This is a tough column to write. It’s the last edition of the Most Improved Player Rankings, and like John Boehner at an eighth grade science fair, I’m about to lose it. I uhh…I just want to tell you all how much you mean to me. (Voice cracks) It’s been another incredible year in this column space. We’ve talked about Ike Manfresca, the Oscars, Seinfeld, the genetic connection between twins, existentialism, John Lennon, Mars Blackmon, and un-seeing the Eastern Conference standings. We even compared every candidate to a character in
With just one more week to go in the NBA season, it’s time for our final round of “Name That Big Man!”
From his first NBA game, Michael Carter-Williams took hold of the Rookie of the Year award. He immediately grabbed the undivided attention of all of us, going for 22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds in Philadelphia’s improbable season-opening win over the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. Before the 76ers started losing – losing frequently, losing historically – Carter-Williams directed his team to two more wins and was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Not Rookie of the Week.
My ballot will be e-mailed to NBA headquarters late at night one week from today, and I will then publish all of my picks for postseason awards — as is my standard practice. But not every one of the 126 voters makes his/her selections public. At least that is the way it has been in the past. But this year, transparency rules. The Pro Basketball Writers Association and the NBA media relations office have come to an agreement under which all of
In these rankings, much like in life, you’ve got to be lucky to win. You can be the same exact person, with the same skill set and attitude, but if that ball doesn’t bounce the right way, you don’t get the recognition you deserve. Take UConn coach Kevin Ollie. If 7-foot freshman center Amida Brimah, who hasn’t played more than four seasons of organized basketball in his life, doesn’t complete a ridiculous three-point play with less than 25 seconds left in the first
It’s been a brutal season for the Milwaukee Bucks. As of this writing, they’re sitting on 14 wins and 63 losses, a league-worst clip despite the Sixers’ recent 26-game losing streak. But unlike Philadelphia, which began this season with a nakedly obvious quest to bottom out, Milwaukee actually chased the playoffs. They (rather questionably) signed O.J. Mayo and Zaza Pachulia and traded for Wisconsin native Caron Butler, who is the only player in NBA history ever excited about getting shipped to
As the Dallas Mavericks compete for one of the most competitive No. 8 seeds in NBA history, they’ve relied heavily on Vince Carter to provide veteran leadership and production to the team’s second lineup. While he is the team’s sixth man by assignment, coach Rick Carlisle still considers him one of Dallas’ most important players. This is evident by Carter’s defined role in the final minutes of close games. Carter is averaging nearly seven fourth-quarter minutes per game in 2013-2014, nearly two
There’s been some talk lately that the 2013 draft could be the worst in NBA history. We could wait more than a year before jumping into the adjoining worlds of shortsightedness and hyperbole, couldn’t we? Yes, this was a bad draft. We’ve said it ourselves several times. For the first time since 2001, the top pick is going to average less than five points per game. For the first time since 1988, the Rookie of the Year is probably going to be