Wednesday, February 23, 2011

NBA Has That 80s Feel

Remember the 1980s? Well, if you are in your 30s or older than you sure do. Key-tars, Reagan, mullets, power ballads, coked-up businessmen and MTV actually showing music videos. Those were the days.

The NBA seems to be heading back to those days. And as a Laker fan ... I sure don't mind.

In the span of two days, two Western Conference teams traded their superstar player to an Eastern team. Yesterday, it was Carmelo Anthony heading from the Nuggets to the Knicks. Today it is Deron Williams leaving Utah for New Jersey. That came after an offseason where Amare Stoudemire left Phoenix for New York and Carlos Boozer left Utah for Chicago.

In the 1980s, the NBA's Eastern Conference was loaded with stars and star-studded teams. Boston had Hall Of Famers galore on their team. Philadelphia had some decent guys named Erving, Malone, Cheeks and Barkley. Detroit was rising up with a wicked defensive squad. Chicago had this Michael Jordan guy coming in.

The best teams in the Western Conference was the Los Angeles Lakers and ... well a couple of teams would pop up. Either the Rockets, Spurs or the emerging Mavericks caused a fuss. There were other teams that would sneak in but it was mainly the Lakers time to shine.

Welcome to the Teens where what's new is old!

When the All Star Game happened, the Nuggets and Jazz were firmly planted in the playoff picture. Now? They could fall completely out of the race or end up with a No. 8 seed at best. That opens up the race for the Memphis Grizzlies (who are without their star Rudy Gay for a month), Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets (who are looking to make some deals soon). Needless to say, the Western Conference is much weaker.

The East now houses those Mega Teams. The Miami Heat have three All Stars. Boston has four. Atlanta had two. Chicago has a pretty tough team with MVP front runner Derrick Rose. Orlando went to the Finals two years ago and still have Dwight Howard. Now New York has Melo, Amare and Chauncey Billups. New Jersey just has Deron Williams right now, but when with one star in place it will be easier to bring some more talent into the fold.

Remember that guys like LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Rose, Howard, D-Will, Amare and Carmelo are all relatively young and may not have even hit their prime yet. Boston is getting older, yes, but the East is bright with stars.

The West? You have the aging Lakers with a starting lineup filled with guys in their 30s. Kobe is a very old 32-year old whose elite status is on the downturn. San Antonio? Tim Duncan is on his last legs, Manu Ginobili may end up with a Iverson-esque fall once his body feels all the crashes he gets into. Dallas is a bit younger, but are led by Dirk Nowitzki who is 32 himself and 37-year old Jason Kidd runs the point.

Oklahoma City is the hot young team on the rise. That is, until what happened in Utah and Denver happens to them. New Orleans is now on the clock with the Melo-drama as Chris Paul is the guy perceived as next in line to join the Knicks when he becomes a free agent after next season. Portland? Memphis? Can you really trust them? Blake Griffin makes the Clippers sexy again but does anyone really believe he'll stay there long term?

The East is where it is right now. And that doesn't look to change.

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