It Wasn’t Pretty But It Got the Job Done

You know that saying a win is a win no matter how it looks? Well, that is certainly true in regards to Friday night’s Knicks game. Sure, Melo had 30 points but it took him 24 shots to do so (what else is new). Raymond Felton had a nice game, but the overall performance was mediocre. The final score was 96-88 in a much needed win for the Knicks. This was their first game in March, a March where the Knicks play 18 games and 10 of them are on the road. Not only are they going to play away from home a lot, but they are going to be playing high quality teams. The first obstacle in their gauntlet run is The Miami Heat. The Heat haven’t lost since 1971, and they’ll look to keep that winning streak going. The Knicks have a little 3-game winning streak going as well. The Knicks magically won the first two meetings of the year against the Heat, but the Heat are a different team than the one we saw last time these teams met. The Knicks do have Shumpert and Stoudemire in the lineup opposed to the first two meetings, but this certainly is the toughest game of the year for these Knicks (even if it is at home). What do the Knicks need to do to win this game? Besides pray, they need to play the way they played against Golden State. That might sound silly to some but hear me out. I doubt anyone from the Heat is going to hit 11 of 13 three pointers today, but assume that Lebron and Wade are going to get theirs. If the Knicks can make one stop when it matters most, they may have a chance to win this game. Offensively they’ll need to be firing on all cylinders, and that means leaving Jason Kidd on the bench and trusting Amar’e, Smith, and even Shumpert to provide quality minutes down the stretch. I’m hoping for a thriller today at the Garden. This game is going to carry playoff intensity, and you can expect the Garden to be rocking today. 101-99 Knicks. Book it.

Shooting Clinic at the Garden

Wednesday night, everyone had the privilege of witnessing the best game of the NBA season.  The New York Knicks took on the Golden State Warriors and Madison Square Garden once again proved why it is the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena’.  Anyone who visits the Garden brings their A game.  They want to showcase their skills on the brightest of stages.  Jordan used to get up for games at the Garden, Kobe always brings it at the Garden, and most recently Lebron has shown that the Garden is a venue made for stars to shine.  Last night, we were all witness to the greatest individual performance of the NBA season, so far.  Stephen Curry showcased his skills in last night’s game and showed the world that he is an emerging superstar.  In case you missed it, Curry’s night went a little something like this: 54 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals.  Curry also played all 48 minutes of last night’s game.  He was 7-7 from the free throw line and went 18-28 from the field, including AN AMAZING 11-13 from 3-point range.  He was launching shots from everywhere and they all kept finding the bottom of the net.  Granted the Knicks should have started doubling Curry the second he got hot, but I’ll get back to that.  Curry has one of the smoothest jumpers in the game today.  He also requires very little space to get a shot off, and his release is lightning quick.  Add that to an impressive handle, and you have yourself a nightmare match-up.  As for his impact on last night’s game, he single-handedly kept the Warriors in the game (why do you think he played all 48 minutes even though he was in foul trouble?).  Without his performance the Warriors would have been blown out.  This goes to show you just how well the Knicks executed last night.

