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NBA

This tag is associated with 24 posts

NBA All-Star Weekend: It’s Just Average!

Well the weekend was slated to be one of the most anticipated in sports with the NBA All-Star weekend upon us. I was one of the NBA fans that was excited for this NBA All-Star weekend because last year Blake Griffin jumped over a car and every part of the NBA weekend bought excitement. This weekend should have been one that every NBA fan enjoyed.

Instead fans were served up a mediocre sequel to a NBA weekend that last year boosted NBA ratings to new heights. The skills competition was mainly players jogging at half speed looking like they did not even care if they won or lost. The final round was a bit more exciting but I am sure no one broke a sweat trying to make it through the preliminary rounds. Tony Parker won this very lackluster, unexciting event.

And the winner of the Three-Point Shootout is Kevin Love??

The three point shootout was a bit livelier than the Skills competition. However, I am sure they did not get the most prolific three-point shooters in the NBA. Anytime Kevin Love is a participant in a three-point competition we know they were struggling to find people to enter.  Kevin Love is purely a power forward and while is a good three-point shooter should not be a first pick. Where is Ray Allen or Paul Pierce? Where is Kyle Korver? I would have even taken Ben Gordon over some of the final players that participated. The three-point shootout lacked star power and also the real “streak” three-point shooters that are known to “light it up” from deep. When it was all said and done, Kevin Love, the most unlikely candidate won the title of three-point champion. Congratulations to Kevin Love but I am convinced the NBA could have gotten a better roster to compete in the NBA three-point contest.

Gone are the days of good Dunk Contests…

Next on the agenda was the Slam Dunk contest. Gone are the years when we saw Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins compete in the Slam Dunk contest. We used to see NBA players fight to get in the Slam Dunk competition. Now as soon as a player gets a bit of fame they snub the Slam Dunk contest. We will never get to see Lebron James against Kobe Bryant to see who the best dunker is. Even better would be to have Lebron James, Blake Griffin, and Dwight Howard all showcase their best dunks against each other.

Instead all NBA fans received were a bunch of players no one knew putting on the lamest slam dunk contest ever. This year the NBA Slam Dunk contest did not even have formal judges. No I am not kidding; no judges at all were part of the contest. The voting was done all by votes tallied by fans on the internet. Half of the fun of previous contests as a fan was arguing over why one dunk got a 50 and why one dunk was a 49. It still boggles me to why they decided to not have judges this year. The majority of the dunks were jump over this or that and it each dunk took too many tries for the competitors to complete the desired dunk. I believe the NBA should have put in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that star players have to be participants in some part of All-Star weekend besides the All-Star game. Some guy named Jeremy Evans won the slam dunk contest. Who is Jeremy Evans you ask? I had to ask myself the same question and then refresh my memory. If Evans did not have a Utah Jazz uniform most people would have not known what team Jeremy Evans plays for.

The best part of the whole weekend was the NBA All-Star game. I should probably say the 4th quarter of the NBA All-Star game was the best part because for about 3 quarters, neither the Eastern Conference nor Western Conference All-Star team plays at full speed. Both teams hardly play defense for the first three quarters of the All-Star game. However, in the 4th quarter is when we see things start to heat up. Every all-star player in the game stepped up their game but none greater than Lebron James. The Eastern Conference was down by 15 points in the 4th quarter and when Lebron James came in, the run started.  James hit multiple three-pointers, some that looked impossible to help eventually dwindle the Western conference lead down to one point.

Lebron James came up short in the NBA All-Star game too, is this a sign of things to come?

The Eastern conference was almost able to take the lead but we saw why the Miami Heat lost the playoffs last year come to fruition in the NBA All-Star game. Dwayne Wade could not hang on to a pass from Lebron for a wide open layup. In addition, Lebron threw a critical last second turnover that sealed the fate of the Eastern Conference. The question still looms in many NBA fans mind; will we see a similar meltdown when Lebron James and the Miami Heat enter the NBA playoffs?

NBA All-Star weekend may have been the second most watched All-Star weekend in NBA history, but does this more have to do with that not much more was on television. Maybe it was because more people now have a way to watch television in general. The reason could even be people were hoping like a bad movie the weekend would eventually get better. Whichever the reason, we can only hope that next year will return to yesteryear where NBA All-Star weekend was just as fantastic as the rest of the NBA season. One can only hope….

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NBA: The 5 Game Epic Story of Jeremy Lin

By now the World is enraptured by the next great thing and that next great thing  people are clamoring about is Jeremy Lin. Lin has generated all sorts of buzz leading the New York Knicks on an impressive win streak. The more impressive part is the Jeremy Lin has done it without any help from the injured stars Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Jeremy Lin has had five games of scoring more than 20 points.  Lin has become the go to guy on a very limited New York Knicks roster.

Jeremy Lin has become a New York sensation in just five games

In addition, Lin is dishing out an impressive amount of assists, averaging eight assists a game . Jeremy Lin is drawing comparisons to a lesser impressive Steve Nash clone. While Jeremy Lin does not nearly have the resume of Steve Nash, Lin is catching the attention of all the critics with his improved play. Everyone is wondering is this some fluke run that will end abruptly as teams begin to figure Jeremy Lin out?

Is Jeremy Lin a less impressive version of a young Steve Nash?

The answer to that question is inevitably yes and no. To explain, what Jeremy Lin will do will change as Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony return. His role will change from being the go to guy for every play to being much more of a facilitator. Instead of Jeremy Lin having to try to knock down as many shots as possible as he did in previous games, Lin will share the wealth so to speak with Stoudemire and Anthony.

Can Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemore coexist with Jeremy Lin?

This does not mean Jeremy Lin will not score. I can easily see Jeremy Lin continuing to average 20 points and 8 assists a game even with Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony back in the lineup. Lin may even average greater or less numbers depending on what the team needs him to do to win. With the defensive attention Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony will receive when on the court, opposing teams will have to allow Jeremy Lin to roam free. Having to lessen the pressure on Jeremy Lin will definitely cause some defensive mismatches to fall Lin’s way.

Total Linsanity!!!

None of the signs are there to say that Jeremy Lin will be a one week wonder. Lin did not suddenly acquire some, “Space Jam Michael Jordan”, basketball skills. Jeremy Lin is just a diamond in the rough that needed the right coach to make him shine. The New York Knicks may have found the missing piece and created their own “Big Three.” Only time will tell if the pieces will fit together. My best guess is that Linsanity will continue as Jeremy Lin continues to help the New York Knicks Win! Win! Win! or should I say Lin! Lin! Lin!

