Short season is the best Christmas gift

NBA fans have gotten an early Christmas present this year. The NBA’s players and owners reached a tentative agreement to bring NBA basketball back to the hardwood on Christmas day.
The 149-day lockout is finally over. That means Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and the rest of league’s stars are back in action this season. But why should we be having goosebumps because the lockout is finally over?
With the NBA season being shortened to 66 games this year — 16 games shorter than last season — many NBA players have gotten extra time to heal injuries. This may be a wonderful thing for Bryant and the Lakers.
Bryant is infamous for injuries. He received knee treatment this off-season and now the well-rested Bryant may be dangerous like never before. Bryant and the Lakers are one of the NBA’s older teams, and it is almost certain that with the shortened season the team will be playing a lot fresher when the playoffs come around in the spring.
How about the free agent frenzy and the trade possibilities? This year’s free agency class isn’t that strong but there are still many quality guys available to play key roles on any team.
Are we going to see Chris Paul get traded away from the New Orleans Hornets? What about Dwight Howard? Do the Orlando Magic deal him to the Lakers? What if we see the two join forces together like the Miami Heat did with their stars last off-season? It’s no question that it is going to be a condensed off-season filled with signings and trades.
Can NBA finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki prove his critics wrong now that he already has his first championship under his belt? Or are the Mavs just too old now?
Last season we got to see one of the NBA’s brightest young stars win the regular season MVP award: Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. We’ve missed you Derrick.
We will see how much Rose has developed his game in the extended off-season, now entering his fourth year in the league. The explosive and speedy point guard had a very impressive season last year but didn’t have much success in the Eastern Conference finals against Miami. But this is a new year.
Going into next season many already predict that the Miami Heat and their three-headed monster in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are the favorites to win the 2011-2012 NBA Championship. Can he win his first title as well as the hearts of the nation’s NBA fans this time around?
The season has yet to begin and I’m already getting the goosebumps. Christmas is going to be very special this year.