Anyway, on to what I saw with my channel flipping in not particular order . . .
- Amare Stoudemire looks pretty damn good for a guy playing on one leg. ESPN showed a graphic of other notable players who had microfracture surgery and about half of them never really returned to the level they were at before surgery. Talented players like Terrell Brandon, Kerry Kittles, Anfernee Hardaway all had their promising careers derailed by the same surgery Stoudemire had. However, that Stoudemire is so young has to work in his favor and in some perverse way, I can almost see this making him a better basketball player. In the first half of the game against the Clips tonight, he dominated and he only tried to dunk once (which he missed). While he works to get his knee back to pre-surgery, I suspect he will learn lots of the veteran tricks of the trade and he will have to rely on skills over athleticism. It's a transition most players go through - you saw it with people like Dr. J and Jordan, and you can already see a hint of it with LeBron. Anyway, Amare looks strong so far and I hope he keeps it up and stays healthy.
- Is the new ball messing with free throws? Lebron already started his free throw line slide last season but he started the 2006-2007 campaign an unimpressive 2-6 from the stripe. Solid free throw shooter Rip Hamilton was 4-6 before finishing 9-12. Career 79% shooter Paul Pierce was 7-15. U-G-L-Y.
- Meanwhile, all stop and bow to free throw guru Don Nelson. By announcing that playing time would be given out based on who could hit free throws, 67% career shooter Baron Davis shot nearly 90% in the preseason and is 6-8 from the line through three quarters tonight.
- If my jumpshot looked as ugly and bricked as hard as Shawn Marion's, I would hide it from the public. Marion is an outstanding player and his three point shooting percentage is respectable but he is 10 times the threat inside 18 feet than he is outside it - not to mention the fact that in Steve Nash, Leandro Barbosa, James Jones - not to mention the Polish Rifle, Eric Piatkowski - the Suns have a couple guys who can shoot it from deep.
- Despite stealing the font from the previous generation of Houston Rockets uniforms, the Milwaukee Bucks new unis look pretty sweet . . . even on human chihuahua Charlie Villenueva.
- Apparently there is no one that can stop Lakers Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum . . . except Kobe. I can't wait to see how that blows up when the Black Mamba returns (although I'm sure Kobe scoring 40 over and over again will be part of the plot).
- Shockingly, the Bulls run at 82-0 was ended. During game two. Against Orlando. I still think the Bulls are a high-energy, deep team but perhaps all the breathlessness after their squashing of the defending champs on opening night was a little premature. I still think they are a very good team but they have no go-to guy which will hurt them down the road. This is probably the time when they should go get The Big Ticket - when they can trade three young talents and not even miss them.
- Rookies are making a strong showing. Tyrus Thomas sat out tonight's game after breaking his nose in a solid debut last night and teammate Thabo Sefolosha is averaging 12 ppg in his first two games. Adam Morrison scored 14 in 32 minutes off the bench - and didn't cry (at least not while I was watching). Laptop thief Marcus Williams had 7 points, 8 boards and 8 dimes for the Nets. Rudy Gay scored 21 and grabbed 8 rebounds off the bench - not that there's anything wrong with that - and the infamous Renaldo Balkman had 4 boards in 8 minutes. Brandon Roy scored 20 as a starter for the Blazers.