NBA is in session

We are a couple weeks into the NBA’s regular season for 2002-2003. The last look we had of NBA action was the Lakers versus the Nets last spring. The Lakers made it three in a row by whizzing by the lowly Nets in four. It was one of the more depressing NBA Finals series I can recall in recent memory.

Regardless of every other factor, no team should ever be swept that deep in the playoffs. But now it’s November of 2002 and we’ve made it to the beginning of another season. There are many new faces out there and always things to keep our eyes on.

Kobe Bryant is leading his Lakers right now. He’s led them all the way to a less than .500 start without Shaq. But he has been able to gather two triple-doubles (one assist shy of three in a row) through five games. Kobe has added 15 pounds to his frame for more efficient play inside, durability and toughness to play those extra minutes Phil (Jackson) needs out of him.

However, the Lakers are a mediocre team right now. Shaq is expected back shortly from his toe surgery vacation and I’m sure Rick Fox will make his way into the line-up after he serves the end of his six game suspension for fighting with Doug Kristie.

Yes, Fox decided to get into it with Kristie in a pre-season game with the Kings, so now he’s on a little vacation of his own. I’ll say one thing as hard as it is to admit; the Laker show will be tough to hang with when they’re healthy and in full force.

Sacramento is dealing with Bibby’s injury right now too. Weber’s back after taking some time off for his injury. They still have a winning record right now, but I’m pretty sure they’re gonna need both Bibby and Weber soon. Bibby knows he can hang with the best of them and nobody needs to tell Weber he’s a bad ass twice. He’s worth a double-double every game and some mean looks down the court after he dunks on whoever he’s playing.

Other than the Kings, I’m surprised to see the Sonics are on top of their game right now. Payton maybe be an older point, but he’s still got game. Just dished out 18 assists Tuesday night, and he can still score. More importantly, Payton is finding ways for his team to win. I like the Magic so far in the East. Grant Hill is back and helping his team by being on the floor for a change from the past few seasons. We can always count on T-Mac to give us 20-plus points, six boards and five or six assists. Right there the Magic have skills and lots of them. They’re second in the Atlantic and Eastern conference overall. They should be able to keep up the good work.

It’s too bad I’ve lost most of my respect for the Nets. They have yet to lose but seriously, what does that mean after getting laughed off the court by L.A. last season. Maybe Mutumbo is just what they needed, I sincerely hope so. I’d like to see someone in the East get somewhere this season.

I realize it is early. But it just comes so quick and I get excited when I see all these highlights on Sportscenter every night. Time will only tell us which teams are for real, but for now we can just enjoy the highlights and admire the stats.