Catching Up With the Western Conference and MVP Race
On February 14, I wrote about the awesome NBA Western Conference and the oasis it was providing during the slow post-NFL/pre-March Madness period. Now that this slow season is ending, lets take a look at the West again.
On the date of that post, the standings were as follows:
New Orleans (36-15)
LA Lakers (35-17)
San Antonio (34-17)
Golden State (32-20)
Here they are today:
LA Lakers (44-19)
San Antonio (43-19)
New Orleans (42-20)
Golden State (39-23)
As you can see, the only thing that has been determined is that Portland (33-30) is still one year away from making a serious run at the playoffs in the West. While Denver is currently in the 9 slot and capable of making a run for a spot, the Nuggets’ complete disregard for defense will not allow that to happen.
The Lakers are 9-2 since my last post and have gone from the 5 seed to the 1. The Spurs have the same record over the past 11 and have also valuted 4 slots, from 6 to 2. Utah and New Orleans have held relatively steady: the Jazz are 8-3 and the Hornets are 6-5. But thats where the kray-z-ness begins. Dallas has added one of the best point guards in NBA history and gone 5-6, dropping from the 3 seed to the 7. Phoenix took a chance and added one of the best centers of all time, and have gone 5-6, dropping from the 2 seed to the 6.
On February 14, the Houston Rockets were 32-20, battling for the 8 seed and having won 8 in a row. Since then, they’ve won 10 games in a row while losing Yao Ming for the season. All righty. Meanwhile, the never-talked-about Golden State Warriors have gone 7-3 and have held on to the 8th seed in the West. After what they pulled last year, and how the Oracle has proven to be one of the toughest places to play in the world, who the hell would want to play the Warriors in round 1?
Lets look at the current playoff picture, even though these matchups will change 100 times by April. Lakers-Warriors: that will be fun; Spurs-Mavs: of course these teams will match up; Rockets-Suns: I know the Rockets are hot, but I don’t see how Phoenix loses this series; Jazz-Hornets: holy shit, I might have an orgasm if I see CP3 against Deron Williams for up to 7 games. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I’m not the only one getting ahead of myself. Suddenly, the Lakers are everyone’s pick to run away with the title. The addition of Pau Gasol has suddenly made L.A. the best team in the league, bar none. Look above–teams are jumping or falling 4 or 5 slots in a span of 3 weeks. The Houston Rockets won eight in a row, lost their best player, and promptly won another 10 in a row. The Mavs and Suns have each added fantastic players and dropped severely in the West. So how can any of these experts be so sure that L.A. is going to win the title? If they lose 4 straight, they’ll be fighting for the 6 seed.
Also, I really don’t understand the apparent understanding the media has among themselves to give Kobe Bryant the MVP award. Kobe may be the best player in the league right now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the most valuable. The Lakers were 29-16 when they acquired Gasol; they are 15-3 since. Now I’m not saying that Gasol is better than Kobe, or that he is more valuable. But without Gasol, its entirely possible the Lakers would be fighting for the 8 seed right now. So how can Kobe be the MVP?
Bryant is the clear-cut third choice this year. I firmly believed that our guy in the banner pic was the MVP up until about two weeks ago, and then I started to sway. While I truly love what Paul has done for the Hornets and the point guard position, I have to declare LB23 as the 2008 MVP to this point. I know now points really need to be made to prove that LeBron is a great player, but to prove he is the MVP, look at this:
FG %: .487
FT %: .717
And he has no fucking help. But the media is going to give it to Kobe because he didn’t get it before? I fucking quit.