“Ve get too soon oldt, undt too late schmart,” it read, though I’m not sure why it was in half-English, half-German. She’s not even German.
I think she hung it there to explain things like this NBA season. Gram always did love basketball. OK, maybe not. But she did say her spirit animal was a bluebird, and I like to think that she’s trapped in James Harden’s beard.
Nobody saw this season coming.
It has passed like a strange, magnificent cloud that floats overhead in the afternoon sky. All you can do is marvel at it and hope it sticks around for a little while. It’s been as ridiculously fantastic as a Junior Senior video, or specifically, “Everybody Move Your Feet and Feel United.” (I’ma let you finish, but for real, that video is the greatest video of all time! Shout out to R.J.)
The Hawks in first place? The Warriors with the best record in the league? Paul Millsap an All-Star? Is this real life? Somehow, it is, unless we’re all stuck in a virtual reality scene in NBA 2K79.
And the awesomeness of the NBA’s 2014-15 campaign was on full display this weekend in New York, where LeBron James was almost an afterthought, the Hawks took on the West All-Stars practically by themselves for a little while, and Steph Curry displayed why he’s the most entertaining passer since Jason Williams and the most put-your-mortgage-on-him-making-this-shot player since Larry Bird.
We saw some future MIP candidates in the Slam Dunk Contest (imagine if Zach LaVine had a jumper?), as well as some guys who could be playing in the All-Star Game soon enough (Giannis Antetokounmpo).
As awesome as this season has been, the best part is that for the first time in years, it’s completely unpredictable. Adam Silver’s NBA has parity, small market contenders, and a Western Conference playoffs that will be can’t-miss TV come spring.
Not to sound like Yogi Berra, but we won’t know what’s going to happen until it does.
The season is already too soon oldt, and we’ll be too late schmardt.
I see you, Great Gram.
Ondt to deh rankings.
1. Klay Thompson, G, Golden State Warriors: Thompson takes over the top spot because if you asked the casual fan which guy has made the bigger leap this season – him or Jimmy Butler – most would say Thompson. He’s had the better individual performance (52 with 37 in one quarter vs. Sacramento), has the better individual skill (his lamp-turning-off J), and is a comparable defender to Butler (although Jimmy is better). The only reason Thompson wouldn’t win this award is because he has had the better career before this season. But, I mean…that’s lame.
2. Jimmy Butler, G, Chicago Bulls: The Jimmy dealt with shoulder pain at the end of last week and missed the Bulls’ 113-98 demolition of the Cavs before the All-Star break. He did play nine minutes in the All-Star Game and finished with six points, two steals, a rebound and an assist. Typical Jimmy game. At the halfway point, he’s averaging 20.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.0 endorsements from Floyd Mayweather as the NBA All-Star who could most easily transition into boxing.
3. Hassan Whiteside, C, Miami Heat: Mr. Whiteside capped off his awe-inspiring first half with a 17-point, 14-rebound performance against the Cavs last week. Dwyane Wade is so grateful for him, he practically knocked on wood and did an anti-injury dance when Marv Albert brought him up during the All-Star Game broadcast on TNT on Sunday night. It went something like this: Marv: “So, Hassan Whiteside’s been playing great for you guy–” Wade: “Shh–Shut your mouth!! Just shut—SHUT IT RIGHT NOW!! (Knocks on Marv’s head). Don’t jinx this Marv!!!! Don’t Jinx This!!! I will end you!!! Where’d I leave Jobu?” Cut to commercial.
4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks: While the Antetokounmpo bros clearly missed out on an opportunity to Snapchat, Vine, Instagram, or otherwise capture Giannis’ dunk while he was doing it (they just took a selfie after he threw down), the rising Bucks star afforded himself well at All-Star Weekend. It won’t be his only trip there. The Greek Freak is growing up before our eyes, averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds thus far in February. The Bucks are going to make the playoffs, and he’s going to do something to grab national attention in their first-round series. You watch.
5. Draymond Green, F, Golden State Warriors: Draymond continues to just be a mixed bag of whatever it is the Warriors need on that particular night in order to win. He corralled 13 rebounds and dished out five assists in 36 minutes in a sluggish 97-94 win over the Wolves before the break. Just two games before that, he put up 20 and 13 boards on the Knicks. And a game before that, he grabbed 20 rebounds. He’s like FlexSeal. There’s nothing this dude can’t do.
NEXT FIVE: Derrick Favors, F-C, Utah; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G, Detroit; Dennis Schroder, G, Atlanta; Marreese Speights, F-C, Golden State; Mason Plumlee, F-C, Brooklyn.