Needless to say, for reasons not related to basketball, we have reached the close of one of the most interesting NBA seasons since the halcyon days of dudes who played in shorts that covered less than most dudes’ briefs do in 2011.
Strangely, though, it had so little to do with actual basketball!
“The decision/the ‘new big 3’ in Miami”
“Where will Melo go?”
“Where did these San Antonio Spurs guys come from?”
“Why are the Bulls this good this fast?”
“Why aren’t the Celtics and Lakers as good as we thought they were?”
“Anyone seen Steve Nash lately?”
“That Blake Griffin guy sure can dunk!”
“Kevin Love… How’d we miss THAT guy!?”
I really could carry the list on and on, but I try to limit myself to 5 million words or fewer in these posts…
So never mind the drama that kept us watching basketball this year in the void that might be football (and basketball, by the way) in the coming fall/winter. Let’s talk about what we’re to be looking at ahead of us, here…
Well, wait… Before I get into the continued basketball of this, how about I go ahead and give out who has won what postseason awards in my opinion, because some are going to be going to some folks whose vacations will begin after their individual meetings with their coach this afternoon.
Playoffs discussion will be for another time, cool?
Awards time now, all in my own opinion.
Most Improved Player…
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
If ANYONE would have told me that an undersized Power Forward not named Dennis Rodman would EVER put up rebounding numbers like this dude – and put up 20 points a game to boot, I would slap them. If you cared, he also put up a respectable .470 from the field, .417 from 3-point and .850 from the free throw line. This is me hoping that Minnesota either properly builds a contender around him or he escapes for a contender, like Kevin Garnett DIDN’T until it was almost too late.
Rookie of the Year…
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Cripples Clippers
I probably shouldn’t even need to talk about this… Everyone knew I was picking this dude from the very beginning. It was his to lose by way of injury or some other buzzard luck. To be fair, he DID get a whole year on the road and conditioning at this level in what would have been his rookie season if not for injury.
He didn’t play any games then, so he was a rookie this year, and he should win the award if only for making people WANT to watch Cripples’ games.
6th Man of the Year...
If not made ineligible because the early-season starts Lamar Odom; Los Angeles Lakers. If ineligible, Glenn Davis, Boston Celtics.
Without Odom to hold down the ‘B’ guys (Barnes, Brown, Blake) who all normally come off of the bench with him, the Lakers’ second unit would have the team on the whole more scrutinized than they are. The only thing, in my opinion, keeping him from 6th man is the fact that he had to start almost the whole first third of the season, a role that he took as he had to as well with honors. The fact, here, is that the dude would be a starter and probably All-Star on most other teams in the league but plays his role well as he has settled into it.
If, IF Odom is ineligible, Glenn Davis has been the 6th-man and undersized glue that has somewhat held Boston together this year. Asked to play Power Forward at barely 6’9” and, um… “wider” than most 4s in the league, he deals. Asked to play the Center at a now-EGREGIOUSLY undersized barely 6’9”, he takes charges and at least provides 6 hard fouls, and does so off of the bench without complaint. If Odom can’t, Davis should.
Defensive Player of the Year…
Dwight Howard; Orlando Magic
I have said it before, it is his to lose until someone takes it… Second in the league at 14+ rebounds – a number that would lead the league most years – instilling fear to anyone dumb enough to beat one of his teammates on the dribble and providing his team with an identity as a “defensive minded” club despite usually being on the floor with 4 guys incapable (or not bothered to) of defending their lunch from their own shadow.
Derrick Rose; Chicago Bulls
Look… I’m a Lakers fan, have been since I was 6 (that would be 1985 for those keeping score at home). I have been TRAINED to dislike Michael Jordan and the Bulls for how their entrance into the Pantheon of champions included a stepping on of Magic Johnson’s sickened (as we would learn at the time) legacy. If Magic had not gotten Henry the 4th, then I am CONVINCED that there were 2 more championships and an MVP or two in the tank for him.
Anyway, back to the task at hand.
The Chicago Bulls made the quiet comeup of creating a “big 3” of their own, with the defensively challenged but offensively spectacular Rose, the undersized but WIZARD in a working system Boozer and also undersized (weight considered) but ONE MILLION percent effort Joakim Noah. They would hide under the shadow of Boston and Miami and be the most dangerous 3-seed anyone has ever seen.
Then Boozer decided it would be a good idea to run to the door in a dark house that he had just bought and broke his hand, missing many games.
Then Noah and his 1,000,000% hurt HIMSELF just as Boozer was about to come back.
Yet through all of this, they maintained that 3, despite slack individual – but great team – defensive pedigree. It’s been said that defense is what wins titles, but all that defense is for nothing if you held your opponent to 90 and could only muster 85 yourself. Therein is where Derrick Rose becomes the difference between the Bulls biding their time wading through injuries with a collection of close losses and doing so with wins.
When the pieces of the puzzle were back together and healthy, they won even more. So much that they only lost more than two straight one time all season, something that cannot be said for ANY of the other contenders – be they ‘so called’ or legitimate. That said, Chicago is now an overall #1, and masters of their own destinies… I hate that it has to be on the 20-year anniversary of the last changing of the guard involving the same teams, but I do NOT want my Lakers to see this team in the finals.
And for that, D. Rose deserves the MVP.
You know? I COULD go in with playoffs predictions, but I am convinced that with the season that we just had I would totally mess it up. We will leave this with my HOPES are that the Lakers don’t draw the Spurs in the West playoffs (unless Ginobili stays out with last night’s injury) and I PRAY that Boston has been sandbagging in the East.
Yes, the second-best rated NBA finals would be LA and Boston one last time, with LA and Miami being #1 and the 20-year anniversary of LA and Chicago being third (in my opinion), and I am hoping that the boys can put together one last run and send Phil out on top…