The NBA Lockout: The Continuation

The NBA lockout is still in effect and everyone is wondering when the lockout will end. There does not seem to be an agreement likely to happen between the NBA players and owners in the near future. We could be looking at the cancellation of full 2011-12 NBA season. From all reports the players and the owners are in disagreement of a 2 percent difference. The players want a 52/48 percent split in their favor and the owners want a 50/50 percent split. The players will not budge their position on the two percent difference and neither will the owners.

In the whole scheme of things two percent seems like such a small percentage to disagree over. However, in this case two percent is meaning millions of dollars. I can understand how either side feels. The players are the ones that the fans come to see so they feel they are entitled to more. The owners feel like they are taking all the risk and think giving the players over fifty percent is not fair to them.

Of course, the percentage of players this new agreement will affect is pretty small. The player making the NBA league minimum to play each game is never going to see a majority of the money anyways. The main players seeing most of the money are the starters and the star players of each NBA team. In addition, these are the same players that can afford to sit out a whole season and still afford their lifestyle. The average NBA player does not have the same luxury. A loss of a whole NBA season would financially devastate some NBA players. A great deal of NBA players need every paycheck they receive from each game they play.

The answer seems simple but I am sure all the supposed red tape makes it very complicated. The solution I would propose would either be to compromise which means settle for 51/49 percent split in favor of the players. However, the more likely end result of all the negotiations will probably end in the 50/50 split the owners have been proposing for months. The fact is when anyone tries to challenge the person who writes their check, the result is usually they lose the battle. The NFL negotiations ended this way, as the owners won and the players ultimately had to sign a deal they did not favor in the end.

The NBA players seem to be more stubborn than the NFL players though and the opportunity for an NBA season is looking bleak. A year without NBA is coming at the wrong time for the league. The NBA had just experienced a significant boost in television ratings and now that boost is diminished or eliminated altogether. If the NBA players and owners are not able to reach an agreement this year I am not sure how the NBA will fare in the future.

The fans want basketball to return and are waiting for the doors to the arena to open. Businesses that depend on basketball fans for income may have to close their doors and lay off employees. Television networks that show the NBA games are poised to lose billions with no NBA games being played on their networks. Even the NBA rookies, especially the ones who left college early to take part in the NBA draft are affected. The NBA rookies might have to sit a whole year out before ever being able to take the floor.  Unfortunately, no one knows the day and time when we will be able to cheer, have some popcorn, grab a cold drink, and watch our favorite team attempt to claim a victory. We can only hope that it is soon, but greed makes many people stubborn in what they want. We can only hope that the NBA players and owners decide to put greed aside and do what is best for the majority. I am not holding my breath for that scenario but stranger things have happened.

The Impact of the NBA Lockout

Yesterday was a sad day for two reasons. Steve Jobs the owner of Apple, died today after his fight for cancer, a truly sad event. I look at my I-Phone and just marvel at how much Steve Jobs influenced society and how far we have come in innovation.  In addition, another troubling event continues as we still have no answer to whether we will have an NBA season. The NBA lockout is still in effect and no one knows when it will end.

From all reports an agreement between both the NBA Owners and Players is not even close to being reached. This means that regular season games are going to start being cancelled soon and the complete cancellation of the NBA season is a possibility. NBA fans can only hope that before a full NBA season is cancelled, the NBA will decide to shorten their season. While that would be a small constellation prize, even that option is looking more and more unlikely as negotiations continue.The pre-season is already cancelled and more cancellations are sure to come the longer the negotiation takes.

The NBA Lockout comes at a horrible time as NBA television ratings are at an all time high after the way last season ended. The Miami Heat, the favorites to win it all, against the upstart Dallas Mavericks went at it in a knockdown drag-out fight to the finish. The Mavericks came out victorious and proved they were the best team of 2011. I am ready to see which team has similar drive, passion, and grit.  

In a perfect world, the NBA season would be ready to get under way and NBA fans would be ready to watch some great basketball games. Unfortunately, every NBA fan is left wondering when their favorite team will take the court. The majority of the NBA players are planning to play basketball professionally overseas while the lockout is in effect. The list includes Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and Tony Parker, just to name a few.

I just do not understand how major sports organizations ever reach the point where they do not have a plan for an agreement. I know that sometimes a good plan falls apart. However, this is two major sports organizations in the same year dealing with the same problem, if we include the NFL. One would think that the NBA would learn from the mistakes of the NFL’s negotiation and take some precautions to prevent a similar situation from occurring.

We may not see a single NBA player take the court this year because the NBA season has a good chance of being cancelled. I know I am not the only one who wants to see if the Miami Heat can win the whole thing in their second year. Moreover, I want to see if the Dallas Mavericks can repeat or do the Los Angeles Lakers recover from all the team drama of last season. I am ready for some blockbuster trades that will shake up the East and the West NBA conferences. Unfortunately, we will get to see none of these events if the NBA Team Owners and NBA Players cannot reach an agreement.

This is a sad day indeed for all basketball fans. The only thing that every fan can take comfort in is that college sports do not have the same issues. College basketball will still be as exciting as ever and it is looking like March Madness may be bigger than life this year. I will probably be able to get my bracket done much earlier this year. I would rather not be in that situation. We are pleading, “Come on NBA Players and NBA Owners, we have faith in you!” Get the deal done so we can see some great basketball.

Money Problems

Can we get it together? My patience is wearing thin. I need the owners and players of the professional sports teams to step up. How in the world do we end up with the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the iconic baseball team facing bankruptcy? Moreover, we have two lockouts in two major professional sports leagues, the NBA and the NFL. I now truly understand what the phrase means that says, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” The reason for the lockouts and Los Angeles Dodgers situation is all due to money issues. In the case of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the money issue is due to mismanaging team spending for years. Recently, the Dodgers were even having trouble meeting the team payroll. Someone in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization should have seen this situation coming and taken some proper precautions. Now it may be too late for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Los Angeles Dodgers are in such dire straits that the Major League Baseball Association is having a hard time bailing them out.

The NBA and the NFL lockouts are due to players and owners not being able to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. The players want an increase in the salary they receive. The owners do not want to increase the amount of money the players receive.  The owner’s justify their position declaring they need the additional funds to run each organization.  The players believe that the owners do not need as much money to run each organization effectively. The two sides in either league cannot seem to reach an agreement. The power struggle negotiation has begun in both the NBA and the NFL. Neither the players nor the owners want to be the one who makes a compromise. Both sides want only an agreement where their side has the advantage. While the NFL is much further along in the negotiation than the NBA, neither league is close to reaching a beneficial agreement for players and owners.

