Thirty-eight NBA lessons learned so far   

Updated: November 3, 2008, 1:32 PM ET

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After six nonstop days of watching the NBA come back to life, here's what we all should have learned:

1. The Portland Trail Blazers are jinxed. Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Greg Oden. Jinxed.

2. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni is either a damn fool or a genius. By the All-Star break we'll know which one.

3. Even if they get Allen Iverson, the Pistons are a "true" center away from being the best team in the East.

4. This might be the last season we see the Iverson and Steve Nash we've grown to love.

5. Shaq worked on his free-throw shooting over the summer. (Hey, he's at 61 percent so far!)

6. Dwight Howard still needs to work on his "dominating" skills.

7. Although Elton Brand was the big offseason transaction, Jermaine O'Neal's move to Toronto might have a bigger impact on the East.

8. Something's wrong in San Antonio (besides Manu's injury) that might not be fixable.

9. Al Thornton is about to become the next Al Jefferson.

10. The Grizzlies' experiment of starting three rookies (O.J. Mayo, Marc Gasol and Darrell Arthur) and a second-year player (Mike Conley) could actually work.

11. The Stephon Marbury Era is officially over.

12. The Chicago Bulls (the worst-shooting team in the NBA last season at 43.5 percent) still don't get it. Even though Derrick Rose has shown more promise than any other rookie, the team's shooting percentage so far is 38.8 percent.

13. Matt Barnes might be the new Shawn Marion.

14. Shawn Marion might not be in Miami by the end of the season.

15. EA Sports' NBA LIVE 09 "Made Fresh Daily" commercials are the best 60-second basketball ads since Nike's "Freestyle" spots from 2001.

16. Kevin Durant is in the first stage of fading into obscurity.

17. The "new" Carmelo Anthony (devoid of braids, focused on defense, putting the DUI behind him, etc.) might not be enough change to change what needs to change in Denver.

18. Nick Young -- if the Wizards put him in the starting lineup while Gilbert Arenas is out -- will make Ernie Grunfeld think twice about why he re-signed GA to that contract over the summer.

19. With the NBA announcing the 2010 All-Star Game will be in Dallas (albeit at the Cowboys' new stadium), David Stern and Mark Cuban don't dislike each other as much as we all thought. Kinda.

20. After watching Adam Morrison in-depth for two games, two conclusions can be drawn: (1) He's not the answer, and (2) because of that, people are going to start questioning Michael Jordan's GM skills out loud.

21. It's going to take more than a week to get used to Phil Jackson's and Gregg Popovich's extreme makeovers.

22. The Raptors are for real. But having to play Jose Calderon 40 minutes a game -- Roko Ukic is the backup at point -- is going to come back to haunt them.

23. Something serious -- besides Udonis Haslem playing out of position at center and having a rookie point guard -- is wrong in Miami.

24. Despite the jinx in Portland, Rudy Fernandez will end the season as the second-best player on the team behind Brandon Roy. Even with a "questionable" Greg Oden the Blazers will be the team no one wants to play in the first round.

25. The way the Kings have looked (0-3, outscored by 15 points per game), the Maloofs and GM Geoff Petrie must be trying to give the NBA no choice but to move the team to Vegas.

26. The East might not be worse than the West.

27. The Southwest Division will replace the NFL's NFC East as the best division in sports.

28. The Pacers -- with Larry Bird making his second solo executive decision (his first was distancing the organization from Jamaal Tinsley) -- are going to officially build their franchise around Danny Granger, not Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy. Smart move.

29. Jamaal Tinsley will wind up being the NBA's version of Daunte Culpepper.

30. The Avery Johnson interview process for a coaching job in 2009-10 began Oct. 29.

31. Lawrence Frank will be the first coach whose name will be mentioned as not lasting as coach past the All-Star break. (With George Karl's name not far behind.)

32. The "Vince Carter: RIP" T-shirts as seen after a 105-97 home loss to Golden State will soon be on eBay. And probably in popular demand.

33. Eddy Curry and Kirk Hinrich will both be dealt by the trading deadline. Al Harrington by the end of November.

34. The Hawks will not miss Josh Childress.

35. Muted gray suits with off-powder blue shirts seem to be the new favorite sideline choice for coaches. Not a good look.

36. LeBron James versus Chris Paul (they meet again Jan. 16) is the new best "must-see" matchup in the league.

37. Amare Stoudemire is the most slept-on future Hall of Famer in the game.

38. Finally ... the Lakers, the Rockets and the Celtics could all win more than 65 games, with one of them winning 70.

Scoop Jackson is a columnist for



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