Fordham Students Weigh in on NBA Season

Knicks and Nets Face Uphill Battle in an Improved Eastern Conference


Published: November 8, 2007

Towards the end of July, still amidst the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) off-season, power seemed to shift to Boston, Mass., where basketball greatness once existed in the 1980s. Perennial All-Star forward Kevin Garnett, formerly of the Minnesota Timberwolves, was traded to the Boston Celtics to join shooting guards Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, each of whom were stars at some pointß during their respective careers.

Following a mid-summer blockbuster trade, forward Kevin Garnett will look to bring a dominant low post presence to a Celtics team that finished the 2006-2007 in last place in the Atlantic Division. (Jeff Wheeler/MBR)

Most NBA analysts choose the Celtics as a force to be reckoned with this season in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference, as the triumvirate of Garnett, Allen and Pierce provides many weapons. Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) students, on the other hand, feel differently.

“They’ll be a joke,” Dom Chiarenza, FCLC ’10, said. “They are only good on paper. I don’t see any team chemistry.”

Perhaps FCLC students are on to something, especially with the Celtics having lost in the preseason to both the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets.

The Knicks themselves face an uphill battle to maintain hope within their fan base. After several seasons of disappointment, it will be difficult for the Knicks to win over Fordham students.

“The Knicks are going to flop because they are pitiful,” said Lenny Almanzar, FCLC ’09, shaking his head in disgust.

In an attempt to better themselves, the Knicks did make strides in the off-season, acquiring power forward Zach Randolph from the Portland Trail Blazers. Though Randolph gives them a much-needed boost down in the post, his lack of experience at center, which is what the Knicks truly need, will hurt the team.

On the other side of the Hudson River, point guard Jason Kidd’s Nets look to prolong their continuous playoff streak, though it remains to be seen how successfully that will come to pass.

“There’s nothing going on with [the Nets],” Browdlee Dupuy, FCLC ’10, said. “They didn’t get new players [in the off-season] like the Knicks did.”

With the trio of Kidd, guard-forward Vince Carter and small forward Richard Jefferson still intact, the Nets will continue to light up crowds at the Meadowlands but are otherwise at a disadvantage when compared with other teams in the East.

The Western Conference, as it has been for the last decade since guard Michael Jordan parted with the Chicago Bulls, is still the stronger of the two conferences in the league, boasting talented teams such as the Phoenix Suns, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets.

These teams and upcoming clubs such as the Seattle Supersonics (who drafted a college standout  and potential star in guard Kevin Durant) combine to make the West an intimidating collection of competitors.

The Spurs certainly look like a threat to repeat, a feat they have never accomplished despite winning four recent titles.

Forward Tim Duncan’s two-year contract extension could lead to even better production for one of the league’s elite big men, so it’s not out of the question to expect big things from this contender that has not suffered a four-game losing streak in the last four years.

Like the Supersonics, the Portland Trail Blazers had their future riding on the addition of first overall draft pick, power forward Greg Oden. However, an injury to his right knee in mid-September forced Oden to have season-ending surgery.

Last year’s best team in the West, forward Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks, have had a long summer to recover from their playoff woes of May, when the team with the greatest regular season record fell to the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. Don’t forget—after falling just short of the title in the 2006 Finals, the Mavs came back and won 67 games the following season. Their response to being bounced from the postseason by an eighth seed in the first round could be monumental.

Richard Cardenas, FCLC ’10, expects the Mavericks to “come back mad. Now people are calling them a joke, and they want to prove everyone wrong.”

As long as they stay clear of Golden State in this year’s playoffs, Dallas should do just fine.