We are in the middle of one of the most entertaining NBA seasons that I can ever remember. Time to take a look back at everything pre-All-Star break.
Biggest Disappointments – The Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs (my NBA Finals picks, I might add) both look old and incapable of advancing to their respective Conference Finals. Let’s also add the Washington Wizards to the mix; Washington has way too much talent, even without Gilbert Arenas, to not be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference.
Biggest Surprise – This one is easy, Sacramento Kings rookie Point Guard Tyreke Evans. He is proving to be the best NBA rookie since LeBron James without having a reliable jump shot, which was my major concern about him. The flaw doesn’t seem to matter; he is an animal going to the basket.
Biggest Misconception – This one goes to another rookie, this time Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings. After a terrific first month his play has tailed off every month since. He is now shooting under 40% from the field and his PPG has gone from 22 to under 17. That he won Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in January was a disgrace. Bulls Rookie forward Taj Gibson would have been a more appropriate selection.
Biggest Headscratcher – Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach Eddie Jordan’s rotation. On a team going nowhere this year why in the world are young players like guard Louis Williams and forward Marreese Speights not getting 30 minutes a night? Coach Jordan would rather play veterans Willie Green, Allen Iverson, Elton Brand and Samuel Dalembert. You know what these players are, there is no excuse to not be getting the future of your organization valuable experience.
Funniest Moment – Once Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach Mike Dunleavy stepped down as Coach there were rumors that Isiah Thomas was going to take over as president/general manager/coach. This would have been a match made in heaven as we all watched Clippers fans jump off the roof of the Staples Center on the evening news.
Most Underrated Players – Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut, Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, Charlotte Bobcats guard Stephen Jackson, Denver Nuggets guard Aaron Afflalo, Houston Rockets guard Kyle Lowry and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Corey Brewer
Most Overrated Players – Boston Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace, Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza, Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings and New Jersey Nets point guard Devin Harris
Best Off-Season Addition – Atlanta Hawks guard Jamal Crawford
Worst Free Agent Pick Ups – Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva and Boston Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace
Mr. Upside – Everyone likes to give players they think will develop into excellent NBA players. The guy I want everyone to watch over the next couple years is Serge Ibaka, 20 year old power forward from the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has the athletic ability of Anthony Randolph and Tyrus Thomas, but unlike the two of them he has better basketball IQ and is more mature. In 16 minutes a game this year he is averaging 5 PPG, 4.9 boards and 1 block. All the NBA experts like to tell you about Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook and James Harden- Serge Ibaka needs to be added to the list of young studs on the Thunder’s roster.
Best Draft Pick – Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi
Worst Draft Pick – Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio. It has nothing to do with the talent of Rubio, we have no idea what kind of NBA player he is going to be, but it might be a good idea when you’re a team as bad as the Twolves to take someone that wants to play for you.