The Plank

The Nba Is Here

Well, the NBA season starts tonight (can you feel the
excitement?) and much of the media coverage has focused
on all of the problems facing professional basketball. While I enjoy
referee bashing and Isaiah Thomas jokes as much as all true sports
fans, this year should actually be an interesting one for the league.
Aside from the (very real) possibility of Kobe Bryant going to Chicago
or Dallas--and thus completely upending current playoff forecasts--the
most compelling story is the Boston Celtics. While the addition of
Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen may not bring a championship, the very
thought of Boston teams triumphing in the three major professional
sports is enough to make anyone sick. The rest of the Eastern
conference is still pretty dull, however, although Gilbert Arenas and
the hometown Wizards mights surprise some people if they can stay
healthy. And, if you haven't already, be sure and check out Mike Wise's
profile of Agent Zero in last weekend's Washington Post Magazine.

Still, the power resides in the West, where San Antonio and
Phoenix will probably (once again) face each other in what will be
(once again) a de facto NBA finals (with the Spurs winning). Beware of the Rockets and Jazz,
though. Speaking of the Rockets, I came across this recently and almost
pulled my hair out. I'm all for using statistics to judge the worth of
players and teams, but it sure seems like the Billy Beane's of the NBA
are a long ways away from discovering formulas that make any sense
whatsoever. If this is the best they can do, we might as well stick
with intuition.
--Isaac Chotiner
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