Top 1 Reason You Must Watch All 10 NBA Teams During the 2012-13 Season
When the 2012-13 NBA season kicks off, don’t just be content to watch your favorite team play. There’s a solid reason for watching each and every one of The Association’s 30 teams whenever possible.
Sometimes it’s worth watching as depth chart situations unfold. Sometimes you want to see how a certain dynamic affects the team.
In other situations, you may want to focus on a single player and what he brings to the table. Honing in on one star can be just as enjoyable as watching the team as a whole.
I don’t think I need to convince you why you should watch the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat or Oklahoma City Thunder (although I’m going to do it anyway). It might take a little bit of prodding to push forth the Charlotte Bobcats or Orlando Magic, though.
Here’s why you should make sure to catch all 10 teams in the league.
Washington Wizards: The Development of John Wall
John Wall has always had a lot of talent. No rational NBA fan can possibly deny that. There’s a reason that he was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2010 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards.
Actually, there are a lot of reasons, and Wall is going to explain them all throughout his third campaign in The Association.
During his first two seasons of professional basketball, the former Kentucky Wildcat had a built-in excuse: The Wizards were terrible. Sorry, I’m not going to sugarcoat it.
Washington was a dysfunctional franchise filled with me-first players and not too much talent. Now, the brass has started to build a winning culture and surrounded Wall with talent.
Bradley Beal, even as a rookie, is a massive upgrade over Jordan Crawford. Jan Vesely is a de facto rookie now that he’s healthy after a hip injury plagued him throughout his real rookie season. And, of course, the presences of Nene Hilario and Emeka Okafor only help.
This is still Wall’s team, but he actually has a supporting cast that can, well, support him this year.
It’s time for him to make good on his potential.
Utah Jazz: An Underrated Duo
Either spend a lot of time looking at this picture or tune into a few Utah Jazz games, because you won’t be seeing this duo for too much longer.
Both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap are set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2012-13 season, and it’s highly unlikely that both return to Salt Lake City for the friendly confines of EnergySolutions Arena. After all, the Jazz have Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter waiting in the wings.
It’s a shame how few people have gotten to witness the underrated greatness of Jefferson and Millsap.
Toronto Raptors: The Shooting Guard Battle
Toronto Raptors fans may be held captive by the athleticism of DeMar DeRozan, failing to realize that he hasn’t improved much recently and is scoring a lot of points because he takes a lot of shots.
That spell will be broken when Terrence Ross crosses over the border between Canada and the United States and dominates at shooting guard, forcing DeRozan to a small forward role or the bench.
Ross’ athleticism is almost as tantalizing, but it isn’t a false promise. The former Washington Husky has an effective spin move when he drives and is a true perimeter threat. He’ll use his shot-creating abilities and silky smooth jumper quite often for the Raptors during his rookie season.
Once Ross is established, DeRozan will also become a better player. He’ll no longer be forced to fill the perimeter void for Toronto and will be able to play to his strengths more often.
The Raptors may have reached for Ross in the draft at No. 8 because they might have been able to trade down and still land him, but they managed to win the services of one of the more underrated talents in the incoming rookie class.
San Antonio Spurs: Tim Duncan’s Legacy
The career of the greatest power forward of all time is slowly drawing to a close, one season at a time.
Tim Duncan has provided NBA fans with a number of indelible moments throughout his career. He’s won championships, dominated games and played fundamental basketball for over a decade. It’s not often you see a true master of a trade, but that’s exactly what Duncan was during his prime with the San Antonio Spurs.
The window to watch Duncan play at an elite level is closing. His minutes are gradually declining, which is allowing his effectiveness to stay put, but he can’t dominate a game from start to finish on a nightly basis any more.
Don’t miss your chance to remember one of the true legends of basketball’s post-Michael Jordan generation.
Unlike in years past, the Spurs actually play an exciting brand of basketball. They run and push the pace, trying to win with offense rather than just defense.
I promise they won’t bore you.
Sacramento Kings: Unclogging of the Backcourt Logjam
The Sacramento Kings management apparently has a certain affinity for players capable of lining up at the two guard spots. Between Isaiah Thomas, Aaron Brooks, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, Jimmer Fredette and Francisco Garcia, there are far more players than available spots in the rotation.
