Do the results matter this early in the NBA season? You tell me if you can remember what was happening this time last year:
(a) Phoenix Suns
The Lakers were 10-5 and a full game ahead of the second-place Kings (who themselves would finish 16 games under .500 and fire coach
(a) The new ball controversy
Let's look at each one of these.
• The new ball was replaced by the old ball, and by the postseason no one was talking about it anymore.
• The referees spent the early part of the season assessing technicals when players scrunched their eyebrows the wrong way, but that hard-line trend had so little staying power that by the end of the season it was official
• A huge uproar was made of Wallace's attempt at wearing a headband, though it led to nothing apart from the team making an exception to allow Wallace to wear it this season.
• As for the Nuggets-Knicks incident, which was highlighted incessantly on television like new Zapruder footage of the Detroit brawl: While
For almost two years it seemed as if Garnett was on the verge of being traded tomorrow, but it wouldn't happen until this past offseason. Let's not get mired in the details: All of those guys were expected to be dealt during the season, and none were. That's why I remain skeptical of an impending trade for
It's true that some important, lasting events will happen early in the season. Somebody valuable may be injured, as
But too much is going to be made of little things this time of year. So much happens early in the season that goes forgotten as the games and months pile upon themselves and the snow falls and the ice thaws and the NBA Finals are played in 90-degree heat. The Pacers looked like a playoff team last December. The Wizards were a sub-.500 lottery team in November, more than two months before coach
So celebrate the new season. Enjoy the games. But draw few hard conclusions from anything that happens a half year before the outcomes begin to really matter.