I've been filling out my all-star ballot for the past few days (personally, I agree with the sentiment that voting should begin much later in the year, but them's the rules; besides, Chuck Hayes isn't going to mount his all-star campaign all by himself), and I've come across a strange thing: the west doesn't really have any deserving centers on the ballot. That's partially because (as TBJ noted a few days ago) the NBA chose to not include Chris Kaman, who is having a great season.
Well, that's what I thought before I started looking at the stats, anyways. Andrew Bynum is having a pretty good season. He's averaging 19.2 pts on 61% True Shooting, and he's pulling down 10.4 rebounds per game. Those are all-star quality numbers. Not otherworldly or anything, but still very good.
I think a lot of us
decent people non-Laker fans tended to get sick of the hype surrounding Bynum. As Lee put it prior to the game against LA, now that he's doing well it's not an issue, but we all were tired of fans speaking about him as if he were an all-star quality player, when his contribution on the court was clearly far below that. Now that he's starting to reliably play like an all-star, I'm willing to buy into the hype a little - he's good, and he still has room to grow.
Matt Moore over at Hardwood Paroxysm echoes that sentiment:
People always confused what it is I’ve said about Bynum. I’ve complained that he has poor work ethic and is immature. I’ve stated that he’s not the center everyone says he already is. Not that he can’t get there, but that he wasn’t there already. This sounds like some sort of revisionist history, but I assure you, not even I, in my seething hatred of everything Laker, could look at Bynum’s size, length, and touch and not say "there’s something there." But versus the talented players on other teams I tend to tout, Bynum was already given the attention, the hype, the standing. He was ranked at #24 by Ziller before he’d done anything. He was talked about as an All-Star simply based on projections. And I hated that. Because there were a lot of other centers who were working harder, playing better, doing more for their team than Bynum. And that speaks to the folly that is my unwavering support of the idea of fairness.
Well, guess what. It’s totally fair to say the kid’s an All-Star now.
On the other hand, Dave Berri at WoW questions the prevailing wisdom surrounding Bynum (as well as Jordan Farmar):
What about Bynum and Farmar? Well, both have improved. But despite the numbers reported at the start of this column, neither is back to what he was in 2007-08. After seven games here is what each player has done:
Andrew Bynum after seven games (okay five games) in 2009-10: 0.181 WP48 in 200 minutes
Let me close by noting that the analysis of 2009-10 is obviously based on a very small sample size. Bynum could change his overall performance with one great game (or decline quite a bit with one really bad performance)... All that’s being said at this point is that if people were hoping to see the Andrew Bynum from 2007-08, that Bynum hasn’t appeared yet (and of course, Bynum has already missed two games because of injury — which is a completely different story).
Whatever. I voted for Stoudemire yesterday, anyways.
More links after the jump.
Kevin Pelton weighs in on the Hornets' decision to fire Byron Scott, and he thinks that this move should help the Hornets regain some lost ground.
We have little idea of Bower’s Xs and Os ability, and I would certainly feel more comfortable if Floyd was not prominently involved. However, one consistent trait when GMs are asked to coach their own teams is that they tend to play guys they’ve drafted. If Bower simply does that, the Hornets have a chance to get better. I still believe there’s enough talent on the roster–if only because of Chris Paul, who is having an MVP season–to not only make the playoffs but contend in the Western Conference. Last year’s study of midseason coaching changes showed they were best done by past playoff teams early in the season. By making a move now, New Orleans has given itself a chance to right the ship before it’s too late.
LeBron James will switch to #6 next season in honor of Michael Jordan (this seems odd to me - usually players select the same number as an idol to honor them), and he thinks the rest of the league should retire #23, too. Obviously, that wouldn't really affect the Rockets, but it's an interesting idea... for me to poop on!
I can't stand the idea of a league-wide retired number. Baseball retired #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, sure, but Robinson, in addition to being a great second baseman, was a symbol of something remarkable that transcended athletics. Jordan was the greatest player in NBA history (so far, anyways). But he did not help break down the color barrier in American sports. The honor just doesn't seem appropriate to me.
As you may be aware, rumors have circulated for a while that the Maloofs are contemplating moving the Kings. The key to get them to stay in Sacramento would be a new arena, and Sactown Royalty looks at the critical issue in any bid to build a downtown arena: funding.
While you're checking out that particular expose, take a look at Tom Ziller's investigation into why the Kings have played better after Kevin Martin's injury.
This one's a bit on the long side, but it's a good one: FreeDarko argues over whether it's worse to be a Warriors fan - devoid of hope for any future - or a Knicks fan - bewildered at the incompetency of your favorite organization over the past two decades.
Being a Knicks fan has come to resemble illness. I have never had meningitis, but it's been described to me as an inflammation of the membranes that run along your brain and spinal cord. Other parts of my body have been inflamed. It can be awful--the pulsating pain, the swelling, the knowledge that something deep down is horribly wrong (at least for a moment). That's what it is like to be a Knicks fan--the anger and incredulity painfully gnaw away, and the root causes seem so remotely situated that you are left hopeless.
...on a similar note: the Crawfish Boxes and Battle Red Blog have some great commentary going on. Check them out.
Last, I leave you with two videos: Dwyane Wade's fantastic dunk over Anderson Varejao, and (courtesy of ClutchFans) Carl Landry's salute to Dikembe Mutombo.