Blogtable: New, And For Real

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.

New and for real | Westbrook’s speedy return | Bynum’s impact on Cavs, East

VIDEO: Nightly Notable: Kevin Love

Give me something new you’ve seen, from a player or team, that you’re convinced is real.

Steve Aschburner, It would be hard to find anything more new than Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ top draft pick who won’t turn 19 for another month. He’s a long-term project but with the right tools — 6-foot-9, arms that stretch from Pewaukee to Oconomowoc — and the right demeanor. He’s eager to learn and, naturally, the Greek import needs to learn plenty. But both in preseason and through the first week, he has been up to the many challenges. We can’t run wild with Kevin Durant comparisons — OK, so they’re built alike — but check out “G-Bo” and his early stats (2.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 42.9 FG% in 11.3 mpg) next to No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett‘s (0.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.0 FG% in 12.5 mpg) in Cleveland.

Fran Blinebury, TRD (the real deal) is MCW (Michael Carter-Williams).  In the golden age of NBA point guards, the Sixers rookie looks like 21K.

Jeff Caplan, The Warriors and Andre Iguodala. The former All-Star is essentially a fourth scoring option who is shooting 55.3 percent, 10-for-20 behind the arc. On any given night he can go off, as he did Monday at Philly, for 32 points, or for 11 assists as he did against the Clippers. More valuable is the big-time perimeter defense he provides, a real game-changer for the Warriors, especially combined with a healthy Andrew Bogut under the rim. So far, Golden State ranks third in defensive rating (the amount of points allowed per 100 possessions) at 93.0, seven points better than the league average and a nine-point improvement over last season, when they ranked 13th.

Scott Howard-Cooper, I think Minnesota’s start is real, after the much different look last season. Not .750-ball real, but this is a playoff team when Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are going good, when Nikola Pekovic is a factor on the boards and when Kevin Martin is hitting shots. If the defense keeps up — I am not nearly as confident about that aspect — the Timberwolves really have something.

Paul George

Paul George (Glenn James/NBAE)

John Schuhmann, I’m convinced the Indiana Pacers are the best team in the Eastern Conference. Paul George (62.9 effective field-goal percentage) and Lance Stephenson (64.3) aren’t going to keep shooting this well, but they are better players than they were in May, and that means a lot to what was a below-average offense last season. More importantly, they have the No. 1 defense in the league, which will win them a lot of games when the offense isn’t there. Even with George Hill missing some early games, the Pacers have hit the ground running. And though there will be highs and lows over the course of 82 games, that defense isn’t going to let up. I don’t know that they can beat the Heat (or Bulls, or Nets) in a seven-game series, but I believe the Pacers will be the No. 1 seed in the East.

Sekou Smith, The Minnesota Timberwolves. I think the playoff movement in the Twin Cities is legit. They’ve got superstar talent in Kevin Love and potentially Ricky Rubio. They have a coach in Rick Adelman, who has been to the postseason promised land before and knows how to get teh most out of the most complete roster Timberwolves fans have seen in years. All that depth in just the right places, coupled with good health from their core group (go ahead Timberwolves fans, cross those fingers) and this hoop dream should become a reality by season’s end. I know they’ve been in this position before, where things appeared to be lined up perfectly for a potential playoff chase, only to see it all come tumbling down in a pile of injuries or miscalculations on the personnel side. I believe those days are over with the group currently assembled. This is the year … I can feel it.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blog: A larger audience saw it in the playoffs than saw it in the regular season, but Paul George is a beast. He’s currently tied for fourth in the NBA in scoring, and is averaging over eight boards per game. Not to mention he’s one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders, which plays a large part in the Pacers’ early shut-down defense. As I write this, the Pacers currently lead the NBA in opponents points per game allowed. I think everyone suspected that Indy’s improved bench would be a big help this season, but to me their commitment to team defense is going to propel them to the top of the Conference.

Selçuk Aytekin, Turkiye: Since being Most Improved Player in 2007, Monta Ellis is set to have his best season in NBA. He is prolific scorer. And I’m sure that Dirk Nowitzki and his friends are going to help him a lot. I knew that he was a good player player, but I wasn’t expecting this much impact from him at the very beginning of the season. With Kobe out, now I’ve got someone else to watch.

Aldo Aviñante, Philippines: If the Minnesota Timberwolves stay healthy they will crash the post-season party at the end of the year and actually make some noise. They have the right materials for Rick Adelman’s system and it’s been that way the last couple of years — they just need avoid the injury woes they’ve had to their stars. The core of Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Nikola Pekovic is a great trio and to add a proven offensive threat in Kevin Martin makes the T-Wolves poised for something big.

Philipp Dornhegge, Deutschland: I’ve become an Evan Turner fan over the past month. He’s a guy that’s always taken too many tough jumpers in the past, but is now making an effort to get to the rim more often. His ballhandling has always been good, and he’s lost some weight and worked on his foot speed. I see him continuing to attack — and I love this version of Evan Turner!


  1. B-Ball4Life says:

    Mr. Dornhegge you are a joke…Evan Turner hahahahahahaha

  2. Steven Adams, the 12th pick in the draft from OKC looks like the real deal.
    Great energetic rebounder, runs the floor well, blocks a few shots and never really shows emotion.

    And then he got away with the elbow to Carter’s head and took Carter’s retaliatory elbow to the head like a boss!

    His minutes will only go up with an underperforming Perkins.

