HOOPSWORLD Week In Review
MVP and Other Mid-Season Awards
By Tommy Beer
With half the 2012-13 campaign in the books, HOOPSWORLD is here to hand out the hardware…
First-Half Fantasy MVP: Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder
Just as in real-life hoops, there are truly only two names to consider for this award: LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Both of these superstars are having incredibly prolific seasons.
LeBron – the league’s best all-around player – is once again (just as we all expected) putting up mind-boggling numbers. Just how impressive are his statistics thus far? James is on pace to become the first player ever in NBA history to average over 26 points (while shooting above 54 percent from the floor), eight rebounds and seven assists. There have obviously been plenty of great players to play this game. The fact that James has a chance to make that kind of history speaks directly to his incredible all-around skill set.
As alluded to above, LeBron is shooting a career-high from the floor, but he’s also above 40 percent from behind-the-arc for the first time in his career as well. Furthermore, he’s averaging fewer than three turnovers per contest for the first time.
Clippers Surviving Without Chris Paul
By Eric Pincus
The Los Angeles Clippers have hit upon difficult times, losing All-Star point guard Chris Paul to a knee injury (bone bruise).
While Paul isn’t expected to be out for a significant time, the Clippers have started their eight-game “Grammy trip” without him.
Paul’s injury contributed to a recent four-game losing streak, but the Clippers have since pulled up with two hard-fought wins over the Portland Trail Blazers at STAPLES Center and on Wednesday night in Minnesota against the Timberwolves.
“One down, and seven more to go,” said Caron Butler after the game.
After defeating the Wolves 96-90, the Clippers will travel to Toronto, Boston, Washington, Orlando, Miami, New York and Philadelphia.
Colangelo Brings Rudy Gay To The Raptors
By Stephen Brotherston
In a move that has been rumored since the summer, Toronto Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo has finally managed to pry away the Memphis Grizzlies’ highly paid small forward Rudy Gay. Gay has been putting up borderline All-Star worthy numbers since his second season in Memphis and although he is currently having the worst year since he was a rookie, Gay is still averaging 17.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals. Raptors head coach Dwane Casey discussed what he could about the deal before the game in Atlanta.
“The names that have been mentioned in the trade probably won’t be available,” Casey said. “We will just have to see, everything happened so sudden.”
The 26-year-old Gay could be the missing piece of a Raptors rotation that has been weak down the middle since Jorge Garbajosa was injured back in March of 2007. Even the addition of the promising young wing Landry Fields was not the star-powered solution the team had hoped to make before this season started. The Raptors will now be able to feature a starting line with Kyle Lowry at point guard, DeMar DeRozan at shooting guard, Gay at small forward, Andrea Bargnani or Amir Johnson at power forward and Jonas Valanciunas at center. Fire power should not be an issue for the Raptors going forward.
Iverson Should Take D-League Job
By Alex Kennedy
Allen Iverson has been trying to return to the NBA for several years, but he’s not willing to play in the NBA’s Development League to revive his career. The 37-year-old recently turned down an offer from the Texas Legends, the Dallas Mavericks’ D-League affiliate.
The Legends had been recruiting Iverson for quite awhile, but made their strongest push to sign Iverson last week because they were first in the D-League’s waiver line. All Iverson had to do was enter his name in the D-League’s player pool and he would’ve been signed, just as Delonte West and Rashad McCants did last week. However, the former MVP wasn’t interested in playing for a D-League team.
“I thank Donnie [Nelson] and Dallas for the consideration and while I think the D-League is a great opportunity, it is not the route for me,” Iverson tweeted.
Why OKC Is Better Without Harden
The most important thing to Kevin Martin throughout his NBA career has been to play for a championship team. He was promised a chance at that in Sacramento and then again in Houston, and now that he’s actually on a championship caliber team in Oklahoma City it took a minute for the reality of the situation to sink in.
“Yeah, I think it’s sunken in now,” Martin, who described the trade to OKC as a dream come true, tells HOOPSWORLD. “Took the first couple of months to realize it, but it’s been a smooth transition, everybody’s been great from the players, coaches, organization, and the community. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
After being in rebuilding situations for so many years, Martin has been impressed by the culture of winning that is so ingrained around the Thunder organization.
Three-Point Shootout Deserves Star Power
By Derek Page
It’s that time again, NBA fans. The 2013 NBA All-Star Game is right around the corner, which means All-Star Saturday Night, for better or worse, is also on the agenda.
Luckily, a consistent bright spot for All-Star Saturday Night has been the three-point shootout with many All-Star caliber players taking part in the competition. Just last year, superstars Kevin Durant and Kevin Love went head-to-head in the championship of what was an exciting competition right down to the end.
Even with the reigning three-point contest champion Love out of the contest and unlikely to return to action for at least the next month, the NBA still has sufficient star power to make the shootout interesting.