What I Learned from the NBA last Week

By: 12.28.09  •  9 Comments
LeBron James (photo. Mannion)

LeBron James (photo. Mannion)

Working at Dime Magazine, a ton of headlines, news and opinions pass through our website each week. Everyday a new story breaks and we change our focus to the next game on the schedule. Before this week gets started, I’ll take the time to reflect on what the NBA taught me last week.

Trading Season has begun

The Utah Jazz kicked off the trading season by sending Eric Maynor to the team formerly known as the SuperSonics for nothing. Well to be fair the Jazz send Eric Maynor and Matt Harpring‘s expiring contract for the rights to 2002 second rounderPeter Fehse. The Jazz made this move to stay recession free, the Thunder made this move because it was a no brainer. The irony behind the trade is Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor said the team will add another point guard soon and will make calls about certain guards’ availability. Just to clarify the Jazz sent a promising rookie point guard and an expiring contract to Oklahoma City to save money and will now sign a new, less talented point guard to fill out their roster. The NBA where money saving trades happen.

Christmas Massacre

Every Christmas the NBA powers that be like to create intriguing match ups to pull NBA fans away from their Christmas festivities to watch where amazing happens. This year there were 5 games headlined by the Celtics-Magic and the MVPuppets showdown in LA. The Orlando-Boston match up was not as exciting as the NBA would have hoped for, especially in the 2nd quarter. The Boston Celtics did their best 2003 Spurs impression and smothered the Superman led Magic with their defense. The Magic scored 8 points in the 2nd quarter, which is exactly 3 more points than Dwight Howard scored in the entire game. I know defense wins championships but it can’t help ratings. Boston may be the best team in the league (they shut down the Magic without the Truth) but they also might be the most boring. Thank goodness the NBA had the MVPuppets show down to keep us all on the edge of our seats, right? Wrong. Kobe Bryant showed up for his duel with the King dropping 35 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists. Unfortunately for LA fans it looked like he was playing with the Hoof Squad. The other four Laker starters contributed 35 points and the bench was terrible only producing 17 points. We grew accustomed to these types of stats when Kobe was playing with Smush Parker, Kwame Brown and Luke Walton as starters but Pau Gasol, Ron Artest and Andrew Bynum? Mo Money, Mo Problems showed up big for the potential Finals matchup. Williams poured in 28 points and dished out 7 assists giving King James the support Kobe didn’t receive.

This is one small step for Ron Artest

I was positive that Ron Artest would be in this column this week because of his gem of a sound bite involving Twitter, Kobe and God but then I received a Christmas Miracle. Ron Artest tripped over a box in his LA home and fell down a flight of steps. David Stern‘s favorite NBA player is suppose to be the toughest, roughest and baddest player in the NBA and he was taken out by a box. Tru Warier suffered a concussion and needed stitches on the back of his head and his elbow. Ronnie missed the Sacramento game on Thursday but is expected to return to the team tonight against the Suns.

Is there a training staff in Portland?

Someone check the water in Portland immediately. How many NBA franchises this year have lost as many players as the Trail Blazers? The team was so depleted that Nate McMillan stepped in to practice a few weeks ago and ruptured his Achilles tendon. Even with all the injuries we thought the Trail Blazers could be ok because,they still had a solid starting five with Joel Pryzbilla filling in for Greg Oden. Funny thing happened right before Christmas, Pryzbilla tore his patella tendon. Their starting center and backup center are done for the season leaving the Trail Blazers with Juwan Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Jeff Pendergraph manning the middle. The Blazers obviously need to make a move to fill their center needs. I’m going to help the Trail Blazers organization out with this one. Do not make a trade for Marcus Camby. I know his expiring contract and impressive stats from this year are tempting, but combine your curse (or maybe it is just your training staff) with his age and knees and you have a disaster waiting to happen.

This Sounds Familar
A former dominating scoring guard has left his current team due to a disagreement about his playing time, meanwhile another former dominating scoring guard would start in the All Star game if it started today. Yes the two guards I am talking about are Allen Iverson and Tracy McGrady but this time their roles are reversed. McGrady will probably never play as a Rocket again. Especially after a meeting this week with Coach Adelman led to T-Mac leaving the team in Allen Iverson fashion. McGrady is angry that Adelman won’t increase his minutes and allow him to play a larger role for the Rockets. Can you blame Adelman though? The Rockets are a playoff team right now and are winning because of their chemistry and unselfish play. A T-Mac looking to cash in next year as a free agent will only ruin what they have going on right now. I was thrilled to find out that T-Mac was no longer slotted as a starting guard for the Western Conference All Stars, since he was overtaken by Steve Nash in the 2nd returns. Unfortunately the Eastern voting took a step backwards and Allen Iverson has overtaken the starting guard spot from Vince Carter. I’m not saying Vince Carter is deserving of the starting All Star spot (the starter should be Joe Johnson) but with the current state of guards in the East, I can live with Carter starting (at least he is good for a ridiculous dunk or two). Iverson has not done anything this year that shows he deserves to even be on the All Star ballot.

Player of the Week

This week had 3 strong candidates. Tyreke Evans started pulling away from Brandon Jennings as Rookie of the Year with his performances this week,draining a game winner against Milwaukee, leading the Kings in an historic come back against the Bulls and going toe to toe with Lebron James. Brandon Roy showed why he should be in consideration for the player of the next decade. The Natural has carried the depleted Blazers this week, capped off by winning the duel with Carmelo Anthony, pouring in 41 points on Christmas. The Player of the Week award going to the King himself, LeBron James. When he wasn’t dunking on Reindeer, LeBron was putting in work leading the Cavaliers to four wins last week, averaging 29.5 ppg, 8 apg and 7.75 rpg. The King recorded yet another triple double against Sacramento and frustrated the LA fans to the point where they through debris onto the court.

Overachiever of the Week

J.R. Smith is an explosive streaky scorer, everyone in the NBA knows this. However if you drop 10 threes in one game you are definitely overachieving. The player formerly known as Earl went off against the Atlanta Hawks, dropping 41 points off of 10 threes. Almost as mind blowing as his 10 threes was the fact that he went 1-6 from the charity stripe. I’ll choose to focus on the 10 threes and give him Overachiever award for the week.

Dunk Pass of the Week
Deron Williams decided that this year he wanted to show NBA fans everywhere that he could not only dunk but he could dunk on people. As impressive as Deron’s hops were I was more impressed by the Eddie HouseTony Allen connection from earlier in the week. I’d give the dunk of the week to Tony Allen but the pass from Eddie House leading to the dunk was more amazing. So for the first time (and probably the last time) the Pass of the Week award goes to Eddie House.

What did the NBA teach you last week?

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