Time to start the NBA awards voting, at least for me
You know how when you go to vote they give you that sheet of paper and stick you behind that little cardboard screens so you can have total privacy and no one can see where you’re putting the X?
Well, that’s all well and good for democracy but this is me and this is the NBA and now that it’s almost time for me to get the post-season awards ballots in, figure I’d share my selections with all you lucky Irregulars.
(Besides, it knocks off a slow day here and I still reserve the right to make a secret change before I submit them to the league either this afternoon or tomorrow morning)
So, without further ado, let’s do three today and three tomorrow, okay?
It’s good that we like our heroes a bit flawed because whoever comes out on top in this race – and it might be a close one – will have some foibles that are overlooked, either individually or with the team.
I don’t know what it is but there’s just something about LeBron James that, at times, underwhelms me. You look at nights like the one he had in Jersey last week – 17 straight points to rescue his team – and nights like he had against Toronto right after – 10 makes in his first 11 shots – and you want to scream: WHY DON’T YOU DO THAT ALL THE TIME, WE KNOW YOU COULD!
Can you give an MVP award to a guy like that, a guy who tends to defer too often? Can you?
Or can you look at Kevin Durant, freakishly long, gifted scorer, good defender and vote for him while yelling: GO AND TAKE THE DAMN BALL FROM WESTBROOK, YOU KNOW WE’D ALL LOVE IT IF YOU DID.
Does Chris Paul get it simply for pretending to listen to Vinny Del Negro for most of the season?
Coach of the Year
Yeah, I know. Too much credit when things go good; too much blame when things go bad, who needs ‘em, right? Well, they do get too much credit and blame in games but they can still influence things mightily and there are certainly those who are better than the others.
So, in order, for now:
Irascible, argumentative, doesn’t give a rat’s patoot about what people think, sits down his best players when you least expect and, lo and behold, they have the best record in the NBA. Yeah, not bad.
Look at that roster. Who you going to give the ball to, what are you going to call, on that one possession that wins or loses a game? Right. No one.
Let’s say you lose your best player for almost half a season, the guy you signed to take pressure off that best player has been a virtual no-show because of injury and your frontcourt can’t really score. Now let’s say you don’t whine or complain and you coach your butt off and you’re team is the best in its conference.
Yeah, your name should be on the ballot.
Defensive Player of the Year
No, it’s not the sexiest of awards by any stretch of the imagination. It’s like Basketball Grunt Work, though, and you know how I love Grunt Work.
From the top down …
You try to make Baron Davis and Jeremy Lin and Amar’e Stoudemire and JR Smith and that bunch into a passable defensive unit. You try to do it while being coached for half a season by a guy who tends to treat defence with disdain.
Go ahead, try it.
Chandler did. He did it well. He wins.
Forget all the shenanigans about The Indecision and Stan Van Gundy and remember that this guy is a rather imposing sort when he’s standing near the basket.
His reputation took a huge hit, no question about it; his sklls didn’t.
Maybe I change this to Iguodala or Tony Allen but I just like the sound in my head when it say:
Good enough for now, right?
Okay, tomorrow, we’ll do rookie, sixth man and most improved, the other three ballots I have waiting in my in-box to fill out.
More, as they say? How about two quick ones?
So the Phoenix Suns are officially eliminated from the playoffs after losing in Utah last night and that immediately starts more speculation about Steve Nash’s future.
The one quote I saw post-game last night from him (“I’ll take a look at everything. I think I’ve earned that.”) makes entire sense.
You know that I say the HOTH should offer him three years at big money and see what he says (and, no, I have no idea what he’ll say) but that’s a point for another day.
Today’s point is this:
The Suns finish their regular season at home tonight against San Antonio and while I don’t expect that Nash will play very much, I would hope – and expect – that for every minute he’s on the floor, the fans out there stand and cheer like they’ve seldom stood and cheered before.
In, let’s say, the past decade, you can hardly find a guy who has made his franchise better, and relevant, than Nash has with Phoenix. He made marginal players far better than they should have been, he turned a so-so team into one to be feared in the post-season almost every year, he was twice named the best player in the league and if tonight is his last game in Phoenix, he needs to be shown more appreciation than anyone ever has been.
Name me three other guys more closely associated with a successful franchise over the last 10 years than Nash has been:
Maybe Dirk, maybe Kobe; that might be about it.
It has been a wondrous run and if it’s over, it needs to be a memorable moment.
Seven games for Metta World Peace?
I’d say it’s on the low side but you can also make the case that David Stern didn’t over-react; I read somewhere that the longest suspension for an elbow to the head previously was two games and while I would have probably liked 10 better, I can live with seven.
Sort of wish it had been eight, though, which would have meant he’d miss the entire first round of the playoffs regardless of what happened.