Blogtable: First-half Blindside

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

Week 13: First-half blindside | Knicks or Nets? | Trade me!

Besides the Lakers, what’s one thing you didn’t see coming this season?

Steve Aschburner: The Golden State Warriors. No way, no how did I see these guys winning more games by the midpoint than they won last season (23 in 66 vs. 25 in 40), being 12-5 against winning teams, ranking among the top contenders in both offensive and defensive field-goal percentages, showing such road chops, boosting their rebounding diligence and on and on. The personnel changes have been modest but surgical – Landry, Jack, Barnes, Ezeli – while much of the improvement has come from within, with the chemistry and continuity of coach Mark Jackson‘s second season. (Even now, it feels weird writing that whole paragraph.)

Golden State's Mark Jackson, by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Golden State’s Mark Jackson, by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Fran BlineburyThe Clippers challenging for the best record in the league and home-court advantage all the way through the NBA Finals. There was no doubt that Chris Paul and Blake Griffin had them moving forward.  But after last spring’s playoff sweep by the Spurs, this is a Bob Beamon-like leap ahead.  Jamal Crawford has been a turbo-charger and Eric Bledsoe makes the backcourt an embarrassment of riches.  Their offense and defense rank in the top five, they are 17-7 against teams with winning records, 13-6 on the road and 22-7 against the West.

Jeff Caplan: I could go negative here and say I didn’t see Boston struggling to this degree, although I was never one who thought they’d barnstorm through the season either. So, allow me to spread sunshine across the land and praise Mark Jackson’s Golden State Warriors, who are 25-15 and playing a total team game that’s entertaining as heck to watch. Oh, and they haven’t even seen Andrew Bogut yet.

Scott Howard-CooperDidn’t see these Knicks coming. If anything, I saw them going: going down a notch in New York City thanks to the Nets’ arrival, going away while relying on a lot of AARP members, Raymond Felton and Amar’e Stoudemire. Instead, they’re keeping the pressure on for the top spot in the East. Surprise, surprise.

John Schuhmann: If you told me before the season that the Warriors would win 25 of their first 40 games, rank 12th defensively and rank sixth in rebounding percentage, my response would have been, “Wow, I’m looking forward to seeing Andrew Bogut healthy and playing well.” That they’ve done all that without Bogut is pretty incredible to me. Mark Jackson and Mike Malone deserve credit for devising a defensive system that works for their personnel, and Stephen Curry and David Lee deserves credit for improving on that end of the floor. I’m still looking forward to seeing Bogut healthy and playing well.

Sekou SmithThe Knicks. Given the way they finished last season (getting trounced in that first round matchup against the Heat), I honestly didn’t see a top-two team in the East coming from whatever the Knicks cobbled together over the summer. I didn’t see “Carmelo Anthony, MVP” coming either. But he shut his critics up with some of the best basketball of his career through the first half of this season. The Knicks basically had the first half I was expecting from the Lakers.


  1. sam says:

    Gotta give it to the Warriors Mark Jackson has that team believing they can beat anybody. Whats really scary about this warrior team is there best player is not even playing (Bogut) and people have to realize 3 of there key players are rookies. barnes, ezeli, green. Klay is a second year player and Curry its his third folks this is a real young team there gonna be good for a long time. Not to mention there best player off the bench is out for the season in Brandon Rush.

  2. Are you serious says:

    So are the bobcats better. The worst possible for the knicks is Eastern conference finals game 7

  3. Rocks says:

    The Chicago Bulls playing well without D Rose. They just proved to me that team playing is more productive than individualism. Noah, Deng and Boozer deserve praise this season. Word up!

  4. mike says:

    oh yeah and they lost 6 of last 10 not a good time to put this out

  5. dr max says:

    knicks -clippers nba finals 2013

    • mike says:

      N.y. are not 2 good they had a o.k. start but there mental wont let them win all year long……sorry History repeats itself

  6. Warriors says:

    The warriors really surprised me as they mostly had the same players as before. They really improved from one of the worst teams to a pretty solid team. Hopefully the blazers and bobcats can learn from them

  7. RONDO says:

    didn’t see the pacers in the third seed. I mean roy hibbert is worse than last year. so is george hill and they lost some guys darren collison and danny granger

  8. […] $1.1 billionESPN (blog)Forbes: Knicks most valuable NBA team over LakersYahoo! SportsReuters (blog) -The Star-Ledger – NJ.comall 125 news […]

  9. […] are NBA's most valuable teamFOXSports.comForbes: Knicks top NBA at $1.1 billionESPNBlogtable: First-half (blog)Reuters -The Star-Ledger – (blog)all 118 news […]

  10. dattebayo says:

    I still think that the Warriors are overachieving, by far. To their credit, they dominated the East with a record of 13-3. But they also caught a lot of teams off guard or rather in a struggling phase. The Heat didn’t play good defense in Miami and they still don’t rebound well, Minnesota missed 5 key players (3 starters) in their matchups and Dallas and Brooklyn were really struggling to win games. The Warriors still have a lot of games left against the Spurs, Thunder, Bulls and Knicks and those will all be tough games to win. They also only played Memphis twice and lost both games, at home. I expect the Nuggets to catch up and overtake the Warriors and Grizzlies at some point in February. I don’t see the Warriors as a top 5 team in the West at the end of the season. They are just not that good to me.

    • John says:

      It’s very kind of you to list all of the negatives with how the Warriors came up with their recent record, and all the reasons why they will drop-off with their upcoming schedule. However, you left out one very big part of how the Warriors can maintain their current winning pace. They have done all of this without their best player. Andrew Bogut is due back in a few weeks, which should have a great positive impact on the team.

      • slider821 says:

        Please continue to give excuses as to why teams lose to the Warriors. Oh Miami didn’t play good defense, well the Warriors deserve no credit for that I guess. What excuses do you have for the Clippers getting beat 3 times and now OKC getting their first lost of the season after leading at the start of the 4th.

    • dattebayo says:

      I am just a sad Wolves fan, leave me alone 😛

      But honestly, the Warriors will be the 6th seed in the West, because Memphis, Denver, and the three top teams are better teams. That doesn’t diminish the Warriors in any way, being #6 in the West is a great achievement in itself because the West if really competitive. The Warriors will not keep their winning pace, they are already 4-6 in their last 10 and Denver is ready to overtake them.

      And yeah, watch both games against Miami and you see a Heat team that paced themselves in Miami and went all out in Golden State, the difference there is imminent.

  11. […] most valuable teamFOXSports.comKnicks unseat Lakers as NBA's most valuable team: (blog) -The Star-Ledger – NJ.comall 111 news […]

  12. slider821 says:

    Steve; the personell changes you speak of are modest but that’s because you’re forgetting the significant personell change that has really helped GSW: that is trading Monta Ellis and his horrible defense and 30+ shots per game out of the bay area.
    It amazes (not really) that our biggest
    trade chip and the player casual warriors fans thought was integral to our team’s success was traded away (monta) and the significant piece we recieved in return (bogut) has yet to play this season, yet we still have the 7th best record in the league.

    And supposedly Monta Ellis have it all. Well good riddence.

    • Jimmy Jazz says:

      agree, and the thing about Bogut, when he does come back hell help the team on both ends of the floor and won’t be someone they’ll have to change how there playing for.

  13. newyorksteelo says:

    The Knicks have blind sided everyone this year, including its own fans 🙂