily. Enjoy it while it lasts, Knicks fans. Because it won’t.
Falling – Washington/Detroit hoops
The Wizards and Pistons are the last two winless team in the NBA. Even the Bobcats have picked up a couple W’s.
Player of the week – Kenneth Faried
Denver’s undersized energizer bunny is having a breakout sophomore season, dominating the paint despite a small-by-NBA-terms 6-foot-8 frame. Last week, Faried averaged 16.8 points, 12.8 rebounds, nearly two blocks and a steal, sparking the Nuggets’ current four-game win streak.
Stat line of the week
Greg Monroe: 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in Detroit’s 105-103 loss at Sacramento. That gives the Pistons’ big man one more career triple-double than Kevin Durant.
Miami’s Shane Battier on being an undersized power forward: “I’m undersized every night, but I like to think I’m quicker in the mind. If we’re playing Jeopardy, I like my chances against any power forward in the league. Print that.”
Story of the week
An inside look at the hours before and after Phil Jackson learned the Lakers decided to go with Mike D’Antoni as their next coach. The legendary coach seemed genuinely interested in the job, with Los Angeles players and fans clamoring for him, but before he could commit, the Laker brass he’s battled with in the past spurned him.
Robot, engage passing mode.
Video of the week
The Warriors’ Andris Biedrins has missed plenty of free throws in his time (a career 50 percent shooter from the line). But this one, wow. Like a Tim Tebow out route.
Game of the upcoming week
Wednesday – Memphis at Oklahoma City
Both in the midst of five-game win streaks, this will be a good barometer for the young squads, particularly OKC. Continuing to implement Kevin Martin and build chemistry, the Thunder looked better in the season’s second week, but still haven’t beat a high-level NBA team. Memphis would qualify.