It's been a pretty interesting basketball season. Who would have thought the Hornets
would play so well... the Bulls
so poorly... the 18-30 Sixers
would turn it on and make the playoffs... that the Mavs
would be worse off withJKidd
than with Devin Harris
. It's been a shocking season for sure.
As for the MVP, I must preface this by saying I am a die-hard Lakers fan, but I think the award should go to Kobe Bryant
. I think his biggest competition comes from Chris Paul
. The Lakers have had tremendous injuries all season. Bynum and Gasol have both lost significant playing time, while the Hornets big men have been healthy all year. Bynum has been gone half a season and the Lakers have barely missed a beat. If you take Tyson Chandler or David West off of New Orleans for a significant amount of time do they continue to win? Does Chris Paul elevate them to elite status? I dont think so, but thats exactly what Kobe has done with the Lakers.
These teams are closer in comparison than most people think. They both have an elite guard (Kobe Bryant/Chris Paul), a talented big man (Andrew Bynum/Tyson Chandler), a multi faceted big man (Pau Gasol/David West), a solid third scoring option (Lamar Odom/Peja Stojakovic) and solid deep roleplaying benches. So when you look at the full squads they are a lot closer than at first look. I think the race for the MVP is very close as well. I think Kobe becomes more valuable when you factor in his defensive presence. While CP3 can dominate on the offensive side of the ball, Kobe dominates on both sides of the ball at a nearly Jordanesque level. Like Mike, he never takes a play off. Kobe takes as much pride in his defensive abilities as he does in his offense. Also is there a more clutch player in the NBA than the Mamba... I don't think so.
With all that said I think the NBA should finally get it right and award Kobe Bryant the MVP (whose never finished higher than fourth in MVP voting). Chris Paul should be a close second with Kevin Garnett
a close third.
As for the other awards I think Doc Rivers
should be coach of the year. Yes his team was loaded but he sill has to juggle minutes and work out a bench that most thought was going to be too weak to contend for a title. He's done a great job. Rookie of the year should go to Kevin Durant
with Al Horford
a close second. Durant has showed some of that killer instinct and fire recently. He slowed a bit in the middle of the year, but has picked it up of late.
Early in the season I didnt think the Celtics
would play enough defense or have a deep enough bench to make it to the finals. Um... I was wrong. Their defense is amazing and the additions of Sam Cassel and P.J. Brown as well as the development of Glen "Big Baby" Davis, Leon Powe, and Tony Allen all make for a deep bench. They are my pick to make it out of the East. Out West... could I select anyone other than the Lakers
. How great would it be to see an 80's style rematch of the Lakers and the Celtics. In my eyes nothing would be better... even though the Celtics ould beat the Lakers in 6.
That is of course if Bynum is healthy enough to give the Lakers 20 minutes a game in the playoffs. If Bynum isn't healthy I have to go with the Phoenix Suns. I think they are starting to gel and could be a scary matchup for anyone in the playoffs. Nash, Bell, Hill, Stoudamire and O'Neal might be the best starting 5 in the game. I give them a slight edge over the Spurs based on momentum. It should be a great post-season... 40 games in 40 nights... i can't wait.