A few November observations from a season that has gotten off to a pretty humdrum start, until it grew more depressing in the last few days:
- Derrick Rose's injury is a real downer, obviously. Rose is still young, so there is a chance he bounces back strong, but obviously the long-term outlook in Chicago just got much bleaker. That said, don't totally discount the idea of seeing a healthy, very productive Derrick Rose sometime in early 2015.
- I still don't think the Pacers will get through Miami, despite the great start. Paul George has really elevated his game so far this year, proving he deserved that big extension. But while Indiana looks great now, in the end I don't see this team winning a title. The offense, despite George's improvements, is still not on an elite level. Indiana is a team that no one wants to play, but at the same time they will have extreme difficulty winning four rounds of NBA playoff basketball.
- Brooklyn's horrible start is surprising, but given the injuries and age of its players should not come as a shock. The Nets might bounce back and be a team no one wants to play in May, or they could end up with less than 35 wins. Age and injuries are merciless.
- Portland's fast start is a fluke; they will cool down sooner or later. Meanwhile, San Antonio is killing everyone, and we just expect it at this point. The Spurs' system of success is the best in the league, and probably by a wide margin.
- News of Kobe Bryant's two year, $48.5 million extension seemed somewhat inevitable. While the Lakers are probably overpaying Bryant, it was a move which seemed destined to happen, given the circumstances. It is also worth remembering that Micheal Jordan was still damn good when he came back with Washington in his late thirties - realistically similar production is what the Lakers should hope for with Bryant. But that's a big gamble.
- The much maligned rookie class of 2013 has lived down to its reputation so far. Michael Carter-Williams has been phenomenal, and everyone else not so much. It's early, though. That said, Anthony Bennett appears to be a terrible first overall selection. We criticized Cleveland's choice in June, and it looks like an even poorer decision now.