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NBA Awards 4/15/13

Kobe – NBA Awards Irony
      Just on Thursday 4/11 I asked if Kobe had sold his soul for hoops immortality, and pointed out how amazing his production was considering 1,458 games under his belt. Well Father Time  and The Law of Consequences came visiting in game # 1,459 – snap goes the achilles heel. After playing 48, 47, 43, 47, 41, 48, and then all 45 minutes of the Warriors game Fri night, his 34 year old tendon snapped. And of course, being Kobe, he snapped as well – like an angry dog cornered by fate, unwilling to accept reality. He ranted on Facebook immediately afterwards, and then he took issue with an LA Times front page article (THE FRONT PAGE, not Sports page) that raised the very legitimate question of whether he’d ever be the same player again. He responded to that on Twitter with “…I’m keeping track of all doubters and haters#Mambamentality”. Hey Kobe…you’ll be well over 35 when you come back from this and embarking upon your 18th season – quite fair and natural to bring up the incredibly obvious question – Will Kobe Ever be the Same? That’s not hating. 
      As well, he called Pau at halftime to give him a pep talk during last night’s quite ugly contest with the Spurs that the Lakers ended up winning 91-86. Can you ever just chill, Kobe? Go away…rehab and shut up…let your teammates (who are grown men, not some youth team you’re coaching) do their thing and find their way. There is at least one hater out there – ME!! 
Other Games
With just 3 days left in the regular season, one line from one game last night tells you all you need to know – Cole Aldrich notched career-highs in Pts (12), Rebs (12), and Blks (4) last night for the Kings, while the team lost big regardless, 121-100 to Houston. His season highs before this game were 6, 6, and 2 in those three categories, and his career numbers are 1.9 pts, 2.2 rebs in 4 seasons. He’s like a poor man’s Eric Montross…and Eric Montross was basically a big white stiff. Bring on the playoffs…
The Akeem Olajuwon Award —  Andre Iguodala  —  28 pts, 7 rebs, 9 asst, 4 FTM, 3 stl, 3 blk, 2 treys, and 11-17 shooting…Iggy did it all last night for Denver, as they beat Portland 118-109 (Lillard strong for Port – 30/5/6). Iggy has really stepped up his play-making lately, averaging 8 dimes/gm over his last 10. His scoring has been quite down though, as that’s only his 2nd 20+ effort since Feb 2nd. In that span, he’s had 11 single-digit scoring efforts while only 4 games of 15+ pts. Ty Lawson is back for the Nuggets, but they did lose Faried yesterday to a sprained ankle (should be ok for Playoffs). The other night I was talking with some buddies about Denver’s chances as a sleeper in the post-season, and a cc’d Awards reader asked me who takes the big shots late in a tight game for them. I only half jokingly replied Wilson Chandler. Wilson has his moments, but also nights like last night…3-13. It’s a very valid question, and will likely be Denver’s achilles heel in these playoffs come round 2. Just to bother Laker fans, I’m gonna mention ‘achilles heel’ as much as possible over the next two months…
The Rafael Araujo Award —  Tyler Zeller —  0 pts, 2 rebs, 0 asst, 0 FTM, 0 stl, 0 blk, 0 treys, and 0-6 shooting in 24 minutes…Ahh – another big white stiff…from Montross to Aldrich to Zeller. This is the 2nd straight game Zeller has played over 20 minutes and failed to score. He’s shooting 43.7% on the year, and he’s 7 feet tall. In over 26 minutes a night, he’s pulling down just under 6 rebs/gm, while falling just short of 1 block (.9/gm). He was the 17th player selected in the 2012 Draft, which is looking more and more like a very subpar draft year. Lillard, A Davis, Beal, and Drummond look like potential All-Stars (definitely Lillard…you’d hope for Davis eventually – completely forgettable rookie year), but outside of those 4, there’s a lot of proving to do. Barnes put up quite modest numbers in 25+ min/night, Rivers was tragic at #10 overall, MKG has plenty to prove as the #2 pick, but Mo Harkless at #12 has shown flashes here and there. When I looked for a guy Cleveland definitely should have taken over Zeller at #17, there wasn’t much out there, despite Zeller’s weak performance this year. Festus Ezeli has filled in ok for Golden St., but he’s a limited guy…maybe Perry Jones in OKC eventually develops…Will Barton has been quite dynamic lately (17/9/5 last night, 22/13/6 a week ago) and could end up being a major steal at #40 overall for Portland, but there’s not a whole lot else. 

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