Pau Gasol's beard is the best thing in the League right now. He looks like a cross between a lumberjack and an NFL quarterback from the '70s. Pau Bunyan? The neck beard's a bit much, but then again it's better than a neck tattoo. (Speaking of which, did Starbury get another one this summer?)
The Clippers start 3-0. It won't last—in fact, they already suffered their first loss at the hands of the Timberwolves—but with Phil Jax and Kobe getting all the ink in SoCal, it's nice to see the other guys doing something. What's really scary is that the Kings might be the worst team in California right now.
The Sixers start 0-3. It too, won't last—in fact, they got their first win at Indiana, of all places. But with Allen Iverson averaging 30-plus (again) and taking on much of the load, something's going to have to change before he breaks down. Maurice Cheeks should get quite the honeymoon in his city, but Philly fans aren't exactly known for their patience.
The Bucks start 3-0. And the teams they beat—Philadelphia, New Jersey and Miami—aren't exactly pushovers. Michael Redd is establishing himself as the most lethal scorer in the League, and lightning-quick point guard T.J. Ford shows no ill effects from the spinal injury that knocked him out for an entire season. Even better, the theft of All-Star center Jamaal Magloire from the Hornets takes pressure off No. 1 pick Andrew Bogut. The Central Division is going to be tough.
The Pistons start 3-0. They head West now, but Flip Saunders has already established that he can coach. With Rip Hamilton flying around screens and Tayshaun Prince slashing through lanes, it's just yet to be seen whether Darko Milicic can do some real things in real minutes. This year, he should get that chance.
Joe Johnson could have made $50 million in Phoenix, or $70 million in Atlanta. Sure, $20 million is a lot of money. But it's not like he would have been poor either way. And, as Isiah Thomas could attest to, you can't buy wins. Unless you pay Michael Jordan $30 million a season, but that was a long time ago. And Joe Johnson, you're no Michael Jordan. Have fun at the Gold Club.
Keon Clark should be everyone's hero. He walked away from the NBA after earning $15 million because it was enough. He doesn't want to suffer later for injuries just to make millions more, or live by anyone else's rules—despite the fact that he could easily sign with someone this season. Respect, Keon.
For the record, I'm not sure why it's 65 degrees in the middle of November, but I'll take it.