The Knicks won the game 109-105 in an absolute thriller.  I thought the Knicks played a really good all around game.  They had a well balanced scoring attack with 5 players scoring in double figures, and I saw something I’ve been begging for all year.  As written in many of my previous articles, the Knicks have played their best basketball when Carmelo Anthony penetrates, attracts a double team, and finds the open man (most notably Amar’e wide open under the hoop for easy dunks).  Now Melo took 26 shots so he still got his, but he also had a season high 8 assists.  Everyone and their mama knows that when Melo gets the ball on the wing he is going to shoot it.  However, if he puts the ball on the floor and starts taking it to the rack more often, he will either score at the basket, draw a foul, or draw a double/triple team leaving someone WIDE open.  This is a recipe for success for this Knicks team.  Now if only Jason Kidd could shoot a basketball, the Knicks would have another offensive option.  At this point, you might as well bring John Starks out of retirement and put him in for Kidd.  See, with Kidd it is not a question of ability (he is 3rd all time in 3 point field goals), it is a mental thing.  Right now his confidence is shattered, and honestly he looks like a broken man.  A fan who called into the Michael Kaye show yesterday said it best, “Jason Kidd is out there looking like he’s playing hot potato with the basketball.”  Yeah, that about sums it up.   Hey, quick question, who told Kidd that he has to keep shooting 3’s?!?!?  Jason, here’s a wild thought: take 3 or 4 steps in and try making some 15 footers.  Maybe when you gain some confidence there, you can inch your way back outside and continue launching 25 footers at will.  As for last night, the player of the game on the Knicks was Tyson Chandler, hands down.  Chandler had 16 points to go along with his 28 rebounds!!  He brought everything to the floor that the Knicks desperately need to win; physical play, defense, and rebounding.  He set the tone early grabbing 13 rebounds in the first quarter, and the rest of the Knicks seemed to feed off of his energy.  Iman Shumpert found himself in foul trouble, but his intensity on the defensive end continues to improve night  by night.  Amar’e Stoudemire’s offensive efficiency continued as well, but his defense is still nothing to write home about.  The Knicks success often relies on the streaky shooting of J.R. Smith, and last night Smith was on target, adding 26 points on 10 of 19 shooting.  On the other hand, Raymond Felton’s shooting woes continued (as his poor shooting has been overshadowed by Jason Kidd’s efforts), but he came up with the big plays down the stretch to seal the game for the Knicks.  The Knicks were lit up by Stephen Curry and gave up 105 points, but it was their defense that made the difference in the game.  Down the stretch, they finally figured out that they should be double teaming Curry.  Once they did that, they forced other players on the Warriors to beat them, and let’s just say they weren’t up to the task.  Also, when the game was coming down to the wire, Felton forced a couple of key turnovers and came up with a HUGE steal off of a Warriors inbound pass that pretty much sealed the game.  Overall I think there are a lot of positive things to take away from this victory.  The Knicks stood up at the sign of adversity and were the last men standing when the final buzzer sounded.  You can catch the Knicks in their next game Friday night @ 7:00 P.M.  They will be in Washington as they take on the Wizards and look to start another winning streak as they have now won 2 games in a row.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well.  Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!

So That’s What Winning Feels Like?? Oh Man..I Almost Forgot!!

The Knicks got exactly what they needed.  A win.  It wasn’t all pretty but it got the job done.  I liked the style of basketball Carmelo Anthony played last night.  He looked like he kinda sort of cared on the defensive end and on offensive he was aggressive in taking the ball to the hoop.  Melo took a season high 18 free throw attempts last night (making 16 of them).  This goes to show you that his mentality was to attack the basket off the dribble, rather than jack up three pointers all night.  He had a team high 29 points, but he shot a measly 33% from the field.  On the other hand, Amar’e Stoudemire was clearly the player of the game.  He had a season high 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting from the field.  His field goal percentage this season (56.9%) is well above his career average (53.4%), and he is dominating inside the paint offensively in his role off the bench.  If the Knicks want to contend in the Eastern Conference this year, they need Amar’e to continue to his efficiency on the offensive end.  As far as the Knicks defense goes, they looked like they played with more energy and intensity than we’ve seen in the recent past.  However, this team lacks that killer instinct that say a Kobe Bryant has.  They found themselves sitting on a 20 point lead early in the 3rd quarter, and they simply didn’t go for the jugular.  I would have loved to see them blow the 76ers out last night.  It would have sent a statement to the rest of the league, and would have built their confidence beyond belief.  The Knicks let off the gas pedal and let the 76ers back in the game.  This game shouldn’t have been nearly as close as the final score would indicate.  Now, the Knicks did win 99-93, but I would have liked to see them hold the 76ers to under 90 points.  The Knicks also continue to lack any type of consistency from their “shooting” guards.  Shumpert’s intensity was up on the defensive end last night, which was great to see.  However, he is clearly still out of rhythm on the offensive side of the ball.  He is not 100%, and he has no lift on his jumper.  I was watching the game last night and thought to myself, man it would be nice to see Iman Shumpert throw down a ferocious dunk and get the fans up out of their seats.  He does have amazing hops and is extremely athletic, and I look forward to seeing him get back to form and contributing on both sides of the ball. As for Jason Kidd, have you ever seen a veteran player in his 19th season look more uncomfortable shooting a basketball?  I mean when he is WIDE OPEN he doesn’t even want to shoot it.  However when he does decide to jack up an occasional shot, his legs flail out like Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.  Kidd did grab 9 rebounds last night and play decent defense, but if he is going to be the Knicks starting 2-guard for the foreseeable future he needs to start hitting some shots. The problem the Knicks had last night in closing this game out was their inability to guard quick point guards (nothing new there).  Jrue Holliday carved up the Knicks, scoring at will.  He ended up with a game high 30 points.  The Knicks won the ball game, but they are lucky the game ended when it did.  If the game were just 3 minutes longer, I guarantee you they would have lost.  They need to carry some momentum from this win into their next game.  They will remain at home, but have a tough match-up against the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night.  Tune in to MSG @ 8:00 P.M. this Wednesday night to watch the Knicks continue their winning ways, hopefully.

