Rich Keefe is an anchor and fill-in host on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and has been a frequent contributor on the CelticsHub.com podcast. We welcome him as he debuts a new column to give us a weekly look around the NBA, with a bit of a Celtics perspective.
The fine writers and contributors here at the CelticsHub clearly have the home team covered. There is no stone unturned when it comes to the Green. That is why I am thrilled to add a new dimension to this wonderful site. This is the debut of a new weekly feature entitled “Around the League,” where I will examine the other 29 teams in the NBA. I hope you enjoy it and please feel free to leave a comment(s) with stories, stats, or whatever that I will undoubtedly miss.
-Heat Check: (This will be an ongoing feature to “Around the League,” as I check in with the Big 2 + Bosh down in South Beach.) Miami is off a to a rousing 9-8 start to the season, and all along I said head coach Erik Spoelstra had until Christmas to turn things around, well that might be too long. Spoelstra being the next Stan Van Gundy looks more likely than Eddy Curry losing a race to T.J. Ford, unless there’s a pizza at the finish line.
Forget the drama with Spoelstra for a second and look at the dynamic of this team. I am not a fan of Chris Bosh, but he has played a lot better of late. He has scored 20 or more points in 6 of his last 7 including a 35 point effort. But despite averaging 20.4 pts and 8.8 rebounds in his last 5 the team is just 1-4 in that span.
I’m not counting the Heat out yet, but it’s been a lot of fun watching them try to figure things out in the early part of the season. Mike Miller will help them, and so will Pat Riley.
-Love to Rebound: Timberwolves F and Team USA sub Kevin Love is leading the NBA in rebounding at 14.9 a game. He has pulled down at least 22 rebounds in 4 of his 17 games this year. Love had the memorable 31-31 game, and in his last two he’s thrown up a 32-22 followed by a 21-22. What year is this? Multiple 20 rebound games is flat out impressive. And I’ll tell you what, Michael Beasley and Love is a pretty solid 3-4 combo, too bad Minnesota’s 1-2-5, and bench are all terrible.
-Rookie Scoring: Thru nearly 2 full months of the season only 4 rookies are averaging double-digit points per game, and 2 of them are #1 overall picks. (Clippers Blake Griffin, 20.2; Wizards John Wall, 18; Knicks Landry Fields, 11.1; Kings DeMarcus Cousins, 10.3.)
It’s been a pretty decent rookie class (Avery Bradley notwithstanding), so far this year. Griffin and Wall will, as predicted, battle back and forth for Rookie of the Year honors. There’s also been some surprise performances such as Landry Fields, Gary Forbes, and Gary Neal.
-Shoot ‘em up!: Gilbert Arenas is back in Washington, and after going through fears of being booed, the fake injury, the real injury, he has been back in the lineup and playing pretty well. He’s averaging 17.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.3 steals, all while allowing John Wall to be the man. In the Artist Formally Known as Agent Zero’s last game he finished with 31-5-5, and last week he had a 19 point 16 assist night. Remember it wasn’t long ago that Arenas was one of the 10 best players in the league. Would a contending team be willing to make a trade for Gilbert?
-Another Run? How about those Spurs? 14-2, no Eva Longoria, no problem! Tony Parker is once again playing like one of the best point guards in the NBA, Manu Ginobili looks great, Richard Jefferson may have finally figured out the San Antonio system, and Tim Duncan is still Tim Duncan. I don’t think many of us saw the Spurs having the best record in the league, especially with all the attention on the Heat, then Lakers, then Celtics, then Magic, then Thunder…
Alright that will do it for the 1st installment of “Around the NBA,” I will be back the same time next week to look at many of the top stories across the league.
Rich Keefe is an anchor and fill-in host on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston and frequent collaborator on the CelticsHub.com podcast. He also writes for The Sports Brief.