This means we as a nation could go without a NFL or NBA season next year. The thought of going a whole year without seeing Kobe Bryant battle Lebron James in the NBA playoffs would make my heart sink. Similarly, not being able to see Aaron Rodgers and the Packers attempt to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, would be just as disappointing. In the end, one side is going to lose and one will win. The bad part is not what happens in relations to the players or owners. The truly bad part is that fans have to suffer through the whole process and cannot even go out with friends to enjoy watching their favorite pastime.

The Double Standard

On Friday, the news was released that Nike has once again signed Michael Vick to an endorsement contract. After all Michael Vick has done in the past, this is a sign of true forgiveness. Sports superstars can commit all sorts of grievous acts and the public will forgive them. The public will forgive them as long as they can play or can still deliver a good performance. Michael Vick dog fighting exploits were some of the most heinous acts of animal cruelty to date. Yet, Vick went to prison, served his time, made all the right moves and most importantly proved he can still play football. Some people will never forgive Michael Vick. However, the majority of the public has forgiven him and Vick is again a fan favorite. As much as I think Michael Vick’s story is inspiring, most average people would never be seen in a good public image if they committed the same crime. The majority of people would forever have a permanent scar on their image.

The truth is if a professional sports superstar can perform at a high level during game time, the public will love them. The public’s memory is short term when a player is helping their team win. Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger have proven it, even though both players were accused of rape. Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape not once, but twice, and Steeler’s fans still love him. Moreover, Magic Johnson has proven it, even though he cheated on his wife and also contracted the HIV Virus. Tiger Woods has even been forgiven to an extent, though he has not returned to his former playing glory. Plaxico Burress will be the next one to be forgiven as he comes back and plays at a high level to help a NFL team. The lesson here is there is a double standard in society. The nation lives by the “What have you done for us lately?” standard. The past does not matter so much anymore in sports. Sports is all about the present and the future.

NBA Draft Hype and Revelations

I sat down to watch the NBA draft the other night and realized something. The draft did not have the excitement of previous years. Missing was a sure fire star that could instantly give a team playoff hopes. However, two players did interest me more than all other players in the draft. The two players I speak of are Kemba Walker and of course Jimmer Fredette. Kemba Walker is the main reason for UCONN being a contender and NCAA champion in 2011. Kemba Walker ended up going to the Charlotte Bobcats with the number nine pick. Walker is exactly what the Bobcats need in a player. I am not talking about his skill set but his mindset. We know one thing about Kemba Walker that separates him from the majority of the Bobcat current roster. That one thing is Walker is a winner.

While most NBA players have been winners at one point or another, most have not accomplished a National Championship title. Kemba Walker has something better than just being a winner, he has heart. When the game is on the line, Walker pushes through to do whatever it takes to get the job done. We saw it all season long as UCONN played different opponents. No matter what UCONN needed to assure the win Kemba Walker would come through in the clutch. That is something that cannot be taught.  A player just has to have it in them to be able to dig down deep and come up with the big play. In addition, if anyone has been to a Charlotte Bobcats game lately, it is easy to see no player on the team has this kind of heart. I have watched multiple games where the Bobcats would be up in the fourth quarter by double digit points. However, by the end of the fourth quarter the team would end losing. The Charlotte Bobcats need someone like Kemba Walker on their team. I loved the pick for Charlotte.

“Jimmer Fever” is still rampant in Utah and around the nation. Most of the talk before and during the draft was about which team Jimmer would land on. Even though Jimmer has officially graduated college, he is still a hot topic on all sports channels. The Jimmer topic received more discussion and airplay than the discussion about all the other NBA draft prospects combined together. Finally the wait is over; Jimmer is officially a Sacramento King after a draft trade, where the Kings moved into the tenth draft position. Sacramento received their college sensation, but can he live up to all the talk? The biggest question is whether Jimmer Fredette can be a great NBA player. Everyone agrees that Fredette can shoot and can be a good role player. However, no one knows if he can be that “special” player that takes a team to the next level.

The main issue with Jimmer is that he is not a great or even good defender. Fredette hardly played any defense in college. Jimmer’s job and only job, during his college career, was to score. The problem with this play style in the NBA is that a majority of NBA rookies do not have the ball in their hands for the majority of the game.  Jimmer Fredette will not get the opportunity to shoot 30 times a game in the NBA. I predict Jimmer will most likely come off the bench and have his shot opportunities limited to 10 to 15 shots a game. That prediction of shot totals may even be a bit on the high side. If and when Jimmer proves that he can do the great things he did in college, his shot opportunities will go up. Jimmer has a long way to go before he reaches that level. Moreover, Jimmer will have to show that he can play defense. No team wants a defensive liability, especially the Sacramento Kings, who are in a rebuilding phase.  Only time will tell if Jimmer is over-hyped or the real deal. The Kings may have gotten a steal or they may have obtained another draft bust.

NBA Off-Season 2012, Let’s get it started!

The NBA season is officially over, the playoffs were great, and Lebron James has officially apologized for saying he is better than everyone else because he makes millions of dollars.  I am still debating how sincere the apology was. James has taken arrogance and pride to a new level.Enough about Mr. James though it is time to think about next most important subject the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. We have seen the havoc the NFL is going through right now because the players and owners have failed to reach a new agreement in a timely manner. Now the NBA is about to be in the same situation. This means we could have a NBA lockout next year similar to the NFL has this year.

A NBA lockout would be horrible for the sport at this time because this year more people watched the playoffs than previous years. Fan interest has finally started to rise again as the playoffs had a great deal of surprises and less predictability.  If a lockout does indeed happen, then the NBA season will be in jeopardy. However, we are hoping that the NBA has learned from the NFL mistakes in drawing up a new CBA and we will have an NBA season to remember.

Here are a few reasons that next NBA season could be one of the best yet. Next year is supposed to be another big free agency year as two major stars of the league can pick new teams if they choose. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul are both free agents in 2012. I am predicting that both stars will leave their current teams for greener pastures.  Many teams could use the services of both players. My favorite team for Chris Paul would be the New York Knicks.  Paul along with Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemire would make another powerhouse in the East. The actual possibility of Paul, Anthony, and Stoudemire playing together against the Miami Heat “Big Three” would be a showtime experience every time. The most logical place for Dwight Howard would be the Lakers, seeing as the team has lost its chemistry and coach. Howard could bring a new cohesiveness to the Lakers. Dwight Howard could help build his own legacy along with Kobe Bryant extending his own. The Lakers will always do what it takes to win and a trade for Howard would give them the greatest chance to do just that.

