BY Couchsideshow.com staff
Couch Side baseball insider Brandon J. Smith makes his debut on our podcast to discuss the NBA playoffs, Stan Van Gundy’s firing, I’ll Have Another’s chance at the triple crown and Dallas Clark signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Smith and Couch Side host Wade McMillin also have a great baseball debate about who is the better player — Josh Hamilton or Matt Kemp. See who the pair picks as the MLB’s best by following the links below:
BY ALEX WIESNER, Feedcrossing.com syndication
I know Linsanity has already hit New York but it was short lived. After his knee injury, I think Lin will realize that he has to get himself in better shape. He openly admitted to being tired after playing in the amount of minutes he did after his promotion to the starting point guard role. Last season he averaged 18.2 points, 7.7 assists, 2 steals and 3.7 rebounds per game as a starter. I think that, if the Knicks’ make some roster changes (I want to see Dwight Howard in a Knicks’ uniform), Lin could have even better numbers. Keep in mind he doesn’t have to shoot a lot to be effective. He did shoot 44.5% last year from the field but, his best value is when he is distributing the ball. In games where Lin totaled 7 assists or more, the Knicks’ were 11-5.
Many people won’t consider Lin to be a breakout candidate but I do, and here’s why: he only played in 35 games last year, and only 25 as a starter. Lin is still relatively new to the scene and therefore, in my eyes, is a breakout candidate. If you can remember back to early February on our radio show, I called Linsanity about a week before it got mega-popular. I know what I’m talking about (non-humble brag).
With the NBA regular season winding down, some hardcore fans may already be pondering about who will win this year’s MVP award.
Certainly, there is a handful of superstars deserving of the honor, but the award is about more than just leading the league in scoring, rebounds or assists. An MVP has to truly be a leader, who would change the whole dynamic of their team if they were absent from the starting lineup. Think about when Michael Jordan retired from the NBA to pursue a baseball career. The following season, Scottie Pippen definitely didn’t get any MVP love and the Chicago Bulls simply weren’t the same.
So when I look at this year’s field of possible deserving candidates (in terms of what they do for their teams) for the 2011-2012 MVP award, there is really only three players — Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love — who fit that profile. The only problem is, Love’s Timberwolves have already been eliminated from playoff contention, so don’t expect him to even sniff at the trophy until Minnesota is better. And Dwight Howard’s absence from the Orlando Magic because of back spasms has only proven that he is the heart and soul of that team after Orlando slowly slipped further and further down the Eastern Conference standings once Howard started to miss more and more time.
So that leaves Kobe. Will he run away with the MVP award? Maybe not. After all, right behind him are superstars Kevin Durant and LeBron James, who rank No. 2 and No. 3 in the league, respectively, for points per game. But how much would Durant’s Thunder and James’ Heat be suffering if they weren’t there? Miami certainly could hold its own with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh running the show and you have to believe Oklahoma City could do the same with its depth. (more…)
BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com contributor
Can we all admit the Slam Dunk contest is a bloated waste of time at this point? It was a bit pathetic to see Derrick Williams attempt his between-the-legs-reverse-jam 15 times without success, which once again provides an opening to flood a pretend suggestion box with ideas.
It’s not that difficult, at all. Take a look at this HORSE competition between Bob McAdoo and Pistol Pete, you can tell that this exercise is actually fun and entertaining to all.
When will Kevin Love finally get the credit he deserves?
The 6’10 third-year power forward from UCLA is singlehandedly compiling one of the more impressive yet overlooked statistical streaks in NBA. He ranks fourth in the league in scoring with 25.3 points per game, behind only Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, three of the NBA’s most prolific scorers. He also is currently sitting at second in rebounds, averaging 13.5 boards a game. The only person with more rebounds is the athletic monstrosity known as Dwight Howard. Out of his 22 games this season, Love has accrued 20 double-doubles.
When will these stats get his name throw into the MVP race?
Along with the help of Spanish rookie passing sensation Ricky Rubio, Love is making the Minnesota Timberwolves not only relevant again but also incredibly fun to watch. His shot versatility and formidable rebounding ability has shaped him into a potent offensive threat that opposing teams have yet to solve.
Despite his phenomenal recent success, it makes sense as to why Love hasn’t been getting as much love as he deserves. First off, the Timberwolves play in a very small market, a place where the bright lights of the national media rarely venture. Second, while the Timberwolves have improved exponentially, they still currently sit at a meager 11-12.
BY DEREK BARSNESS, Couchsideshow.com writer
NBA stars are becoming bigger than the game itself. And it’s making fans bitter; quickly turning them into haters.
Stars have always enjoyed special treatment. But when the power shift is so one sided that players like Dwight Howard can demand a trade the year before his contract expires, general managers are put in quite a predicament. Do they chance losing their star at the end of the season and have nothing to show for it or trade the core of the team that they’ve spent the past several years and millions of dollars building? And fans resent this. Not just fans of these teams, but fans of the game in general.
I’m a huge Denver Nuggets fan. I’m also a huge Syracuse Orangemen fan (yes, they are still the Orangemen to me, although the change to the Orange is growing on me). So When the Nuggets drafted Carmelo Anthony in 2003 it was a dream come true. He took Denver, a perennial lottery team, to the playoffs in his first season. But after what happened with Melo last season, I’m a hater now. I hate the Knicks, Amar’e Stoudemire (for no good reason) and Spike Lee (seriously, does anyone actually like that guy). I even hate the Lakers, and as I write this blog I’m watching the Knicks take on the Lakers. I’m rooting against the Knicks, but essentially that means I’m rooting for the Lakers!
Denver was between a rock and a hard place. Melo’s situation was different than the one the Magic are currently in with Howard. This was mostly due to the expiring NBA labor contract and the possibility that if Melo didn’t sign an extension before the end of the season he would lose millions of dollars in guaranteed money. He made it public knowledge that he would only accept a trade to New York so no teams were willing to trade away the draft picks and prospects that Denver was rightfully asking for in return. If the Nuggets didn’t trade Melo, they risked losing one of the top 10 best players in the league and having nothing to show for it. Personally, I think Melo was greedy enough and would have accepted an extension with Denver rather than lose millions. So Denver traded their star for a crop of young
talent, but none of them will ever fill the shoes of Anthony.
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
Lately I’ve been finding myself arguing or disagreeing with people about the Los Angeles Lakers.
It’s funny to me because I’m not a huge fan of Team Kobe. I’ll admit that the boys in yellow and purple are fun to watch. I would even like to see them win the NBA Finals again because I respect Kobe Bryant as a player. And because those are my feelings, I’ll go to bat for the Lakers from time to time. I have recently defended L.A. because a lot of their fans do not like the fact that the front office traded Lamar Odom for nothing and weren’t able to make successful swaps for either Dwight Howard or Chris Paul.