NBA is back, almost

I know I can’t be the only one who’s excited about October.

No, not because of Halloween or because of the World Series at the end of the month, but because it’s finally time for basketball, NBA basketball to be exact.

While I’m not about determining this season’s champions or predicting MVPs in the preseason, Saturday’s preseason opening had enough of a storyline to it to make me rush home to watch highlights and check scores.

What was one of the reasons I rushed home?

Simple. Derrick Rose.

After tearing his ACL back on April 28, 2012, and taking a year off, Rose made his return to the hardwood against the Indiana Pacers.

Though I wasn’t able to watch the game live on TV and was able to just catch highlights, what I did see was a player who made the right decision about sitting out an entire year.  

I’m not a Chicago Bulls fan myself, but I’ll admit I was one of those guys that wanted to see Rose return early or at least during last year’s second round playoff series against the eventual NBA Champions, Miami Heat.  

Rose displayed his trademark speed, agility and quickness, and even threw down a dunk that I’m sure had many fans of Chicago in a frenzy and thinking championship.

Rose finished his first game back with 13 points on five of 12 shooting in 20 minutes of action and followed up with another 13 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. The Bulls are 2-0 this preseason and will play the Washington Wizards on Saturday.

As a die-hard Lakers fan myself, there were two other games that stuck out. One obviously was the Lakers’ preseason opener against the Golden State Warriors, and the other was Dwight Howard’s debut as a member of the Houston Rockets.

While I won’t sit here and write that the Lakers are a better team without Howard, they’ll be just fine.

Even with Kobe Bryant out and recovering from his torn Achilles tendon, which he suffered against the Warriors back on April 12, the Lakers have a solid team.

Los Angeles brought back reserve guard Jordan Farmar and made solid additions in acquiring Nick Young, Chris Kaman and Wesley Johnson. Not to mention they still have Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, who are finally healthy.

The Lakers are in a perfect spot to be this year’s sleepers and proved in their opener against a up-in-coming Warrior team that this team can play.

The Lakers won their preseason opener against the Warriors 104-95 but dropped their second game against the Denver Nuggets 97-88 on Sunday.

After bolting from the Lakers back in July, Howard made his debut with the Rockets Saturday when they took on the New Orleans Pelicans in Houston.

Howard looked healthy against the Pelicans and put up 19 points and nine rebounds in 27 minutes of play.

Although the Rockets did lose, 116-115, Houston has a strong core group of guys around Howard in Jeremy Lin, James Harden and Chandler Parsons.

Having already surprised many last season with their playoff appearance and respectable performance in their first round series loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder, it’s only safe to assume that the Rockets will be making a deeper run this year with a superstar like Howard.

Though the preseason is still in the beginning stages, it’s becoming clear who will be this year’s group of front-runners.

The Miami Heat are looking like favorites again out of the East this season, but team’s like the Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Pacers and Bulls could present a challenge for the defending champions.

Out of the West, it’s hard to say who are the favorites.

The OKC Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and maybe even the Rockets could all be in the running to take the crown in the West.

NBA preseason basketball continues this week with action on everyday and will continue until Friday Oct. 25. The regular season begins on Oct. 29 with the Orlando Magic visiting the Pacers, the Heat hosting the Bulls and the Clippers taking on the Lakers.

• Tyson Agbayani, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or tagbayani@thegardenisland.com.

 

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