Sooooo….That Didn’t Go As Planned Did It??

WOW!!!!  Just when everyone thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.  I am not going to break down last nights game because I don’t want to make anyone sick to their stomach.  In case you missed it the Knicks lost to the Pacers by a score of 125-91, and have now lost four of their last five games.  Let’s just say it was ugly, pathetic, and the Knicks looked like they didn’t want to be out on the court.  After a nice week off for the All Star break, the Knicks looked like they were still on vacation.  With that being said, last night the New York Knicks looked like, well the New York Knicks.  As Knicks fans, we are used to this by now aren’t we?  I know I am.  They toy with your emotions.  They trick you into believing they are a complete team and they’ve put their woes behind them.  And then what happens?  They go through horrid stretches that make you wonder what’s next.  It may sound like I’m jumping ship, but I’m not.  Let me explain to you what’s happening with the New York Knicks.  They are a jump shooting team that has an affinity for three pointers, they play next to no defense, and they have a confused lineup.  Earlier on in the season the Knicks weren’t good, they were great.  This is because the three’s and jumpers were falling.  Jump shooting teams are streaky.  They lose games they have no business losing, and sometimes they win games they have no business winning.  Don’t be surprised if the Knicks turn this ship around and go on a nice little stretch in March.  Let me tell you something, that would leave everyone scratching their heads saying, who are the real Knicks?  This is because the Knicks, in March, play ten of their first fifteen games on the road.  I know you all feel like I did two months ago (as a Jets fan), and you believe Murphy’s Law is in affect.  However, it’s not time to give up, yet.  Like I said, they are a jump shooting team, and they will start falling again real soon (right Jason?).  Jason Kidd can talk about how rejuvenated he is after his week off, but I think he left his jump shot in Cabo along with his sunscreen.  All the Knicks need to do (besides trade for a power forward who can play defense and rebound) is stop playing one on one, get some ball movement, and play team defense.  I know that is easier said then done, but that’s what was happening at the start of the season.  And hey, guess what?  The more you move the ball the more open shots you’ll get.  The more open shots you get the more shots you will probably make.  More made shots = more points (I know that’s a wild concept).  The defense issue is the toughest problem to solve because you only have three guys who actually want to play defense on the roster; Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, and Ronnie Brewer.  Brewer never sees the light of day because he is more useless on the offensive end than George W. Bush in a library.  Shumpert is still not 100% and Woodson doesn’t seem to be his biggest fan.  And Chandler is doing his part, but he can’t defend five guys at once.  Finally, the lineup is as confused as Andy Dick (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  This falls on Coach Woodson.  I understand that Woodson needs to shuffle around the lineup when things aren’t going well, but he needs to find some continuity for the team to thrive.  It’s certainly not looking good right now, but it ain’t over til the fat lady sings, and I don’t see Rosie O’ Donnell anywhere so I think they have some time to figure this out.

