Tag:Deron Williams
Posted on: January 26, 2011 8:18 am
Edited on: January 26, 2011 8:19 am
 

The Shootaround: LA takes Utah's swagger

Charles Barkley names his pick for best point guard, A Magic writer keeps Dwight Howard's future in perspective, the Jazz take another top loss, Billy Hunter warns the Sacramento Kings to save money and Kendrick Perkins' tough road back to the court is remembered. Posted by Ben Golliver.  shootaround
  • There have been some very early reports that Dwight Howard might fly the coop in Orlando when he's able to be a free agent, but Orlando Pinstriped Post argues that it could be worse for Magic fans, as Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams has already turned up his rhetoric. "Williams' remarks illustrate that Orlando doesn't quite have it so bad with Howard. Apart from complaining about his teammates' defense--something he's obviously entitled to do, given the accuracy of his statements and his status as a team co-captain--Howard's at least remained neutral about his pending free agency.
  • Speaking of the Jazz, they've been struggling, and got crushed by the Lakers last night. Raja Bell tries to explain things to the Salt Lake Tribune, "We just lost our swagger somewhere along the lines. You know, we start pressing, we start trying to do everything so right that it backfires. I think it's a tough way to play."
  • Beyond The Beat catches up with the Sacramento Kings regarding an impending work stoppage. "It could take a year. It could take a day. We really don't know, but I know it's a serious issue and I can see them (players' association) pushing a lockout," Carl Landry told Beyond the Beat. "He (Hunter) forewarned us that there might be a lockout in effect, and he shared different ideas that will help prepare us for the lockout. They (players' association) are there for us and are already thinking about different contestants and things that will help the players."
  • Former Seattle SuperSonics guard Gary Payton says he does not support the Oklahoma City Thunder in any way, notes the Seattle PI. "He would not attend an alumni event in Oklahoma City if invited. 'I didn't play in Oklahoma City,' he said. 'That would be disrespect to Seattle fans. We never played there. Why would we go to Oklahoma City and give the fans that opportunity or privilege?'"
  • Good news for Hornets fans: AFP reports that the team won't be going anywhere. "The NBA New Orleans Hornets will remain in the Louisiana city for at least another season after meeting an attendance goal that prevents an escape clause activation in their arena lease."
  • The Heat Index investigates what using LeBron James as a power forward will look like for the Miami Heat.
Posted on: January 24, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Will Deron Williams be the next Carmelo Anthony?

Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams expresses some reservations about the team's future. Posted by Ben Golliver. deron-williams

The Carmelo Anthony trade talks are in a bit of a lull, so to help fill the space let's take a crack at which NBA superstar will be the next to hijack the league's media coverage with his desire to change teams. The top early candidates, obviously, are Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul, but NBA.com reports that we shouldn't count out Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams.
"It should be happening by now," Williams said last week. "We've just got to figure it out. We can't just come out and expect teams to give us games."
The "it" in Williams' mind is the maddening inconsistency of the Jazz, culminating in Utah's 0-fer road trip, including bad losses at  Washington and  New Jersey.
The Jazz have lost four straight, dropped to second place in the Northwest Division and are just 4-6 in their last 10 games. Things could be a lot worse, no doubt, but 2011 conventional wisdom says that NBA superstars aren't content to count their blessings, instead intent on finding greener pastures.

NBA.com also notes that Williams was frustrated with all of the roster turnover this summer, which included guard Wesley Matthews being signed by the Portland Trail Blazers, and Kyle Korver and Carlos Boozer departing to the Chicago Bulls.
"We lost Wes, we lost Kyle, we lost Booze, and it was like, 'What are we going to do?' And we bounced back and we added some good guys. We added Al, we added Earl, we picked up Gordon (Hayward) and Jeremy (Evans) in the Draft, and they've been two bright additions to the team. And I was pleased. We got Raj."
But is Utah as good defensively as it used to be? And does this team have the luxury of working all those new players in?
"Not really," Williams said. "My contract's up in two years. It's a now or never situation. I don't know what I'm going to do after this one."
Guh. That's a tough load to take for Utah fans, as Williams' words read like a soft ultimatum. Essentially: Get me help, or else.

