Ten things I missed about the NBA season

10. NBA All-Star Game: I get it, the Rookie Challenge and everything about the All-Star Game is kind of lame. The sponsors and the association always seem to hype the game up to the point where it gets very annoying, but I always seem to enjoy the actual game itself as a fun, laid-back exhibition between some of the greatest basketball players in the league. What I don’t like is the fan voting system which doesn’t seem to make a whole ton of sense. Why do we continue to invite Tim Duncan who is not as good as he used to be and averages career low numbers when someone like LaMarcus Aldridge is shut out for having a monster season?

9. Kobe vs LeBron: It’s been a major debate topic across water coolers, school lunchrooms and dinner tables all over the world. Who’s better? It can range from a variety of things, the number of rings between them (5-0 in favor of Kobe), who’s stronger, better suited in tight situations and the overall king of the court. Many argue that LeBron is the best player in the world right now, and that’s reasonable, but if I’m down by three points with five seconds remaining, I’m giving the ball to the Black Mamba. He continues to show time and time again that he’s got the skills and coolness to win games and completely take over. Kobe Bryant should and will be considered one of the best players to ever suit up, and that’s something that everyone can agree on.

Kobe is a five-time NBA Champion. LeBron has been to the Finals twice, and lost both.

8. Watching the 2011 rookie class: For being a weaker Draft class then previous years, the major question the arise for this rookie class will be whether or not the number one pick Kyle Irving can establish himself in Cleveland and not manage a 26-game losing streak that happened last year. I believe second pick Derek Williams with Minnesota will have the bigger impact on the fact that he’s a pretty decent shooter and can spread the floor with fellow Spanish rookie sensation Ricky Rubio. For Portland, it’ll be how Nolan Smith can fit in the lineup and we’ll have to wait and see how Jon Diebler develops in Europe.

7. Gerald Wallace: We got a good deal sending Joel Pryzbilla and Cunningham for a guy who is fearless and does whatever he can to win. Major man crush.

6. Free agency: It’s always exciting to see a familiar face in a much different jersey. With the 2010 frenzy of LeBron and Chris Bosh to the Heat, the biggest names looking to be wooed by teams are mostly big men such as Nene, Tyson Chandler and even Greg Oden who is restricted. Other notable names include Jamal Crawford, Jason Richardson and Carl Landry and with teams like Indiana and Sacramento opened with cap space, it’ll none the less be very entertaining where these big names head next.

5. Blake Griffin dunks: Don’t need to go into much detail. Go to YouTube and watch the 7,280 results when you type in “Blake Griffin highlights”. Watch and be amazed.

4. Games on Christmas: What better way than to wake up on Christmas day, open presents and lounge around all day in your pajamas and watch exciting NBA games all day long. We’re not talking Sacramento vs Washington, it’s Christmas and the fans want to see the cream of the crop match-ups, the Miamis and the Lakers of the NBA square off in dream matches we hope to see later in the postseason. Santa arrived early this year to give the start of the 2011-12 season on this day with a triple header: Knicks/Celtics; Mavs/Heat; Lakers/Bulls; Thunder/Magic and Warriors/Clippers. It’s a Christmas miracle!

3. LaMarcus Aldridge: Watch out, L-Train is coming in! Ooh that was nasty!

2. The postseason: Considering how tight the Western Conference can get when it comes to playoff positioning, it’s clearly a more exciting and deeper race than the East. With teams like Portland, Oklahoma City, Denver, New Orleans and Memphis all fighting for seeding and it’s down to the wire, you’re bound to find action. And don’t forget teams like the Clippers and Golden State who are up-and-coming with young talent and could find themselves in the postseason for the first time in years. Not so much in the East though, where the lower half are teams barely below .500 and the only true exciting match is who between the likes of Chicago, Miami, Orlando and Boston come out on top.

1. Watching Blazer games: It feels good to be able to catch-all 82 Blazer games on high-def in the comfort of my couch. But there is obviously something different when you step into the Rose Garden. A sea of people wearing red, black and silver who are cheering nonstop. The thundering music and lively atmosphere inside and around the court. Even the adventure of getting to the RG is fun, what could be better than riding the MAX with tons of Blazers fans and get dropped off right in front of the arena? Nothing like it.

photo courtesy of dalje.com