Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe 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.
It’s preseason: What headline will get overblown in the next three weeks?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Starting vs. not starting controversies. It’s October, lineups are changeable from game to game (pen on paper, not chisel on stone) and I actually believed coaches when they told me, “It’s not who starts, it’s who finishes.” Factor in injuries and even the most obvious, set lineups get jumbled across 82 games. Frankly, I’d love for one season to see LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and a few more stars play their usual minutes but come off the bench, just to make that cool to new generations. Worked for John Havlicek, Kevin McHale, Vinnie Johnson, Detlef Schrempf, Manu Ginobili, James Harden…
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Are Heat Too Beat To Get Three-peat?
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Here it is: Kobe WILL PLAY/won’t play/MIGHT PLAY/could play/CAN’T PLAY/wants to play/WILL SIT/WILL SUIT UP in season opener … Let the man’s Achilles heal and in due time the Mamba will be back.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: The possibilities in the Overblown category are endless. But let’s go with something involving Kobe Bryant. It sets up too well to not happen: There will be countless updates on his comeback from the torn Achilles’ tendon. It’s the Lakers and it’s Kobe.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Anything involving Dwyane Wade. Whether he looks great or looks old, what matters is how he looks in May and June.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Now that Kobe Bryant is back in the states you can just put his name in it and finish it with whatever wild scenario you’d like. “Kobe takes first steps at practice” … seriously, it’ll be Kobe headlines with a choose your own ending. Until the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar gets back into the mix for good after his Achilles injury fully heals and his latest knee procedure takes, he’ll be on the minds of many, and rightfully so. He’ll get the same treatment Derrick Rose got this time last year, when his every move was scrutinized to the point of exhaustion. I’m not sure it makes the most sense, to preoccupy ourselves with a guy who’s clearly a long way from being back to anything close to himself on the court. But that didn’t stop us where Rose was concerned and it certainly won’t this time around with Kobe.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: One that I write on the All Ball blog? I guess if you’re looking bigger picture for something that can get blown out of proportion, I’m sure there will be a team that is considered a contender that will have a losing record in the preseason, and everyone will pile on with stories about how that team just won’t live up to expectations. But as we saw in Miami when the “Big Three” convened down there, it doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish.
Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: It has to be something injury-relevant. Like Derrick Rose going out and playing around 40 minutes in the pre-season, because in his first two games he saw limited playing time. Or Kobe coming back to the starting line-up of the Lakers. Or the return of Rajon Rondo to the Celtics. Something like that, I guess.
Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: So far, the Knicks being a team who can win it all. New York improved getting Andrea Bargnani, but Eastern Conference opponents did better. Miami is still three steps ahead of Melo & Co., but Indiana and Brooklyn are definitely better. And even Chicago, if healthy, is better than the Knicks to me.
Karan Madhok, NBA India: “Blake Griffin claims ‘Lob City’ is dead, stops dunking.” It all began when Griffin told reporters on Clippers’ Media Day that it was time to focus on defense and halfcourt offense under new coach Doc Rivers, and that “Lob City doesn’t exist anymore. Lob City is done.” And as weeks pass by without a single dunk from the NBA’s best rim-rattler, fans and media begin to get edgy. Was he serious about it? Long, meaningless op-eds are written. Crying fans carry signs asking for Griffin to dunk again. Griffin ignores them all and truly focuses on becoming a more efficient player and conserving his energy. All until that moment on a two-on-one fastbreak, when Chris Paul throws up the perfect alley-oop and the poor defender standing in the middle foolishly assumes that Griffin’s posterizing days are over. And then it begins again …