  3. TL says:

    can’t believe none of these “experts” mentioned the rockets.. rockets are the real real deal guys

  4. Roy says:

    The Bulls are over rated, even WITH Rose 100% they lack the offense to succeed in the post season. They have nobody else who can break down a defense off the dribble or average 20 points a game. The Pacers, Nets, and Miami are all better teams. Please everyone, stop being so delusional, the Bulls aren’t contenders. Not until they get another competent offensive player.

  5. kriss says:

    Rose wont be in any mvp discussion this year, I only see 3 players challenging the mvp throphy this year and that is ofcourse Lebron, 2 paul and 3 durant.

  6. Gaz says:

    We’re only 5-6 games into an 82 game season, why is everyone lauding plaudits at some teams and writing off others, there are always teams who start slow and there are teams that start well and then fade away later in the season, surely we should judge these teams at All star break and then again near playoff time, everything else is just speculation surely, what happens if Lebron suffers a season ending injury or KD for that matter, everything can change over the course of 1 game. That said I think Indiana are legit and they will push Miami all the way this season, I will be surprised if Miami do the 3peat this season, I think other teams have made much greater strides to rival their roster and I’m not convinced Lebron has the right pieces around him to add another ring this season but who knows at this stage, time will tell…..I’d like to see Minnesota make the playoffs and go as far as possible, also I’d love to see Brooklyn get another ring for Pierce and KG but I’m not sure that will happen… guess Indiana and Warriors are the 2 emergent forces in each conference this season

  7. NaViNong says:

    Pacers can’t win, I’m sure of this, even if Granger and other injured guys are back. Their play style will become different of what their play style now, if Granger will come back. Maybe they will not find the rhythm. My heart goes for Pacers, but my head goes for the Heat.

    And Rose will not become MVP of the way their team is doing now.

  8. Iceman says:

    The Spurs always do so well when people sleep on them. Popovich is still messing with all kinds of different line-ups, there is hardly any chemistry or plays being ran for the Spurs, but they’re still 4-1, winning character building games. When the line-ups are set in stone towards the middle of the season (like last), The Spurs are going to dominate in the Playoffs once more, with Golden State perhaps taking them to 6 games again, and then they meet either the Pacers or the Heat.

    For a team that destroyed the Lakers, shut down the Warriors, dismantled the Grizzlies awesome defense, and took the defending champs to the brink.. They sure don’t get a lick of recognition.

  9. dustydreamnz says:

    Teams that can win West-Spurs, Rockets, Warriors.
    Teams that can win East-Heat, Pacers.

  10. J says:

    Sometimes there are stupid questions on blogtable…

  11. Sullinger on my Celts shooting & hitting 3’s is new & real-Go Celts.

  12. damien says:

    Golden state looks great, if they could only halve there turnovers. Having Barnes back was great, now we have some scoring off the bench. Need another scorer off the bench, maybe shannon brown.

  13. mikerocks55 says:

    Wolves could be top 5 if they stay healthy. No one is counting the Wolves in because they are in Minnesota. No one wants to play in MN but they are good

  14. Gillsy says:

    I think Indiana looks the goods but until they get past the Heat you cant go to far, but they look the goods. Out west the Warriors look good on several fronts, 1 They have several people who on any given night can put up awesome numbers and often several players in one night. 2 They are known for the threes they can hit, but against the wolves in the first half they didn’t hit a three nearly all half but found other ways to score, which was lacking from the team during the finals last year.

  15. kidkouga says:

    I believe Indiana might be the team to dethrone Miami this year. Starting off 5-0 and they have George Hill out, Granger out, and Chris Copeland hasn’t even played yet. With Granger back I can see the offense improving even further. Chicago, Brooklyn, and NY are tough but they aren’t at the level of Indy and Miami……yet. Although the season is still very young, I’m still surprised how much little coverage Indy gets but it’s fine. If the Pacers keep this up they’ll end this season the #1 team in the east. One Last thing, Miami has ended the Pacer’s playoff run in back to back years, Indy will be out for blood this post season

    • MemphisTruth11 says:

      your kidding> You really don’t realize Rose will come back to MVP status and spear head the Bulls on both ends with his speed? Indiana has nice wings, Chicago- has Deng Jimmy Butler, Hinrich, Tony Snell- what depth to defend other wing Chicago will be legit when Rose finds his game back at 100%, preseason a point per minute looked good for Rose, the occasional game winner but the 2011 mvp will show it all as it comes back this season, Taj is improbing, Noah and Boozer are ever consistent. Chi town is above NYC, Brooklyn, and certainly atm Indiana- would make for a nice playoff series but Rose is the only other Mvp in the past 6 years other than Lebron- welcome him n Chicago back- its their Eastern Conference. Grats Miamia on adding a 1 n 2 pick, the all time 3 point shooter to surround the 3 all stars- ray allen, shane battier, rashard lewis, ect. Good luck holding ROSE

      • crazymaso says:

        Tony Snell? I’m sure the league is definitely game planning for him with his huge 8 minutes played in the season so far.

        Maybe my memory has faded, but Rose got held back pretty damn far back in his MVP season by Miami.. Somehow, Bulls fans continue to think that Rose who shot 35% against the Heat will be able to dominate them in a playoff series.

      • asdf says:

        Don’t be ridiculous, Bulls won’t do a thing and after a really good pre-season Rose is actually going down right now. The Bulls can’t even keep their defense up right now and Rose won’t help in this aspect; and the players they have won’t be able to make up for the defensive drop-off with their offense. East is Indy or Heat for now, it’s as easy as that. If Bulls will get back to their defense they might have a chance, same goes for Brooklyn if D-Will is healthy and their group gels up properly.

    • Um... says:

      Chris Copeland played last night….