R-n-G Award Picks: Defensive Player of the Year - Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks
Runners-Up: Dwight Howard, Serge Ibaka, Kevin Garnett, Tony Allen, Lebron James
Dwight Howard can easily take this award again for the 4th straight year, but his terrible PR stunts this past season will definitely stray voters away from giving him a 1st place ballot. Furthermore, Orlando’s Defensive Efficiency dropped from being 3rd in 2010-11 (99.1) to 13th in 2011-12 (101.7).
Now here’s why I think Tyson Chandler should get the award.
In the 2010-2011 season, the New York Knicks had a defensive rating of 106.9, good for 21st in the NBA. In 2011-12, under coach Mike D’Antoni, an offensive genius who’s not known as a defensive coach at all, the Knicks were 10th in defensive efficiency. And this happened in spite of players like Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire, and whoever they had playing point guard at the time (Toney Douglas, Mike Bibby, eventually Jeremy Lin, whoever), all not known to be great, or even good defenders. The jump can be tracked to Tyson Chandler, the teams new defensive anchor and vocal leader in the middle of the paint. Later, after D’Antoni’s departure and Mike Woodson’s take over, the Knicks leaped even higher to 5th in the league in defensive efficiency with a 98.6.
Stepping away from stats, Chandler’s effect on the court is incredibly visible if you have ever seen a Knicks game this season. He is a great post defender, limiting Dwight Howard to only 8 points TWICE, and Andrew Bynum to only 3 points in their one head to head meeting. Chandler also does a great job of hedging out to the perimeter to contain perimeter players on pick and rolls, and then is also able to get back to his big man in time. Chandler was a big reason why the Dallas Mavericks won the title last season, and he definitely brought those skills to the Knicks.
I already mentioned Dwight Howard, but Serge Ibaka and Kevin Garnett both deserve DPOY considerations. Ibaka has been a defensive beast with his uncanny timing to block shots. I was also correct last December when I said that Serge Ibaka would lead the league in blocks (3.6 blocks per game). Kevin Garnett has actually played half the season as PF and the other half as a Center, and he has been a big reason why the Celtics are still 2nd in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Lebron James will always be one of the top perimeter defenders in the league, but I also want to give credit to those unheralded lock down perimeter defenders: Tony Allen, Avery Bradley, and Iman Shumpert. It’s great seeing them close out passing lanes, getting steals, and containing the best offensive options on the other team.
News around the twittersphere and the sports world is that Orlando Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy knows that Dwight Howard wants him fired, and you can watch an incredibly awkward interview with both of them above.
It’s a shame that all of this hullabaloo is going on because I’d rather focus on how Dwight Howard is the greatest Center in the NBA right now instead of how he’s the worst human being in the NBA right now.
By the way, the Knicks take on the Magic tonight on TNT. Maybe this is the perfect time for Ewing to start coaching?
But in reality, I just wanted an excuse to post this photoshop below because I love basketball and I love the Game of Thrones. Props to @jeskeets via twitter for the photo:
What a crazy day in the NBA already, and it’s only 2pm (PST).
NBA analysts, writers, and fans alike have been all over twitter today after a few pieces of news:
1. Mike D’Antoni has resigned as New York Knicks coach (@WojYahooNBA)
It’s not news that the Knicks have been struggling as of late, dropping their last 6 games and 8 of their last 10. D’Antoni has easily been the scapegoat all season, though the teams’ troubles run deeper than through the coach. Poor rebounding and poor offense (especially for an MDA coached team) have certainly done their job.
Mike Woodson has filled in as interim coach and will begin tonight versus the Portland Trailblazers. If his tenure with the Hawks is any indication, we can expect a lot of Melo isolations and poor shot selections. Also, expect Jeremy Lin’s numbers to drop even further than they already have since Carmelo’s return. Woodson’s system isn’t too kind to point guards (re: Mike Bibby, Jeff Teague).
When all else fails, blame Carmelo.
2. Dwight Howard News
I actually hate talking about the Dwight Howard trade rumors and his upcoming free agency, but today a “bombshell” was dropped. Well… kind of.
Firstly, again from @WojYahooNBA: Dwight Howard tells team he’s “all in” for the rest of the season
Then via @sam_amick: Dwight Howard will opt in the final year of his contract.