Utah has historically been one of the best run franchises in the league, however it's a difficult destination to land a high-profile free agent. Ownership has expressed a desire to be financially prudent, which makes it difficult to compete with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics of the world given the size of the Salt Lake City market.

The best case scenario for Utah fans: a new collective bargaining agreement that includes a franchise tag that would help keep Williams in a Jazz uniform. 

The worst case scenario? Just look across the Rocky Mountains.
Posted on: January 11, 2011 8:10 am
Edited on: January 11, 2011 12:27 pm
 

The Shootaround: Heat haven't shown greatness?

Miami's coach says the Heat haven't yet shown greatness, Scottie Pippen has Dennis Rodman's back, Nate Robinson shares his thoughts on this year's dunk contest, Chauncey Billups really was sick, the latest on the Carmelo Anthony trade talks, and much more. Posted by Ben Golliver.  shootaround
  • Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra says in an interview transcribed by SportsRadioInterviews.com that he has not yet seen greatness from his team. "We have proven that we can be great, we can be great on the defensive end of the floor, but we have not shown greatness yet. We do not do it on a possession or every single minute of the game mentality yet. We’re moving in that direction and I think our guys understand that this isn’t where we want to stop. To play really at the elite level, and we’re talking seven game series, we need to be more consistent with that and that’s what we’re striving for and working for every single day.”
  • Boston Celtics guard, and Slam Dunk contest champion, Nate Robinson says the NBA wants Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin to win this year's contest. The Boston Globe quotes Robinson: “It’s time to basically let Blake Griffin win, because that’s what they want. Hopefully the young fella can go on and get it done.’’
  • Former Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen is campaigning for his former teammate, Dennis Rodman, to make the Hall of Fame, notes NBA.com. “We all watched Dennis’ career and we know just how good he was as a basketball player,” Pippen said. “I think we all got caught up in his antics, and things he did away from the game, and it sort of disrespected or took attention away from what he did on the basketball court. But he is surely a Hall of Famer.”
  • Yesterday, we noted that there was some speculation regarding Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups' absence from practice due to illness, and ongoing trade talks between the Nuggets, New Jersey Nets and Detroit Pistons. Billups' agent, Andy Miller, tells Yahoo! Sports not to read into it. “He’s really sick,” Miller said. “He has a headache and was feeling under the weather. There is no correlation with regard to the rumors and speculation regarding a trade scenario. Chauncey’s professionalism should never be in question in regards to his responsibilities as a professional athlete.”
  • Here's the up-to-the-minute latest on Carmelo Anthony trade talks, which includes discussion of Houston's potential involvement and Denver's reported unhappiness with the public nature of the negotiations. "The teams haven't stopped talking, but the Nuggets are trying to show people that they aren't going to be rushed into anything," adds ESPN.com.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn lets the Associated Press know that no trades are imminent for his team and that patience continues to be a virtue. "As painful as this is, there was no way to do this with a quick fix and put the team into a position to dramatically rise overnight," Kahn said after practice. "It is really painful to work your way through this process. I'm actually encouraged that maybe it won't be as painful for as long as I once worried it would be."
  • The Utah Jazz are considering changing their starting lineup to fix some slow starts. The Salt Lake Tribune writes that point guard Deron Williams wouldn't comment on any specific changes, other than to say he wants to pick up the pace. “I want to run more, that’s all I can say,” Williams said.
  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant says his knee "feels good," but he's back to sitting out of Lakers' practices after a short stretch of participating over the holidays, according to the L.A. Times. "It feels good," Bryant said after practice Monday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. I'm not going to answer questions about my knee every damn day. I said what I had to say. My knee feels fine. The key is to make it stay fine."
  • Toronto Raptors sophomore wing DeMar DeRozan tells TheScore.com he's not hitting the rookie wall this season. “I think around this time last year, I was so banged up,” DeRozan reflected. “I think I hit the rookie wall or something like that. I remember just being tired, being banged up and I wasn’t playing as many minutes as I am now. Just being able to get stronger in the offseason, being able to take the physicality of going inside with the big guys.”
  • DimeMag.com has an interview with Greg Minor, Antoine Walker's former Boston Celtics teammate. Minor touches on Walker's current D-League stint.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 8:05 am
Edited on: January 4, 2011 8:08 am
 

