Back into it: NBA Qs, March 20th

Been over a week now since the tsunami ravaged Japan’s shores, and slightly longer than that since I’ve posted anything NBA-related.  Time to get back into it… thanks for sticking with me over the last week – was pretty cathartic to be able to write on it.

So… as per usual: Jeff Fox of Hoops Manifesto asks the Qs, Rob & I answer ’em.

1) The Chicago Bulls have streaked their way to the best record in the East – should they be viewed as a legit title contender this season, or are they at least another year away?
Don: Legit. Behind MVP-favourite Derrick Rose, the Bulls are easily one of the most defensively-intense teams in the NBA. And that’s without being completely healthy. Teams that play good defense trend towards doing well in the playoffs. Chicago’s no different.
They have just as much chance as Boston in my book, and more chance than either Miami or Orlando.
Rob: The Bulls are having an incredible year behind D-Rose. But….. there is no way they are winning the East this season. They need to finish with the best record to have any chance at progressing to the Eastern Conference finals. The Knicks will be tough, the Sixers won’t be pushovers and the Heat are starting to find a groove. A few hiccups in the past week not withstanding, the Celtics are still the team to beat in this conference and they have proven that they can do it on the road as well as at home. The Bulls could be interesting next year though.

2) Meanwhile, out west the Denver Nuggets have gone 9-2 since trading away Carmelo Anthony – aberration or are they still a solid team?
Don: Well… sure, they’re a “solid” team, but I don’t think they’re scaring anyone in the playoffs. If it stays as is, I think OKC’ll sweep, or only lose one.
Rob: The Nuggets look like a more balanced team without Melo. George Karl is a very good coach and this team is now allowing itself to be coached. Not a lot of downside in Denver over this trade.

3) Grant Hill was in the news this week defending himself from the Fab Five’s insults, so now is as good a time to ask this question – given his body of work up to this point, is Grant Hill a Hall of Famer?
Don: You know… I think he is. Given that the Basketball Hall of Fame is assessed for the entire basketball career, and not just the NBA, I think Grant Hill has the pedigree. In addition to the NBA RoY, 7 All Star berths, 5 All-NBA teams, Hill also has an Olympic Gold Medal, went to the NCAA Final 3 times out of his four years there, winning twice. Hill was also the first player in ACC history to collect more than 1,900 points, 700 rebounds, 400 assists, 200 steals, and 100 blocked shots.
That’s HOF territory there.
Rob: Not even close. Given the injuries he has suffered, Hill has done well to achieve as much as he has, but his career is in no way worthy of inclusion in the HOF.

4) Game of the Week – pick the winner – Fri, Mar 25th – San Antonio @ Portland…
Don: Gonna go with Portland. I have a feeling (to be honest, that could be the curry tho’).
Rob: Spurs continue to roll.