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Saturday, February 25, 2012

All-Star Weekend and 2nd Half Predictions

With the NBA almost at its mid way point, I wanna take a chance and give my mid season awards and a few predictions going forward. 

Before we get into that, I must say, I'm looking forward to All-Star Weekend. I mean, ok, I usually am anyways. I'm one of the few that still love to watch the NBA as a whole. But I just really like what the NBA has done with the festivities surround the game itself. Well, one thing I didn't like that came away from it last year was that annoying Blake Griffin commercial for Kia where he jumps over the Optima for the slam. Not even that impressed. I mean, I can't jump over a car but as athletic as that guy is, that wasn't even a challenge. Shit, I drive a Kia Optima (pictured left) and that commercial irritates me! The other thing, they have once again ditched the H.O.R.S.E. competition. That's one of the few games you watch where we as basketball fans can actually go play ourselves. I'm not gonna be in a dunk contest, I don't have any red-white-blue money balls for a 3PT shootout. But I got a ball and a hoop and a buddy and we can play horse any day of the week. But I really do enjoy the other events as a whole. 

Shooting Stars challenge is fun to watch. Get those old timers out there representing their old teams. Heaving up half court shots. I'm entertained at least but once again, I'm a basketball junkie. The Skills Challenge is also something that is just different, which makes it fun to watch. Its a great way for the NBA to get some of their young PGs some exposure and to see how they match up with the leagues elite vets. Who wouldn't want to watch that? Ok, it might just be me again. 

Dunk contest has gotten stale. I think the NBA has realized that. They can't get stars to participate, like Lebron who was called out by my partner Smitty, and the judges just suck. They'll throw up a 10 for anything. Some of the best dunkers in the competition in recent years (Igudola & JR Smith) didn't even win the competition. Well, at least Nate Robinson isn't in it again. If I gotta watch him use some big guy to "jump over" to dunk again, I just might lose it. 

Then, its the 3PT Shootout. This event is slowly becoming my favorite event to watch. Its the event with the most pure scoring format. No judges, no props, no fan voting.......just plain and simple, who can get hot under the bright lights and hit the most shots from long range. My only gripe, and if you know me at all you can probably guess it, NO KYLE KORVER! Bias Bulls fan?? I think not and this is why. The guy is an elite 3pt shooter. That's what he is known around the league for, and that's his thing. The man is a sharpshooter. He is 13th this season in 3PT made. That doesn't sound too impressive. However, he has done it on roughly 20mpg. The guys ahead of him are all around 28+ mpg other then Matt Bonner who has also been snubbed. He is also shooting 41% from down town. He's a career 43% shooter from out there and his last year in Utah, he led the league at near 50% and that couldn't even get him into the competition. Check out this chart below to see how Korver matches up with the contestants in the contest for this year based on 3-pointers made, 3-point percentage & minutes per game. 

Ryan Anderson        95 44% 31
Mario Chalmers       67 47% 28
Joe Johnson            57 34% 35
Anthony Morrow     68 41% 29
Kevin Love              49 35% 40
James Jones            21 42% 10
Kyle Korver           58 41% 22

So, you could easily replace Love or Johnson with Korver. Johnson is even injured I'm pretty sure to the point where he was replaced by Rondo in the All-Star game itself. Jones will be in to defend his title. You could even make an argument to replace Morrow with Korver. And you don't put the same guys in it every year. Thats dumb and its why you dont see Ray Allen in it year in and year out. But that's the other plus for Korver, to my knowledge, he has never participated before. I'm just waiting for Kyle Korver to get a little respect and recognition as one of the leagues elite 3-point shooters, which he is. 

Ok, I'm done ranting. One more thing though, I LOVE what they did with the Rookie/Sophomore game. This game, though entertaining, was getting stale as well. How to shake it up? Inject 2 of the best basketball personalities out there, Shaq & Sir Charles. Yep, that will do it. 

What was this post suppose to be about again? Ahh yes, mid season awards and 2nd half predictions. 