Shootaround 1.4.11: Confident Kendrick Perkins

Kendrick Perkins pretty much guarantees a Boston Celtics title, Michael Jordan visits David Letterman almost 20 years ago, Kevin Love sets some more rebounding records, Allen Iverson has his paper straight and Delonte West will remain on the shelf for longer than he had hoped. Posted by Ben Golliver.  shootaround
  • Celtics center Kendrick Perkins tells Yahoo! Sports that Boston would have beaten the Los Angeles Lakers in last year's NBA Finals had he not injured his knee. He also says no one can touch the Celtics in a series this year. “In seven games I don’t think we can be beat by any team,” he said. “Too deep. Too much experience. Too many hard-working guys. Too many guys that have a chip on their shoulder.”
  • Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche, who was involved in a nightclub fight with teammate JaVale McGee in December that led to some talk of him being traded, admitted to the Washington Post that the rumors are affecting his play. "That bothers me some," Blatche said. "But that's the name of the game. I just gotta keep trucking along with it."
  • Boston Celtics guard Delonte West was super ambitious in his hope to return to the court quickly after injuring his wrist earlier this season, but Celtics President Danny Ainge says West's return isn't expected until near the All-Star break in February, according to ESPNBoston.com.
  • Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus with an interesting note: "History suggests that the best teams should have already separated themselves from the pack. Over the six seasons since the NBA realigned for the 2004-05 campaign, 83.3 percent of the teams that led their division as of New Year's Day have gone on to win at least a share of the division title. Via Basketball-Reference.com, all six eventual division champions were on top on Jan. 1, 2010." 
Posted on: December 28, 2010 12:49 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:52 pm
 

The Game Changer: Blazers finally win in SLC

The Portland Trail Blazers finally won in Salt Lake City, Jason Kidd was one rebound shy of a triple double, Gilbert Arenas hit an incredible buzzer beater, Serge Ibaka had a block-of-the-year candidate, and much more. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: BLAZERS STEAL ONE IN UTAH

Not since Dec. 2007, when an upstart team led by superstar-in-the-making Brandon Roy was in the midst of a 13-game winning streak, have the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Utah Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena. On Tuesday, in Roy's continued absence due to knee pain, no less, the Blazers secured their best victory of the season, 96-91.  The Blazers admit ESA is one of their least favorite places to play, but plenty of teams have struggled in Salt Lake. Over the last two seasons, the Jazz were a combined 66-16 at home, losing just eight games at home during both the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons. Portland's win was Utah's sixth home loss in just 17 home games so far this season, and while the Jazz currently lead the way in a packed Northwest Division race, they'll have to reassert their dominance at home should they want to maintain on their path to a division title. Monday's loss to Portland wasn't heartbreaking, although it did spoil a splendid night from Deron Williams, who finished with 31 points and seemingly couldn't miss. Down the stretch, the Jazz struggled with turnovers and an extra-aggressive Portland defense, which hasn't often been seen this season, made a number of late block shots and deflections. For the Blazers, LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 26 point, seven rebounds and two blocks, and he continues on a torrid streak in Roy's absence. His game is expanding due to increased touches and, while there have been fits and starts, Aldridge has started to show a new resolve late in games to attack the paint and get buckets. A sweeping hook in the fourth quarter on Monday night had him pounding his chest, and left Blazers fans that have watched him for years enjoying the moment in pleasant surprise.   This was Portland's best win of the season, the first time they have beaten a team that now has 20 or more wins. That it came on the road in a tough environment only makes it that much sweeter. 

