A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

2011 NBA POY Watch 3/7

with 5 comments

Player (Last Week’s Rank)

1. Dirk Nowitzki (1)

Still Dirk. To be perfectly honest, I don’t have any real internal debate between him and Rose at this point.

2. Derrick Rose (2)

It’s really starting to sink in that Rose’s Bulls haven’t simply moved up to be in the conversation, they’ve really trounced the whole league post-November. They are contenders, though there’s nothing short of injuries for the Lakers & Celtics that would make them the title favorite in my mind.

3. Dwight Howard (4)

Howard is starting to become a very chic pick, and I’ve got no problem with that. Dude’s taken a step up. I’m not ready to launch him above all others, but I can clearly see a golden path for him that would get me to give him the hardware.

4. LeBron James (3)

What a miserable week for James. The Heat just can’t seem to get it done against the other contenders. I think anyone who writes the Heat off is reckless, but the Heat no full well that they need to prove themselves in these games. There is no reason to believe they’re saving themselves for playoffs, and yet they still struggle.

The gap between the top 3 & LeBron is significant in my right now in my mind, but he still doesn’t fall further than 4. I’m just not that impressed with the rest of the pack.

5. Kevin Durant (5)

Durant’s Thunder are getting less negativity thrown their way than the Heat, and I understand why (lower expectations). Still, the Heat’s struggles against the great teams are nothing compared to the Thunder’s. The Thunder have a good chance of getting to the 2nd round, but they haven’t taken a real step forward despite the emergence of Russell Westbrook as a true star alongside Durant.

6. Dwyane Wade (6)

What? LeBron falls but Wade doesn’t? They’re both falling, just not enough for Wade to actually slide behind someone new this week.

7. Paul Pierce (9)

Some definite re-mixing in these last 4 spots. To me the Celtics have been the most impressive team of the season, and they’ve done this with Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo missing significant time. By no means would I use that to say “Aha! Pierce is the true keystone of the Celtics!”, however he is playing with consist, and extreme effectiveness. He leads the league in raw +/- (+509) by a good margin. You may dismiss that as a product of his team and teammates, but consider that Kobe rates down at +320 with a supporting cast that I wouldn’t feel comfortable calling significantly inferior.

8. Manu Ginobili (7)

The blowout loss to the Lakers was about the most damning thing that could happen to the Spurs. I understand that when you get down early, it makes sense to pack it in, but these aren’t the same Duncan & Defense Spurs and we’re all a little skeptical about how they’ll fare when every team is focused. I don’t know how you watch that game yesterday and conclude that the Spurs are favorites to win the Western Conference crown.

9. Kobe Bryant (NR)

People have been throwing the kitchen sink at me lately for not including Kobe in my top 10. I do listen to them, but really the key factor for his inclusion here is how good the Lakers look right now. Of course, the proof of not listening to them too much is probably that I’ll get hollered at now for having LeBron & others ahead of Kobe.

How do I have two Heatles ahead of Kobe? Well, put it this way: If the Heat lost one of those two guys, I think their record would have been hurt worse than the Lakers without Kobe. Understand though: I fully realize that the Lakers have a high gear that they have kicked into before, that the Heat haven’t shown. When they play at that level, yes, Kobe is more valuable to the Lakers than those guys are to the Heat.

10. Steve Nash (10)

Nash treads water a bit here. I’m still sold on his impact, and I’m still aware that he’s a guy playing on a team struggling to make the playoffs who doesn’t play huge minutes. He’ll rise further if his team continues to rise.

Falling Off

Chris Paul – I think I may’ve been delaying this a while now. It’s easy to keep him in place on the basis that the team is still in the playoffs, and Paul’s still super- efficient and high in +/-. The whole season though he has had reduced primacy on his team which increasingly seems clearly to be based on his injuries, they’ve been winning by defense, and lately they just haven’t been winning. As others’ stock improve, he’s the odd man out.

5 Responses

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  1. Reason No. 67 why Matt Johnson knows basketball:

    “[The Bulls] are contenders, though there’s nothing short of injuries for the Lakers & Celtics that would make them the title favorite in my mind.”


    March 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm

  2. […] 2011 NBA POY Watch 3/7 (asubstituteforwar.com) […]

  3. […] 2011 NBA POY Watch 3/7 (asubstituteforwar.com) […]

  4. […] 2011 NBA POY Watch 3/7 (asubstituteforwar.com) […]

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