The NBA Playoffs are quickly approaching with just a week and a half remaining in the regular season. To think it wasn’t too long ago that NBA enthusiasts like myself were in doubt that there would even be a season.
Now everyone knows that the East is a two-team race (maybe three if you consider the resurgent Celtics a legit contender) with the Bulls and the Heat. If you’re a regular Couch Side reader or one of the few Twitter followers I have, you know which side I’m on.
As for the West, well everyone since the beginning of the season has assumed that Oklahoma City was destined to meet either Chi-Town or South Beach in the NBA Finals. Everyone assumed that the old guards, namely the Spurs and the aforementioned Celtics, didn’t stand a chance in the compressed, lockout-induced season.
But here they are, Greg Popovich’s boys in the silver and black just as they always are. With a week and a half remaining, the Spurs are just a game behind OKC for the top-seed in the West. The old guys are here and they’ve got the young, athletic Thunder in sight. (more…)
BY KEVIN BERTRAM, Couchsideshow.com contributor
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Davis (PF — Kentucky — 19 years old)
Almost everyone has Davis as the consensus No. 1 overall pick this year, and there’s a good reason for that. He’s a defensive juggernaut who has a NBA-ready frame and brilliant athleticism. The AP Player of the Year is averaging 14.3 points per game, while hauling down 10 rebounds. However, these are by far his most ordinary stats: what comes next defines Davis as a special player.
First, he’s blocking 4.6 shots per game. When Davis is on the floor, Kentucky’s opponents watch their field goal percentages plummet: 14 percent of their total shots are blocked by the Wildcats when he’s patrolling the paint. He compares favorably in this regard to recent renowned, current NBA shot blockers when they were in college, as seen here in blocks / per 40 minutes:
Coming into the shortened 2011-2012 season, it didn’t seem like the Phoenix Suns would be the relevant.
Just one look at the team’s depth chart raised question of if these “old guys” could hang with the young legs of other NBA teams. I’ll admit, I wrote off the Suns when I heard Grant Hill would return as a starter and from Phoenix’s lack of offseason moves. Now, I’m not completely wrong as of right now.
If the playoffs started tomorrow, the Suns wouldn’t be dancing. But I may be eating my words in the next few weeks. Phoenix is somewhat taking the league by storm right now, posting one of the best records, so far, after the All-Star break. So I’m not a hater of the Suns anymore and residents of the desert can finally love a team that looked doomed at the beginning of the season.
After I heard that Phoenix is starting to impress, I asked myself, how? The Suns didn’t make any trades at the deadline and pretty much have the same roster they owned at the beginning of the season. And although they still look “old” on paper, it’s that veteran experience, led by coach Alvin Gentry, that has them playing with heart.
I’m not a part of the Suns’ locker room and I won’t pretend to know why this squad is playing the best basketball out of all their Western Conference counterparts right now, but I would like to believe it’s more than just having a favorable home schedule right after the All-Star break.
I remember reading this article a few years ago and thinking that how great would it be if this guy made it to the NBA. If he could represent and give hope for all the Asian Americans out there that anything is possible despite what the naysayers may say.
A little more than two years later and call it what you want, but Linsanity has taken over the sports world and my dream for this guy has come true. When Yao Ming sadly retired from the game in July, who would’ve thought that a little known point guard from Harvard would immediately take the torch and keep the Asian influence alive in the NBA? No offense to Yi Jianlian, but he wasn’t cutting it.
Yet that’s exactly what Jeremy Lin has done over the last week and a half ever since that fateful February night two Saturdays ago, where he took the world by storm. Lin came off the bench and notched career numbers – 25 points, five rebounds and eight assists – and led his New York Knicks to a 99-92 victory over the Nets.
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
Fans worried about NBA player Kris Humphries after his divorce with TV star Kim Kardashian can finally rest easy.
The 6-foot-9 power forward reached a one-year deal with the New Jersey Nets worth a reported $8 million Wednesday morning. So it looks like it’s finally back to basketball for the Minnesota native. And I’m happy for Humphries and even more merry that another Kardashian won’t be on the NBA sidelines.
We’ll still have to see Khloe at Dallas Mavericks games, watching her husband, Lamar Odom, ball in white and blue. But I can sleep easy tonight, knowing that her sister won’t be court side in New Jersey this season. The split between Kim Kardashian and Humphries came just 72 days after the couple were married in a wedding blown completely out of proportion. And now with the prenuptial agreement in affect, Humphries can start concentrating on basketball.
Playing at an effective level was something I thought Humphries needed to do long before he met his reality star ex-wife. Now, with her out of the way, I hope a new spark of passion finds the former Minnesota Gopher so he can finally live up to his potential. And after seven years of mediocrity with four different teams, Humphries could do just that this season with New Jersey.
He should undoubtedly be the Nets’ starting power forward, sharing the paint with budding NBA superstar Brook Lopez. And a duo like Lopez and Humphries could be dangerous for other teams in the East. Add Deron Williams in New Jersey’s back court and this team could be playoff bound as early as this spring. The Nets might land the No. 8 seed, but that would be a godsend for New Jersey fans, considering their team hasn’t appeared in the playoffs since the 2005-2006 season.