My first fanpost here! And it'll have lots of rambling and lots of random jumps to random topics. Please bear with me.
So we are like 21 games into the season, and that's about 1/4ths through the 2009-2010 season.
Based on what we've seen, how is the team faring so far? Better than expected? Worse off? Does it look like we'll make the playoffs? Can we really gauge where the team's at without Blake's prescence?
To me, it's pretty much where I'm expecting us to be even though i hoped that we would be around.500, where we should be beating some teams but didn't (first Pacers game comes to mind). There's also some games where I expected us to be at least more competitive to gain a chance of winning (Hornets game for example).
So yes, we are currently 9-12 but this isn't the end of the world - yet. My preseason expectation (I was lurking at CN) is that we would hover about .500 and challenge for the 7th or 8th spot. I hoped that we would get a better record than what we have obviously.
Wait, what about the upcoming schedule?
The next two months are going to be brutal. We are going to have a 6 game road trip in December where it gets progressively tougher (Min-NYK-Phi-SAS-Hou-Phx) followed with a home game against the Celtics. For the remaining month, I can only see us winning against the T'Wolves, Sixers (twice), the Knicks (given how the Knicks are currently, I'd say we're like 5.5-4.5) and that's it. I think the Wiz are about 50-50. I don't see us winning against the Spurs/Rockets/Celtics/Blazers. So it'll be like 4-7 or 5-6 with the rest of this month.
January will have us getting on the road until February, where the team does a nationwide tour starting from January 21 until February 3. That's an 8-game stretch and before that there's a 3 game road trip (actually 2 in reality since we're facing the Lakers). And February's schedule is tough even if you don't count those away trips. You're going to face: Blazers, Lakers, Heat, Cavs, Nuggets, Celtics in one month (and Cavs, Lakers twice). And teams on a similar level with us, the Griz (I forgot what Sir Perrin and other citizens calls them, the word escapes me), the Wizards. So, January is actually the most brutal part of our season.
These two months will see whether we are playoff challengers or pretenders. With that, you need the players to step up.
For the time being, I think I'm pretty satisfied with how everyone's going except for the late recession by Chris Kaman. Oh, and some other guy we got for a second round pick in the offseason.
I think Kaman will eventually figure it out. Hopefully. He had a great start, he got the MVP chants, and now he got the attention he deserves - not exactly press accolades but more attention from the opposing team. I think he'll adjust eventually. But the other guys need to realize the coverage that Kaman gets and stop passing the ball to him so much like he's the end-solution of all the team's problems (this is also CMDsr's fault).
Here's a real disappointment so far - Rasual Butler. He's supposed to be that 3 point specialist who does more than Novak, stretches the defense and is supposedly a better defender than Thornton. But now his shots aren't falling, his confidence seems shot. I don't know what the heck happened since this is all on him - it's his shot, he needs to figure out what's wrong. For the time being, I'd like our conditional second round pick back.
On the good side I like Camby's efforts very much. I also love that Baron's getting his groove back, and Al Thornton finally realizing that he's not a jump shooter. Obviously EJ is one of my favorite guys in the team as well. I'd like to say that Mardy has been very helpful on the court when given the minutes (but I don't get to see any games with the Mardy-action). I wish we have more Novak sightings except for the trillions he provided in one or half-minute situations - but it's very obvious to the opponent on what he's good at, and what he's bad at.
On CMDsr, I haven't seen a lot of games live but one thing is that our 4th quarter offense gets totally stagnant in almost every game. I'm still kind of neutral on him, but so far I like the way he made our team better defensively in general, the only thing I'm wondering is why we haven't done that last season with the main guys mostly intact.
And with the guys we have (I have no idea how Blake coming back will affect our rotations - maybe 30 minutes per big?) and how we're faring so far, here's what I say: We will miss the playoffs, and get around 35-38 wins (I'm not in Club Optimism or Pessimism yet, is there Club Realism?). I think it's certainly attainable. It's an improvement over last season, even though we miss the playoffs. Could we have won more? Maybe, and if we somehow make the playoffs, I'm going to celebrate like a retard.