A look at this week’s talking points in the NBA – starting with the London stop.

1) Please Mr Silver, can we have more?

No surprise but the upcoming visit of the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks to London sold out in record time, leaving many disappointed fans ticketless.

Of course it leaves the NBA delighted (about the sell-out, not the ticketless fans!) and will continue the never-ending talk of bringing a franchise to the London in the future.

I think the NBA should take a leaf out of the NFL’s book, who now stage three regular season games in London every season, as a way of gauging whether a future London NFL franchise could work. They always sell out, no matter which teams come over.

We’ve had more than one game in previous seasons (Nets and Raptors played a double-header in 2011) and the demand for NBA basketball is here, so let’s take advantage of it and go with more than one game next season!

2) Listen to Chuck and dump the Lakers!

One thing everyone knows about TNT analyst and ex-NBA star Charles Barkley – apart from the fact he never won a Championship – is that he’s not afraid to speak his mind, no matter what.

‘Chuck’ gave us a great television moment on Thursday evening while commentating during the Cavaliers v Knicks game.

“I don’t know why y’all keep showing the Lakers?” he said. “This ain’t the 2000s anymore. Quit showing the Lakers TNT, ESPN!”

He’s a got a point. Even the most hard-core of Lakers fans will admit that their team sucks. LA can draw good viewing figures, but only when they are worth watching and that is currently not the case.

Those fans who do tune in will have turned off well before the end. Even Kobe Bryant can’t hold their attention when the Lakers are getting dumped on all the time.

Even the most ardent anti-Lakers fan would eventually feel sorry for them and that’s saying something!

And yet, the Lakers are due to be on National TV in the US another TWENTY-EIGHT times before the regular season is over – plus a bunch of times on BT Sport here.

That’s just wrong, so wrong.

3) How it’s going, LeBron?

Ok, it’s only one game into his Ohio return, but is LeBron James already feeling the pressure? Having failed to win a title during his first stint with the Cavaliers and then gone on to win two titles in Miami, LeBron will be under intense pressure to give the city of Cleveland the Championship it craves so much.

With able support in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, along with a decent supporting cast, he’s got no excuses for failure.

Except for a few decent plays, it was a poor opening night at the office for LeBron, and the Knicks spoiled his homecoming by stealing a win in which they didn’t play that great themselves.

Many people pick the Cavs to win the Championship, or at least represent the East in next year’s finals, and with good reason.

But James is going to come under even more pressure to succeed, more than he ever did in Miami and it’ll be interesting to see whether opening night was just a blip or a pattern of what’s to come.


NBA on ESPN - December 25, 20134) Injuries will have a big impact… again.

If it wasn’t bad enough for Oklahoma Thunder fans that Kevin Durant is out for an extended period of time, they might also lose Russell Westbrook for a while after he suffered a hand injury on Thursday.

It’s a long old season but without their two stars, the Thunder really don’t want to lose too much ground in a very-competitive Western Conference.

Going back to the Lakers and one of the only good things about this season would have been seeing how the highly-rated Julius Randle would do in his rookie season. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see if he’s going to be a Lakers star just yet after he suffered a season-ending injury on opening night.

Fellow Laker Steve Nash is out for the year (and most likely has played his last game), and a growing NBA injury list includes Paul George (Indiana), Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia) and Victor Oladipo (Orlando).

If we ignore the weaker Eastern Conference, which in fairness is slowing improving, injuries will have a major factor on how the play-offs shape up out West.

While the Lakers with Nash and Randle wouldn’t have been much better, the longer the Thunder duo are out, the more their chances of a long post-season run will diminish…

NBA Range appears on Fridays on MVP

Pic: NBAE/Getty

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Print

You must be logged in to post a comment Login