TSC NBA Midseason Awards

As the NBA season reaches its midway point, it’s time to hand out some midseason awards

Kevin Garnett

Defensive Player of the Year: Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)

As some witty sportswriter predicted on this very website, the Boston Celtics are a very, very good team. They are so good that when they slipped to 34-6, there were some talks about firing head coach Doc Rivers. And while the Doc may not be up for coach of the year, the leader of this team is KG. He may not be leading in points, shot-blocking, or steals, he is the real deal on defence and the undisputed leader of this star-studded Boston squad. He is big enough to guard the seven-footers inside, and is quick enough to guard a point guard if his teammate can’t get around a pick. Garnett is also my runner-up for league MVP.

Runner-up: Marcus Camby  

Kevin Durant

Rookie of the Year: Kevin Durant (Seattle Supersonics)

In a rookie class thats mostly filled of 27-year olds, the 19-year-old is the one sticking out. A feat, which is tough to do in the rarely-publicized northwest corner of the country, especially when his team is 3 wins away from being the worst in the west. Durant is putting up 20.5 points a game – 6 more than any of his teammates, all of which are more experienced than the youngster. And with Greg Oden not around to join the 27-year-olds that he looks older than, this honour is a no-brainer to hand to Durant.

Runner-up: Juan Carlos Navarro (Memphis Grizzlies)  

Byron Scott

Coach of the Year: Byron Scott (New Orleans Hornets) 

Show me the surprise team of the league, and I’ll show you the coach of the year. But this goes beyond that. While Scott does have a solid starting five in Tyson Chandler, Morris Peterson, Peja Stojakovic, David West, and Chris Paul, who is quickly molding into one of the league’s best point guards, the first three mentioned players are those that just didn’t work out with their previous teams. Chandler was a good player in Chicago, the problem was the team wasn’t any good. Same with Peja, same with Mo-Pete. For  the ex-Grizzly Byron Scott to bring this team together and lead them to a division leading 28-12 record, it has to give him some serious consideration for this award.

Runner-up: Stan Van Gundy (Orlando Magic)   

Kobe Bryant

League MVP: Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)

Every year Kobe is nominated for this award, but he never wins it. First off, he was playing with Shaq, the most dominating player in the league at the time, so he obviously isn’t the most valuable player to his team with the Big Aristotle by his side. After Shaq’s departure, everybody knew that Kobe was the most offensively-skilled player in the league, but that doesn’t mean much when you can hardly make the playoffs, as only three players in the least 20 seasons have took home this award when they’re respective teams finished with under 50 wins. Now, Kobe’s Lakers just might hit that mark, with 26 wins and just a game and a half back of the conference leading Phoenix Suns. And trust me, it ain’t Andrew Bynum that’s gotten them there.

Runner-up: Kevin Garnett (Boston Celtics)  

Kobe’s Krapshoot

Kobe BryantThe L.A. Lakers are in dangerous territory.

How so? Although nothing has been officially completed yet, I think everyone one knows that sooner or later, their superstar Kobe Bryant will be traded.

The big question is ‘to who’ and ‘when’.

Rumours involving Bryant has been a hot topic amongst water-cooler gatherers in the past few weeks, and it’s not going to stop until he gets dealt.

The most common possible blockbuster idea floating around the league was Kobe being traded to Chicago with Luol Deng going the other way. But Bryant came out and stated that he will veto any trade involving Deng. Why? Simple, he needs and wants someone “good” to play with. So a possibility of that trade was squashed.

But a three-way deal speculations started making its rounds around the rumour mill recently.

It also involved the Bulls, with Sacramento being the third team. This deal would send Bryant to Chicago, Bull’s Ben Wallace and King’s Ron Artest going to L.A., and the Kings getting Ben Gordon and P.J. Brown.

But again, these rumours were squashed. This time by Bulls GM John Paxson.

“There’s not a deal done,” said Paxson. “There’s not going to be a deal done. All the things that were out there were really unfair to all of us who were trying to do our jobs. It’s just such a complicated thing and we kind of put it to rest now.”

But as sports fans should know, just because he came out and said that the trade isn’t going to happen, you never know.

In my opinion, the Lakers need to get rid of Kobe Bryant soon. It’s no mystery that he’s unhappy with his surroundings after demanding to be traded this off-season, and then taking back his statement after, but having it brought back up again. Bryant isn’t going to play 100 per cent for the Lakers, because it’s obvious he’s not motivated.

The team is making it publicly known that they don’t want him and he is making it known that he doesn’t want to be there. It’s a hate-hate relationship at the moment.

The Lakers need to get as much as they can for Bryant as his era in the yellow jersey is slowly ending, whether fans want to admit it or not.

Obviously the biggest name out there on the trading block is Kobe, and the deadline isn’t until February, but don’t expect Los Angeles to wait that long.

KB will be gone soon, and the Lakers won’t be the same ever again.

Best of the Best: Part IV – Never Better

Michael JordanNever in the realm of the NBA will there ever be a player like Michael Jordan. Never.

There will, however, be players that can come close to his talents, but to have all of the tools that MJ had is impossible to duplicate.

Lately, Kobe Bryant’s offensive skill set has been compared to that of the Air Man’s, and rightfully so. Not too many people can put up 81 points in one game and go on runs such as Kobe’s nine straight 40+ point games. But, and that is a serious but, that is only comparing Kobe’s ability to score like MJ, and last time I checked, there’s more to offense than putting the ball in the hoop.

To be a complete offensive player you also need to be able to move the ball, and Jordan has to be considered one of the best passers ever.

You also need to be a leader. And one of the most used analogies of Jordan as to why he is the greatest ever, is that he made everyone on his team a better player.

He knew at all times where his teammates would be on the court, and could always find them. It helps when you have a 45″ vertical so when he’s in the air, he even has time to check out the best way to go about a play.

So that’s his offensive skill set, the best ever, impeccable. That’s what all the kids practice at the playground and that’s what gets teenagers in high school noticed by colleges. But when Michael broke out onto the NBA scene, he knew that to be the best, he had to complete his game, he had to play defence.

He worked at defence harder than anything else, and this created an absolute force, one that only video can actually show.

So many times, in all of professional sports, there will be a young player with full of potential, and an injury comes along and they can just never bounce back from it.

Not MJ, on a few occasions he has suffered serious injuries that he rebounded from, and in some cases won championships after.

And that is what created the best, most well-rounded player in basketball, and maybe even sports history.

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