Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 10 of Thankfulness: Writing

I've had the fortunate pleasure of being able to write for so many different publications and in a wide variety of styles. My passion to write is what drives me (along with my photography and about a hundred others) and I love to be able to express myself, my thoughts, my experiences, and anything else in writing. I am lucky enough to write daily at work and then when I get home from my job, I keep writing. That is the true sign of love, right?

Anyway, as I have frequently explained on this blog --and will continue to-- I enjoy writing about all different topics and just this week I recently published another article at, the tremendously exciting and up-and-coming website that I am a contributor for. As I mentioned, I have hundreds of other hobbits away from the writing and photography and one of them is sports. I love watching, playing, commentating, and being a fan of nearly all sports and so this week I decided to cover the upcoming NBA season that we all were so lucky to have return to our lives. Although so many have gone without even noticing that professional basketball is back, others were relieved to see that the incredibly wealthy owners and the incredibly wealth players could agree on how they both would be getting incredibly wealthy this season.

So to give you a taste of my article on MyHOFS, here is a portion of it:

MyHOFS NBA Preview:
I have many gripes. The one most vocalized is my hated for the length of the baseball season. There is nothing worse than following a sport that lasts practically the length of the first two trimesters of pregnancy.

Commitment issues aside, I can't support a league that drags me through three seasons of weather, let alone Joe Buck's awkwardness in the booth when Fox brings in some random celebrity to swear on TV beside him.

This new compacted NBA season is precisely what I am looking for. College basketball gets our full attention – as it should – and then comes Christmas time, just when the NFL begins it's final stretch and we are greeted by the lovely faces of Blake Griffin, Joakim Noah, and the Drunken Llama.

For all of you “I wish the NBA locked out the entire season” bandwagoners, remember this... come late January and March, when your NFL team is beat by the Packers and your college basketball team is upset by VCU, where will you turn for your sports fix?

Hockey?  Too early to care, pre-playoffs.

That's right, the old Nothin' But Ad-Revenue league.

To get you ready for this upcoming NBA Season*, here is a list of intangibles you may want to consider when arguing with your buddy on whether this shortened NBA season will be interesting enough for you to follow or not. (*- for the asteriks placed on whoever is 2011-12 champion due to the condensed season).

One of the best things about the NBA locking out for so long is that come the moment Jolly Ol' Saint Nick drops that new Gramophone iPad dock in your stocking, you'll have completely forgotten about all the stud rookies making their debuts in the league.

The two rookies to look out for are not the chart toppers Kemba and Jimmer. ESPN has already buried that hatchet of one-named guards. The rookies that will be making the most impact in this shortened season are the ones who milked every last bit of experience from college to get to the pros.

Best rookies of 2011
JaJuan Johnson (Purdue) for the Boston Celtics  and Marshon Brooks (Providence) for the New Jersey Nets.

These two are experienced collegiate players that were drafted by smart owners looking to fit the proper position players into their lineups and not draft another big-name guard to clog up their bench filled with Round 1 studs (eh-hem, I'm talking about you, Cavaliers). Johnson fits right in with the aging Celtics big men. If the C's decide to not re-sign “Big Baby” Davis, this power forward will crack into the system perfectly especially with the wiser-than-I-originally-believed Kevin Garnett helping him along the way. His post play and excellent defensive skills couldn't be a sweeter pick from the talented rookie bunch.

Brooks, is one of the best shooters coming up now. He nearly averaged 25 points at Providence last year and there really is no place on the court he can't make a shot (I learned this the hard way as he single-handedly kicked me out of my College Basketball fantasy playoffs last year). He jumps onto a team with a lot of potential in the Nets. When you have one of the best point guards dishing you the rock in Deron Williams and an underrated rookie power forward in Jordan Williams taking up defenders in the paint, Marshon will get his chances from the wing and fill up the score sheets more than any rookie in 2011-12.

The overrated rookies that everyone will be (already are) talking about: Ricky Rubio from Barcelona.  He's the Lionel Messi of the hardwood, but without the talent. When you can only average single-digits in points and assists in a league far inferior to the NBA, you just hope your native Spainards pull a Ming-Dynasty and vote you to the All-State game strictly for national pride sake. Also on the list is Kyrie Irving for the Cleveland Cavs. It's not because I'm a Duke hater but more so because I couldn't see enough of him to be impressed under Coach K. I saw mistakes and a lack of experience in his last two months after being injured for nearly his entire freshman season. Plus he joins the post-Apocalyptic Cavs squad.

The two coaches with the most pressure on them are based off of two completely different factors. Rick Carlisle has the weight of Dallas on his back to produce another championship squad out of the talented group he has now. With many teams losing track of the Mavs last year on their victorious playoff run, Carlisle will now have to manage the egos but also the pressure of being the defending champion as the rest of the league looks to knock them off their perch.

Mike Brown has a different sort of weight baring down on him. It used to be LeBron's hype that sat on his shoulders, now it's just Phil Jackson, Jerry Buss, and Jack Nicholson weighing him down. It takes a legend to manage the unmanageable Kobe Bryant and Brown is far from that-- or 11 rings away to be precise. It reminds me of the challenge Jim Caldwell faced having to replace Tony Dungy while balancing power with Peyton Manning. It will be an interesting season for Los Lakers.

The best coaches in the league will continue to be Gregg Popovich, Doc Rivers, Stan Van Gundy, and Tom Thibodeau, although I do predict Mark Jackson not having a terrible year in his first big-time gig in Sacramento.

Underdog teams of the year
Two teams are playoff ready and two haven't done much in the playoffs recently, but all four teams will be exceeding the rest of the league's expectations.

Memphis Grizzlies
The Griz put people on notice last year with an impressive playoff run. Missing the Western Finals by a hair in Game 7 to the incredibly skilled Thunder was difficult to swallow, but Zach Randolph will prove that Memphis is no joke in 2011-12, even within the hardest Division AND Conference in the league.

Portland Trailblazers
Many have forgotten that the Blazers were the only team in the playoffs last year to truly scare the Mavericks. Their post play from --in my opinion-- the most underrated player in the league, LaMarcus Aldridge, is phenomenal and once Gerald Wallace and Ray Felton get more comfortable under Nate McMillan's orders, this team will make a deeper playoff run than most expect.

Milwaukee Bucks 
Somewhat of a long shot here, but although the Pacers looked impressive in the playoffs last year, I feel Milwaukee has a few tricks up it's sleeve and won't go down without a fight. If Brandon Jennings improves and Andrew Bogut doesn't get traded, the Bucks could have a shot at showing up in the playoffs... just make sure you hedge your bets though.

LA Clippers
Big brother Kobe and the Lakers have owned Los Angeles for years. But after that dismal showing in the playoffs last year, we could see a new star in town. Some solid defending and consistent, clean play will allow the Clips to sneak through the back door that Phil left open.

Kevin Durant. Quite simply, he's a monster. He's the best all-around player in the league and has been for a few years now, but with his team being as good as they are now, it's his time to shine even brighter. Yes he dropped 66 at Rucker this summer and yes he's one of my all-time favorites on NBA Jam, but does that matter in my predictions? Abso-freakin'-lutely. When you're good, you're good, no matter where you play or what EA Sports tells you. The Duranchula will take this season by storm- Thunderstorm, that is. (You couldn't expect me not to say it!)...

To read the rest of the article, go to MyHOFS and register for the website here...

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