As much as I like the makeup of the Dallas Mavericks, the team will not repeat. Too many things have to fall in place at the right time for them to accomplish that goal. The Mavericks will be very competitive though and we will see them in the playoffs again next year. The Miami Heat will be in year two of their plan to bring a championship to South Florida. Miami will make some much-needed moves to improve their team but they will not find the road easy.  As teams make free agency moves, the Heat will find that it will only be harder to repeat their success of 2011.  Anyone who thought the drama and excitement of the NBA had reached its peak this year is very wrong.  We have just begun to see what the NBA has missing for a long time. NBA teams are building true powerhouse teams, reminiscent of the 80’s and 90’s.  Real competitive NBA playoff games are returning and fans will love every minute of it.

The Heart of a Champion

The Mavericks were crowned NBA Champions as they finished the Heat off on Sunday. It was a great series to watch and renewed the NBA excitement for some people. Dirk Nowitzki proved he is a true all star. The Heat proved talent can only take a team so far. A team needs teamwork and mental toughness. The Mavericks had both with a conglomeration of players that were considered past their prime.

Dirk Nowitzki was the leader, but every person on the team chipped in. Shawn Marion found energy he didn’t have since his days as a Phoenix Sun. Jason Kidd proved why he is going in the Hall of Fame. J.J. Barea delivered an offensive spark at many needed times throughout the Mavericks playoff run. Brian Cardinal became a household name as the announcers mentioned his college nickname, “The Custodian”, many times. Jason Terry had fans talking about he is the new version of Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson.  The story of the Dallas Mavericks is a feel good story that any serious or casual basketball fan can fall in love with.

Everything was against the Mavericks being successful and the team managed to overcome every obstacle put in front of them. Watching the Dallas Mavericks was like watching a hero in a movie taking on villain. The villain in this series and basically all season long was the Miami Heat. The Miami Heat became the villain when their confidence became arrogance. Stating how many championships your team will win without ever playing a game is like a big slap in the face to every other team in the league.

Lebron James was the most vocal one of the Miami Heat, “Big Three”. James turned the majority of the public against him not only by his move to broadcast “The Decision”, but also by his attitude throughout the whole year. I have often said pride and arrogance will destroy people who have great potential and Lebron James is no different. It was apparent, in the Playoff Finals; Lebron James thought he should be dominating every Dallas Maverick player guarding him. James face showed shock every time he missed a shot or did not get a foul call his way. With every mistake Lebron James became more frustrated and confidence faltered. By the time the fourth quarter of each game rolled around there was no coming out of the hole; Lebron James had built for himself. I am confident more people were happy to see King James fail, rather than the people actually happy for the Mavericks.

The majority of people did not want to see the Miami Heat win and about ninety percent of the reason was due to Lebron James being on the team. The Miami Heat “Big Three” came together because they believed that they would win a Championship this year.  They were confident that no team would be able to stop a team with their talent. When the Los Angeles Lakers were eliminated, the Heat believed that this year would be the year they win it all. The Miami Heat were wrong.

The New Generation

The old generation is on it’s way out and soon we will call them legends and our focus will be on the rising stars. It is always good for any professional sport to experience “game changers”, so to speak. This keeps the league and sport exciting.While it is nice to see one team or the same teams win all the time. After a while, this makes the particular sports playoff and championship boring. When a new team has a chance to win or an unexpected team makes a playoff run, that is what makes sports exciting. I am glad to see the new generation coming to the forefront. I am excited to see how long this reign will last and how this all plays out.

The new generation has officially been ushered in. We are at the turning point where certain people fade out and other people rise up. This is happening in all sorts of professional sports but we can see it more clear in the NBA and the NFL. The old generation is retiring seeing that the game is changing and their time is done. Shaquille O’Neal sent a tweet yesterday that he is retiring. He is not coming back and has realized that he cannot contribute at a professional level anymore. O’Neal has been a great player and will go down as a legend for all he has accomplished. However, it has been painful to watch Shaq the last couple of seasons. O’neal spent a great deal of time injured and was hardly was worth having on the team. On the rare occasion when he was healthy, it was easy to see that Shaq had lost a step.

In addition, the Boston Celtics with a roster composed of older players, could not compete with the Miami Heat. The Miami Heat have three of the best players in the NBA, who are still in their prime. The Miami Heat are now taking on the Dallas Mavericks and once again, the newer generation of the NBA player is dominating an older generation. I know it has only been one game but it does not look good for the Dallas Mavericks after watching the game Tuesday night.

This NBA season we saw a young electrifying player in Derrick Rose win the MVP. He has redefined the point guard position by not just scoring but finding so many ways to create his own shot. Moreover, most of his shots are gravity defying dunks and layups. Derrick Rose led the Bulls all the way to the Eastern conference finals, similar to another young player.

Kevin Durant has not been in the league that long and already has been a scoring champion. This year Durant, along with a team composed of players in their early 20’s led his team to the Western Conference Finals. The Oklahoma City Thunder was definitely the youngest team in the playoffs but overcame many challenges. Age did not matter and neither did playoff experience as Oklahoma piled up playoff wins. They proved they are a team on the rise and in the next few years could be winning a NBA title as well.

In the NFL, we finally see that Brett Favre is retiring. Randy Moss, Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens are all at the end of their times of dominance. Peyton Manning while an elite quarterback cannot overcome the lack of talent at key positions. Meanwhile, we have Aaron Rodgers and the Packers winning the Super Bowl Title. Matt Ryan has become an elite quarterback with a team who is on the brink of becoming great. Phillip Rivers is proving he can will his team to become a playoff contender. Matt Ryan, Jahvid Best, and Calvin Johnson are bringing the lions from laughing stock to contention. The point is it is the time of the “New Generation” in sports. The time of the changing of the guard is upon us

Heart of a Champion

When people talk about having the “Heart of a Champion”, they are referring to an athlete or team’s ability to persevere in bad circumstances. True champions overcome bad circumstances on a regular basis. That is what separates the champions from all the others. Seems like lately we are seeing less championship athletes, teams, and coaches. We are only seeing more of the teams that are hoping to get there. I hope that the trend will not last and professional sports will take a turn towards a brighter future.

In professional sports, two types of athletes represent the majority of the players. The first type is a professional athlete that is good but never a champion. The second type is the championship athlete who can win “The Big Game.” The main difference between each type of athlete is how they handle adversity.

Adversity is defined as state of hardship or affliction; misfortune. Professional sports athletes deal with adversity all the time and recently, we have seen quite a few good examples. In the NBA playoffs, we can see clear examples of not only players, but also teams that handle adversity in a bad way. In addition, we can see examples of teams that handle adversity in a good way.

The NBA Playoff Finals start today and how the two teams managed to win their last playoff series is by overcoming adversity in multiple games. Both the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks had games where they had to overcome double digit deficits in the 4th quarter to win. Both teams accomplished the comeback with a little more than five minutes left. The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks could have seen the deficit as impossible to overcome. Instead, the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks buckled down and rose up to meet the challenge.