So Dwight isn’t getting traded… and is staying in Orlando for another year? Luckily, Woj clears it up for us one more time:
Three Magic players tell Y! Sports (2 to @SpearsNBAYahoo) and one to me that Dwight Howard did not tell them he was opting in for next year.
Said one Magic player on Howard meeting: “Next year was not even mentioned in meeting…He told us he was “all-in” for this season.”
Oh wait, there’s more, via @AlexKennedyNBA:
Regardless of what Dwight Howard said during meeting with teammates, source close to Howard said he informed Alex Martins that he’ll opt-in.
This is only going to keep going back and forth until papers are signed or left unsigned. My head hurts.
3. Some minor Knicks news:
@daldridgetnt reports from a source that Mike D’Antoni wanted a Carmelo and Deron Williams trade after reports that Carmelo wants out of New York (which he denies). Maybe this was a main cause as to why MDA and the Knicks parted ways? Who knows.
The NBA trade deadline is Thursday (tomorrow) at 3pm EST, 12pm PST. There’s still a long way to go, so just sit back and watch this freak show happen.
I have very limited photoshop abilities, but I had a lot of fun doing these. Sadly, I have nothing to do this Valentines Day, so I made a bunch of these NBA themed “cards” to post for my friends. Feel free to use ‘em if you fancy.
Late last week, Chris Sheridan reported the 19 NBA Players that would be on Team USA’s Preliminary Roster for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. It’s old news at this point, but I wanted to weigh in with my opinions. I like writing and I love basketball, so I’m going for it.
Here’s the 20 player roster:
Of course, only 12 of these players will make the final roster and become Olympians, so 7 great and talented players will have to be cut. Who’s likely to make it? Either way, players from both the 2008 Olympics and 2010 FIBA World Championships will be watching from their TV screens. Here’s my depth chart of who I think will make the team:
Guard: Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade
Forward: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love
Center: Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh
That makes 7 players from the 2008 Olympic team, 4 players from the FIBA World Championship team, and 1 who was on neither.
Choosing a 3rd point guard was tough, but I decidedly gave it to Billups for one main reason: veteran leadership. He’d play a similar role to what he did in Turkey and what Jason Kidd did in Beijing, something both (relatively) young PGs like Westbrook and Williams can’t bring. The third point guard roster spot wouldn’t get many minutes anyway coming behind Paul and Rose, so that experience will be key.
Eric Gordon, Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay, and Tyson Chandler are all players I really liked in the FIBA Championships, but their talents (Gordon’s shooting and Iguodala’s lock down defense) can already be found in better players like Kobe, Lebron, and Dwight and thus are expendable.
A glaring absence from my list is obviously Blake Griffin, but I couldn’t put him in over Kevin Love. In my opinion, though Blake is a great and electrifying player, Love is the better Power Forward, especially for international play. Both players do two things very well: score and rebound, and both are decent passers for their position. The difference, though, is Love’s jump shot. He will be able to space the floor from the perimeter, which should be better for Dwight Howard anyway. Blake’s jumper simply isn’t there.
In spite of his play so far this season, Lamar Odom was tough to leave out. The versatility a team gets out of him is matched by basically no one, so you can make the case that he can take a spot over LaMarcus Aldridge. The biggest reason why I chose LMA over Odom, though, was simply because Aldridge is a much better player. He will be an All-Star this season.
The biggest issue may just be who starts at the point guard spot. Lebron, Durant, and Dwight are easy locks for their starting positions, and Wade came off the bench behind Kobe in 2008, so that shouldn’t be a problem, but who will Mike Krzyzewski choose as the starting guard? You can easily argue for either Chris Paul or Derrick Rose to start at point. Both are great passers with great basketball IQ, and they both know their roles of when to score. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
I also have Aldridge and Bosh under the Center spot in the depth chart because international basketball tends to play smaller. Those two players, as well as Love, can all easily slide into the center spot and play alongside one another whenever Dwight needs a break. So technically they’re Forward/Centers.
And my biggest snub from the 19 man roster? Andrew Bynum. Besides Dwight, there is no other Center as dominant in the league as Bynum, and I’m guessing the low amount of games he’s played thus far has affected his absence on the roster. He would most likely take the place of either Aldridge or even Bosh in my opinion.
