It’s New Year’s Day and the 2009 part of the 2009- 2010 NBA season is officially in the books. As the first part of the season comes to a close, let’s look at the top 10 story lines of the 2009-2010 NBA season. The season certainly has been entertaining and I am excited to see how it ends. Who will win the Championship this season? Kobe and the Lakers? The star-studded Celtics? King James and the Cavs? Dwight Howard and the Magic? Duncan and the Spurs? Nash and the revived Suns? So many choices, the only way to find out is by playing the games.
The stories are numbered according to the date that they occurred.
1. Rubio returns to Spain – 07/2009
The Timberwolves traded to get the 5th pick the NBA Draft and they used that pick to select Ricky Rubio from Spain. They also had a the 6th pick in the draft and they chose another PG, Jonny Flynn. Out of the 4 first round picks that the Timberwolves had they chose 3 PGs and 1 SG. The third PG that they selected was Ty Lawson, who they ended up trading to the Nuggets. There was much controversy as to why the Timberwolves picked two point guards back to back, but that gamble ended up working out for the T-wolves. Soon after the draft, it was rumored that Rubio might be staying in Spain for another season. Shortly after the rumors began to spread, it was confirmed that Rubio had signed a 6-year contract in Spain. The T-wolves retain his rights for 1 year after the Spanish contract expires.
2. Artest to the Lakers, Ariza to the Rockets – 7/8/09
Trevor Ariza, who meant so much to the Lakers during their championship run last season, was a free-agent after the season. Ron Artest, who was crucial to Rockets late season success last season, was also a free agent after the season. Both free-agents were highly coveted by NBA teams, and in an ironic turn of events, Artest ended up signing with the Lakers and Ariza ended up signing with the Rockets.
3. Blake Griffin down with injury – 10/27
The number 1 draft pick in the most recent NBA draft was supposed to be the savior for the Clippers. He had a great preseason, but during the last preseason game he suffered a stress fracture on his knee. This injury has kept him out of every single game so far this season. Although, there is promise that he will play before the season ends. Hopefully, he doesn’t turn into another Greg Oden (who has not been spectacular after he missed his draft season- although he has improved this season).
4. Cavs start 0-2 – 10/2009
The Cavs did not start their era with Shaq the way most people were expecting. The Cavs started the season 0-2 and were 3-3 in their first 6 games. Many sports people and bloggers severely over-hyped the poor start by the Cavs. Many doubting immediately if the Cavs would have what it takes to win the Finals this season. I was not one of those people, 3-3 in the first 6 games means nothing in the long 82 game NBA season. Now the Cavs are 26-8 (23-5 since their “poor start”), and sitting at the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.
5. Hawks amazing start – 10/2009 – 11/2009
The Atlanta Hawks started this season on fire winning 11 of their first 13 games. Fueled by Joe Johnson and Josh Smith, the Hawks were surprising many in the NBA. Since their amazing start they are only 10-8, but currently they are fourth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 21-10.
6. Jennings Scores 55 – 11/14/09
As you can see, Jennings performance was amazing, but the story behind Jennings is even more unique. Brandon Jennings was the 10th overall pick in the NBA draft. Due to a change in the NBA eligibility requirements, Jennings could not declare for the NBA after high-school. Instead of going to college for a year, as many other notable players did (ie: O.J. Mayo), he decided to play in professional basketball in Europe for a year. Many people were saying that it was a mistake, as he was not overly impressive and he received limited minutes in Europe. But, it is looking like he made the right decision. He is one of the top contenders for Rookie of the Year, and he set the Bucks Rookie Single Game Scoring Record (previously held by Kareem Abul-Jabbar) with that performance.
7. Nets set the record, start season 0-18 – 12/4/09
The New Jersey Nets set the record that no team wants to have- they lost a record 18 straight games to start the season. The Nets finally won a game against the Bobcats, by a score of 97-91. Would the feeling last long? Can the Nets start to string some wins together, after-all many of their starters had been injured? The answer to those questions would be no. They have played better, if you want to call it that. They are 2-11 since their first win. Let’s see what 2010 brings.
8. Iverson not happy, retires, returns to Philly – 11/2009- 12/2009
Allen Iverson signed a one year contract in with the Memphis Grizzlies during the off-season. Apparently his role with the team was not properly understood. Iverson was not happy at coming off the bench, and he made sure everyone knew it. He took an indefinite leave of absence before the team eventually released him. He cleared waivers and then there were serious talks that the Knicks were going to sign him. When the Knicks gave word that they were not going to pursue Iverson anymore, Iverson decided to announce his retirement. Well that retirement didn’t last long. Soon he was in touch with the 76ers about a possible return. On December 7th, the 76ers started Iverson in Philadelphia for the first time since he left for Denver in the 06-07 season. He was greeted with an enormous ovation, as seen below:
9. Cavs clobber Lakers on Christmas – 12/25/09
The Cleveland Cavaliers went against the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas in what was the most anticipated match-up of the season, not only was it LeBron vs Kobe, it was Shaq returning to L.A.
The game was not the hard fought and close game that everyone anticipated. The game definitely was filled with emotion, the Lakers were given 4 technical fouls (2 to Odom) and the Cavs received 1, but the end result was not what the majority of people were expecting. In the game, the Cavs sent a message to the NBA that they can compete at the highest
level. The Lakers had the best record in the NBA at the time of the game and the Cavs simply dominated them throughout the game, winning 102 -87. It was so bad that the Lakers’ fans were booing and throwing foam fingers and water bottles on the court towards the end of the 4th quarter.
10. McGrady wants back; demands a trade – 12/2009
McGrady had micro-fracture knee surgery last season and was still recovering to start this season. He insisted that he was ready to play again in the middle of November, but coach Adelman disagreed. After a few weeks, McGrady finally got back into the line-up. He played 7-8 minutes in the first half for 6 consecutive games before McGrady asked for an increased role with the team. Adelman said no and McGrady took a team approved leave of absence. The next step, obviously, was McGrady demanding a trade and the Rockets have agreed to look for one. So far, the Knicks seem to have the most interest in a acquiring McGrady. It will be interesting to see what will happen with this situation in 2010.