As the the game clock ran down in Oklahoma City, Tim Duncan put his head down in sorrow and the San Antonio Spurs 67 win season came to an end by the hands of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Oklahoma City Thunder advanced to the Western Conference Finals and Father Time remained undefeated. This may have been the last basketball game for Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. These two legends have been everything to the city of San Antonio. Five NBA Championships and some of the most beautiful team basketball I have ever seen. The big three (Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker) have been a thorn in my side for years. As an Oklahoma City Thunder fan I am not too fond of the Spurs, but I most certainly respect them. If this is indeed the end for Duncan and Ginobili, I just want to say thank you for what you guys have done for the great game of basketball. The end of this era may be coming, but they sure have left their legacy on the game.
The NBA All-Star Game is tonight and I am going to rank who I think have the best chance to win MVP.
Westbrook always has a great All-Star break and this really has been is best season. He is playing out of this World and is the most explosive player in the game. Don’t be surprised if the MVP Westbrook wins it coming off the bench.
James Harden is playing at an MVP level, leading the league in scoring and he is the best one on one player in the NBA. Me as a Thunder fan, I am still in disbelief that OKC traded him. Harden is the favorite to win it. He will put on a show tonight.
Being from Chicago, I had to put a Bull on this list. Although Butler has been nurturing an injury he said he’s ready to go. Butler has the most upside in the NBA and he is relentless. Many people would be shocked if he brings back the ASG MVP to Chicago, but I won’t be.
Curry is arguably the greatest shooter of all time. Coming off of his very impressive 3-point contest victory, it could be very likely that Steph rides that momentum into the All-Star game and winning the MVP.
Even though Melo and his Knicks have had the worst season possible, the Stars are aligning for Anthony at the All-Star game. His home town is the host city and this will be his last game of the season for him because the Knicks are shutting him down after the ASG. How sweet would it be front of the Knicks fans to see Melo end it with the MVP.
This week Kevin Durant was honored as the league MVP and gave one o fthe greatest MVP speeches in NBA history. During this speech, Durant was spilling tears of joy and tears of the memories and struggles he had to get to where he is now. In my opinion it was the most well done speech in all of basketball and it is up there with the greatest speeches in sports history. Durant talked about his team mates and also shared stories about them. The most notable thing he said was to a team mate was to frustrated star point guard, Russell Westbrook. Durant said, “ A lot of people put unfair criticism on you as a player, and I’m the first to have your back through it all, just stay the person you are, everybody loves you here, I love you.” This is important for Westbrook and his team chemistry because during a time out in a Clippers game Westbrook separated him self from the team huddle and stayed secluded from the team. Durant acknowledged everyone else on his team, which will most likely bond this Thunder team together and make them a force to reckon with. Durant made sure he thanked everyone for their contributions and help in achieving this award. After acknowledging his team mates, one by one, he saved the best for last when he thanked his mother. He thanked her for always being there for him and his brother. He also commented on how the odds were stacked against them, a young single mother with two small children. He finished his speech by telling his mother, “ You’re the real MVP.” This was such a heart warming moment there wasn’t even a dry eye in the building. Durant gave his mother the best Mother’s Day gift ever with those words.
I think that his heartfelt speech will glue OKC together. This should help rally the team and the city to win the next four games in this series and beat the Los Angeles Clippers 5-1 and eventually win the NBA title.
1.) Kevin Durant, SF, OKC:
Kevin Durant has emerged as one of the premier superstars in the NBA. He has lead the Oklahoma City Thunder from being the worst team in the Association to the biggest threat to the reigning champs, Miami Heat. He has been a scoring machine. Durant is impossible to guard. At 6-10 Durant is one of the best shooters in the NBA. We all knew that Durant could score coming into the season, but he has really improved on the other side of the ball. With Durant’s long arms, he has become a lock down defender. Durant is currently leading the NBA in scoring, averaging 28.3 points per game and has lead his Thunder to a 22-4 record, which is the best in the NBA. At this time, Kevin Durant has been playing the best basketball in the NBA.
There is much more to like about Durant than just be an outstanding player. He is the NBA’s good child. He is the most humble and charitable star out there. If you had to choose between Lebron and Durant and that was the deciding factor, KD would win in a land slide. There really isn’t any reason to not like Durant, unless you are the coach of the opposing team’s defense.
2.) Paul George, SF/SG, IND
3.) Lebron James, SF, MIA
4.) LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, POR
5.) Russell Westbrook, PG, OKC
6.) Chris Paul, PG, LAC
7.) Damian Lillard, PG, POR
8.) Stephen Curry, PG/SG, GS
9.) James Harden, SG, HOU
10.) Kevin Love, PF, MIN
The Knicks have had an uplifting season and are back to the way the New York Knicks should play. They are in a tough situation right now being down three games to two against a great Indiana team. They are very full of themselves and Carmelo Anthony doesn’t know how to share the basketball. In my opinion the New York Knicks are pretenders in this year’s playoffs.
There’s a lot of hype about this Grizzlies and it seems like more and more people hop on their bandwagon, well I’m not one of them. After they beat the Thunder without Russell Westbrook everyone thought they were great. Well, I believe if Russell Westbrook wasn’t hurt OKC would have swept the Grizzlies. They are a good team, but not a great team.
