Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

October 30, 2012

KYLE HOBSTETTER: What to expect as NBA tips off tonight

ASHLAND — The sound of squeaking sneakers, the bounce of the ball and the clank of the iron.

These sounds mean it’s the time of year I love: Basketball season.

While I’m a college hoops fanatic, I always have a place in my heart for the pros, and with the opening of the NBA season tonight, I’m genuinely excited.

There is just something about the NBA that brings back memories of my childhood.

From my personal favorite player of Reggie Miller, to the brain-bending amazingness of pre-Wizards Michael Jordan, the NBA always finds a way to draw me in.

But the thing is: I’m a basketball nerd. I find things that excite me that most people wouldn’t care about.

So while others are focusing on the chances of a Heat repeat, or the Lakers’ brand new lineup, I’ll be looking at some other aspects to the NBA season.

-The Celtics are officially Rajon Rondo’s team. The Big 3 are no more with Ray Allen in Miami and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett growing older.

There is a youth movement happening in Boston, and the star point guard is at the center of it.

Rondo is going to have to help scoring, from his own hand and getting the ball to others. The ball needs to go through him.

Along with Rondo, look for rookie Jared Sullinger, guard Courtney Lee and forwards Jeff Green and Brandon Bass to highlight the youth movement.

‰Can James Harden be “The Man?” The Rockets gave up a lot in getting the league’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year.

Gone to the Thunder are reliable scorer Kevin Martin, future big-time player Jeremy Lamb, two first-round picks and second rounder as well.

That’s a lot for a sixth man, and now there is a talk of an extension that will keep Harden in Houston.

Harden is going to have to step up and be not only a reliable scorer, but also the go-to guy.

Either this experiment will pay off and Harden becomes a regular All-Star or Harden remains the role player he was while in Oklahoma City.

-Is Anthony Davis Rookie of the Year material? There is a very good chance that Davis will be the top rookie by the end of the year, but the Hornets’ center will have competition.

The Wizards’ Bradley Beal, if he gets adequate playing time, could have a chance with his scoring ability. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is talented and will get a bunch of playing time with the woeful Bobcats.

And Andre Drummond from the Pistons has been an absolute beast in the preseason — search for him on YouTube and just watch him dominate.

But Davis is just too good and I think he will help the Hornets get back to the playoffs alongside Eric Gordon, Austin Rivers and Ryan Anderson.

-The Lakers’ 0-8 preseason record is a mirage. Both Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard were hurt or playing hurt.

Steve Nash is getting his bearings in a new system. Remember “super teams” usually need some time to click.

By January the Lakers will have the best scorer and big man in the league (Howard) healthy along with one of the most dynamic playmakers (Bryant) in NBA history.

Mix that with Pau Gasol, Ron Artest (I refuse to call him by that ridiculous name) Antawn Jamison and other role players, the Lakers should be a favorite to win it all.

-Will Brooklyn compete? When any big name free agent went on the market there was always one team by their name — the Nets.

They were able to land a great backcourt in point guard Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace and Joe Johnson.

But the frontcourt is a little lacking with center Brook Lopez and the former Mr. Kim Kardashian Kris Humphries. Not that intimidating right?

I feel Brooklyn will be a playoff team this year, but it won’t contend for a title until Jay-Z — the rapper is an owner of the team — and the front office add some depth as well as a decent frontcourt.

But the Nets should be fun to watch and they have a brand new arena to show off.

-Here is the surpise team from each conference.

Eastern: Washington Wizards.

John Wall has help this year. Rookie Beal will give Wall a dependable backcourt mate.

Nene, Okafor and Trevor Ariza will give the Wizards a potent frontcourt. The only thing that could keep them from the playoffs are injuries and a lack of depth.

Western: Golden State Warriors.

This will be the funnest team to watch in the league.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson can shoot the lights out. Andrew Bogut and David Lee give them a very reliable frontcourt.

The only things possibly stopping the the Warriors are injuries.

All four players have been dealing with injuries throughout their entire careers, and if they go down, so do the Warriors’ playoff hopes.


-Rookie of the Year — Andre Drummond, Pistons

-Most Improved Player — Raymond Felton, Knicks

-Sixth Man —Ray Allen, Heat

-MVP — Kevin Durant, Thunder

-Conference Finals — Western: Lakers over Thunder; Eastern: Heat over Celtics

-Finals — Lakers over Heat.

KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at khobstetter@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2658.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • Salyers shoots 75 for title at Lakeside

    Baylee Salyers of Flatwoods shot a 3-over par 75 at Lakeside Golf Course on Thursday to win the Girls Open division of the Walmart Kentucky PGA Junior Tour event.

    July 24, 2014

  • 0724putnamwebshot.JPG Laying the foundation Workers are finishing the foundation for the locker room on the home side of Putnam Stadium on Tuesday. The Ashland Tomcats open the football season on Aug. 22 against Newport Catholic.

    July 23, 2014

  • Genuine throwback

    Todd Eastham is disproving the old cliche, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

    July 23, 2014

  • MARK MAYNARD: Looking for those who inspire

    Inspirtation, they say, comes from within. It is defined as an inspiring or animating action or influence.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0722KYPGA_152.jpg Jones tops Gillum in playoff at Eagle Trace

    Ashland senior golfer Logan Jones didn't shoot his average Monday.
    He didn't mind.
    His three-over par 75 and one-hole playoff win over Elliott County junior Ryan Gillum gave him the Boys Open division title in the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour stop at Morehead State University's Eagle Trace Golf Course.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 102213_329a.jpg Raceland tabs Clark as new girls basketball coach

    Jason Clark has a reputation of being — to use his word — “passionate” on the Raceland volleyball sideline.
    He plans to bring that same approach as the Lady Rams’ new basketball coach.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0305region2_389.jpg Pass the Mayo: East sophomore PG, Lady Raiders preparing for winter run

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0718spinda.jpg Steelers super fan Spinda to be recognized in Florida

    Shawn Spinda doesn’t have to use speech to profess his passion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    All it takes is a quick glance for a person to get the picture.
    But to absorb the whole picture, you’ll need to clear your schedule.
    Spinda is one of several fanatics who will be recognized at the Sports Fans Conference in Orlando, Florida, which is set for Aug. 28-Sept. 1 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. He is a “What a Fan” NFL Fan of the Year nominee.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703rfLL0204.jpg Little League State Baseball: Ready to run

    Morehead 11- and 12-year-old All-Star baseball manager Toby Gardner collectively likened his team to a racehorse.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0717prokick1.jpg Prokicker.com camp Eleven Ashland Tomcat football players were part of the Ray Guy Prokicker.com camp at Huntington High. The high-profile camps are put on all over the country. Rick Sang, an Ashland native who befriended Guy 20 years ago, is the camp's founder.

    July 16, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone