J.A. Adande and Israel Gutierrez are teaming up this season for a look at the NBA from two perspectives, called West Side/East Side.
J.A. is in L.A., a la the West Side. And Israel is down in Miami, home of the NBA champs, representing the East Side.
If you're a fan of flopping (are there such people?), then this NBA season may not be for you. If you enjoy a good 3-point barrage (and who doesn't, really?), then there will be some games down south to your liking. On the whole, there is plenty to look forward to, and some things not so much, for this fast-approaching NBA season.
Looking forward to: An NBA with little to no flopping. I know it's just the preseason, but you can already tell the players decided to put on their big-boy pants (big-boy shorts?) and not let the league call them out for deceitful play.
Not looking forward to: Fans booing because a help-side defender took a charge and fell backward. That's not flopping, folks. Falling backward is just as much self-preservation as it is an attempt to draw a whistle.
Looking forward to: Games starting on time. Not so much in person, but for games on television. I mean, pregame routines are cute and all, but when it's 10:44 p.m. ET and Knicks-Lakers hasn't started yet because Dwight Howard needs to shoot a fade-away at the scorers table with a ball of tape, it's cutting into sleepy time.
Not looking forward to: That first game that's "decided" because of a technical-foul free throw as a result of that new rule. You know, if a team gets a delay-of-game for not being ready 90 seconds after intros, then gets one of those lame delay penalties for tossing the ball after a made basket (resulting in a technical foul), then loses by a point and blames the pregame rule. Yeah, that's going to make for some awful excuse making.
Looking forward to: The nights when Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers, Rashard Lewis and, yes, Chris Bosh, make 3-pointers rain in Miami like it was midsummer (seriously, it rains here every day for, like, four straight months).
Looking forward to: That moment when Derrick Rose is introduced at the United Center. It's going to happen this season, and it's going to be tear-jerking magic -- even better than the commercial.
Not looking forward to: That cringe-worthy moment when Rose bangs knees or lands awkwardly and we start to wonder if he rushed back just to make his city happy.
Looking forward to: A cyst-free Amare Stoudemire pulling off his first "Dream Shake" after weeks of working with Hakeem Olajuwon this summer.
Not looking forward to: When Jason Kidd, Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby suffer heart palpitations after watching it and require medical attention (consider that preparation for an entire season of "the Knicks are old" jokes).
Looking forward to: That look on Doug Collins' face when Andrew Bynum takes, and misses, his first 3-pointer of the season. It'll almost certainly be a transparent fake smile -- although Doug pulls those off quite well.
Not looking forward to: The look on Bynum's face when Collins sits him after that second missed 3. Cam Newton will have competition for the title of sulkiest pro athlete.
Not looking forward to: Lopez refusing to rebound like a big man. He's making $13.7 million this season and doesn't need to score for this team, so double-digit boards isn't too much to ask.
Looking forward to: The continued development of Kyrie Irving. It would be nice if he defended well enough to stay on the floor for 40 minutes a game instead of 30.
Not looking forward to: The "LeBron might come back to Cleveland in 2014" storylines. Throw in the LeBron-to-L.A. rumors, and it's going to make for a long year of premature free agency discussions.
Looking forward to: Seeing just how effective the Rajon Rondo image cleanup is. This second attempt to hand Rondo the keys to the Celtics should work out much better now that he's actually ready, and there won't be any trade rumors, presumably, to throw him for a loop.
Not looking forward to: The Darko Milicic era in Boston. Isn't it largely accepted that Kevin Garnett takes out his frustrations on international players? Let's hope that's not the case with his own teammate.
Looking forward to: That first game Doc Rivers coaches against his son Austin and the New Orleans Hornets (Jan. 16). What if Austin's really good? So good that Doc's team has to trap him at halfcourt like he's done to Dwyane Wade? "Daaaaad, I'm trying to score, here!"
Not looking forward to: Doc consistently isolating Rondo against Austin because the young Rivers is nowhere near ready to defend in the NBA. Awkwaaaaard.
Looking forward to: That first rookie sleeper emerging. Andrew Nicholson in Orlando, maybe?
Not looking forward to: Anything else involving the Magic, really.
Looking forward to: Bradley Beal. Missing John Wall for a bit might be good for Beal. Sure, the kid can shoot, but he's pretty good at the simple drive-and-dish play, and no Wall will give him more of those chances early.
Not looking forward to: That A.J. Price-Deron Williams "beef" carrying on into the regular season. If it does, expect Jay-Z to drop a Price diss in one of his next verses. I'm guessing the phrase "little minutes" will be involved.
Looking forward to: A Hawks team that runs through Al Horford. Whether the label was fair or not, "iso-Joe" Johnson is gone, and with space-creators such as Kyle Korver, Lou Williams and Anthony Morrow on board, there's no reason Horford can't have a career season.
Not looking forward to: Josh Smith making that space magically disappear because he's still spotting up for distance.
Looking forward to: Games not being decided on questionable block/charge whistles or a missed goaltending call, now that referees can go to replay on those at end of games.
Not looking forward to: The tedious, drawn-out process of referees watching the replay multiple times and extending the time of game. Let's move it along! Homeland's not going to watch itself.