Friday, December 19, 2008

NBA Ramblings

1) Chris Paul is the best player in the NBA right now. He destroyed San Antonio two nights ago - by scoring a momentum-turning lay-up at the end of the first half, winning a jump ball over the 6'6" Manu Ginobili late in the fourth quarter, and throwing a painfully subtle alley-oop over Tim Duncan to Tyson Chandler after a baseline drive that I am not a good enough writer to describe. His team is outscoring their opponents by 28 points per 100 possessions while he is on the floor. Most seasons, Michael Jordan's teams outscored their opponents by about 20 points per 100 possessions while he was on the floor. (In fairness, LeBron is currently leading the NBA with a +/- of 29 per 100 possessions, but I think he's getting more help.)

2) The Boston Celtics are very, very good. Rajon Rondo has developed into a legitimate star in his own right, taking other teams out of their offense by getting the basketball out of their point guard's hands, and picking up the slack when Allen or Pierce is having an off-night offensively. But most importantly, his development as a ballhandler and passer has turned the once-stodgy Celtics into a running team, allowing them to get easy baskets in transition, which was their only real weakness during last year's championship run. There's a good reason why they are 24-2 at the moment.

3) Paul Millsap is really good. Jake and I have considered him to be a diamond in the rough since he entered the league three years ago, but this season Millsap has exceeded even our expectations, having posted nine consecutive double-doubles since taking over the starting power forward position from the injured Carlos Boozer. Millsap led the country in rebounding all three years he played in college, and yet he wasn't drafted until the middle of the second round, because NBA teams considered him to be too short. The fact that he was 'too short' to be a college star, and yet led the country in rebounding three straight years, outrebounding much taller players, should have been a tip-off.

4) Devin Harris is really good. This comes as a surprise to everyone except a) people who watch the University of Wisconsin and b) people who understand Avery Johnson's coaching style. Devin Harris can play.

5) David Lee is really good. Another entry in the "he puts up great numbers, but everybody writes him off because he's an inch shorter than the ideal height for a player of his position" See also Chris Paul, Elton Brand, Carlos Boozer, Brandon Roy, Paul Millsap, Luis Scola, Charles Barkley, Dave Cowens, Wes Unseld, etc.

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