The Heat and Mavericks showed they have a heart of a championship team. Their two opponents were the Oklahoma Thunder and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls and Thunder did not know how to handle adversity. When things started to go south for both teams, the Bulls and Thunder panicked.Oklahoma City and Chicago froze under the pressure of the Conference Finals. With each play, the Bulls and Thunder watched their chances slip away. We can see that neither team had experience in how to “right the ship” so to speak when they were sinking.

Another good example that just came to a conclusion recently is the current situation going on with Jim Tressel, who coaches Ohio State Football. Tressel and some Ohio State football players were involved in a scandal. The Ohio State Football players, which included Terrell Pryor, the star Quarterback, sold Ohio State memorabilia for profit and also received special benefits from car dealerships. The result for their actions was the NCAA suspended the five Ohio State players for five games for the upcoming college football season. Tressel took it upon himself to make sure all of the Ohio State players were going to return for this new college football season. It looked like Tressel was handling the adversity well. That was until yesterday when Tressel resigned as the head coach. The pressure became too much for Tressel and he folded under it.

The NBA Finals Are Upon Us…Well Almost

It’s official the Dallas Maverick have finally done it. They are officially the Western Conference Champions of the NBA. It is no surprise that the Dallas Mavericks were able to close out the Oklahoma City Thunder last night. The Mavericks won the series 4-1 and proved they are a team that deserves a shot at winning a Championship. The Mavericks clearly had the best player on the floor in Dirk Nowitzki.

The Thunder could not contain Nowitzki, he scored anytime he wanted to. When Oklahoma City did foul him, Nowitzki knocked down free throws unconsciously. I do not see a true weakness in Dirk Nowitzki’s game. He is seven foot tall and it is almost impossible to block his shot, because of his height and length. He often shoots off balance or off one foot and makes the majority of those shots. Dirk Nowitzki even is a great three point shooter and teams have to guard him out at the three point line. He is truly a player who cannot be guarded well.

It is almost a lock that the Dallas Mavericks will be playing the Miami Heat in the next series. The Heat have three all stars who can take over a game in Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The Miami Heat have surprised many people by dominating each of their playoff series. Normally, I would say that the Mavericks would have almost no shot beating the Heat. However, after seeing the Mavericks handle the Lakers, I believe they may actually have a good shot to upset the Heat.

The Heat have not had an opponent that has a similar lineup to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks are definitely the best three point shooting team the Miami Heat have faced. They have three of the best three point shooters in NBA League history in Peja Stojakovic, Jason Terry, and Dirk Nowitzki. In addition, Jason Kidd has developed into a nice three point shooter as well. Moreover, Dirk Nowitzki still has all the intangibles that we mentioned earlier in this post. The Miami Heat have their work cut out for them.

I am not by any means saying that the Miami Heat is not an equally talented team. I am saying that the series is not going to be as lopsided as some people may think. I actually think the series will go the full seven games. The series will be a battle of the Miami Heat’s Big Three versus Dirk Nowitzki and the bench of the Dallas Mavericks. King James could have his first royal coronation or Dirk Nowitzki can solidify his legacy. The series is not an easy one to declare a winner but will be one of the most, if not the most exciting series of the NBA Playoffs.

The Oklohoma City Meltdown

Last night the Oklahoma City Thunder took on the Dallas Mavericks.Oklahoma City needed to win last night to tie up the series at 2-2. Dallas wanted to win to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. Oklahoma City coming into the game had not lost back to back games all post season. Destiny was supposed to be on the Oklahoma City Thunder’s side.

Of course, Destiny is very fickle and sometimes changes sides. Oklahoma City came out on fire. The Thunder made their first 5 shots. Oklahoma City started the game out with all the fervor that everyone expected. The Thunder looked like a team that wanted to win and nothing was going to stop them.

Kevin Durant redeemed himself a little from his previous 7-22 performance from Saturday. Kevin Durant shot 9-22 last night, which was better than Saturday but not by much. The Dallas Mavericks ran constant double teams at Durant and limited the number of good shots he could take. Russell Westbrook did not fare much better as he went 7-22 of the field. The Oklahoma City role players played exceptionally well though. Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, and James Harden all had good games. Due to the play of their role players the Oklahoma City Thunder was able to build a good lead. The Thunder had a lead of 15 points with five minutes left in the 4th quarter and then it happened.

Dirk Nowitzki turned on his second gear. Nowitzki went on a run all on his own. He hit shot after shot to close the gap on the lead. It was amazing to watch as most of the shots were off balance and fade away shots. The Thunder tried everything they could muster to stop Dirk Nowitzki’s offensive onslaught. However, with each possession Oklahoma City looked more and more helpless to stop Nowitzki from scoring. The lead that was a 15 point lead with five minutes to go dwindled down to a shocking zero points all due to the game play of one player.

At the end of regulation, the Mavericks had a chance to win the game. Dallas failed to connect on the last second shot. The game went into overtime and was truly already over, before the first overtime possession. The Mavericks had taken the wind out of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s sails and the team looked lost. The Thunder looked as if they had no life or energy left. The team was shell shocked and they were not going to recover.

The dagger in overtime was a three point shot from Jason Kidd with 40.3 seconds left. The Thunder squandered their chances away to get a good shot. Kevin Durant attempted a long three pointer and the shot and fell short off the front of the rim. That shot was the last chance for the Thunder to try to tie the game up again. However, by this time the momentum was all on Dallas Maverick’s side. If the Thunder had gone into an additional overtime, the outcome would have been the same. The Thunder team had already given up.

The game was a good example of a team with no playoff poise. The Thunder did not know what to do when everything started to go south in a hurry. The team could not get into a rhythm or even run a play correctly.Oklahoma City can use the excuse they have a young team, but in reality the team just needs to learn what to do when things start to get out of control. The NBA Playoffs are all about handling the unexpected situations and momentum changes in a good way. The great teams persevere when the challenge presents itself. The good teams may and often times will fold when faced with adversity.

Last night Oklahoma City showed that they are a good team but lacking the qualities of a great team. No timetable is set for when Oklahoma City will reach the next level of being classified along with the elite teams. The fans can only hope its sooner than later. This playoff series is a learning experience for Oklahoma City. We can only hope The Thunder use the experience to help them grow and not take a step back.

Round 2 Heat – Bulls, Sweet Redemption!

