The University of Maine student newspaper since 1875
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 3:46 p.m.

Rematch of ’08 NBA finals on docket for 2010

It’s hard to believe yet another season of the NBA has started, and once again, there are many stories that have come right out of the gate. This season is shaping up to be a season to remember. Tuesday night opened the season for eight teams, including the Boston Celtics and the 2009 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams picked up where they left off last year by winning their opening games. While it was expected for the Lakers to pull of a victory against the Clippers, the Celtics opened up their season with a must-see game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. While this is a busy time of year in the world of sports, it’s difficult to overlook everything that has happened in the off-season with player trades and contract extensions. Here’s a glimpse at the biggest transactions so far.

L.A. Clippers: It’s hard to overlook that with the Clippers’ first pick of the draft, they chose college superstar Blake Griffin. Griffin averaged nearly 23 points along with an impressive 14 rebounds per game during his time with the Oklahoma Sooners. Unfortunately for the Clippers, Griffin is suffering from a stress fracture in his kneecap, which will hold him out of play for around six weeks. Nevertheless, I think he’ll be a great addition to the team and put them closer to playoff contention when all is said and done.

L.A. Lakers: The big pickup for the Lakers undoubtedly was Khloe Kardashian … just kidding. Don’t even get me started on that nonsense with Lamar and Khloe. Don’t you love Hollywood life? The real pickup was the Lakers picking up Ron Artest. Artest may be getting up there in age, but he still has some life left in him, and he adds another element to the already powerful offense and defense of the Lakers. This addition will strengthen the bench and make the team even more difficult to tame as the season goes on.

Boston Celtics: Obviously there have been some big changes over the past few years with the Celtics. It all started with the “Big Three,” and now that teams see Boston can actually win games, nearly every player would be willing to drop where they are and come play for the guys in green. Biggest pickup for the Celtics? Rasheed Wallace. Now I have to admit, I think Wallace is a punk, but let’s look at this from all angles. Wallace is 35 years old now, obviously past his prime, and looking for a shot at another ring.

I liken him to Randy Moss. When Moss came to New England, people tried to argue that it was a horrible pickup and he would only cause calamity in the locker room. Joke’s on you! Wallace is going to embrace his role as a bench player and offer a solid player who can come in and give Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett a breather while not worrying about sacrificing experience on the floor. Yes, I am not a fan of Wallace, but like Moss, I think he will fit in well at the Garden and calm his temper down to help the C’s to another long playoff run. This brings me to the last part of my rant, my finals picks.

OK, I’m not going to go out on any huge limbs here and say anything that daring. I’m calling a rematch of an NBA finals two years ago. Yes, I am calling for yet another Lakers-Celtics showdown next spring/summer. Cleveland will be in the mix, but the addition of Shaq won’t do too much for the team. He’s an old man now and doesn’t give LeBron James much of an option, in all honesty. He’s not as fast as he once was, and I think Cleveland will see in due time that the pickup of Shaq won’t benefit them much.

The only major threat I see in the Western Conference is the San Antonio Spurs, provided they stay healthy. They are also an older team, and after a whole season of play, I don’t think they’ll be able to keep up with the Lakers and their deep bench. I do think the Oklahoma City Thunder will not be as bad as last year with Kevin Durant having more experience under his belt, and the Clippers, once Griffin is healthy, will prove to be a threat in the Western Conference, but I would give it a year before they go for a run in the playoffs. So there it is, Lakers and Celtics with Boston winning in five games. Here’s to a great 2009-2010 season, and go C’s.