Jeff Harvey

I thought that I’d hold off on my Super Bowl LII prediction until next week. It really doesn’t matter since I blew my Chargers prediction at the beginning of the playoffs in the second round.

Instead, I thought I’d take a look at the NBA at mid-season and quite a season it is.

The big news was DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins starting his season with the Golden State Warriors last week. I see him playing a key role on the offense and defense but not being the major offensive player he was pre-injury. I also think he’ll be on his best behavior because he wants a big contract next year.

The Los Angeles Lakers are currently playing without LeBron James (groin injury) and showing mixed results. They’ll need him for a successful playoff run.

Going to the Eastern Conference, we come upon the conference-leading Toronto Raptors with a healthy Khawi Leonard. If they keep him, they’d have made a steal even with Demarr Derozan playing well for the Spurs.

The Spurs, with the notable exceptions of head coach Greg Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford, have seen the symbols of their championship era retire or leave. Still, they are very competitive with DeRozan, LeMarcus Aldridge and company.

In my opinion, a lot of Cousins’ frustration early in his career stemmed from the Sacramento Kings blowing draft picks. Thanks to connecting on D’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagely III, among others, they are no longer the laughingstocks of the NBA.

Another team which has shown life beyond media expectations are the Dallas Mavericks. They hit on Euroleague MVP Luka Doncic, a multi-dimensional player much like James, but with better ball-handling and outside shooting.

Two teams which have been at least mildly disappointing in the media’s eyes are the Houston Rockets, who are, due to injury concerns, James Harden and a cast of dozens, and the Washington Wizards who were dysfunctional even before John Wall was injured for the season. At least Harden’s good enough to carry the former team.

It’s hard to determine how the Boston Celtics are going to go. Last year, they were within 10 minutes of going to the Finals without Gordon Heyward and Kyrie Irving. Heyward’s had some rust from his injury and Irving’s ranged from great point guard nights to apologizing to LeBron, in the same week, no less.

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