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Andray Blatche: 17 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, three steals, two blocks in 37 minutes in a Washington Wizards road loss to the Houston Rockets. It was Blatche's first game back from a suspension for fighting with teammate JaVale McGee. Jason Kidd: 10 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists, and four steals in 36 minutes in a Dallas Mavericks road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Chris Paul: 22 points, six rebounds, 13 assists, and five steals in 41 minutes in a New Orleans Hornets road loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Deron Williams: 31 points, six assists, three rebounds, one steal in 38 minutes in a Utah Jazz home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

DON'T MISS:

OLD FRIENDS:

Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams and former teammate Wesley Matthews, who signed a mega-contract with the Portland Trail Blazers last summer, catch up during Monday night's game in Salt Lake City. It was Matthews' first regular season return trip to Salt Lake City since signing with Utah's division rival and he was met with a standing ovation. williams-matthews

WHIMSY:

Gilbert Arenas hit an unreal 3/4 court buzzer beater off the scoreboard. You must watch it.

GET THAT OUT OF HERE:

Oklahoma City Thunder big man Serge Ibaka rejects Dallas Mavericks big man Tyson Chandler in stone cold fashion. Cue the tape, via 20sadecebirmahluk on YouTube.

FINAL THOUGHT:

Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson were named by Sports Illustrated as this year's best three-man booth. Mama, there goes that man to the podium with his acceptance speech.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 12:49 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:52 pm
 

The Game Changer: Blazers finally win in SLC

The Portland Trail Blazers finally won in Salt Lake City, Jason Kidd was one rebound shy of a triple double, Gilbert Arenas hit an incredible buzzer beater, Serge Ibaka had a block-of-the-year candidate, and much more. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer. 

THE BIG ONE: BLAZERS STEAL ONE IN UTAH

Not since Dec. 2007, when an upstart team led by superstar-in-the-making Brandon Roy was in the midst of a 13-game winning streak, have the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Utah Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena. On Tuesday, in Roy's continued absence due to knee pain, no less, the Blazers secured their best victory of the season, 96-91.  The Blazers admit ESA is one of their least favorite places to play, but plenty of teams have struggled in Salt Lake. Over the last two seasons, the Jazz were a combined 66-16 at home, losing just eight games at home during both the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons. Portland's win was Utah's sixth home loss in just 17 home games so far this season, and while the Jazz currently lead the way in a packed Northwest Division race, they'll have to reassert their dominance at home should they want to maintain on their path to a division title. Monday's loss to Portland wasn't heartbreaking, although it did spoil a splendid night from Deron Williams, who finished with 31 points and seemingly couldn't miss. Down the stretch, the Jazz struggled with turnovers and an extra-aggressive Portland defense, which hasn't often been seen this season, made a number of late block shots and deflections. For the Blazers, LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 26 point, seven rebounds and two blocks, and he continues on a torrid streak in Roy's absence. His game is expanding due to increased touches and, while there have been fits and starts, Aldridge has started to show a new resolve late in games to attack the paint and get buckets. A sweeping hook in the fourth quarter on Monday night had him pounding his chest, and left Blazers fans that have watched him for years enjoying the moment in pleasant surprise.   This was Portland's best win of the season, the first time they have beaten a team that now has 20 or more wins. That it came on the road in a tough environment only makes it that much sweeter. 