NBA Trade Talks

The All-Star break has come and gone, and it is now time for the 2nd ” half ” of the season.  With approximately 30 games left for every team, and the trade deadline looming, contenders will be looking to make a move to solidify their playoff positioning.  The trade deadline is this Thursday, February 21st.  There are many talented players names swirling around the trade rumor mill, and certainly some of them will be moved in the coming days.  Most notably the Knicks have been in the midst of trade talks.  Everyone believes that they need to make a trade prior to the deadline to become a real contender.  I do believe that the Knicks are one piece away from being a true contender for a title, however they need to be careful who they trade this week.  The most popular name in these trade rumors has been Iman Shumpert.  He is the Knicks most valuable trading chip because of his potential and inexpensive rookie contract, but he is a valuable asset to the Knicks for the same reasons.  By the way, if I have to hear how much better J.J. Reddick is than Iman Shumpert one more time I’m going to throw up.  Most people are pointing to Shumpert’s knee and saying he’ll never be the same after a torn ACL last season.  It is a serious injury, but how many guys have come back and succeeded after the same injury?  While the Knicks are certainly in win now mode, they need to keep their bright future in mind as well.  The core of their team is young.  Look at their roster: Carmelo Anthony,Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Iman Shumpert(none of these guys are heading out to early bird dinners).  Carmelo Anthony needs to try to convince these guys to stick around for the next five years(that shouldn’t be that hard to do, I mean this is New York).  The Knicks youngest player with the most room for improvement by far is Iman Shumpert.  He is 6’5″ and 220 pounds with great athletic ability.  He can jump out of the gym, he is a phenomenal perimeter defender, and by my opinion is an underrated offensive talent.  Just because the Knicks have the oldest team in NBA history, doesn’t mean they need to dump young talent to try to win this year.  The older players on their roster are all nearing the end of their careers and are simply role players on an overall young team anyway.  Think about the names that we’re talking about: Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas, and Jason Kidd.  Everyone can stop pretending these are the guys that are going to make the difference.  When was the last time these guys were on a list that mattered besides a waiting list for a nursing home?  While I think Camby and/or Wallace could solve some of the teams problems, they are ancient and shouldn’t be relied on.  The Knicks have obvious weaknesses and have holes on their roster that need to be filled.    I believe part of the answer to the Knicks struggles is Iman Shumpert.  He should be playing more than Jason Kidd.  Jason Kidd has been averaging 28 minutes per game this season and 32 minutes over his past three games(the three games the Knicks have struggled in most this season), while Shumpert has only been averaging 19 minutes per game.  Plus, Shumpert has only played in 13 games since returning from his injury.  He needs to be given a little time to return to form.  I am a Jason Kidd fan, but Mike Woodson needs to realize that Kidd is 40; not 26.  If Coach Woodson can get over his man crush maybe he’ll scale back Kidd’s minutes a little bit.  If Woodson flips Shumpert and Kidd’s minutes upside down, I bet he’ll be a lot happier.  The bottom line is: DON’T TRADE IMAN SHUMPERT!!  Also, if the Knicks are going to continue to be trigger happy from three point land, why don’t they play their best shooter, Steve Novak?  I know he doesn’t play a lick of defense, but right now neither does anybody else.  Right now, Kidd is out there as the Knicks shooting guard(taking up precious real estate).  Also, when did we start confusing Jason Kidd with Steve Kerr?  Kidd was one of the best point guards ever in his prime, but he was never a great three point shooter.  Kidd needs to play less minutes which will keep his legs fresher come playoff time, and he needs to be an extension of Coach Woodson on the floor.

There have been a few other teams in the trade rumors along with the Knicks.  The Jazz have an overloaded front court, and I believe Paul Millsap will be moved before the deadline.  The injury prone Celtics should look to make a trade before Thursday, but it doesn’t appear that will happen.  Kevin Garnett will not waive his no-trade clause and Paul Pierce is a big name still.  Even though he is past his prime, the Celtics are looking for way too much in return for Pierce.  Another player who’s name has been all over the news is Josh Smith.  In my estimation, he is very overrated, but someone will trade away too much to get him and will be moved before the deadline.  At the 23rd hour, there are always surprise moves that happen.  Stay tuned to see what goes down before the trade deadline.  Enjoy the rest of the NBA season.

If you enjoy my writing here please go check out more of my work @ intheneutralzone.com.  I am a contributing author there.  Thanks and enjoy!

The ugliest thing on TV since Sarah Jessica Parker

What an ugly game!! This game was sloppy to say the least. NO check that, this was literally the ugliest basketball game I’ve ever watched. Even when the Knicks got to the basket they forgot how to make layups!! I’ve never seen a professional basketball team miss so many layups. It was embarrassing. This was by far the Knicks worst loss of the season.  In case you missed the game, they lost to the Toronto Raptors 92-88 on their own court.  On top of the horrid performance, the officials in this game were horrible!! Do you want to know how you can tell the officials had an off night? When there are FIVE technical fouls given out in one quarter, that’s how. See, what happens when you let the “players play” is the game gets physical. And when the game gets too physical, it gets out of hand. That’s what took place in the 3rd quarter of this game. Frustration also set in with Carmelo Anthony. Melo became upset in the 1st quarter when he took the ball to the hole on two separate occasions looking to attack the basket. The defender attacked his arm instead, but the refs let each play go. From then on Melo became his own worst enemy. He proceeded to pick up a technical foul(his 10th if the season), and his rhythm and shooting stroke were both negatively effected. Do you know what Melo blamed for his worst game of the year(5-24 from the field)?!?!? He said he was playing with a dead arm. What the hell does that mean?? Everyone has been talking about his maturity, and is overall improvement this season. I have to be honest I don’t see a difference between 2013 Melo and 2008 Melo. He is still making excuses for his poor play. And if he really had a legitimate injury, then he shouldn’t have taken so many damn shots. He could have tried this thing, it’s a new concept called relying on your teammates. I know, that sounds wild. The bottom line is if he has really changed he would have stood up to the microphone and said, “I stunk it up tonight. This is my team so I put the blame for this loss totally on my shoulders. If I play better, we win, period.” That’s what I want to hear from the “new and improved” Carmelo Anthony. On a quick side note, where did Jason Kidd go and who is this guy wearing his jersey? This guy has been awful! I haven’t seen shooting this bad since Shaq at a free throw line. If there is one positive that can be taken away from this game it is that Iman Shumpert’s intensity seemed to be sky high. He played solid defense, attacked the boards(grabbing 7 rebounds in only 21 minutes), and pushed the ball nicely up the floor. The only question is why Mike Woodson isn’t playing him more than Jason Kidd??

