Thursday, May 18, 2006
NBA NEWS AND NOTES
I want to get this out of the way so I can get on to talking coherent and peaceable.
Kevin Garnett was left off the All NBA team. I am not just talking about NBA first team, he was completely left off the teams three rounds of selection. Here is a list of who made it:
2005-06 All-NBA Teams
2005-06 ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM
Position Player (1st-place votes) Points
Forward LeBron James, Cleveland (116) 610
Forward Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas (105) 584
Center Shaquille O'Neal, Miami (45) 402
Guard Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers (110) 597
Guard Steve Nash, Phoenix (106) 583
2005-06 ALL-NBA SECOND TEAM
Forward Elton Brand, L.A. Clippers (15) 309
Forward Tim Duncan, San Antonio (17) 277
Center Ben Wallace, Detroit (44) 363
Guard Chauncey Billups, Detroit (21) 378
Guard Dwyane Wade, Miami (13) 373
2005-06 ALL-NBA THIRD TEAM
Forward Shawn Marion, Phoenix (4) 270
Forward Carmelo Anthony, Denver 97
Center Yao Ming, Houston (30) 261
Guard Allen Iverson, Philadelphia (1) 104
Guard Gilbert Arenas, Washington 79
Now, I cannot argue against ANYONE on the first team, even though I think KG ALWAYS deserves it. Lebron is not only a fan favorite, he brought his team deep into the second round of the playoffs, and to the brink of the Eastern Finals (more on that below). Similarly, Dirk lifted his team, and played exceptionally well. Kobe was spectacular all year, setting numerous team and NBA records, and Steve Nash was MVP (even though he didn't deserve it this year), had a career year, and also has his team deep. Shaq is a heel, and worth about half what he formerly was, but he is still the best center, and the all-nba is voted on by position. Who is better at center? Really.
But second team is a joke. Elton Brand had a great season, his best, actually, so leaving him on there is fine. But Duncan was not even the focal point of his team this year, had career lows in points (under 19) and rebounds (11), and was hobbled much of the year. Certainly KG's individual stats stack up or exceed him in EVERY regard. It would be hard to find people to disagree with that.
But really, this should be a selection of who you would want, out of everyone, if you were starting a team of the best NBA players. Regardless of position, my first team would look like this:
Lebron, Wade, Garnett, Duncan, and Kobe. Wade and Lebron can both run the point, very well, Duncan can play the five against just about anyone, Garnett plays the whole floor, and Kobe is (sorry Lebron) the most dynamic scorer AND playmaker in the league.
Try to figure out a team that beats them. Put shaq on a team with the next best four players (Dirk, Nash, Brand, and AI, in my opinion) and see which team wins.
OK, NOW ON TO SOMETHING SHOCKING:
I was in a bar when the Cavaliers won the first round playoff. Some guy in the bar said, "They could go all the way" and I laughed. I explained that they had to play Detroit next, and we both agreed (easily) that the wallaces would be too much to overcome, and the Cavs would be lucky to get a win. ONE WIN.
Well, luckily for me, and fans everywhere, I was wrong. Sort of. Look, they have done great, and I really hope they win. They provide the best story for the next round, and watching Lebron play is pretty special. Even when he has a bad night, it looks good. He might not yet have the polish of Wade to the hole, or Kobe on the kickout, but he gets his team going, always, can score, it seems, at will, and really puts EVERYTHING on the court every singe game.
But can they win again? I know this will sound stupid, but the Pistons have been playing HORSESHIT ball, and have been in every single game so far. They have been turning the ball over, their bench stinks, Sheed is out of his damned hat, and still they have lost by one shot three times. Their wins, however, have been blowouts.
Add to that the fact they have the best record in the NBA, the best road record, and have never, before this, lost three in a row in the playoffs (or all this year), not to mention FOUR, and it looks grim.
Now look over at the Cavs. No one can say they aren't playing their best. The bench scoring is WAY up from the regular season. Players are really stepping up. Lebron can afford not to score 30+ every single night.
But they are lead by a guy who has already shown the lack of control at times (James) down the stretch, who is turnover prone (simply because he has the ball 90% of the time) and has NEVER been here before. And they need to win tomorrow. I mean, ALL the pressure is on them to win this one. If it goes back to Detroit, I don't see them winning. Winning once at the Palace is hard enough. Twice? In one series? I just can't see it.
Look, I hope I am wrong. As much as I LOVE Pistons basketball, and I do: they play the right way, watching Lebron is special, special, special. But I just don't see how they can get over the hump.
Now, I am not one to say anything less than the championship is success, but take a step back, look at the season the Cavs have had, the growth, the nucleus, and the post season: and even if they lose, this is a great year.
Here's to hoping, wishing, the year isn't over for them.