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT:

Andray Blatche: 17 points, 14 rebounds, two assists, three steals, two blocks in 37 minutes in a Washington Wizards road loss to the Houston Rockets. It was Blatche's first game back from a suspension for fighting with teammate JaVale McGee. Jason Kidd: 10 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists, and four steals in 36 minutes in a Dallas Mavericks road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Chris Paul: 22 points, six rebounds, 13 assists, and five steals in 41 minutes in a New Orleans Hornets road loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Deron Williams: 31 points, six assists, three rebounds, one steal in 38 minutes in a Utah Jazz home loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

DON'T MISS:

OLD FRIENDS:

Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams and former teammate Wesley Matthews, who signed a mega-contract with the Portland Trail Blazers last summer, catch up during Monday night's game in Salt Lake City. It was Matthews' first regular season return trip to Salt Lake City since signing with Utah's division rival and he was met with a standing ovation. williams-matthews

WHIMSY:

Gilbert Arenas hit an unreal 3/4 court buzzer beater off the scoreboard. You must watch it.

GET THAT OUT OF HERE:

Oklahoma City Thunder big man Serge Ibaka rejects Dallas Mavericks big man Tyson Chandler in stone cold fashion. Cue the tape, via 20sadecebirmahluk on YouTube.

FINAL THOUGHT:

Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson were named by Sports Illustrated as this year's best three-man booth. Mama, there goes that man to the podium with his acceptance speech.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 2:50 pm
 

The NBA Quarterly All-Star Teams

Posted by Royce Young



It's never too early to start thinking about the All-Star Game. Well, I take that back. It probably is too early. But I wrote the body of this post before the intro so I'm pressing on anyway.

We're a quarter of the way done with the 2010-11 NBA season. Everybody has at least 20 games under their belt. We've learned a lot. The Heat can be good, the Spurs are great, the Lakers oddly struggle at times, Blake Griffin is exciting and Boston won't let you score... ever.

But on top of that, a few players have started that whole breakout thing. And a lot of the old good ones have stayed really good. The NBA truly has a ridiculous amount of talent right now. Seriously, this is a great time for the league. Except for that lockout stuff but I'm not going to mention that.

So because I think a lot about non-important things like the All-Star Game and Chick-Fil-A sauce, I began to notice how tough it's going to be to narrow down a 12-man roster for both conference. If there were an At The Quarter All-Star Team, it would already be quite a task to select that.

So naturally, here's my At The Quarter All-Star Teams:

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Starters:
PG: Deron Williams (21.8 ppg, 10.1 apg)
I'd say the starting Western point guard spot is the toughest to pick in the whole league. Look at the candidates: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Stephen Curry. But Williams is the starters right now because he's commandeering an elite Western team, along with having terrific numbers.

SG: Kobe Bryant (26.6 ppg, 4.5 apg)
Kobe is the type of player that will probably be an All-Star Game starter for life since the fans vote make that happen, but it's well-deserved at this point. He's second in the league in scoring and is having a classic Kobe season. Big shots, big plays and big numbers on the biggest stage.

SF: Kevin Durant (27.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg)
By his standards, he's struggled a bit. His percentages are a bit down, he's missed a few games because of an ankle sprain and then a sore knee and he's seen his teammate Russell Westbrook steal some of his Thunder. But KD still leads the league in scoring and is still the leader on a very good Thunder team.

PF: Dirk Nowitzki (24.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg)
If I were voting, Dirk would be getting my MVP vote. Which would be weird because the season's only 25 percent done and I also don't have a vote. But Dirk is having one of his finest seasons and leading the hottest and second best team in the league (tied with Boston at 17-4). The Mavericks have found a new identity behind defense and ball pressure, but Dirk is the same old awesome Dirk.

C: Blake Griffin (20.0 ppg, 11.7 rpg)
Remember when the West used to be so stacked with big men that figuring out the starting front court was a nightmare? It's not that way anyone. There's been a shift to point guard in the West for those issues. But really, who do you start here? The best "center" is probably Tyson Chandler and maybe Al Jefferson right now. Both have been good, but I'm going to fudge and give it to Griffin. His numbers are worthy at 20-12, but he's everything that an All-Star should be. He has the league buzzing, every night is a potential highlight-fest and he's the most can't-miss guy going. To me, if we're selecting an All-Star team right now, he's got to be on it.

