Welcome to the NBA Roundtable.
This is where you will find our thoughts on the leagues hottest topics. Today we look at the race for MVP, Lakers vs Clippers, The Heat and Linsanity.
Our NBA Roundtable Knights are;
Nick How: @Nick_A_How
Rod Wallis: @RoddmannW
Nick Caro: @NickToGo
Sam Monaghan: @mono85
1. LeBron or Durant: Who has the inside track on the MVP award?
Nick H – I’m going to go with my heart over my head on this one and say Durant.
As Ethan Sherwood Strauss said from HoopSpeak MVP is just as much
about story as it is performance and Durant’s story is one i’m buying
into. He has taken the league by the horns since he entered in 2007
and has progressed hugely every year since. Not only is he a model
professional but is a great ambassador for the game. Currently playing
the best ball in his young career, and will dominate the league for
years to come. The NBA would be doing the right thing awarding Durant
the MVP (basically I just don’t want to see Lebron as MVP again).
Rod W - As usual the MVP won’t win the MVP (I’m thinking Nash over Kobe, Rose over Dwight…). Durant will win despite LeBron’s superior numbers, if only because LeBron is the most unlikeable superstar since Karl Malone and the media will give their votes to KD.
Nick C - Coming into the second half of the season it’s incredibly hard to pick who’ll take out MVP this year. LeBron James has been playing the best basketball of his career of late and with a 36 point showing the Sunday’s All Star game, and his Miami Heat with not only the best record in the league, but also cruising on an 8-game win streak, it’s impossible to write him off. However a penchant for the inevitable “Choke” could hurt Miami’s biggest star in the race for MVP. But look for a moment if you will, at Kevin Durant’s numbers midway through this season. He is the number 2 scorer in the league behind Kobe Bryant scoring an average of 27.9 PPG (Shooting at .513 from the field/.836 FT’s) and with his team on a 27-7 home and away record, many say the Thunder are unbeatable. If this continues, Durant will be the quiet achiever in this battle. Sure, Oklahoma don’t have the razzle dazzle the Heat do, but with the deadly combination of Durant and Russell Westbrook dominating the league, it’s hard to see LeBron gaining the edge in this one.
Sam M - Lebron: Lebron is so much more important to his team and their title chase than Durant today. They both have identical stats (27 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assist’s per game) so statistically they are inseparable. If Durant took a few games off to rest or injury the Thunder would continue to roll behind Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, Davis and Brooks. Removing Lebron from the Miami lineup takes away a strong presence and allows the opposition to focus all their attentions on Wade. Public perception (or mis-conception?) will always dog Lebron.
2.Clippers or Lakers: Who wins the Pacific Division?
Nick H - Lakers, but only just pipping the Clippers to it. Damn it’s good to
finally see the Clippers competing.
Rod W - Lakers bring the ruckus post-AS break and take the division. Clippers will drop a few a few games when CP3 takes some games off to rest his rusty kne
Nick C - Who can deny history, right? 16-time World Champions, arguably the greatest player to ever grace NBA still running the show, a whole city behind them that require nothing less than a championship EVERY SINGLE YEAR, a former coach of the year? There is no doubt a team that has all that comes second…. Right? Right?? Maybe not. For the first time in oh, I don’t know, ever the Lakers cross town rivals the LA Clippers are above them on the pacific division table midway through the season, and have an arsenal of weaponry ready to defend that spot. Here’s what’s going down. If the Lakers do not make a change to their back court and soon, the Clippers will hold the keys to the city of Los Angeles in 2012. The Lakers cannot compete with a Chris Paul/Blake Griffin offense unless they speed up their own back court and if that does not happen, the Clippers will take the Pacific. The playoffs may tell a different story, but for now, with the two teams as they are, the Clippers are simply too strong.
Sam M - Lakers: This is a trick question. I feel as though the Lakers talent and experience will seem them heat up down the road. The Clippers have the 3rd hardest schedule in the league the rest of the way. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for Vinny to start resting his players in preparation for a long, gruelling Finals campaign and that might result in a fright or two along the way. At the end of the day I’m banking on the determination of a ‘hard as nails’ Kobe and the experience of the Lakers to out last the Clips.
