Wednesday, April 16, 2008

NBA Regular Season Wrap-Up

Tonight is the final night of perhaps the best NBA season of this decade. The season has been so good that I literally have no idea what's going on in Major League Baseball right now. I haven't even bothered to look at stats or standings. (Additionally, I spent most of last weekend drinking myself into a stupor in celebration of my 23rd birthday).

Here are some interesting facts from the season.

The Golden State Warriors could finish the season 49-33 and not make the playoffs. However, if the 76ers lose tonight, two of the Eastern Conferences teams will be under .500 heading into the postseason. However, the 76ers have shown tremendous grit in making it this far in their first full season without Allen Iverson.

The Hawks, the 8th place team in the East, have snapped the longest postseason drought in the NBA.

One of the biggest stories of the season was the resurgence of the Boston Celtics, who could finish with 66 wins this season. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to the number one seed in the West, which has many fans salivating over a possible Celtics-Lakers finals. In fact, that much would help bring the NBA back to prominence.

As stated by Bill Simmons, the MVP race has been one of the greatest ever. The league's future is in great shape as almost every superstar in the league is under 30 right now.

Perhaps there were only three lowlights of this season. The biggest one is how sleazy the situation has been regarding Seattle's ownership trying to move the team to Oklahoma City, and David Stern's backing of those sleazeballs.

The Knicks are tied with the Miami Heat for second place in this column. Their situation is deplorable, and it’s heightened by the fact that they are the New York Knicks.

Meanwhile, the Miami Heat made a mockery of the NBA during their last month and a half of play. Pat Riley leaving his team to watch March Madness has to be unprecedented. Nothing says taking more than having a team full of guys who aren’t even D-League all-stars, let alone NBA players finish your season. I hope like hell they don’t get the first or second pick this year.

Moving on, this year’s playoffs should be fun to watch. Hopefully there won’t be a ridiculous amount of time between games this year, which has become a staple of the playoffs recently.

Anyway, here are my awards for this season.

MVP

Clearly I’m all for CP3 for MVP. However, I think this one might go to Kobe. This has been far from his greatest season, and he did try to get traded at the beginning of the year. He plays on perhaps the deepest team in the league, a team that would still be good without him. But since he hasn’t won the award yet people will feel inclined to vote for him. Kobe is the best overall player in basketball, but Chris Paul has compiled a season that’s arguably better than those from Nash’s two MVP campaigns.

Rookie of the Year

This award has been Kevin Durant’s from the start. He had an up and down rookie year, finishing on the upside. He’s a great talent. Hopefully he’ll put on some weight this offseason and come back more physically prepared for the NBA game.

6th Man of the Year

Manu Ginobli’s award by default. He comes off the bench as a formality, superstition, or both.

Most Improved Player

Hedu Turkoglu made the Magic a threat in the East this year. He also made their signing of Rashard Lewis look very foolish, as he’s the third best player on the team at best.

Defensive Player of the Year

I’ve seen Kevin Garnett up for this award on many sites, but I don’t see it. He’s changed the attitude of the Celtics and has energized their fan base. However, their true MVP and should be MVP candidate has been Paul Pierce.

If we have to give a Celtic an award, give this award to Paul Pierce. However, I don’t feel inclined to, so my would-be vote goes to Marcus Camby. He leads the league in blocks, is second in defensive rebounding, and is doing everything that Ben Wallace used to make all-star teams for (and is a far greater force on the offensive end).

Coach of the Year

This is a very difficult decision. Usually, it goes to the coach of the team that was the biggest surprise. Guys like Stan Van Gundy, Byron Scott, and Doc Rivers will probably get a lot of votes. However, I think Jerry Sloan should get the award. If we’re giving Kobe the MVP because he had a good season and hasn’t won it yet, why not do the same for Sloan.

While some of his players may loathe him, he’s been able to adapt to his roster and the play of the league and opened up the team’s offense. By doing that, he’s now the head coach of the Northwest Division Champs.

All NBA-Team
1st Team


C Dwight Howard
F LeBron James
F Paul Pierce
G Kobe Bryant
G Chris Paul

2nd Team

C Amare Stoudamire
F Kevin Garnett
F Tim Duncan
G Tracy McGrady
G Steve Nash

3rd Team

C Marcus Camby
F Carlos Boozer
F Carmelo Anthony
G Allen Iverson
G Deron Williams

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