Monday, September 12, 2005

30 Reasons to Get Fired Up for the 2005-06 NBA Season - #30

With the NFL officially arriving this past weekend, the NBA has become almost an afterthought among many people. Not us. Those of you who were lucky enough to catch some of the NBA Players Hurricane Relief Game last night (which TNT aired on tape delay at 11 PM ET) were able to catch a brief glimpse of what the 2005-06 NBA season will offer-- for me it was merely a one hour fix in a summer of NBA withdrawal. Of course there were a few things that whet my appetite-- Joe Johnson, Cuttino Mobley, Damon Jones, and Derek Anderson rocking their new unis, T-Mac displaying his extended 40-foot 3-point shot range, Barkley predicting that the Rockets finish 2nd in the West, and KG sounding so genuine and compassionate every time he spoke about the event that you can't help but believe the Basketball Gods will be on his side this year. And you know what's comforting about hearing all of this? NBA training camps are only 3 weeks away from opening, and the countdown towards the first real action between two teams in the form of preseason ball hit 30 days yesterday. So with that, we've decided to get you pumped for the upcoming season by giving you the top 30 reasons to get all riled up over the 2005-06 NBA season. We'll start today with #30 and work our way down day-by-day until we reach #1 by the time the preseason tips off on October 10th. By then, we won't need to give you any more reasons-- box scores, highlights, and training camp battles should do the trick.

#30 - The Emergence of Dwight Howard

No, he didn't win Rookie of the Year honors last season. That award was given to a deserving Emeka Okafor. But don't be fooled-- by the time the 19 year old Dwight Howard is Okafor's age (almost 23), the kid is going to be downright scary, Amare Stoudemire scary. Actually, Howard could be just that frightening to opponents come this season, now with a full year of experience under his belt and a coach in Brian Hill that knows all about running his team around an explosive, dominant big man (see Shaquille O'Neal 1993-96). Get a chance to catch Howard this summer in Vegas? He's huge. And not just for a teenager, I'm talking bigger than Shawn Kemp in his pre-coke glory days huge.

Last year the Magic merely asked Howard to rebound and play hard defense, but this season is going to be a different story. Orlando is going to rely heavily on their budding star, so much that his performance will be the determinant in whether or not this team can make a run towards the Playoffs. 12.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.7 BPG will no longer be enough for a team that sorely needs a scoring punch in the frontcourt. Perhaps the 16.7 PPG. 9.9 RPG, 1.8 BPG he averaged in April can get the team to the promised land, but I think the Magic need even more and it's definitely not unreasonable to think that Howard might be able to give them a 20-10-2 on a nightly basis. Either way, it's going to be a lot of fun to watch.

Amare Stoudemire convinced many people last season that a new precedent has been set for the NBA's big men. No longer are finesse and power necessities to dominate in the league; Amare showed that explosiveness and quickness can prove to be as equally unstoppable assets. Look for Dwight Howard, whose game is naturally built around these two strengths, to further this notion and redefine the way we envision big man dominance in the NBA.


At 5:47 PM, Blogger Nat said...

love the countdown idea guys... definitely love dwight's game and even though he wasnt a contributor as much to his team as emeka he was my choice for ROTY. I never followed this kid in HS but i am lookin for good things to come from him


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