Commentary

West Side: What to look forward to

Updated: October 24, 2012, 9:04 AM ET
By J.A. Adande | ESPN.com

Chris Paul and Eric BledsoeJayne Kamin-Oncea/US PresswireIt should be fun to watch Chris Paul in his second year as a Clipper ... unless you're an Eric Bledsoe fan.

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.

Enjoy.


If you haven't heard, the Lakers have reloaded. But there is a lot more to look forward to than just the Lake Show.

With the season just a week away, here's a taste of what I expect, what I want to see, and what I dread.

Looking forward to: A season without all those lame LeBron James fourth quarter/rings jokes. They weren't clever anyway.

Not looking forward to: Hearing "Gangnam Style" played during 2,130 timeouts. Please, make it stop.

Looking forward to: An opening night that isn't overshadowed by speculation about a superstar on the move. Even though Chris Paul and Dwight Howard aren't signed long-term, they're not clamoring to head elsewhere right now, making this the first time since 2008 (pre-Carmelo, pre-LeBron) that a star's yearning to move on wasn't the dominant storyline before the first ball was tossed.

Not looking forward to: The early speculation cranking up anyway, even for players whose free agency is a couple of years away. It's like seeing Christmas decorations go up in October.

Looking forward to: A playoff push by the Golden State Warriors. If the 49ers, Athletics and Giants all made it, there must be something in that Bay Area water left for the W's as well.

Not looking forward to: Cringing every time Stephen Curry's ankle wobbles. It's as if they're made of papier mache.

Looking forward to: Seeing if Chris Paul can be even better with more time to get used to the Clippers. He was learning on the fly last year; he knows these guys now. Lob City for real this time.

Not looking forward to: Paul inevitably reducing Eric Bledsoe's minutes. Bledsoe's too good to sit too much.

Looking forward to: The return of Brandon Roy's herky-jerky moves. It was depressing to think of him out of the league before he even hit 30.

Not looking forward to: Seeing Roy play in a Timberwolves uniform. He's so identified with the Trail Blazers because he was the Trail Blazers' identity, and I have to wonder: Was five years in Portland enough for him to get his jersey retired?

Looking forward to: The wisdom of Hubie Brown. On-air clinics.

Not looking forward to: The homerism of local TV announcers. The officials have been jilting their teams for decades.

Looking forward to: More points. The average team's score dropped by three points a game last season; we'll chalk it up to the compressed lockout schedule and count on more games in the 100s this season.

Not looking forward to: More minutes. As in longer games, the inevitable side effect of expanding the use of instant replay.

Looking forward to: The Nets in their new digs. If the Barclays Center DJ doesn't drop Jay-Z's "taking the Nets to BK" line at least 20 times on opening night he should be fired.

Not looking forward to: The Kings in the same old Arco Arena/Power Balance Pavilion/Sleep Train Arena. Doesn't matter what they call it, it's hopelessly outdated and the Kings seem perpetually stuck there.

Looking forward to: Seeing Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph on the court together. They were in the same starting lineup only eight times last season, mostly because of Randolph's knee injury.

Not looking forward to: The possibility that the duo might be as awkward as it was last year. After all, the Grizzlies went 2-6 in those eight shared starts.

Looking forward to: The next out-of-nowhere story. Who will be the next Jeremy Lin? (And if I gave you a prediction, would that just spoil it?)

Not looking forward to: … uh, what would be the opposite of Linsanity? Ord-Lin-ary? Because he looks destined to be just another player (at best) this season.

Looking forward to: The return of Derrick Rose later in the season. The 2012 playoffs felt incomplete without him.

Not looking forward to: Starting off without Dirk Nowitzki, John Wall, Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Amare Stoudemire. Can you remember a season when more important players were sidelined for opening night?

Looking forward to: The arrival of Anthony Davis. I'd be even more excited because of the extra preparation he got from playing with the Olympic team over the summer -- if I didn't remember how little Christian Laettner's time with the Dream Team seemed to do for his pro career.

Not looking forward to: Waiting on Rodrigue Beaubois. And waiting and waiting and waiting, as it seems like we've done ever since the Mavericks got him.

Looking forward to: Talk, any talk, about basketball in Seattle. The money's there for an arena, the city and county are on board, so let's bring back the Sonics baby, yeah.

Not looking forward to: David Stern's sobering responses about any new or moving franchise. Does that guy know how to kill the mood, or what?

Looking forward to: More of the same from the Oklahoma City Thunder. I like how they're young, yet the roster feels so familiar, the way college basketball teams were in the '70s and '80s.

Looking forward to: The Spurs finally fading from the scene. After all, Tony Parker has finally joined Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili in the 30-year-old club -- and Parker spent the summer picking glass out of his eye from catching a stray bottle in a nightclub.

Not looking forward to: The Spurs proving every doubt about them wrong. They always do.