The Post Game Show

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Breakdown at the All-Star Break

The last time the NBA All-Star game was held in Denver, Walter Mondale was a few months away from asking Ronald Reagan "Where's the beef," Tina Turner was asking "What's love got to do it with it,"The league's best player today wasn't even born yet, and folks were in the Rocky Mountains asking "did you hear they're bringing back the dunk contest?" 1984 was a good year, too bad as someone who turned three years old that September I don't remember much about it. But with the NBA showcasing its brightest stars for the World to see, it's time to review the NBA first half, and forecast what will happen in the second half of the season.

MVP: LeBron quote one of my favorite comedians George Wallace, "Yeah, I said it!" Not even old enough to drink, King James is really starting to put all the hype questions to rest (as if they were still there after his amazing rookie year) and make himself a viable Most Valuable Player candidate. I would give it to Steve Nash, but the Suns still have to beat the Spurs to prove to me that they can be a championship team. For LeBron to turn a bunch of jabronies into Central Division contenders at 20 years old is simply remarkable.

Best team: Miami Heat....what a difference a diesel makes, doesn't it? Shaq and Dwayne Wade have turned what was already an up-and-coming team without Shaq into NBA championship contenders. And with Shaq actually liking his younger, smaller running buddy, the Heat is hitting on all cylinders in a weak Eastern Conference, and aside from Detroit, no one can pose much of a threat to the South Beach Slammers.

Disappointing Team: Minnesota Timberwolves...The year started with Latrell Sprewell saying 7 million dollars wasn't enough to feed his family (It is if you shop at Save-A-Lot, patnah!) and has seen Flip Saunders' coaching career become "Game Over." It might end with Kevin Garnett missing the playoffs for the first time since he was a rookie, 10 years ago, so what does Basketball Operations Chief Kevin McHale need to do to turn this team around? Get rid of Sprewell and Sam Cassell, but no one will take on two 35-year old crybabies. What a mess for a team that was two games from the NBA finals last spring.

Rookie of the year: Tough race and entirely too early to call, but I give it to Orlando's Dwight Howard. Emeka Okafor plays on an expansion team right now, so it's hard to give it to him over Howard, who is a double-double machine for a playoff team in the Magic right now.

Now for a special "I told you so award": Atlanta's Josh Smith, a kid that ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said was a wasted first rounder for the Hawks. All Mr. Smith has done has dunked on everybody, showed suprising defensive skills, and may very well be the next Dominique Wilkins for a team that has been pretty much garbage since 'Nique left town 11 years ago. Note to analysts who never played in the NBA: chill. The kid probably has more talent in his hangnails than you ever did in your entire body.

So let us look forward to the second half and see what will happen (at least in my opinion):

Team to break out of the doldrums: Minnesota Timberwolves....I predict this team will pull it together and sneak into the playoffs because KG will not be sitting at home in April, something he probably doesn't even remember doing. Somebody will send Latrell Sprewell's family a C.A.R.E. package and get Sam Cassell a face transplant, and the T-Wolves should be good to go.

Team to slide in the second half: Boston Celtics...The Sixers have far too much talent to keep playing Musical Chairs with first place in the Atlantic Division, so look for A.I. and company to propel themselves past Boston for the title, but the Celtics will still make the playoffs because the Pacers are fading fast themselves.

Most Important Player in the second half: Kobe Bryant.....o.k., now you've run off two coaches, the best big man of our generation, now what are you going to do, Michael Jordan's jockstrap sniffer? Let's see what you're made of, can you get the Lakers to the playoffs?

And that is your NBA All-Star break awards, I hope you enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed giving you the real, which is what I do best. O.K., maybe not, but you know you like them.


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