I know it was just T-Day in the NBA and you’re probably reading this looking for info about who went where and why.
Well, folks…there were no blockbusters (no matter how loudly the sports reporters were yelling to convince you), unless you consider the Philadelphia 76ers’ Evan Turner and the Indiana Pacers’ Danny Granger a “blockbuster.” Don’t get me wrong: Turner is going to make the Pacers even more dangerous with his scoring ability and, if he has anything left in that oft-injured leg of his, Granger will probably be seeing a renaissance of sorts with only low expectations for a lottery-bound team to contend with. And, no doubt, there were bubble teams that may have helped their chances to make the Playoffs. But, with names like the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol, Cleveland Cavalier Luol Deng and even the Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo and New York Knick Carmelo Anthony floating around the rumor mill for weeks, this deadline – much like last year’s deadline, only less-so – was a bust as far as excitement goes. Don’t believe me? Check out this compilation of moves from the folks over at Sports Illustrated.com. I just can’t believe the San Antonio Spurs let Nando De Colo get away.
So, anyway, barring some titanic announcement from NBA headquarters about lost paperwork sending Miami Heat veteran Dwyane Wade to the Knicks, I invite you to sit back, relax and read about a whole bunch of other crap.
PUNCHING YOUR TICKET TO MT. HUSHMORE
Damn, Bron-Bron…just when I was starting to believe that you finally “got it”…that you’d finally decided to let that body from “Basketball Cybertron” do all the talking and leave the speaking of actual words to those others gifted enough to be able to think past their own faces. Hey, man…I even went to bat for you not too long ago (okay, I might have only gone to bunt for you…hell, maybe I was just watching Batman Begins…I don’t know), but, apparently, you were just too hungry for feet and those size 16’s of yours were looking like big, juicy steaks. You really couldn’t help yourself, could you?
But, answering the Mt. Rushmore question, and honestly, to boot? That was kind of dumb, even for a guy with your long and storied history of dumbnesia.
What you SHOULD have said was, “Man, there are so many players that should be up there. I can’t choose just four…” and then you rattle off the names of something like seven deserving players: “I mean, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain…how do you choose?” And then you move on.
But, you actually answered that question and in doing so, you left off sports’ winningest guy – not just basketball’s winningest guy…SPORTS’ winningest guy – from your hypothetical Mt. Rushmore. That’s just bad form, King Shames. Bad form, indeed.
The funny thing is it’s not the first time you’ve spit into the wind of the legend that is Russell. For a comprehensive look at that assfoolery, check this out.
While I can appreciate and maybe even celebrate your willingness to speak your mind when asked, expecting you to do it intelligently and without unintentional controversy is like sending my dog to the deli counter to pick me up some cold cuts and expecting her to bring back anything but the wrapper. I think I’m gonna have to start calling you “LeBrunt” as in “you are apparently going to be bearing LeBrunt of Le negative press for dumb statements for the rest of your career.”
My unsolicited advice to you, Sir? Leave the outlandish speaking of words to nutjobs like Ron Artest and all-talk pros who love to court controversy like Charles Barkley and just…play…basketball.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Speaking of outlandish words and courting controversy, allow me to do absolutely none of that by making a few easy-breezy-obvious nominations for a couple of awards that should be going out at the end of the year. Commissioner Silver, if you’d like to get a jump on the engraving process…
MVP: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. I know, I know…and water is wet and fire is hot. This may seem like the “no-duh!” selection of the year, but there are still those who believe that this award should once again go to the Miami Heat’s LeBron.
Rookie of the Year: Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers. Yes, perhaps another no-brainer, but I’ve also heard rumblings that people still favor Orlando’s Victor Oladipo based on the massive hype that followed him into the season from his summer league performance. But, taking it purely by the stats, Carter-Williams is most deserving. The two are shooting roughly the same percentage over generally similar minutes, but the edge belongs to Carter-Williams who leads in the categories that count with 17 points per game, 5 rebounds and 6.5 assists to Oladipo’s 13 points per game, 4 assists and 4 rebounds.
Most Improved Player: Kendall Marshall, Lakers. By necessity, he’s been thrust into a starter’s role, but unlike some around the League to whom much has been similarly asked, he has not only excelled, he’s become a revelation at the point for a Laker team short on sunshine, averaging 10 points, 9 assists and 3 rebounds. His averages last year? Just 3 points, 3 assists and 0.9 rebounds per game.
THE SLIM KEEPER
And, speaking of the future reigning MVP, is there a nicer guy in the NBA than Kevin Durant? More of a homebody than the type to hit the town and shoot up a strip club, notorious for shooting his mouth off only about things like loving the small market charms of Oklahoma City and giving praise to his Lord and Savior for success instead of spraining his wrist while patting himself on the back, Durant is everything you could possibly want in an NBA ambassador. And now, to put the (insert favorite flavor here) icing on the (insert favorite flavor here) cake, he’s revealed that he also possesses that rarest-of-rare qualities almost unheard of anywhere near Sportsville and Entertainment Town: a social conscience.
Durant has been busy these days explaining that he doesn’t feel comfortable with the new nickname that’s been making the rounds and asking that people just call him “K.D.” for a nickname, because he doesn’t like the “Slim Reaper’s” association with killing.
In this age of narcissistic, self-important pseudo-celebrities and a sports culture that celebrates the legend of Scarface and accomplishments of Jay-Z more often than the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. or the achievements of President Barack Obama, it’s shockingly refreshing to see one of the top-two players in the game speaking out because he doesn’t want to be associated with violence. I really can’t remember a player this great with this much humility since…well, ever. I mean, we’ve had players who were good, even very good, but none who were great AND humble when it counts. We know that Jordan, the current G.O.A.T., certainly wasn’t. The closest thing in modern memory (at least MY modern memory, which admittedly has taken its beating over the years from various bar-based liquid enjoyments) is Tim Duncan, but Duncan has almost always been the strong, silent type and K.D. is operating at a level that may even be out of “The Big Fundamental’s” league. No, I think K.D. definitely is in a class of his own. In fact, he’s in a small-town school sitting in a classroom on an empty floor all by himself.
You know, if this guy doesn’t bring home the MVP this year, it will only be because he politely declined to accept it and handed it back to LeBrunt.