The Indiana Pacers are back and better then ever. For many years now they have just been a good team without a star player, but young Paul George has risen to the occasion and has broken out into a star. This team has a stellar defense and they can shred it from long range. I think that the Indiana Pacers will win the NBA Finals this year.
Who do you think are the contenders…or the pretenders?
The NBA Playoffs are almost here and it has been a great season but the best is yet to come. The top teams have made a stand and the eight seeds are fighting for just a spot, I can’t wait. So here’s my prediction for the seeding in the Eastern Conference.
1. Miami Heat: The Miami Heat were riding one of the biggest win streaks until the inconsistent Chicago Bulls ended it. Even though their streak is dead they have the best record in the NBA and they are the reigning Champions. LeBron has just been great this year, Wade hasn’t disappointed, and Bosh has been solid too. They have some of the biggest names in basketball on their team, and they are no fluke. The Miami Heat are going to be a tough out in this year’s Playoffs.
2. New York Knicks: The Knicks were also recently on a winning streak which similar to the Heat’s was crushed by the Bulls. New York has never been able to get back to the top since the days of Patrick Ewing. It always seems like the Knicks are an easy out in the first round, but this time I have a feeling that won’t happen. Carmelo Anthony has really had a stand out year, he has finally made his team a real contender, and is giving Kevin Durant a run for his money in the scoring title. Also I think Iman Shumpert could play a big role in the Knicks success. After he tore his ACL last year in a playoff game against the Heat, the team never seemed the same. Now he is back and healthier than ever. Shumpert I think is going to be a future star. If the New York Knicks want to make a deep run Shumpert has to have a big role.
3. Indiana Pacers: The Pacers have really come out of the shadows, and they are looking like a old Reggie Miller Pacers team. One of the main parts of their success is rising star Paul George. For the past couple years the Pacers really didn’t have a star player. They were just a solid team without a superstar. This year their shooting guard, Paul George, has risen to the occasion. He has had the greatest season so far of his young career, has made his first all-star appearance and he has lead his Pacers team to a number three seed. George has played outstanding and so has the whole team. The Pacers could be very dangerous, so watch out Miami.
4. Brooklyn Nets: The Nets have a new face to the franchise ever since Jay-z bought them and moved them from New Jersey to Brooklyn. They got a new logo, new colors, new jerseys, they picked up some new players, and most importantly they upped their game. Signing Joe Johnson in the offseason helped put them in the playoffs. He has really turned this team around, and I think he has to be the one to play big if they want a chance to win the East. Johnson has playoff experience from his time with the Hawks and the Suns but he is one of the only players on this team that actually has experience in the playoffs. The Nets inexperience might come to hurt them but people said that about the Thunder last year and they made it to the Finals. I think the Nets might have a tough road ahead of them which could start in the first round.
5. Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks are a team that you expect to make the Playoffs every year. In the offseason they lost their best player, Joe Johnson, to free agency and everyone thought that the Hawks might have a rough season but they proved them wrong. Josh Smith has had a big year as we expected but also point guard Jeff Teague has played exceptionable. Teague has been a role player for most of his young career but he is suddenly transforming into a star. He is a great passer, a good on-on-one defender, can hit from mid-range, drives to the hoop well, and he is a lethal three point shooter. He plays great in the spot light and this is his time to shine. If Teague has a good postseason the Hawks could go far.
6. Chicago Bulls: This year hasn’t been that great for the Bulls. You might be asking yourself, they made the Playoffs …isn’t that good? Well in Chicago there is a high standard set by the greatest player that has ever lived, Michael Jordan. The city of Chicago loves their basketball and they are quite upset with the Bulls, trust me I am from Chicago. It really wasn’t their fault though because they have been bitten by the injury bug. Last year their star player, Derrick Rose, tore his ACL and has yet to come back this year. Then Joakim Noah stared to take over the star role and he got hurt. Although this season hasn’t been the best, there is one bright spot. Nate Robinson has stood out and has played like Russell Westbrook. The year is still young and Robinson can be the spark to help the Bulls go far. The Bulls will probably have a brutal bracket to get through but Nate Robinson has the talent to pull them through it.
7. Boston Celtics: The Celtics have had a rough year. Rajon Rondo tore his ACL, Kevin Garnett is hurt, and Paul Pierce is also injured. So the big bad Celtics have been narrowed down by injury. The Celtics go far almost every year, but this year it is not likely to happen. They are an old team that is hurt. Jason Terry is their only star who will play. He might have won the 2011 finals with the Mavericks but he is getting very old. I don’t think the Celtics are going to be able to run with the young teams in the Playoffs. I believe that the big bad Boston Celtics will be an early out.
8. Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks haven’t made the Playoffs since 2010, but this team has a lot more talent then the 2010 team. The turn around for the Bucks was when they got Monta Ellis. He was a perfect steal. He complements the play of Brandon Jennings very well. It has been awhile since the Bucks had two superstars on one team but they do now. Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis have done a great job turning around this team and getting them to the playoffs. They have a very hard first round ahead of them and will probably play Miami.
Stay tuned for my Western Conference predictions.