So that’s my two cents. What are your thoughts? Do you disagree with any of my picks?
2011-2012 Bold Statements: Defensive Player of the Year - Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard is the obvious choice. No one player effects a team’s defense more than Superman. He’s the type of player that no matter what team he’s on, he will put them in the playoffs. Honestly, Dwight shouldn’t be looking for a trade. Instead, he should be getting good players going to Orlando to chase a ring with him there; he’s that good.
Either way, whether he gets traded or not, he has the best chance of winning the DPOY award. Whether he’s in the Magic, if he’s a Net, or *gulp* if he’s a Laker.
Serge Ibaka - If there is anyone that could give Dwight a run for his money, it’s the guy with the coolest name in the NBA. Part of the Thunder’s success this season will be their defensive frontline, headed by not Perkins, but by Ibaka. I will predict here that Ibaka will lead the league in blocks, and part of their success will be his protection of the paint. He’ll have a big year.
Tony Allen - I was going to put him as the dark horse candidate, but I think by now the NBA knows that he is an incredible perimeter defender. He was 4th in voting for DPOY last season and did a lot of work on Kevin Durant in the Western Conference Semi-Finals last year (and he gives up a good 6 inches on him).
Dark Horse Candidate: Andrew Bogut
Bogut getting a DPOY nod depends on two things: 1) can he get back to being the same player he was before his ugly elbow injury in 2010 and 2) the Bucks can improve their record from last year. I definitely believe that he can get back to form and break out yet again. As for the Bucks… I don’t see them improving enough to make the playoffs. At least their defense will still be good.
2011-2012 Bold Statements: League MVP - Chris Paul
I am buying into “Lob City” and yes, I do believe that Chris Paul will win the MVP award this season. First, he’s still one of the top 2 scoring options for the Clippers. If he doesn’t get monster scoring numbers in a game, his assist rate just skyrockets. Don’t forget that he consistently is in the top 5 in steals every season.
Chris Paul is the type of point guard that makes everyone else on his team better. It will be because of him that Blake Griffin’s numbers will rise. It will be because of him that DeAndre Jordan will be in talks for Most Improved Player. It’s because of him that Caron Butler could maintain a 3 point percentage around 40% this year. He even knows how to move off the ball and spot up when Chauncey brings the ball down the court.
This is arguably the best talent that Chris Paul has ever been surrounded with, so expect not only for CP3’s numbers to rise, but the Clippers to rise up in the West. Should be an exciting year in LA.
Kevin Durant - If it wasn’t for that huge CP3 trade, this would be Kevin Durant’s year. I have the Thunder slated to reach the NBA Finals and eventually win the Championship, and it will be mostly because of this guy. He’ll be the scoring champ for his 3rd straight year, and I expect his other stats to go up a little as well. I may very well be wrong and KD will most likely get MVP because the Thunder will by far have a better record, but I believe in the Clippers hype.
Dwight Howard - I had a tough time deciding between Dwight and Lebron. Yes, Lebron will have better overall stats, but Dwight will do more for the Magic (and eventually whichever team he may get traded to) to keep them in the Playoffs than Lebron will for Miami.
Dark Horse Candidate: Kobe Bryant
What? Kobe Bryant a Dark Horse? I don’t believe it’s too farfetched. There is too much going against the Lakers this year. They lost Lamar Odom. They have a new system with Mike Brown. Pau Gasol looks like he may have a down year because of this new system. Their bench looks worse than last year. In spite of all this, though, the Lakers will have a great record and it will be all because of one man: the Black Mamba.
In other news….
I honestly would love to see this. Most likely the Nets would trade Brook Lopez + draft picks for Dwight Howard. A tandem Deron Williams and Dwight Howard is definitely a contender, and if they fill in the rest of their roster with decent pieces, they can definitely win a Championship soon. I definitely see Mikhail Prokhorov pulling this off.
Of course, being a Warrior fan and Dwight Howard fan, it’s a conflict of my interest to want to see Howard at any other team that isn’t the Warriors, but hey, as long as he doesn’t become a Laker.
Unless, you know, Stern cockblocks for “basketball reasons.”