General Sports

NBA Second Half

So this is the time of the year that I reflect on what has been in the first half of the NBA season.  Like most sports enthusiasts I would say that the NBA is working out just like most everyone thought.  Detroit and San Antonio look like they are up for Round Two in the Finals, Kobe takes an ungodly amount of shots a game, and Isaiah Thomas is the worst GM ever.  But there are some things happening in the league that intrigue me.  Take for instance the Phoenix Suns.  They don’t have one of the five best players in the league (Amare) and they have only 2/5 of the starting lineup they had last year and they still lead the Pacific and are a two seed in the West.  LeBron James is a man-child, but we all knew that.  However, it actually looks like the Cavs are not going to have a melt down and we get to see the King do his thing in the playoffs.The Miami Heat look like that pretty hot girl in high school who you think has a chance to be Prom Queen, but then she does something stupid with her hair and gets a new boyfriend and she is just not the same.  Then there is this stud in NO/OKC named Chris Paul.  The reason this guy is getting so much attention is because he is the real deal.  A shoe in for rook of the year, and he has a mediocre team with so many reasons to scrap the season on the verge of perhaps making it to the second round.  For arguments sake let’s say the Hornets catch the Grizzlies and get the 6 seed.  Then they play the winner of the Northwest division who will either be Denver or Utah.  If you don’t think they would be favored in that series you best check yo self.  So its time to dish out some awards and some predictions of what might happen come May and June.

MVP- This is a six horse race to me.  Steve Nash, Chauncey Billups, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dirk Nowitzki.
    My case for:  
        Steve Nash- He is playing better than last year when he won it.  And he has them in the same position as last year without Amare. He averages two more assists a game then the next guy (11.1 to Baron Davis’ 9.2).  He makes everyone better, case in point Raja Bell.
        Chauncey Billups- Best player on the best team always has to get a look.  He is the glue that holds the team together, and he is having his best year.
        Tim Duncan- If this guy smiled I think the world would come to an end.  Do you remember when he won the MVP of the finals and he was holding up both trophies last year?  He was as stone faced as Stallone in Rambo II when he said “Murdock…I’m coming for you!” He is the Groundhog man though, and he might be the greatest power forward of all time.
        LeBron James-31 pts, 7 rbs, 6 ast a game! I want him to average a triple double one year like the Big O.  Cavs are rolling, third best record in the East, and did you see the poster he made last night over Delonte West?
        Kobe Bryant- as much as it pains me he did have 81 and he is averaging a disgusting 35 a game.  He has the Lakers in the playoffs, for now.  I smell an injury though.
        Dirk Nowitzki-  He is the best player on the third best team and he has really impressed me with actually playing some D. If Dallas finishes number 1 out west and Dirk stays on the court, he will get some votes.

    Two or three guys who could have a monster second half and throw a wrench in somebody’s aforementioned plans: Elton Brand, Gilbert Arenas, and Shawn Marion.  

Coach of the Year- Avery Johnson.  He has the Mavericks right there with San Antonio and they have a legit shot at actually beating them in a series.  They are going to lock horns in the second round most likely with one either being the 1 and the other the 4 seed. But the “little general” has definitely done the best job coaching in the NBA this season.  We shall see if he can fend off Mike D’Antoni and Flip Saunders.

Comeback Player- T.J. Ford.  The Bucks are going to make the playoffs and he and Michael Redd are a big reason why.  He is a scrappy, tough, talented player who had a really bad spine injury last year and missed the whole season.  Good for him, he deserves it.

Rookie of the Year- Chris freaking Paul!  Just read any article on him anywhere to find out why.

Biggest surprise- New Orleans/Oklahoma City six games over .500, and the Suns staying a float without Amare Stoudemire.  

Biggest disappointment- the Knicks and Timberwolves.  Right now I am wondering just how much longer one of the most talented guys in the league is going to be wasted. (KG)

Prediction time…

Its actually pretty interesting out West, believe or not I see 4 teams having a legit shot a taking this thing and one is going to shock you.

Pacific winner: Phoenix
Southwest winner: San Antonio
Northwest winner: Denver

4-8: Dallas, L.A. Clippers, NO/OKC, Memphis, and….Utah. (I love AK-47)

As for the playoffs I see the final four being S.A., Phoenix, Dallas, and NO/OKC.  With the Conference Finals being between S.A. and Phoenix again. Unfortunately I don’t think Amare is going to be primed to take on Timmy and the Spurs quite yet.  So I like the Spurs to come out of the west…limping though.  They just had to beat Utah, Phoenix, and Dallas to get to the finals.

A lot clearer in the East though…

Central: Detroit
Atlantic: New Jersey
Southeast: Miami

4-8: Cleveland, Milwaukee, Indiana, Philadelphia, and Washington.

Final four I foresee Detroit, Miami, Cleveland, and New Jersey.  In no surprise though it is going to be Detroit and Miami, but Detroit will not need 7, or 6, or 5 games.  Finally in a rematch I think Detroit is going to win it all this year, baring any major setbacks.  They had a much tougher road last year when they played Indiana, and Miami, but this year it is a tougher road for San Antonio.  

In closing I love the Darko trade.  It is time this guy got some minutes and we have a chance to see if he is really Dirk Nowitzki-esque.  I have a good ad slogan for the Magic though:  “Come see the Double D’s…Darko and Dwight.”


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