Bench:
Russell Westbrook, PG: Westbrook leads Western point guards in scoring, plus he's got better "LeBron" numbers than LeBron at 23.7 ppg, 8.6 apg and 5.5 rpg.

Chris Paul, PG: Weird to have CP3 on the bench considering he's in the top two or three for MVP, but again, the West is stacked. His team's little slide lately isn't helping either.

Manu Ginobili, SG: The best team in the league doesn't have an MVP candidate? Who says so? Because Manu is certainly playing like one, at least in my mind.

Monta Ellis, SG: Ellis barely gets the nod over Eric Gordon who is also having a really good year. They score virtually the same amount but Ellis has simply been a bit more efficient.

Luis Scola, PF: The Rockets may be struggling and disappointing, but Scola hasn't. Coming off a big World Championships where he raised expectations for himself, Scola has lived up to it in every way.

Kevin Love, PF: He's leading the league in rebounding, and it's not close (15.5 per game, Joakim Noah is next at 12.3). This season there have been 11 20-20 games. Love has six of them.

Tyson Chandler, C: The last spot is where things get a bit hairy. Chandler has been having a re-birth of a season with the Mavericks, protecting the rim and playing solid offense. And just barely does he get the nod of Al Jefferson for the lone center on the roster simply because playing both ends counts for something.

Tough cuts: Stephen Curry, Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Starters:
PG: Derrick Rose (25.1 ppg, 8.1 apg)
Rose wondered why he couldn't be an MVP candidate before the season. And there's no doubt he should be, if only he could get his team to win a few more games. But he leads all point guards in scoring (fourth in the league) and is dishing out a career-high assist average. Rose is the total package right now at point and really, one of the top two or three players in the entire conference.

SG: Dwyane Wade (22.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg)
His numbers are down a bit, but there's an obvious reason why. I'll be honest, if there was another really impressive shooting guard in the East, Wade wouldn't be such a lock. But because the East is pretty thin there (Stephen Jackson? Ray Allen? Vince Carter?) Wade is the starter by default.

SF: LeBron James (24.1 ppg, 7.3 apg)
Despite what his numbers say, he's still the most talented and gifted player in the game. And it's not like the stats aren't excellent anyway. He's just set a bar so high for himself there that all of a sudden 24-7-5 doesn't look so great.

PF: Amar'e Stoudemire (25.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg)
Not only are the Knicks winning, but Amar'e has been fairly awesome this season. He's third in the league in scoring and has just broken a franchise record held by Bernand King for most consecutive games with 30 points (six). That's like, pretty good.

C: Dwight Howard (20.9 ppg, 12.1 rpg)
Forget the fact there's not a ton of competition here. Howard has maybe been the most productive NBA player this season. He's scoring at a career-high rate, plus putting up his typical big rebounding and blocked shots numbers. His developing post game is no joke and he's becoming the total package at center.

Bench:
Rajon Rondo, PG: His 14.1 assists per game are obviously eye-catching, but he's also turning it over 4.0 times a game, second in the league.

Raymond Felton, PG: Yep, seriously. He's playing on a winning club and his numbers are great! No really, they are! Look at them, I promise I'm not lying!

Ray Allen, SG: Nothing spectacular from the league's best shooter, but his stats are solid, his team is good and he's already hit a number of big shots just a quarter of the way in.

Danny Granger, SF: Come real selection time, he might get squeezed for a bigger name, but he's made the team once. He's a great scorer and now that he's on a decent team, he's deserving.

Kevin Garnett, PF: As long as he's still moving his way up and down the court, he's an All-Star. Plus, don't look, but he's actually having a pretty darn good season.

Roy Hibbert, C: A chic pick for Most Improved, the 7'3 Pacer big man has a well-developed game. Post moves, power moves and even a distance jumpshot.

Andrea Bargnani, C: Probably a stretch especially since Al Horford likely deserves it more, but Barge Nanny is sixth in the East in scoring and in his last few games has really looked fantastic, punctuated by a 41-point explosion against the Knicks Wednesday.