The battle has ensued in the NBA Playoffs. Last night the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls took to the floor. This game is the critical game two of the series and is generally the determining game to the momentum of the series. If Miami can win, the Heat even up the series. If Chicago wins they have stranglehold on the series going into Miami. At the beginning of the year no one could of predicted these two teams to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. Most people thought Miami would be here, but no one thought the Bulls would be here. Derrick Rose blossomed overnight and became one of the true elite players in the NBA. When it was announced these two teams would meet in the finals, most people thought Miami would dominate the playoff series.

How wrong the majority was about the Bulls as an opponent. The Bulls have put together quite a game plan to give Miami a significant challenge. The first game the Bulls ran away with the game. The second game last night was much closer and competitive battle. The Heat came back and achieved some redemption. The game was a defensive battle for both teams. However, in this game Miami had the more stifling defense.

Watching the game, anyone could see how hard it was for the Bulls to get the same good looks they got in game one. The Heat employed a great deal of double teams in every area of the floor. Miami was able to keep Chicago off the boards and out rebound the Bulls 45-41 throughout the whole game. In addition, The Miami Heat held the Chicago Bulls to 3-20 from the 3 point line. This is an area where Chicago dominated Miami in the first game. Derrick Rose was held to only 7-23 from the field, finishing with 21 points. Open shots were at a premium and good defensive schemes took its toll on both teams.

An unexpected difference maker was Udonis Haslem who came in and gave the Heat a spark. Haslem entered the game, having only played 13 games all season. Haslem scored 13 points, one block, five rebounds, one steal, and two assists in 23 minutes. Udonis Haslem hustled like he had been playing all season. Haslem definitely had no rust to shake off, as he made play after play. At the end of the game, though it was Lerbon James, not Haslem that put the game out of reach.  Lebron James came through with 9 points in the 4th quarter to give the Heat the final lead of the game.

The series is by no means over and is just beginning but now the Heat have the momentum as the next game is in Miami. Another down to the minute game is expected and the battlefield is Miami. Each team has one victory but the war is far from over. Sunday we find out who will take the lead in the series. The Heat are ready to defend their home court. The Bulls are ready to come into Miami and steal a game. The excitement is building and every NBA fan should get ready for a great series ahead. This Bulls-Heat series will be one for the ages.

The NBA Playoff Surprise

The Eastern Conference Finals started on Sunday and The Miami Heat had all the momentum coming into the game. The Heat had closed out theBoston Celtics in a hard fought series and it looked as if the Heat were finally coming into their own. The Miami Heat have three of the top players in the league on their team in Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Chris Bosh. Those three players should give the Miami Heat a distinct disadvantage over every team. The Heat should be blowing teams out by 20 or 30 points no matter which teams they play.

Very few teams can match the talent level of the Miami Heat’s top 3 top players. The problem is that is where the exceptional talent on the Miami Heat’s team stops. Below the top 3 players on the team is a mish mash of players past their prime and some so-so role players. James Jones, Mike Miller, Jamal Magloire, Juwan Howard and a slew of others who hardly contribute anything to the team. It is safe to say that eighty percent to ninety percent of the Heat’s scoring each game comes from the “Big 3”.  

This is the exact reason the Heat started the Eastern Conference Finals with a loss to the Chicago Bulls. While some look at the Chicago Bulls and say all they have is Derrick Rose and if a team can shut him down, they can beat the Bulls easily. This is not the case concerning the Bulls at all. The Bulls have one great advantage over the Miami Heat and that is bench depth. Not only do the Bulls have the top point guard in the league in Derrick Rose but they also have players like Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, Loul Deng, and Kyle Korver. Each of these players plays a vital role in each game the Bulls play. They Heat have no players who compare after their “Big 3”. Wade, James and Bosh have to play the majority of the game to be competitive with the Bulls and over a series of games; this will take its toll on Wade, James, and Bosh.

Chicago has enough depth that over a series, the Bulls can rest their players, bringing in other players to lighten the burden of playing time. While the Bulls may not have the “Big 3”, the Bulls have more players who each fit a specific role on their team. Derrick Rose may be the one who makes the team’s engine run so to speak, but even a railroad needs a team of people to make the train run properly. While many thought once the Heat defeated the Celtics the team would cruise into the NBA Finals. This is going to be far from the truth.

The Miami Heat may have just walked from stove into a frying pan. Only they are not the ones sizzling now. The sizzle is all in the city of Chicago and Derrick Rose is the perfect ringleader to dash the dreams of the Heat and the “Big 3”. The Bulls-Heat series will be another intriguing series. We have not seen the last of the surprises of this series. Keep in mind the West Series has not even started yet and that looks to be a great series as well with the Dallas Mavericks and the Oklohoma City Thunder. With all the major basketball powerhouses gone including the Lakers, Celtics, and Spurs, this year an unexpected champion will be crowned. No clear cut favorite has emerged thus far. We can only sit and enjoy the show, the drama, and the fantastic plays.

The Super-Mavs!

Superhero movies are the big thing lately. We have at least one superhero movie released every summer. No matter which superhero the movie is about, the plot is always the same. A super-villain threatens the city or world and the villain seems unstoppable. The superhero goes to confront the villain and gets defeated. Then the superhero digs down deep in his soul and overcomes the villain in the end.

This same kind of plot can be applied to one of the current NBA series that just finished. The Los Angeles Lakers would be the super-villain and the Dallas Mavericks were the superhero. The Los Angeles Lakers have dominated the playoffs the last 2 years. No one could beat them. The Lakers would come back no matter what the circumstances and be victorious in any playoff series. The Lakers always found a way to be on top and never taste defeat. That was until the Dallas Mavericks showed up.

The Mavericks should have had the Superman music in the background because they came to the rescue of the playoffs. Everybody expected the Lakers to win another Championship. The pieces were in place, the Lakers have the best closer in basketall in Kobe Bryant. The Lakers have the best coach in Phil Jackson. The Lakers always had an advantage with their length. The playoffs were almost getting to the point of being predictable. The Lakers would take down whoever they played and end up in the finals every year. Then they might struggle some but they would be spraying champagne in the end.

Now the unexpected has happened and the Lakers were taken down by a team that outplayed them. Not only did the Lakers lose they also were swept by the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers did not even put up a fight against the Mavericks and win at least one game. Each game the Mavericks wore the Lakers down more and more mentally. The Lakers looked more disorganized each time they stepped on the court. It was similar to when a boxer throws that punch that dazes their opponent before the knockout punch. The knockout punch of the Mavericks was pure poetry in motion as Jason Terry went 9-10 from 3-point range and Peja Stojakovic went 6-6 from the 3 point range. The Dallas Mavericks went 20-32 from 3-point range. When a team is on shooting streak like the Mavericks were,  any team would be hard pressed to keep up.

