Saturday, December 6, 2014

NBA: Teams to Watch and Books to Read

Basketball season for the NBA is in full swing, and I couldn't be more excited. I've been watching as many games as I can, and stocking up on books about the NBA and/or by NBA players and coaches. Today, I'm sharing which teams I think you should be watching, and which books I'm adding to my stack of books to read.

Teams to watch: Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers: With a record of 5-14*, the Lakers aren't having a great season so far. Multiple players have had injuries so far this season, and Steve Nash is out for the season due to an injury. Still, the Lakers could make a comeback, and I'm keeping an eye on them to see if they do.

Los Angeles Clippers: Fortunately, Los Angeles basketball fans have two teams to root for, and the Clippers are doing well. Their record is 13-5*, and with Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, J.J. Redick, and DeAndre Jordan, they have a strong team. Griffin was recently named the Western Conference Player of the Week, and if they keep playing as well as they have been, I think they have a shot at making the playoffs.

Dallas Mavericks: The Western Conference wouldn't be complete without the Mavs, who won the NBA Championship in 2011. Their record is 15-5*. Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 19.4 points per game, while Monta Ellis is averaging 19.6 points per game, and Chandler Parsons is averaging 14.4 points per game. The Mavs are another team who could make the playoffs.

Teams to watch: Eastern Conference

Chicago Bulls: The Bulls are 11-7* so far, and now that Pau Gasol is on the team, I've been keeping a close eye on them. Gasol, who struggled in his last few years on the Lakers, is averaging 19.4 points per game. In addition, the Bulls have two players from UNM, Cameron Bairstow and Tony Snell, which is reason enough to keep an eye on the team.

Philadelphia 76ers: The 76ers are a good team to watch if only for their losing record of 1-17*.  Despite their losing records, the 76ers haven't been losing by much; on December 1, they lost to the San Antonio Spurs by only six points, and on November 29, they lost to the Mavericks by seven points. With only one win under their belt, they're not going to make the playoffs, but it'll be interesting to see how the season turns out for them.

Cleveland Cavaliers: No list of teams to watch would be complete with LeBron James's team. So far, they're 9-7*, and now that James is back on the team, it'll be interesting to see how well they do this year.

Books to read

Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA by Lance Allred

I May Be Wrong But I Doubt It by Charles Barkley

Taking Shots: Tall Tales, Bizarre Battles, and the Incredible Truth About the NBA by Keith Glass

The Official NBA Encyclopedia edited by Jan Hubbard

Vintage NBA Basketball: The Pioneer Era (1946-56): A Mostly Oral History by Neil D. Isaacs

The Last Season: A Team in Search of its Soul by Phil Jackson

Operation Yao Ming: Inside China's Great Leap to the NBA by Brook Larmer

Season of the 76ers: The Story of Wilt Chamberlain and the 1967 NBA Champion Philadelphia 76ers by  Wayne Lynch

Doc: The Rise and Rise of Julius Erving by Vincent M. Mallozzi

Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered 
the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever by Jack McCallum

The Perfect Team: The Best Players, Coach, and GM: Let the Debate Begin! by the NBA

Shaq Uncut: My Story by Shaquille O'Neal

Keepin' It Real: A Turbulent Season at the Crossroads With the NBA by Larry Platt

The First Tip-Off: The Incredible Story of the Birth of the NBA by Charley Rosen

Mr. Basketball: George Mikan, the Minneapolis Lakers, and the Birth of the NBA by Michael Schumacher

The Book of Basketball: the NBA According to the Sports Guy by Bill Simmons

Assisted: An Autobiography by John Stockton

A Father First: How My Life Became Bigger Than Basketball by Dwayne Wade

West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life by Jerry West

Loose Balls: Easy Money, Hard Fouls, Cheap Laughs, and True Love in the NBA by Jayson Williams

*All team records are as of December 3, 2014.

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