Tough cuts: Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Paul Pierce, John Wall, Shaquille O'Neal
Posted on: November 30, 2010 3:35 pm
 

Award-O-Matic MVP 11.30.10: CP3 as MVP

NBA F&R breaks down the MVP candidates after the first month of the season by dissecting the award down to three parts: Most Valuable, Most Important, and Most Oustanding Player. CP3 is in control.
Posted by Matt Moore with contributions from Ben Golliver and Royce Young




Well, we're a month into the season and the context of this year has begun to take shape. While certainly a long way from the finish line, we've already gotten a glimpse of who's playing well, who's playing average, and who ... not so much. And so it is that we begin our monthly look at awards. On a regular basis we'll take you around the award contenders and give you a look at who is in contention for the NBA's major awards by breaking down what they really mean in our Award-O-Matic. Today we start with the MVP.

The problem, as has been elucidated approximately a million times by various media members, is that the MVP is a nebulous, hard to define award. Its name is Most Valuable, but it most often goes to the Most Outstanding Player on a winning team. If your play is other-worldly but your team doesn't win, you have no shot. If you contribute the most to a winning team but your numbers aren't stellar, again, your chances are slim. It takes a combination of three factors: value, performance, and importance to snag the award. As such, we decided to break the award into those three categories, tally them up with the top player getting 3 points, the second 2, the third 1, then summing to see if we could come up with a list.

First up?

Most Valuable Player (To Their Team): Who is most responsible for their team's success? Or, to put it another way, whose team suffers the most without them?


Matt Moore:


1. Dirk Nowitzki: Without him that offense is anemic and it's been his rebounding that's kept them in games at points.
2. Carmelo Anthony: Seriously, Nuggets. Cliff. Teetering. Melo's the only thing keeping the truck from smashing into pieces.
3. Dwight Howard: Get him in foul trouble and the Magic turn into a Mid-Major college team, just wining it from perimeter to perimeter.

Ben Golliver:

1. Chris Paul:
  I like Darren Collison as much as the next guy, but CP3's return from injury to lead New Orleans' absurd hot start, despite an unimpressive supporting cast, reveals exactly how valuable the league's best point guard is.
2. Rajon Rondo Boston would still be good without Rondo, but his game ownership places them on an elite level and makes them the odds on favorite to win the East yet again. 10.6 points, 14.2 assists (what!), 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals through the end of November. Crazy.
3. Kevin Durant The Thunder have had an up-and-down start but imagining this team with Russell Westbrook at the helm by himself, dragging an ineffective Jeff Green along for the ride, would be a recipe for a guaranteed lottery team. KD will get better -- perhaps much better -- over the course of the season, and he's already easily leading the NBA in scoring again.

Royce Young:

1. Chris Paul:   Subtract Paul and what do you have. I can promise you it's not an 8-1 team. It's really as simple as that.
2. Dirk Nowitzki:   The Mavericks are dangerous in every fourth quarter that they're close in. The reason is because Dirk can score in every situation, at any time. He essentially is the Maverick offense.
3. Steve Nash:   Take Nash away and yes, there's Goran Dragic who can dazzle in stretches. But without Nash this Suns team is nothing more than a 35-win club. With Nash, there's potential to push for the playoffs.

Most Important Player: Who is most crucial to their team's success? Ex. Last year I argued that Josh Smith was MIP because when he did Josh Smith-y things, the Hawks were nearly unstoppable, and when he didn't, they were much more beatable.


Matt Moore:

1. Chris Paul:
He does everything and it starts and stops with him. This is even more clearly illustrated by their recent struggles down the stretch where he hasn't been involved.
2. Al Horford: The level of production Horford is creating right now is simply astonishing. More astonishing is how overlooked he is.
3. Pau Gasol: It's him that's carrying the Lakers. Even as Kobe scores all the high points, the most dominant Laker performances this season are from Gasol.