I’ve been telling everyone for weeks that the Knicks are not as good as their record. That certainly is coming to fruition. Nothing has gone right for the Knicks as of late, and this break couldn’t come at a better time. The Knicks need to take some time off, clear their heads, and be ready to kick up their intensity. This will get them back to their winning ways. By the way, Melo is an underrated passer I just don’t think he knows that yet. He draws a double team virtually every time he gets the ball inside 18 feet. Like I wrote in my blog weeks ago, the best play I’ve seen from the Knicks is when Melo is penetrating and dishing to wide open players. Melo is still going to get his 20 shots a night, and believe it or not when you start passing more it opens the floor up for better looks for you too, not just your teammates. Then maybe they will have a balanced attack. I put the majority of the blame though on Coach Woodson’s shoulders. If you want to play a style of basketball that calls for a collaborative effort on both ends of the floor, then you better get your players to buy into that concept real quick. Come on Mike, do you want to take a trip to the NBA Finals, to be coach of the year, and to get a nice pay raise next year?? Then you better earn it!!

I am also a contributing author @ intheneutralzone.com. If you enjoy my writing then follow me over there to see more of my work.

Mid-Season NBA Awards

It’s that time of year again. We’ve played about 50 games so far, and it’s time to gear up for the All-Star Game. It is also time to dish out some mid-season awards. The awards to be given out are MVP, Sixth man of the Year, Defensive Player of the year, Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year, and Rookie of the Year. Some of these races have clear cut winners at this point in the season, and some are so difficult to differentiate a front-runner that we need to delve further into each category. I am here to clear up any confusion as to what you’ve seen thus far in the 2012-2013 NBA season.

Let’s start with the easiest debate, Rookie of the Year. If the season were to end today, the obvious winner for this award would be Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers. There are some other nice rookies this year(Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, and Dion Waiters come to mind), but Damian is head and shoulders above everyone else right now. He has started every game this season for the Trailblazers. In those games he is averaging 18.2 points on 42% from the field in 38.5 minutes per game(not to mention he’s shooting an impressive 85% from the charity stripe). That is the easiest award to give out, but the rest are a little tougher. Don’t be scared. Just close your eyes, count to three, and rip off that band-aid.

Let’s move on to Sixth Man of the Year. For me this is a two man race between Jamal Crawford and JR Smith. Both have been instant offense off their teams bench. They have both been an integral part of their teams success this season. As much as I love the Knicks, this award has to go to Jamal Crawford. Not only did he outplay JR this past Sunday in a head to head match up, but he has been the better player all season, barely.

