Sunday, April 13, 2008

NBA Season End Awards

This week Sports Illustrated gave out their choices for the NBA's big awards.

Executive of the Year went to Danny Ainge of the Celtics for pulling off the greatest off-season in sports history. I am OK with that choice. Although Elgin Baylor would be a close second for not making really any useful moves. A lot of G.M.'s would have tried to find players to replace the injured Elton Brand and Sean Livingston, but Baylor did the brave thing and brought in chumps, writing off the season.

SI's Coach of the Year is Byron Scott, which I also cannot argue with. And at this point, I would like to point out that Jason Kidd is a huge ass.

Most Improved goes to Hedo Turkoglu, but really who cares?

Sixth Man goes to Manu Ginobili, which is not fair since he would start on every team (including his own) if the coaches wanted him to. Actually, he would start on every National Team.

As I write all this and consider the remaining awards, I realize how truly little I care about the NBA and will skip the other awards except the following point:

SI gives the MVP to Kobe Bryant. I could not agree less. The writer writes, "Bryant gets the nod for being the league's top two-way player." But I always thought "MVP" stood for "Most Valuable Player," not "Top Two-Way Player." The guy is a basketball freak. He is incredible and besides his inability to dribble properly or complete a layup or dunk without traveling there is nothing he cannot do on a basketball court.

Actually there is. Bryant can't win without a big man. In game 1 this year, they were basically the same team that they were in game 82 last year - although they added Derrick Fisher. They came out strong with Andrew Bynum suddenly reborn thanks to Fisher's play. This created more openings for Bryant, since Bynum drew so much attention. The team was winning and suddenly Bryant had matured and was a team player.

Then Bynum went down and by absolutely everyone's account, the season was lost until management yanked Pau Gasol out of Memphis. The season was thus saved and Lakers raced to the top of the Conference. When Gasol got hurt, they slipped and regained ground after he came back.

Bryant is the best player in the league, but he is not the most valuable player on his team. In fact I think it could easily be argued that this year Kevin Garnett was the most valuable player in the history of the league. Possibly in the history of all of the Big Three sports (though I am not one for hyperbole)...has any other team ever won nearly 3 times their total from the previous season?

Finally, the fact that Selena Roberts' column now resides on Rick Reilly's hallowed back page every two weeks may be the greatest tragedy in the history of the written English language (no hyperbole here either).

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