Ben Golliver:


1. Pau Gasol: His virtuoso early season performance has single-handedly made Andrew Bynum an afterthought. What more needs to be said?
2. Deron Williams:   Utah's streak of comebacks begins with Williams' tough-minded leadership and ends with his play-making and shot-making.
3. Dirk Nowitzki:   Another banner start from Dirk singlehandedly puts a Dallas roster loaded with question marks in the playoff mix.

Royce Young:

1. Pau Gasol: Having Gasol as part of the triangle has been like a revelation. He's really what makes the Lakers so darn dangerous.
2. Kevin Garnett:
We saw what an impact his has in regard to the Celtic defense two seasons ago when his knee was injured.
3. Nick Collison:   He's a classic no-stats All-Star. He's only played for a few weeks so far this season for Oklahoma City but his value is immeasurable and impact immediate. He tips rebounds that become extra possessions, takes charges, sets outstanding screens and makes two or three small (but big) plays a game.


Most Outstanding Player: Who has simply wowed you?


Matt Moore:

1. Rajon Rondo: Key plays every time he's on the floor and he makes it look easy, There are a lot of moments where he looks like he's just on a different plane from everyone else.. and he's got three Hall of Famers on his team.
2. Russell Westbrook: Westbrook has managed to take over the game down the stretch. His turnovers are down, assists are up, he's got range and that mid-key pull-up jumper is as deadly as it ever has been. He's been simply phenomenal in half-court and full-court sets.
3. Deron Williams: Three point guards? Yup. Check Deron at the end of the clock with the game on the line. Money. And that's after all the assists, rebounds, key plays and floor leadership. Man's a ninja, no joke.

Ben Golliver:


1. Dwight Howard:
  Lost in the Miami Heat wave, Howard is quietly putting up 22.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks as the defensive and rebounding engine that will make Orlando a title contender for years to come. By the way, Orlando sits atop the Southeast Division -- 3.5 games ahead of the Heat.
2. LeBron James: His numbers are crazy and his highlights are spectacular. It's a wonder he can jump so high and dunk so hard carrying the burden of Chris Bosh and Erik Spoelstra's corpse on his shoulders.
3. John Wall:   Wall doesn't belong in the MVP discussion -- there are too many holes in his game (jumper, turnovers) and his team is terrible -- but for sheer "outstanding-ness" and "wow factor" he merits inclusion here. His assist numbers have been great and his speed is tops in the league; he's a lot further along the NBA readiness scale than even his biggest fans could have imagined.

Royce Young:

1. Rajon Rondo: He's been nothing but insanely ridiculous. Manages the game perfectly, understand his place within an offense and runs the show beautifully.
2. Kevin Love: When given the time on the floor, he's a legitimate 20-20 threat every single night. How many players can you really say that about?
3. Russell Westbrook: There's a case to be legitimately made for Westbrook as an MVP contender. Kevin Durant is still leading the league in scoring, but Westbrook is what's kept the team winning games. But his play has been just insane this year (23.8 ppg, 8.4 apg, 5.1 rpg) and he's a super-highlight waiting to happen.

Here are the tallies:

Most Valuable Player:
1. Chris Paul (6)
2. Dirk Nowitzki (5)
Tied for 3rd: Carmelo Anthony, Rajon Rondo (2)
Tied for 4th: Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash (1)

Most Important Player:
1. Pau Gasol (7)
2. Chris Paul (3)
Tied for 3rd: Deron Williams, Al Horford, Kevin Garnett (2)
Tied for 4th: Dirk Nowitzki, Nick Collison (1)

Most Outstanding Player :

1. Rajon Rondo (6)
Tied for 2nd: Russell Westbrook, Dwight Howard (3)
Tied for 3rd: Kevin Love, LeBron James (2)
Tied for 4th: John Wall, Deron Williams (1)

Top 5 in Totals:
1. Chris Paul: 9
2. Rajon Rondo (8)
3. Pau Gasol (7)
4. Dirk Nowitzki (6)
5. Dwight Howard (4)
 
 
 
 
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