NBA / Dec 21, 2009 / 9:00 am

What I Learned from the NBA Last Week

(photo. Marc Morrison)

(photo. Marc Morrison)

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.

Entering the age of the Small Forward

People thought the NBA was entering the age of the point guard with Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Deron Williams, Tyreke Evans, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Jennings leading the way. Some fans are quick to add John Wall to that list but I will wait and see how he performs in the NBA. What people have failed to notice is we are actually entering the golden age of the small forward. With LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant leading the charge the small forward position has never been stronger. Paul Pierce has been holding down the SF position for years and Rudy Gay is quickly become a superstar.. Add Andre Iguodala, Danny Granger and Trevor Ariza to the mix and the SF position will continue to flourish. The 90s gave us big men (Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaq and Tim Duncan) the ’00s gave us point guards (Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Paul, Williams, Tony Parker and Chauncey Billups) and the 10s will be about the small forward.

Don’t Call it a Come Back

Remember all the talk about the Knicks going after Tracy McGrady? Well the Knickerbockers gave a player an opportunity for a comeback last week and it wasn’t McGrady. Nate Robinson can’t seem to make his way off the bench but D’Antoni found a spot in his rotation for the redebut of Jonathan Bender. Bender destroyed his career average and scored 9 points in 14 minutes. Tracy McGrady began his comeback this week as Adelman slowly works him back into the game. He is only averaging 7.5 mpg and 1.8 ppg but, at least he is getting an opportunity to get off the pine.

Where have all the Kevin McHales and Charles Oakleys gone?

NBA teams have long employed bruisers to protect their superstars. Bill Lambeer, Kevin McHale, Dennis Rodman, and Charles Oakley all made livings doing the dirty work and protecting their superstar teammates. Unfortunately, Orlando and Toronto apparently haven’t gotten the that memo. Toronto might be the softest team in the league, lacking defense and interior toughness. The Raptors made an off season move to help toughen up by trading Jason Kapono for Reggie Evans but the team still looks and plays weak. Dwight Howard was punished this week getting hacked and fouled hard throughout his games. Dwight Howard is getting increasingly frustrated and is inching closer to snapping. After Troy Murphy horse collared Howard, Dwight jumped up and pushed him off, earning a tech as he stared Murphy down. Orlando desperately needs someone to step in and protect Howard. Either Stan Van Gundy needs to use Brandon Bass or Marcin Gortat to fill the void or make a trade for someone who will protect Superman.

Tis the Season

Christmas is four days away and you can still get the basketball fan in your life a great gift with the Dime Magazine Holiday offer. The Houston Rockets were half scrooge and half jolly last week. First Rick Adelman went off about the NBA giving the Rockets the gift of 4 straight back to backs. A few days later the Rockets gave us a “gift” by singing their rendition of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. I learned two things from their song. 1) No one on the Rockets can sing and 2) Aaron Brooks is just a big kid who happens to play in the NBA.

Elected by the people for the people

The NBA just doesn’t get it, NBA fans cannot be trusted to vote. Whether it is the Slam Dunk contest winner or All Star starters, fan voting results always make everyone scratch their heads. This year Tracy McGrady is the leader to win the “how did this guy become an All Star” award. We know that not everyone who deserves to be an All Star will make it but, I am still holding out hope that McGrady is overtaken by Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Steve Nash. Well now that Jerry Colangelo has been appointed the basketball hall of fame chairman of the board, he wants to involve the fans and media in the hall of fame selection process. You know if the fans get a legitimate say some fringe Hall of Famer will make his way to Springfield. What player would most benefit from NBA fans having a say in who becomes a Hall of Famer?

Player of the Week

Like the MVPuppet commercials this week’s MVP came down to LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Even though LeBron put in serious work this week (28.3 ppg, 7.3rpg. 7.3 apg, 1.6 spg and 1.3 bpg), one nasty game winner in Milwaukee swayed the award to the Mamba. Kobe (36.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.0 apg, and 1.3 spg) has elevated his game to an even higher level since breaking his finger. The Lakers keep winning and Kobe keeps hearing MVP chants in away arenas.

Overachiever of the Week

Remember when Kyle Lowry was wreaking havoc on teams while at Villanova? He showed the same speed and slashing ability from his ‘Nova days last week against the Mavs. Kyle Lowry is averaging on 8.4 ppg, 3.7 apg and 2.9 rpg on his short NBA career, so you can imagine the Mavericks surprise when their scouting report was completely wrong. Lowry went off for 29 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds while torturing anyone Dallas threw at him.

Dunk of the Week

Martell Webster is known as a 3 point specialist. Like most 3 point specialists, it is assumed that it is all he can do. How often have we seen Peja Stojakovic or Kyle Korver throw down on people? Webster showed showed us and Jason Thompson that he can do more than hit the 3 ball. Webster demonstrated his underrated athleticism when he rose up against Thompson. Thompson look surprised but no one was more surprised than the Blazer’s announce team.

What did the NBA teach you last week?

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  • QQ

    Great article.

    Never thought I would say that about one that has T-mac as its photo.

  • Dagomar

    “The Raptors made an off season move to help toughen up by trading Jason Kapono for Reggie Evans but the team still looks and plays weak.”

    I agree that the Raps are soft, but you know Evans hasn’t played yet, right?

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    Not so much the NBA, but Dick Vitale has John Walls Balls firmly planted on his chin. Seriously, I was watching the Kentucky vs UCONN game and Vitale tried to make everything Wall did seem like it was the greatest thing ever. I couldn’t even enjoy the alley oop he caught because Vitale had already bussed his nutt over it. I can’t wait for him to make the same claim he did with Jayson “call me Jay cause i’m gay” Williams from Duke, and I quote “Jayson Williams is THE BEST GUARD IN THE COUNTRY, regardless of level of play. That includes NBA, NCAA, overseas”.

    Kobe’s finger can’t be broken… it just can’t be.

    Dwight Howard should leave Orlando ASAP, or ORL needs to give him the f^kin ball. It’s basketball 101. Someone needs to school Ron Jeremy on how to coach.

    And for that matter, Bosh better leave T-dot too.

    T-Mac better not make the ASG. I’d be ok if Derrick Misses it, but the only guards going ahead of him better be Joe Johnson, DWade, Rajon Rondo. I swear if AI makes it…

    After watching the UNC vs Tex game in the new cowboy stadium, It has become the new Sports Mecca in my eyes. Everyone should visit there at least once in their life. The ASG is going to be sick there…just sick.

  • control

    Fringe HoFer who will make it if fans(american idiots) get to vote: Allen Iverson.

  • magicfaninTN

    FYI. Tech on Howard rescinded.

  • Urban

    If the fans are allowed to vote I have a funny feeling Jordan will be voted in every year, and if that dosn’t happen then “fan favorites” like Yoa, Sun Yue, Yi Jianlian, and anyone else with a name that starts with a Y gets in.