First, my mid-season Awards:

Coach of the Year: Frank Vogel, IND - He has led his Pacer squad to the third record in the east behind Miami and Chicago. They are a team no one is talking about but they do have one of the league's best defenses with an improving offense. This team began to show signs of this last year in their 8 vs 1 battle with the Bulls. It has continued into this season. And to me, the coach that can do the more with less is the best coach in my eyes.

Most Improved Player: Ryan Anderson, ORL - This guy, with roughly the same amount of minutes he received last season, has just been a monster. He is on teams' scouting reports this season and for good reason. To this year from last he has a +5.5ppg, +1.7rpg, while making improvements in steals and assists while lessening his turnovers. He is also making 3 3-pointers a game and shooting nearly 45% from outside. He runs away with this award.

Rookie of the Year: Kyrie Irving, CLE - Well, the Cavs got it right. They took him #1 overall and he's been the most impressive rookie. Not really that close. He has the scoring, passing, and even rebounds well for a PG. Turnovers a little high but you'd expect that with a rookie. He shoots an insanely high percentage on the year at 47%. Thats a good indicator he takes smart shots. Cleveland has a bright future, as long as they can keep Irving happy.

 Sixth Man of the Year: James Harden, OKC - This one isn't even close either. It's James Harden of the Thunder. You could argue he is the league's most improved player too. But with 16.8ppg, 4.1rpg, 3.6apg, 1stlpg, while shooting 47% from the field. There is a reason the Thunder are a top 3 team in the league. Its not just all about Durant and Westbrook. When you can bring a guy like Harden off the bench, that takes you from a good team to an elite team. 

Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka, Kevin Durant, and James Harden.
Defensive Player of the Year: Serge Ibaka, OKC - He anchors the inside for one of the league's elite teams. Playing under 30min a game he still manages to be the leader in blocked shots on the season. He deserves some credit this season. 

Most Valuable Player: Kevin Durant, OKC - Yep, I'm handing the Thunder yet another award. He scores, he rebounds, he extends the floor. He might not pass like Lebron, but KD has something Lebron doesn't. Killer instinct. MJ had it, Kobe has it, and Durant has it too. He should be MVP. 

East Predictions:
1. Miami - Hate to say it, but they're the best team in the league
2. Chicago - My Bulls do have reining MVP and still have one of the league's best records despite Rose missing alot of time.
3. Orlando - Dwight will be Dwight but if Orlando has a chance, Jameer Nelson needs to play better.
4. Indiana - They have youth and play exceptionally good defense.
5. Atlanta - Joe Johnson most over paid player in league but Josh Smith been great. They should get Horford back for playoffs.
6. New York - Now that NY has found a PG, they prob most dangerous lower seed team in the playoffs.
7. Boston - Just hard to bet against the Big 3. If they don't wear down by then, they will be a tough out for almost anyone.
8. Philadelphia - Hawes hurt, Iggy & Brand struggling. They were a good story but a 1st Rd. sweep is how that story will end.

West Predictions:
1. Oklahoma City - In my opinion, they have MVP, Defensive PoY, and 6th man on top of having a superstar PG. They will make the finals.
2. LA Clippers - With the youth and elite PG play of Paul, they will pass San Antonio.
3. San Antonio - They just find a way to get it done. Parker is playing at a high level but if Manu can't stay healthy, I smell an upset waiting to happen.
4. L.A. Lakers - They just aren't done either and I think a new PG is on the way, maybe a Ramon Sessions. That would make all the difference.
5. Dallas - The reining champs won't go away easy because of their veteran roster. Another LA/Dallas matchup would be something to see.
6. Memphis - Another 1st round match up with SA seems likely and Randolph is coming back within weeks. I think they upset SA again.
7. Portland - They show they can play with anyone some nights and have bad losses other nights. They will squeek in.
8. Houston - Their guard play from Lowry has carried them. But they play no D and their bigs aren't that good. A first round exit seems likely.

Well, those are my All Star & awards thoughts as well as my 2nd half predictions. What are yours?



  1. With Gallinari coming back in a week or two I think Denver could squeeze in there. I think they were missing his 17 points a game. Coach Karl has a well balanced offense

  2. Yeah, Denver for sure still in the mix. Should make for a great 2nd half race. -Clark-