Next let’s talk about Coach of the Year. This is a tough one, so let’s throw all the potential candidates out there and then break them down until this makes sense. The candidates are Mike Woodson, Mark Jackson, Frank Vogel, and Tom Thibodeau. If you read my blog you know I am a die hard Knicks fan, and while Woodson has done a phenomenal job with the team so far, their most recent struggles against good teams might hurt him for now.  He did, however, do a great job right from the start of the season.  He was motivating Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith, Jason Kidd, and even Rasheed Wallace to maximize their potential out on the floor.  He had everyone buying into his concept of team defense and an uptempo offense.  It was working perfectly until Amar’e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert came back from injuries.  I believe it will work out in the end for the Knicks, but there is definitely a growing period that the Knicks and Woodson are going through right now.  The final chapter for the Knicks will determine whether Woodson is the Coach of the year or not.  As of now, I say he is not.  As for Tom Thibodeau, he has impressed by continuing to succeed without his superstar.  For the second straight season Derrick Rose has missed a significant amount of time, yet the Bulls continue to put up winning records. His team plays a defense first, physical brand of basketball that creates nightmare match-ups for smaller teams and turnover prone teams.  It is also extremely impressive to win with Luol Deng as your best player(no offense to Luol he is a nice little player, but let’s be real, he is NOT a #1 guy). With all that being said Tom is still not the coach of the year. Who is? I’m getting there just calm down! The popular pick right now is Mark Jackson.  I like what Mark Jackson is doing with Stephen Curry and the rest of those boys, but his team is not good enough to push him to the top of this debate. While I always liked him as a player, and I personally always thought he would make a good coach some day(ahem, Jason Kidd, ahem), he is not the coach of the year at this point of the season.  My pick for coach of the year right now is Frank Vogel.  I bet most of you don’t even know what team he coaches. That is part of the reason why he is coach of the year right now.  He is a nobody to most people, and he is succeeding with nobodies.  Even his best player who is not playing right now due to injury is a nobody amongst the ranks of superstars. I like Danny Granger’s game, but he like Luol Deng is not a #1 guy. The only problem for the Indiana Pacers(ohhh that’s who Vogel coaches) is that Granger IS their #1 guy. Frank Vogel is my pick for Coach of the Year.
There could have been a nice segue into this next category, seeing as The Pacers have two candidates for Most Improved Player, George hill and Paul George. They have both vastly improved their games, but I think this award is a two man race. Greivis Vasquez and Jrue Holiday have both taken their game to the next level. They have both increased their points and assist totals tremendously from a year ago, and they both have bright futures ahead of them. No disrespect to Greivis, but Jrue Holiday has taken his game into another stratosphere. He has quickly become one of the premier point guards in the NBA, and the league recognized this by selecting him to his first all-star appearance. My award for most improved player goes to Jrue Holiday.
This next category is the toughest for me to choose. It is difficult to find a clear cut winner for Defensive Player of the Year. There are many worthy candidates so far this year that include: Tyson Chandler, Serge Ibaka, Larry Sanders, Lebron James, and Joakim Noah. Larry Sanders and Serge Ibaka will most likely be battling each other for this award for years to come. They are both physical presences underneath the hoop and both block approximately 3 shots a game. It is not due to their lack of defensive effort that they aren’t going to win this award, it’s because someone else on this list has managed to stand out above all the rest. This is me building suspense. Next, what else can you say about Lebron James? The guy is as physically gifted an athlete as anyone who has ever stepped foot on the hard wood. He can guard 4 positions at anytime while still managing to dominate on the offensive end. He is not going to win this award though(at least not this year), but don’t feel too bad for him I’m sure he’ll win another award real soon(hint hint). The reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler, has yet again found his way into contention for this award, however when he played the Bulls earlier this season he learned why he isn’t going to repeat as DPOY(he would get my vote for the most intimidating man on the planet though if that was a real award). Joakim Noah has placed himself at the forefront of defensive forces in the NBA. Man is he ugly!! Anyway, as much as I dislike Noah, he does anchor the best defense in the NBA. When he’s on the bench they give up 10 more points then when he’s on the floor.  Joakim Noah gets my vote for Defensive Player of the Year.
Finally, last but not least, the MVP award. This is always a fun debate because people think it’s strictly about offense. It mostly is, but you really need to look at the overall skill-set of a player plus his impact on his team to measure the MVP. The candidates this year are: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony. There are two honorable mentions for this category, Chris Paul and Tony Parker. Parker is doing spectacular things that go mostly unnoticed, especially with a banged up Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli on his team. Chris Paul will be in this conversation at the end of the year because he is clearly the best point guard in the NBA. For right now though he has missed too many games to be considered for this award. I love what Carmelo Anthony is doing this season, and I hope he can sustain his outstanding play throughout the whole season, but he doesn’t do enough of the little things to make his teammates better. Let me see if I can use an analogy that makes sense for this argument. Kevin Durant is like The Utah Jazz in the 90’s. If it wasn’t for that Jordan guy and the Chicago Bulls, they might have a couple of rings right now(sorry John, sorry Karl). Get it? Not yet? See, Kevin Durant has improved every facet of his game this year. The problem is that there is this guy named Lebron James in the NBA. As good as Durant is(28.9 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 51% from the floor, 43% from three point range, and 90% from the free throw line), Lebron is better. Sorry Kevin, I know I’m pulling for you because I certainly don’t like Lebron “I can’t win a title without an all-star roster” James, but Lebron is on his way to another MVP.  As much as I don’t like Lebron, I must give credit where credit is due.  My vote for MVP and best player on the face of the earth is Lebron James.