Happy Thanksgiving to all. My best wishes to each one of you and your families. Enjoy the day while I watch the Raptors take on Real Madrid at the ACC. A few quick NBA thoughts.
1. Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut (Warriors): Good health! That's what Warriors fans are hoping for from these two guys. If they can be in the lineup on a consistent basis, the Warriors will have an opportunity to make nice strides this season. Playoffs? I think they're a bit too young and inexperienced yet for that in a good conference but they'll be entertaining and a load to deal with every night for most teams. Curry has a good feel for the game and shoots it quite well and Bogut is a skilled a big man as you'll find with a nasty streak. Mark Jackson's got to be thrilled to have these guys available.
2. Al Horford (Hawks): I know the Hawks lost Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams and Kirk Hinrich (Johnson in particular overwhelmingly) but with the addition of a guy like Lou Williams who can fill it up, they'll still be battling for a playoff spot in the East. Might be a lower seed but they still have enough to make it. I doubt they'll be as good a team in terms of talent but they might have a little better chemistry. Horford makes a big difference. Forget the numbers for a second, just watch him. He's a true pro; consistent, skilled, tough and produces on both ends. They missed him big-time last year. Steady in his approach and will allow the newcomers to get adjusted in time.
3. Jeff Green (Celtics): Glad that he's got the heart issue behind him that caused him to miss last season. He's a good all-around player that won't wow you in any way but will be a significant/versatile player for Doc Rivers. Can guard multiple positions and score inside and outside. Will he ever be your leading rebounder, scorer or assist guy? No. Can he be one of your top 3/4 guys and contribute to winning? Yes. Chatting with Celtics folks last season, they really missed him and are very high on him as evidenced by their commitment to him all through last season and with the contract extension.
4. Flopping: Like the stance that the NBA took on this and I think it will be administered in a solid/common sense fashion. Will it completely go away? No. But with fines that will be publicized after a warning for the first offence, the word will be out on the street who the repeat offenders are and referees, teams and fans will be all over the players who walk the fine line to clean up their act. Bottom line is better officiating in a pro-active sense where the official basically tells the actors that, 'Hey, I'm on to your act and don't try that nonsense on my watch.' It will start to lessen if a no-nonsense approach is consistently in effect.
5. Alan Anderson (Raptors): Not sure how many minutes he'll get this season for his team which will have lots of competition (talent level good enough?--still a significant question mark) at the 2/3 spots but when I watch him, I can tell he's an intelligent player who's been well-coached. He's got solid shooting mechanics and makes all the high percentage/fundamental plays and plays within himself. When I look at a guy as someone you'd like to have on your roster in one of the final five spots that can fill in when needed and who'll bust his tail everyday in practice and be reliable, that's nice to have rather than some young guy who takes the professional opportunity for granted and doesn't approach his work with passion each moment. Every spot, 1-15, means something. We'd all like better talent on our rosters yet the back-end of your roster is significant in how it's handled and the type of character guys you have. Makes a difference over a long season.