Chasing Down The Latest NBA News
Ah, the magical mystery of the funhouse mirror. Invented by the Mayans in 300 AD, the device was created by harnessing the living soul of a newborn baby, and twisting that purity into a glass that blew up our largest imperfections and twisted our perception until the person we saw in it looked nothing like what we believed. Not quite a lie, not quite the truth, the mirrors show us something, of that much we can be certain. But is it us? Or something else? How much longer can this paragraph ramble on without making any sense? Will I ever actually get to the point?
The reason for this article, and that excessively odd opening, is when I watch certain teams play, I am often struck with the odd sensation that I am watching a reflection of another team. There are any number of teams in the league that remind you of other teams, whether it be in roster make-up, relevancy, or general upward (or downward) trajectory.
So today we are going to run a couple of teams through the old funhouse mirror, which I am now being told is not, in fact, fueled by the soul of a baby, but by glass warped in convex or concave patterns to distort the light that is reflected back into our eyes.
Ha! And people say I don’t make any sense. But enough about me and souls.
When the Dallas Mavericks look into the mirror, they see…..
The Boston Celtics
Both of these are veteran teams. Filled with elder statesmen. Guys who know what it takes. Players that are………really really old.
During their game last week, I saw so many similarities between these two teams that it was a little alarming. Both are off to slow starts and are trying to incorporate a lot of new parts on the fly. The Mavs had let Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, and Deshawn Stevenson leave town, and were working in Vince Carter, Delonte West, and Lamar Odom. The Celtics were beginning to adapt to the harsh realities of life with Jermaine O’Neal as their starting center, while also learning how to utilize Brandon Bass and Mickael Pietrus off the bench, as well as something called a Greg Stiemsma.
A lot of newness going around for both teams, and it showed with the disjointed (read: terrible) basketball on display. But why would a Boston team presumably in the last year of existence in its current form, or a Dallas team that just won a title trade off or let go of large portions of their rotations? Why would they do something like that unless……oh….yeah. Nevermind.
Both of these teams know that time is limited, and that in order to compete with the Chicagos, Miamis, Clippers, and Thunders of the world and remain relevant the best chance they have is landing Deron or Dwight in the upcoming offseason. Even if they fail at that, they know that having a lot of cap room is the best way to surround their stars with some type of teams. The teams as they were constructed to start the offseason could maybe compete this year and this year only. And that’s still a pretty big maybe.
When the Oklahoma City Thunder look in the mirror, they see…..
The Chicago Bulls
And so we move from the aging heavyweights to the hot young teams taking their spots.
These two teams are quite the reflections of each other, mainly by being very young teams that assembled their core mainly via the draft, and then added a piece here or there using other means to help put them over the top, as the Bulls did in picking up Boozer and Rip Hamiltion in free agency, or the Thunder acquiring Kendrick Perkins via theft…er….I mean trade.
Also both teams figure to be title contenders in their respective conferences for some time to come, provided, of course, that the Thunder can find a way to resign Russell Westbrook without ruining their cap, and honestly, with Eric Maynor waiting in the wings, maybe even if they can’t. For the Bulls’ part, they already have their starting five locked up through the 2013-2014 season.
Both also suffered losses in the Conference Finals last year, which puts firmly in the category of teams that have to win titles not to be considered failures. “Scrappy young teams” are put out in the first and second rounds, they do not make it to the third. The fan bases, media, and management all smell the possibility of a title, as do the players, and both of these teams are constructed well enough to stand against any other team in the NBA on any given night.
Rest assured, for these two teams, the time is now.
No more passes will be issued for the flimsy reason of “they need time to mature.” Failure at this point will only leave coaches and GMs looking at glaring issues to be solved quickly. Already after the losses last season we heard overblown stories about Durant and Westbrook’s relationship, and the lack of another player on the Bulls to shoulder the offensive load with Rose.
These are not the only teams that remind me of other teams, just a couple which jumped immediately to mind. With the season now fully under way and games being played at a breakneck pace, even more will undoubtedly begin to rear their similar heads. And as always, your faithful scribe will be there to jot down comparisons and analysis, of one can call it that. But for now, take time to reflect on the tasks left facing the two similar pairs.
Get it? Reflect? It’s funny because….yeah, right. I’ll show myself out.
When Jordan Akin looked in that same mirror, he saw Chewbacca looking back at him. You can ask him what precisely he was smoking on Twitter @jakin1013, or via email at email@example.com.