Usually five games into an NBA finals, we have a pretty good idea who is going to get the finals MVP award.
This finals? Good luck. You’d have an easier time naming all 11 starters on the Slovenian national soccer team.
Really, the only consistently good player on both sides has been Kobe Bryant. The guy who tried to carry the Lakers to victory in Game 5 by himself during the third quarter. Win or lose, Kobe has been there, scoring 29 points or more in four of the five games. It has not always been efficient scoring, but he has been the one player who has attacked in each and every game.
The last guy to win Finals MVP on the losing team? Jerry West in the 1969 finals, when the Lakers lost in seven games to the Celtics at the old Great Western Forum. That was a group of more talented Lakers losing out to a better team in the Celtics.
For the Celtics, who do you pick?
Rajon Rondo has been the leader of their offense in terms of setting up, and he took over the second half of Game 4. Kevin Garnett has had two good offensive games and again remains key to the Celtics defense that has them ahead. Paul Pierce has had a couple good games now, but was missing the first half of the series. Ray Allen had a record setting night and a horrific night. Big Baby?
Maybe the referees for their influence on games?
The winner of the award may well be the guy that takes over Game 7. (Because you just have a feeling with these teams it is going to get there.) But if the vote were conducted now, we might need the Electoral College to come in because there would be know clear winner.
Phil Jackson, on a CBS show this week, took a little dig at Carmelo Anthony and how he plays in the Knicks offense.
“He can play that role that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant played. That’s a perfect spot for him, to be in that isolated position on the weak side. Because it’s an overload offense and there’s a weak-side man that always has an advantage if the ball is swung. Carmelo, a lot of times, wants to hold the ball longer than… we have a rule, if you hold a pass two seconds, you benefit the defense. So he has a little bit of a tendency to hold the ball for three, four, five seconds, then everybody comes to a stop. That is one of the things we work with. But he has adjusted to it, he knows what it can do and he’s willing to see its success.”
Anthony didn’t want to talk about it. However, after Knicks got their heads handed to them by the Cavaliers on national television Wednesday, Anthony took to Instagram.
We can safely assume those were not messages to Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick Rose. Was it intended for Jackson? Anthony has plausible deniability here, but that seems the most likely answer.
To be fair, according to the Sports VU tracking cameras in arenas (stats via NBA.com), this season Anthony is holding the ball for less time and taking fewer dribbles than he did a season ago (1.64 dribbles per touch this season). He’s doing better.
But Jackson can never quite resist a dig. If you want to play conspiracy theory and try to read more into that, well, that seems to be the trend in America, in general, these days.
If was five years ago this week that David Stern canceled a three-way trade that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers to team up with Kobe Bryant, while Pau Gasol went to the Rockets, and the then New Orleans Hornets would have gotten Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round pick. The rumor was that angry owners — remember, a new CBA had just been signed with the express purpose of limiting “superteams” — pressured him and Stern, the owner representative of the Hornets at the time (the previous owner sold the team back to the league), and he nixed the trade.
Stern said this week that narrative was all wrong.
In an interview with the Sports Business Radio Road Show Stern said there never was a trade, but what we heard was the spin of angry Laker and Rockets GMs. Via Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated.
First, this is a bit of semantics by Stern. That there was no trade to “cancel” because all three parties never approved it may be technically correct, but the idea that he was the barrier from that trade happening remained. If the Rockets, Lakers, and Hornets GM Dell Demps were all on the same page and Stern shot it down because he didn’t think it was a good enough deal for the Hornets, the outcome is the same because of him.
Was he the lone reason the trade died? Trades fall apart for a lot of reasons, it depends on who you ask.
Were the Rockets and Lakers ticked after the trade? Try bringing it up with a Laker fan now, there is still plenty of bitterness.
If Stern wants to argue in the long run this was better for the Hornets (who became the Pelicans), he can. Paul was traded to the Clippers for Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and a 2012 1st round draft pick (Austin Rivers). The Hornets were so bad the year after the deal they ended up with the No. 1 pick, Anthony Davis.
Brooklyn has decided to try something different to provide depth at the guard spot.
They had brought undrafted Yogi Ferrell back for depth after Jeremy Lin went down (Ferrell had been the final cut of camp). The Indiana product got in 10 games for the Nets and averaged 5.4 points a game when he did, but he was clearly a project.
Thursday the Nets waived Ferrell and signed Spencer Dinwiddie to replace him. This was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports, and since confirmed by the team.
Dinwiddie has bounced between the NBA and D-League for three years. This season he was playing for the Bulls’ D-League affiliate and averaged 19.4 points, 8.1 assists, and 3.7 rebounds a game, through nine games.
Dinwiddie has a solid all-around game and could be an NBA reserve, but has always struggled with his shot at the NBA level, which has made him defendable and held him back. If he found his shot the Nets have upgraded. They feel it’s worth a shot.
Larry Bird’s birthday was yesterday, and we celebrated with a couple highlight videos.
Then, the NBA released this video today – and it’s too good not to share.
It’s one thing to know Bird’s numbers. It’s another to see how spectacular of a scorer, passer and trash-talker he was.