Thomas proved last season that he definitely deserves playing time. Brooks is a former Most Improved Player and still an above-average point guard, despite a year elapsing without him playing in the NBA. Evans and Thornton are the best of the bunch, and Evans has been forced into the small forward spot to maximize the amount of talent on the court.
We’ll probably never know if Jimmer can succeed in The Association because there’s too much talent ahead of him on the depth chart for him to get a fair shake.
Some of these guards will continue to emerge, while others will be phased out and eventually moved away from Sacramento. Then again, the entire team might be moved away from Sacramento…
While it’s entirely uncertain how the rotation will look throughout the season, one thing is for sure: Each and every one of the aforementioned players will be highly motivated and looking to make a significant impact in an effort to prove their worth.
Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard’s ROY Campaign
Damian Lillard is set to take the reins at point guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, completing the difficult Weber State-to-NBA-starting-five transition in under a year.
Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist may have more long-term potential, but Lillard is my pick to win Rookie of the Year. If he can increase his defensive skills, Lillard will have everything you look for in a first-year 1-guard.
His offensive game is almost too much fun to watch. He can hit shots from the perimeter, drive past defenders and dunk with surprising ease or involve his teammates respectably.
Portland will be a mediocre team, but Lillard is anything but mediocre.
Whenever the Blazers appear on national television, make sure you’re sitting down on your couch or at your nearest sports bar. You’ll want to jump on this bandwagon as soon as possible, or else it’ll be too full before you get there.
Phoenix Suns: Goran Dragic Replacing Steve Nash
It’s never easy to replace a legend. Steve Nash is one of the most beloved players in the history of the Phoenix Suns franchise, even though he never brought a championship to the desert.
In addition to the love that was showered upon Nash by the fans in the Phoenix area, Nash showered them with greatness from the point guard position.
Now Nash has departed for the Los Angeles Lakers, and Goran Dragic is left in the unenviable position of replacing the floor general. Of all the new pieces in Phoenix, Dragic is going to be the one worth monitoring the most.
He has high upside at the point, as shown by his time in the starting lineup for the Houston Rockets. However, can he take the pressure of truly running the show as the Suns compete in the loaded Western Conference for one of the final playoff spots?
Dragic’s playing style is entertaining enough by itself. The Nash factor makes him a must-watch.
Philadelphia 76ers: Andrew Bynum Gets His Chance
Was Andrew Bynum’s ascent up the ranks of the centers in the NBA a byproduct of Kobe Bryant’s greatness, or is he really that good?
After watching Bynum go to work during his last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s hard not to fall into the latter camp. Bynum has the makings of the next star center and could potentially take Dwight Howard’s crown by the time the 2013 playoffs roll around.
On the Philadelphia 76ers, Bynum will quickly become the top option on offense. No disrespect meant to Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Nick Young, Spencer Hawes and the rest of the Sixers, but Bynum has more talent than anyone else on the roster.
So, how will the mentally fragile center react to the fickle Philadelphia fans and the pressure that comes with being the team’s go-to guy?
If things go well, Philly will be an Eastern Conference power for a long time. If it doesn’t, Bynum might not be staying with the Sixers for too long.
Orlando Magic: Can Arron Afflalo Be a Franchise Player?
Do I really have to come up with a reason to watch the Orlando Magic during the 2012-13 season?
After trading away Dwight Howard and receiving a number of undeveloped pieces, the Magic are now left without a true franchise player and have roster names that don’t register in most households.
Arron Afflalo might have something to say about that, though. And therein lies the most intriguing aspect of Orlando’s season.
The shooting guard has been a decent player for the Denver Nuggets in recent months, but he hasn’t shown that he can be a player capable of carrying his team on a nightly basis.
Was this a result of the depth of the Denver Nuggets, or is it a testament to Afflalo’s ceiling as a basketball player?
As he’s now the best player in Orlando, we’ll find out soon enough.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant’s Scoring Prowess
It’s impossible to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder and not marvel at the scoring abilities of Kevin Durant.
Whether he’s dropping in unblockable three-pointers or using his athleticism to embarrass defenders, Durant can light up the scoreboard in ways that should be just about unthinkable.
The three-time reigning scoring champion set a career-high of 51 points on Feb. 19 against the Denver Nuggets, but something tells me that he’ll be topping that during the 2012-13 campaign. 60 points in a single game is not out of the question.
Durant was born to score the basketball, and you’re missing out if you don’t take every chance possible to watch him do exactly that.