So aside from the NBA Draft
and Team USA Basketball there actually has been some happenings in the NBA
over the summer and lately.
Item I: Toni Kukoc retiring?
Many people haven’t heard of Toni Kukoc but back in the day he was seen as a very valued commodity. Most recently he’s seen action with the Milwaukee Bucks He has said that unless the Bucks or Chicago Bulls were to sign him that he will most likely retire. Originally when drafted by the Chicago Bulls the 6-11 Croatian was once seen as a “European Magic Johnson”. His career never panned out given how high the expectations had been. Kukoc had a rough time with the transiting to American basketball after playing in Europe for so long. Nonetheless he was still a productive bench player most notably with the Chicago Bulls where he won the sixth man of the year award and three championships and spent the bulk of his career. He had his best season in the 2000-01 season with the Atlanta Hawks where he averaged 19 points 6 rebounds and 5 assists per game.
Item II: Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees
The NBA Inducted three players into the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Ma this summer. Heading the class was Charles Barkley. Aside from his off the court antics, “Sir Charles” was very deserving of the induction. He was an Eleven Time All Star and recipient of the MVP Award in 1993. What made Barkley truly unique was his ability to rebound the ball so well (averaging 11.7 in the regular season and 12.9 in the postseason) despite only being 6-4.
The other two players selected were Joe Dumars and Dominque Wilkins. Dumars (Now with the
Detroit Pistons Front Office) a 6-4 Shooting Guard, had six all star appearances during his career to
his credit, and a Finals MVP in 1989. Dominque also known as the “Human Highlight Reel” was drafted in 1982 and spent most of his career with the Atlanta Hawks. This 6-9 Forward was known for his amazing dunks and nd was a two time winner of the Slam Dunk Contest. He averaged over 30 points a game two separate seasons in the mid 1980s.
Item III: TV Schedule
The NBA Season tips off Halloween Night with the Bulls visiting the Heat in Miami and will be covered on TNT. Cleveland, Miami, LA Lakers and Phoenix have the most national (ABC, E-SPAN, and TNT) exposure with the networks covering 24 games while Dallas and Detroit are in second and third with 19 and 15 games covered nationally.
NBA TV will feature 96 games this season starting with a doubleheader on November 4th of Boston against Washington followed by Phoenix and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Item IV: Playoff Format Tweaked
The biggest league news of the off-season was the adoption new rules to the current NBA Playoff system. The first four seeds in each conference will continue to be given to the division winners and the team with the next best regular season record however the ranking of the seeds will be determined by the regular season record. This was done to prevent the teams with the two best regular season records in a given conference from meaning in the second round instead of the Conference finals. Many seasons one division does overpower in terms of playoff and championship caliber teams. This was done primarily to help even that out.