The NBA Through Unpaid Eyes is a weekly blog by Men's Fitness intern
extraordinaire and wealth of basketball knowledge Collin Orcutt.*

two statements expressed about Collin's intern and basketball prowess
are not necessarily those of MF. Nor are they necessarily correct.
Except for the unpaid part.

The horn is sounding the end of the season's first quarter, and the the league's structure is slowly coming into focus as the early season madness dissipates. The Cavs have insisted  we consider them one of the league's powers with 15-3 record, good for second in the East. Dallas and New Orleans (winners in eight of their last nine and five of their last six games respectively) look to have shaken off the early season funk. And the Knicks decisively showed that there is nothing decisive about any person, player or front office rep, in the entire organization. To quote Knicks color man Walt Frazier, we're off to an "auspicious" start.

  • Is Phil playing Zen mind games?
    I've predicted the Lakers will win 72+ this season. On Wednesday, Phil Jackson said the Lakers wouldn't even come close. Mike Bresnehan, who reported the article, wasn't
    under the impression that Jackson said this to hype his team up.

    I'm not so sure. Jackson's rationale is that the Lakers will experience too much travel fatigue on cross country trips to have a real shot at 72 wins. We're supposed to believe that? Jet lag? Lets be honest, Jackson is the NBA coaching equivalent of Yoda mixed with The Brain. I see no reason why a) this isn't another Jackson ploy to get the most out of his team and b) the Lakers won't break the record.

    Already there are signs pointing in their favor, most notably their last second loss to the Pacers on Tuesday. Why is that a favorable sign? The Pacers were the only team to beat the Bulls twice during their historic season in '95-96.

  • New West Order
    The Blazers, who missed the playoffs last year, sit in second place in the Western Conference while the perennial best-of-the-west Suns are on the verge of self destruction.

    It's no surprise that the Blazers are good, but it is surprising how good, how quickly. They're so confident in their progress that Brandon Roy says they're looking forward to facing Boston tonight, a team that mentally had them hiding under their beds last season,  so they can measure themselves against the NBA's best.

    Meanwhile, the Suns are walking downers, spewing negative quotes to reporters on a near daily basis. Nash said the team is in a "dark place," Shaq said he's not the team's problem, pointing out (incorrectly) that he's only getting five shots a game and is "programmed" to play any style of ball (which now includes .500 style I suppose) and Amare Soon-to-gone-emire thinks he should be the team's feature player like LeBron and DWade are on their squads.

    This could get interesting.

  • Latest Knicks Knocks
    I can't help it at this point. I am completely obsessed with the Knicks runaway train of a season. It's like reality TV for me at this point: mindless entertainment I know I shouldn't watch but somehow end up invested in anyway.

    Since I last blogged, Marbury got dissed by Q-Rich, equated himself to a soldier in World War II and showed up late/stormed out early of a buyout negotiation meeting.

    Oh yeah, and apparently bought a plane.

    In other team news, Cuttino Mobley is considering medical retirement after meeting with heart specialists. Who would have thought that of the two players in the Clippers trade, it would be Mobley, not Thomas, with a heart issue?

  • What the hell is a Zephyr?
    Oh, it's a banged up, bottom-dwelling, overtalkative/underachieving team. I should have known.