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NBA Awards – 3/27/12

The Jerry West Award –  Paul Pierce — 36 pts, 10 rebs, 4 asst, 15 FTM, 3 stl, 3 blk, 1 trey, and 10-20 FG%…What a monster effort from the 14 yr vet out of Inglewood High and Kansas. I remember hearing about Pierce just a few years removed from college, living the happy bachelor life in Manhattan Beach, CA. He was a highly touted forward and I meant to make it to a game of his, but never did. He then went to Kansas, became a 1st team All-American his junior year, declared, but then was then shocked when he dropped to 10th in the 1998 Draft, right behind an unknown German forward named Dirk Nowitzki. His teammate Raef LaFrentz went 3rd overall to Denver. Of the top 10 picks in that draft, 5 are still active today, including the two future Hall-of-Famers at #9 & 10, Mike Bibby (2nd), Antawn Jamison (4th), and Vince Carter (5th…Hall of Fame? Probably not, but will get consideration). Pierce ended up having a better career than anyone expected, as he is the #2 Celtic scorer of all-time behind only John Havlicek, his 22,281 career pts more than all but 25 guys in NBA history. He also boasts impressive career averages of 6.0 rebs/gm, 3.8 dimes, 1.5 stls, and 6 FTM/gm. In Bill Simmons’ 2009 ‘Book of Basketball’, he put Pierce at #54 on his list of all-time hoops greats – right behind Dwyane Wade and just ahead of Dominique Wilkins. There were two other noteworthy performances last night – DeMarcus Cousins’ 38 pts and 14 rebs, and the aforementioned Dwyane Wade pulling off a rare 4X4 trick – 4 blks and 4 treys in the same game.
The Trajan Langdon Award –  Norris Cole  —  0 pts, 0 rebs, 0 asst, 0 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 treys 0, and 0-4 FG% in 19 painful minutes. Wow…it’s not often a player plays more than 15 minutes and still can’t put a single positive number in the box score. The rookie backup PG for the Heat was making some noise at the start of the season as some were calling for him to take over for Mario Chalmers. He scored in double figures in 5 of his first 7 games as a pro, including 20 in his second game and 16 with 9 dimes and 3 stls in his 5th. But lately he’s been awful, averaging just 2.9 pts and 1.5 asst in the month of March while shooting a horrific 27.1% from the floor while playing just over 16 minutes a night. He has only 6 free throw attempts in March, as well. Cole was the 28th player selected in the 2011 Draft, coming out of basketball powerhouse Cleveland Sate.
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