However, the Lakers did not put up much of a fight to stop the Mavericks 3-point shooting spree. Most of the 3 point shots taken by the Mavericks were wide open baskets because of the Lakers poor defense. Just as many villains have acted when their plans were foiled by the superhero, the Lakers showed how much they despised losing the series. Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum committed flagrant fouls when the game was out of hand. Both players were ejected from the game, but there was no reason to make those fouls. The fouls were committed because the players were upset by losing and being swept by a team they considered less talented.

Through all the talk of how the Lakers were going to win, the unsportsmanlike conduct and a history of losing in the playoffs, the Mavericks overcame it all. The Mavericks are now moving on to the Western Conference finals with well deserved victory. Every superhero has his day and the Mavericks certainly have had theirs by defeating the defending Champion Los Angeles Lakers. Now the Mavericks await their next challenge as the other Western Conference series is still on going. The Dallas Mavericks have to rise to the occasion once again. Unfortunately, we will have to wait to see how this Dallas Mavericks story truly ends.

The Real Miami Heat Stood Up

We were worried for a long time; they would never come around to their full potential. Everyone watched during the season as we saw them choke at the most critical times. Every fan knew they would make it to the playoffs, but some projected they may not even make it out of the first round. The team has shown flashes of greatness and then at other times have shown how disorganized they can truly be. The team I speak of is the Miami Heat.

Something has happened in Miami and it is a wonderful thing. The Miami Heat are finally showing what they are truly capable of. The Miami Heat made it through their first playoff series and Miami now leads their second playoff series 2-0 over the Boston Celtics. The Heat won their second game against Boston in convincing fashion with a final score of 102-92. The final score does not tell the whole story as the Boston Celtics were dominated in the fourth quarter, allowing the Heat to go on a 14-0 run late in the game to seal the deal.

In previous games, during the season, the Heat would of lost the game. During the regular season, the Miami Heat would blow double digit leads and could not regularly beat any teams with a record over .500. Now the Heat have changed the way they do things. The Heat are actually closing out games. They are finishing their opponents with the precision of championship teams that have come before them. The Heat still have to win at least two more games against the Celtics, but no matter the outcome, the Miami Heat have learned the lesson. The team has learned which players are to take on which roles. Bosh needs to be a defensive and rebounding force. Lebron James needs to be a catalyst to get the offense started. Dwayne Wade is the closer of the team and puts the exclamation point on each victory.

It may have taken the Miami Heat all season to figure out which players need to fill which roles, but the Heat have finally found a working  game plan. Moreover, the playoffs will urge any team to overcome their faults or crumble under the pressure. The Super Team of James, Wade, and Bosh have taken what was once a major fault and turned it around. The Miami Heat have gone from the league’s best team that cracks under pressure to a team that welcomes pressure. It may seem to some people that this is an overnight transformation but the team has been trying to find balance all season. The Miami Heat have finally found the right winning formula.

How far the Miami Heat can go in the playoffs depends on the team maintaining the balance they have found. Only time can tell if they can maintain this team harmony. Whether the Heat do accomplish this feat or fail, each series they play in will be some of the most entertaining basketball to watch. It will be a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. In addition, every fan will be on the edge of their seats to see whether they win or lose. The best drama on television continues every game the Miami Heat step on the court. Will this be the year King James and company reach the Promised Land? On the other hand, will the nerves of the NBA playoffs get to the Miami Heat and stop their dream? The Playoffs are upon us, the Heat are proving more, and more they are the team to watch.

The NBA Playoffs have started and we have learned…

Can Rose lead the Bulls to the Promised Land?

The playoffs started this past weekend and it has been quite an eye opening experience. We have learned so much about the teams. We have seen the some superstars be truly super and other be so ordinary we wonder why they have the superstar status. We saw some upsets and then we saw some true blowouts. As always, we even saw some bad officiating. This post is about what we have learned watching the playoff this year. Below are some of the important things we have learned as the playoffs have begun.

1: We have learned that records mean nothing. Usually in a playoff series, the regular season record means a lot. In previous years when a #1 seed played a #8 seed or a #2 seed played a #7 seed, the games were so lopsided most people did not even watch. This year we have had # 7 seed the New Orleans Hornets defeated the #2 seed Lakers. In addition, the #8 seed Memphis Grizzlies shocked the # 1 seed San Antonio Spurs. This reminds me so much of the NCAA March Madness Tournament this year, with one distinct difference the NBA teams play a series and not just one game. This means that winning one game does not mean that team will win the series. However, this turn of events does give us hope for more exciting beginning playoff games.

2:  Heart means everything. What I mean is that some teams have been written off as the lesser teams and having no chance to win a series, let alone the whole NBA championship. These are the very teams that are playing at their highest level. They are playing to prove they belong in the playoffs. These teams are playing to take down the NBA programs that are considered the “Playoff Giants” such as the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Bulls, etc. Every game is a David versus Goliath story and when David wins its done in spectacular fashion. Therefore, I give props to the Pacers, the Grizzlies, The Hornets, The Knicks, and the Hawks. They have their underdog cape on and are doing all they can to obtain victory. Even if they do not achieve their ultimate goal, we can be happy they gave their best effort.

3: Derrick Rose can carry the Bulls to the Finals. Rose is the most exciting player in the playoffs. I can say this without any doubt in my mind. Kobe Bryant is exciting but we have seen it before. The Heat with Dwayne Wade and Lebron James are fun to watch but playing the Sixers they will coast into the next round of the playoffs. Even the Celtics or Magic have no one who compares to watching Rose put together performances that is a beauty to behold. Rose has been carrying the Bulls on his back throughout the first two games. He has developed that “killer instinct” all great closers have and the shots he creates for himself are just amazing. While the rest of the Bulls team has some decent role players, they are all just hanging on the coattails of “Super Rose.” While I do not think, Rose can maintain the level of play he has demonstrated in the first two games. I do believe he will do enough to keep the Bulls winning to make it the Bulls first NBA Finals since the Jordan Era.

The Playoffs are just starting and I am more excited this year about them than in previous years. The games have had more last second finishes. The superstars have showed up and the majority of the underdog teams are playing their best basketball. It will definitely be interesting to see how the playoffs pan out. The best teams will win, but this year that is not so clear.

The Playoffs are here…will there be a three peat?

The NBA season is almost over and the playoffs are right around the corner. Every team that is going to make the playoffs wants to hoist the trophy at the end. Some teams have a better chance than others to accomplish the goal of winning it all. Many teams have already clenched their perspective spots.

