One of the biggest knocks against the NBA is that when the season starts, there are only five or six teams that can truly win the championship, making the regular season and the early playoff rounds interminably tedious. Not this season. As we reach the midway point – 18 teams have played at least 41 games, another nine have played 40 – there are no less than a dozen teams with legitimate title aspirations, including a handful that haven’t been in the
Every year, one of the more entertaining conversations around the NBA surrounds the race for the Sixth Man Award. While it’s never about the most shimmering and glamorous of superstars, the talk always turns to the most precious of commodities – a guy who can come off the bench and consistently inject life into his team. The award has gone to characters such as J.R Smith and Anthony Mason, stars such as James Harden and Kevin McHale, and champions such as Toni
One of the consequences of the Donald Sterling scandal was that it delayed the official announcement of the Sixth Man Award winner. As the racism controversy was at its peak, the NBA postponed plans to present the award to Jamal Crawford, but news of the delay was reported far and wide. Today, there is enough calm in El Lay to finally make things official. Congratulations, J.Crossover.
In a break with tradition, I am casting my NBA awards ballot after the 81st game, not the 82nd. It’s a rarity, but this season I will not hem and haw and sleep on it until the afternoon after the final day of the season. You’re welcome. I have been an official NBA postseason awards voter for nearly a decade, and it would have been longer if not for a rule at the Associated Press, where I worked from 1987-2005, forbidding
Transparency is a two-way street. For years, NBA media members – echoing the sentiments of its passionate fan base – wanted more transparency from Commissioner David Stern and his executive staff. Whether it was a lottery drawing, a suspension in the playoffs or a referee scandal, folks felt like they were entitled to an explanation. And they were. Stern grudgingly came around. He arranged for the media to meet with referees prior to the season about rules changes. He allowed the media
When the Pelicans gave Tyreke Evans a four-year, $44 million dollar offer sheet last summer, fans and analysts alike were skeptical of whether Evans had earned that deal. After several years of franchise turmoil in Sacramento, Evans’ morale was at an all time low. The former Rookie of the Year had regressed from a prolific star in the making to a streaky enigma on one of the league’s worst teams. Committing near-max money to Evans looked like a gross miscalculation by a New
Martin Luther King Day is more than a day of celebration and reflection for the NBA, which probably has done more positive things for race relations than any other sport in the Civil Rights Era. It also has become the unofficial midway point of the season. By the completion of Monday’s action, more than half of the league’s 30 teams will have played half their games. With that in mind, we present our midseason awards with this reminder from the bookie of hopeless
The Sixth Man Award is a complicated one. Historically, the winner has been a super scorer who provides a needed offensive boost to a winning team. But this season might be different. No top team has a true standout scorer off the bench who fits the mold of winners from seasons past. The one exception could be Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Pelicans. Sure, New Orleans is only 9-9 and has been wildly inconsistent this season. Still, since Anderson’s return to the