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Friday, April 17, 2009

How Amazing Will Happen This Year, Pt. 3

There are some things you just don't brag about. You don't ever go up to a buddy and say, "Dude, I'm so much more modest than you." You don't brag about being "such a nice guy." Why? Because bragging about these things sort of violates the essence of the attribute.

Modest people don't brag. Nice guys aren't boastful. These are things that you may very well be aware of, but they lose validity if you brag about them.

You know what else fits into that sect? Team players don't brag about being team players. I feel like that is such a paradoxical idea.

So, as I was watching the NBA on ABC on Sunday, I was put off by something that LeBron said in an interview with Michael Wilbon. "I'm so much of a team guy that it's hard for me to look at the MVP trophy."


Does anyone else find that statement a little contradictory? You can't brag about being a team player! Especially when everyone already uses it as your calling card! That's like Harry Potter bragging about being loving and modest! Would you love Harry the same if he did that?

Bragging about stuff like that is kind of taboo. I don't like it.

Thanks for letting me vent (if you're still reading, you'll say "You're welcome." If not, your mom doesn't love you. Can't say I didn't warn you!)

Anyway, I'm in the middle of a mega-bunch of NBA postseason award posts. We broke them up to con you into actually reading them.

Post 1 laid down the(my) law on how to judge these awards and revealed Korked Bats' picks for Defensive POY.

Post 2 had some awesome Face-in-a-Hole and our picks for Most Improved and Sixth Man.

Post three has this sentence.

Let's do it!


Coach of the Year

Eric Spoelstra (Heat) and Mike Brown (Cavaliers) both get a lot of consideration for this pick. But if I were to award either one of these coaches for winning as many games as they did this year, I'd have to come give you an award every time you turn your computer on by pressing the start button.

Oh and that award would be called the "Award for Excellence in Common Sense." That's because that's all it took for those two guys to win as many games as they did this year.

How impressive is it that Eric Spoelstra and Mike Brown ran their offense through Dwyane Wade and LeBron James (respectively), surrounded them with shooters and athletes, and didn't let them come out of the game until either they were ready to collapse or the game was decided?

So while some credit is owed to Mike Brown for his defensive scheming and Eric Spoelstra for his development of rookies Mario Chalmers and Michael Beasley, they didn't really have as profound an effect on their team as others did.

I'm going with Portland's Nate McMillan, and I'm doing so for 3 reasons:
  1. He didn't give Greg Oden more minutes than he earned. After the disappointment of losing the former number one overall pick for the entire year last year, there was a lot of pressure to make Oden the starter and give him 35 minutes a night. Oden started for half of the season, but McMillan was smart with him down the stretch in realizing that Joel Pryzbilla gave better production and fewer fouls that Oden, and stuck to his guns.
  2. He's fantastic at properly utilizing his players. Brandon Roy isn't- and won't be- a 28 ppg guy. It's not his style. He can, however, score like one during crunch time. McMillan is excellent in using Roy as a distributor throughout the course of the game, and then cutting him lose in the last 5 minutes of the fourth quarter.
  3. He makes great use of his bench. If you feel like it, go check out Portland's roster. It's full of young, enticing players. I love the way McMillan manages all of his talent. He's right to bring Rudy Fernandez and Travis Outlaw off of the bench because of their energy. He's right to start Steve Blake because of his consistency. He's right to bring Oden off of the bench because the competition on NBA second team's isn't quite as adept as drawing fouls as most first units. He's right to start Nicolas Batum because he's so smart with the ball, but right to give Outlaw more minutes. You get the picture.
Korked Bats' 2009 Coach of the Year Picks

My pick: Nate McMillan
Davis' pick: Mike Brown
Kyle's pick: Mike Anderson
Austin's pick: Stan Van Gundy/Mike Brown toss-up
Zach's pick: Stan Van Gundy


Rookie of the Year

Well there's the numbers: Derrick Rose leads all rookies in assists per game, is second in minutes and scoring, and in the top 10 in countless other categories. Check.

There's the team success: Chicago went from 33 wins last year to 41 and a playoff berth this year. Check.

And there's the wow factor: tell me anything more fun than watching Derrick Rose grab a long rebound, explode up court through traffic, and throw down with two hands. Chiggity check.

This guy has serious chops, and should be able to win a few titles...as long as he doesn't play the Heat.

I do want to mention, however, how impressive this rookie class is. 18 play over 20 minutes a night. 13 (!) rookies average double digit points. Five grab at least 7 rebounds a night. Seven block at least one shot a game. 60 of them were drafted last June (just making sure you're still paying attention). You get where I'm going with this.

This class has a chance to be better than the 2005 class- and that saying something.

Korked Bats' 2009 Rookie of the Year Picks

My pick: Derrick Rose
Davis' pick: Rose
Kyle's pick: Thomas Ian Nicholas featuring Gary Busey
Austin's pick: Rose
Zach's pick: Gosta be Rose



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