My League Pass Frenzy Begins

by Andrew Kennedy

LeBron JamesI am super excited about the NBA season because no one else gets their money’s worth for NBA League Pass like I do.

The NBA season started a few days ago so I am really excited. This has to be the best time of the year for a sports fan with college and pro football hitting their midseason stride combined with the NBA and college hoops about to begin and there’s even some World Series action if nothing else is on.

I renewed my League Pass subscription from last year for $135. I could have gone in another direction and paid just $90 to watch just seven teams instead of the entire league but I felt the full package was worth it.

I have the perfect setup for League Pass this year and will thus be forcing myself to take full advantage.

Sitting in my dorm room on the UCF campus is a 56” Samsung HDTV that gives me a headache when I sit too close to it. Along with that I got my laptop which gets hooked up to my TV via HDMI to give me the ultimate NBA viewing experience.

Thanks to a wireless mouse from my roommate, Gasick, I can sit back in my bed and constantly click myself around the country to make sure I catch as much NBA action as humanly possible every night.

I find myself singing “Heaven must be like this” and wondering how anyone could be watching the World Series with this much basketball on.

I prepared for this NBA season the same way I do many years which is watching a classic game on DVD on the eve of the season to contain my excitement.

This year it was Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals. This was the game after Michael Jordan’s flu game and the series clincher in which Steve Kerr knocked down the game-winning shot.

That kept me up until five in the morning but I was still surprisingly spry the next day although I did skip class and take off from work.

Once seven o’clock rolled around I was ready to start my League Pass experience. Unfortunately I found out I had to wait until 8:30 until I could actually watch a game on League Pass.

Since I have been granted this great opportunity and gift to watch as much NBA as anyone this season, this blog will be devoted to me and my expert analysis of all things NBA including some fantasy and video game talk based on all of the basketball I can watch.

Let’s start with opening night. I hate LeBron James just so you know because I will bash him plenty as this blog goes on.

Either way though, the Cavaliers are going nowhere new this season. I say this because the only place that would be new would be winning a championship and there is no way that will happen, unless they make some moves somewhere down the road.

Their weaknesses were on full display last year in the playoffs and they just didn’t do enough in the offseason to right those wrongs.

Anthony Parker is not the answer for a second player who can guard on the perimeter and I’m not even sure that LeBron should be considered a viable option defending on the perimeter, Paul Pierce had no problem driving by him in the season opener.

Getting Shaquille O’neal doesn’t do it for me either. This hardly improves them from last year if at all. I think Shaq will play well this season but it won’t really matter. He won’t give the Cavs too much more from what Zydrunas Ilgauskas does. That may be crazy to say and think but it’s kind of true. Shaq is as big of a liability in pick-and-roll defense as anyone and that was something that gave Cleveland tons of trouble in the Eastern Conference Finals with Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis.

Boston on the other hand made some moves that made sense and as long as Kevin Garnett can stay healthy, they will surely be competing deep into the playoffs. Rasheed Wallace is a huge pickup that will help spread the floor at the end of games and be better than Kendrick Perkins defensively. I also love the Marquis Daniels pickup. I have always thought Daniels was a good player and now putting him on a good team, he will really thrive as the good defender and versatile threat that he is.

But my favorite moment from the Cavs-Celtics game came at the end when Cleveland desperately needed a bucket to comeback in the game. LeBron had the ball at the top of the key with the shot clock kicking down. Then you could hear clearly a fan yell, “Take it to the hole!” Instead, LeBron did what he does way too much which was pull up for a jump shot that he missed.

If the Cavs are going to keep running this same horrible 1-on-5 offense they will have no chance. But then again, when you have LeBron, you never know.

Moving on to other games in that opening night, there are a few things I’d like to point out.

From the late game on TNT, everyone saw the Lakers take care of business against their huge cross town rival Clippers.

The Clippers are just a joke to watch with how they play. It would have been nice to see Blake Griffin healthy but no surprise seeing a Clipper first rounder go down like that.

The Lakers dominated and Ron Artest fits in nicely. As selfish as he may appear to most people, he really isn’t and even if he is, the way he plays dictates otherwise. He is a great passer and All-NBA caliber defender which suits his role with the Lakers perfectly. Anyone who thinks he isn’t an upgrade from Trevor Ariza is crazy. As long as the Lakers don’t stray too far from the core of their offense last year and just let Artest find a way to fit in, they will be fine.

Now for the two games that I took advantage of League Pass to watch.

Gilbert Arenas is back and he looked good. It was refreshing seeing his talents on display once again. It is unbelievable how fast he is with the ball and what a great handle he has. If the Wizards can stay healthy and with the additions of Randy Foye and Mike Miller I don’t see why they wouldn’t make the playoffs in the East.

Dallas is basically done. They deserve this because they traded Devin Harris for Jason Kidd. Shawn Marion is also washed up and I hate him now because he was so stupid to not realize just how good he had it playing with Steve Nash. Unless Josh Howard can suddenly go back to his old All Star form this team has no chance to do anything. That being said, Dirk Nowitzki is going to be one heck of a stud in fantasy hoops this year.

Taking a look at Houston’s roster, the first thing you will ask yourself is, “Wait, I must be missing someone?” The answer is Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming but only one of them is coming back and I don’t think it will matter.

Trevor Ariza isn’t going to work in any other role than the one he had with the Lakers and they are just too short. Portland had 12 blocks against them with Greg Oden leading the way with five.

Oden was very impressive granted he was playing again the shortest frontline in the NBA. As long as he can stay out of foul trouble he is going to be a force night in night out, especially on defense. I have always liked the makeup of this Blazer team and I have no reason to change that feeling this season. Brandon Roy (who looks to have a big season) keeps getting better and closer to making the jump over that line of being All Star to superstar.

Now I have already written way too much about just the first four games of the season so I will stop there for now. I planned to write a ton more about the second night of games but I will save that for probably tomorrow.