The Lakers and Bulls are making a case for their own run at the title. Derrick Rose is playing at an extremely high level recently. He is showboating and throwing down double clutch reverse slams. Kobe is quietly throwing down 30 points a night and the Lakers are cruising into the playoffs. The Spurs have the best record in the West and are making some noise. The Celtics are always a threat no matter what year it is. Then there is the Miami Heat, the proposed Super-Team, is living up to their potential. The Heat are still optimistic for the post season. With all that being said, which current playoff team will come out on top?

I am favoring the Lakers to win it all again and there are some very good reasons. The three reasons I believe the Lakers will repeat are below.

Reason #1: The Lakers have size and length. With Lamar Odom, and the Twin Towers of Pao Gasol and Andrew Bynum. The Lakers can match up with anyone size wise. They can dominate the center, with blocks, rebounds and just straight up presence. Bynum averages close to 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. Pao Gasol averages 18.8 points a game and 10.2 rebounds a game. Lamar Odom averages 14.3 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. Most teams do not have such domination in the middle, which is why teams hate to play the Lakers. In addition, during playoff time the Lakers play at a much higher level. This means the Odom, Gasol and Bynum can even be better in the middle and that is just plain scary.

Reason #2 : The Lakers have the experience. They have been here before and have had success. The Lakers have faced adversity, the team has learned to win hostile arenas and overcome the home field advantage. The Lakers have even had to find ways to win when their superstar player was having a bad night. They have persevered no matter the situation. They have a great leader on the floor in Kobe Bryant. The Lakers have the best coach in the league in Phil Jackson. One thing the Lakers know how to do is win championships.

Reason # 3: Kobe Bryant. Despite all the bad publicity Kobe achieves from various off the court activities, he is possibly the best player in the league. Kobe Bryant is not only a prolific scorer who stays atop the leader board in scoring but he is a true closer. Even if Kobe Bryant does not score 30 points in a game, when the game is on the line any coach could depend on him to come through and get the win. In addition, Kobe Bryant knows what it takes to go through the playoffs and win the NBA Championship. He uses that experience to keep his teammates motivated, inspired, and overall play better. Kobe Bryant is one of the best leaders in the league and he brings out the best in his teammates. 

For these reasons, I am believing that the Los Angeles Lakers have the best chance to become NBA Champions. They can make the run through the playoffs all the way to the end. The Lakers will have their three peat and we will see them spraying champagne once again.

To keep up with all NBA Playoff news check out the sites below:

http://www.nba.com

http://www.espn.com

http://bleacherreport.com

http://sports.yahoo.com

http://aol.sportingnews.com

The NBA MVP, And The Winner Is?

Now that the college NCAA Basketball Tournament is over. It is time to focus on the NBA as we gear up for the playoffs. Before the playoffs start however, there is another contest yet to be decided. The contest I speak of is the NBA MVP award. Which player has the edge in the MVP battle? Any star player on any team can make a case for their nomination but four players stand above the rest. The four players I believe have the best chance are Derrick Rose, Lebron James, Dwight Howard, and Kobe Bryant. I will now give you the case for each one starting with Lebron James.

Lebron James is a great player on a team that could feasibly win multiple NBA championships before he retires. He is a game changer and can be unstoppable at times. Lebron James is averaging 26.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.0 assists a game. While these are impressive numbers Lebron James is limited by the team he plays on.

What I mean is he plays on a team with two bona-fide all stars who can both also take over any game. His situation has become similar to that of Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics. Paul Pierce may have the best stats of any player on the team, but with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen there too, he will never win a MVP award. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen contribute too much to the success of the Boston Celtics to call Paul pierce a true MVP. For the same reason Lebron will not win the MVP award this year.

Next, we can look at Dwight Howard. Dwight Howard is a true force of nature. His presence in the middle is intimidating to say the least. He dominates on defense by often times sending the ball back at the shooter. Sometimes the ball ends up in the stands of the arena where he is playing. A friend aptly dubbed Howard “the Department of Defense” because nothing hardly ever gets by him. That name definitely fits his style of play. Dwight Howard fits the mold of NBA MVP. He should get every consideration for the award.

Dwight plays on a team with no superstars to speak of. Moreover, Gilbert Arenas aka Agent Zero, does not count as a superstar. Arenas has been relegated to a pure shooting role in the offense. Arenas is not game changer that he was in the past. Howard averages 23.2 points, 14.2 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks a game. If Howard does manage to obtain the MVP award. No one could argue him as a bad choice. The problem with Howard as a choice is that he does not play on the best team in his conference. Orlando is currently ranked 4th in the Eastern Conference. Howard’s case would be stronger if the team was ranked 1 or even ranked 2. Due to the team’s ranking, Dwight Howard will not win the MVP award.

Then we can look at Kobe Bryant. Bryant is easily the best player in the league and has been for some time. The debate has been between Kobe and Lebron as to who is the better player. I think the true difference is that Kobe is a true closer. With the game on the line, a team can always depend on Kobe to close it out. Lebron James has not developed into a complete closer yet. He is still learning to close out games. I am not sure if Lebron will be helped or hindered by being in Miami, because he will be sharing closing duties with Dwayne Wade.

Ok back to Kobe and what makes him a good MVP candidate. Kobe plays for a Championship level team, has the best coach in the league, and has some of the best role-players in the league. Kobe averages 25.1 points per game, 4.8 assists, and 5.1 rebounds a game. The Lakers could win some games without Kobe Bryant but I am confident the team would not win any titles . Pao Gasol , Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum could be a quite an effective team without Kobe, but by themselves they could not make a team a true contender..

Kobe Bryant is the player that takes the Lakers to the next level. Teams have to formulate a game plan just to stop Kobe from scoring or setting his teammates up to score. The Lakers are ranked number two in the Western conference, which is good but the team will not take over the number one ranking. The Lakers being the number two team in the western conference may be the only thing that prevents Kobe Bryant from obtaining the MVP

 Lastly, we can look at Derrick Rose. This is my pick for a player to achieve the MVP award this year. Derrick Rose has always been good, but this year he has taken it to another level.

Rose is averaging 25.1 pts , 4.1 rebounds, 7.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. From 2009 to 2011 Rose had made a significant statistical improvement each year. The Chicago Bulls have no other players who come to close to the skill level of Rose. Rose literally has been carrying the Bulls on his back the whole season. In addition, for half the season he was missing two very important role players in Carloz Boozer and Joakhim Noah.

Even without these two players, Rose continued to excel and will his team to wins. The Bulls would hardly win any games without Rose running the point. With Rose the Chicago Bulls have become the number one team in the Eastern Conference. Rose has developed into a closer the Bulls can depend on. There is nothing in the way of declaring Rose the best candidate for the MVP award. Rose should win the award and be one of the few point guards in the recent years to be selected for the award.

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