3. Sizzle or Fizzle: Does the Jeremy Lin story have legs?
Nick H - Sizzle. Obviously he was never going to be able to continue that
streak forever, but it’s obvious that Mr Lin-Sanity himself can ball.
Despite being surrounded by former & current All-Stars there is still
plans for Lin within D’Antoni’s system. Stern will want this story to
roll on as Lin’s profile and jersey sales in Asia will go off, and can
do nothing but good for the League.
Rod W – Sizzle. Lin will be around for a long time. He’s single-handedly saved Mike D’Antoni’s career. For that reason alone he will keep getting big minutes and posting big numbers.
Nick C- Sizzle. Yes. It’s not known if it will end in tears of joy or just tears, but what we do know is this. The people love an underdog. A story of a poor college student, about to be dropped from the bench of his basketball team and by chance, receives a call up after a starting lineup injury, only to rise up and become the number one talked about topic the world over, and the King of New York City. We don’t know how it ends yet, but this story will go down in history as one of the most inspiring of its time. Jeremy Lin will not be without his critics and as time goes by, they will slowly start to come out of the woodwork. But the fact remains, this is the story of a 20 something year old kid, who conquered the world in 7 days. Stories like this don’t disappear overnight, they go on forever.
Sam M – Fizzle.As the Knicks lose more and more games this story fades.
4. Staying or Going: Will Dwight Howard be traded by March 15?
Nick H - Going. I’d love to be talking about how some of those early rumours of
Ainge making moves for him awhile back were looking like coming to
fruition but they’re not.
Howard hasn’t checked out physically but he has definitely got his
sights on making a new home. I don’t think the Lakers will pull the
trade off, and believe Dwight will want to team up with Deron Williams
at New Jersey.
Rod W – Staying. Otis Smith has a proven track record of making terrible decisions. Not trading Dwight and losing him as a free agent for nothing will be the latest one.
Nick C – Going.Haven’t we heard enough of this tired old trade rumour? We haven’t seen this much speculation and drama since LeBron James left Cleveland! All we know for sure, is that Howard wants out, his contract is up in two weeks and he becomes a free agent with the ability to choose his own destiny. That’s it. All the speculation is hearsay, nothing more. The reality is that if the Magic don’t trade Howard, he will leave and they will have nothing. I don’t see a quality franchise such as Orlando allowing their star to leave without getting something in return. The word is that they turned down the Lakers when they offered Bynum, but that has to be false. Bynum is the second best, if not THE best big man in the league and the Magic know that. Maybe they want something from LA to sweeten the deal, or maybe they have a different plan entirely with a completely different team. Dwight Howard will leave Orlando, but where, when and why will remain a mystery until the very end.
Sam M- Staying: The Magic will not give up an asset if they don’t have to. It doesnt look like they have learnt from their last experience with Shaq. It looks like Howard will walk after 8 seasons with the Magic it looks like its all over. It’s a shame because although he hasnt played as hard this year he is still average league best numbers – even representing the East in the All-Star Game.
5.Title or Bust: Which will it be for the Miami Heat this season?
Nick H - Title. Pains me to say it but the ‘New Big 3′ will finally pull it
off, and Lebron will finally get his ring and then we’ll hear all the
stories about him being the greatest blah blah blahhhhh!
Rod W -Bust. The Heat won’t even get past the Bulls.
Nick C - Title. This is a team who perilously let last year’s championship slip through their fingers at the hands of the Mavericks and it won’t happen again. Once bitten twice shy for Miami in 2012. This team was built to win, and winning they are. Can they avoid the choke? Do they have the legs to outlast Oklahoma or Chicago? You bet your bottom dollar they do. The ease and beauty with which James and Wade play together is something not seen often and it is almost impossible to defend. Throw Bosh and a high intensity bench in the mix and you have the most powerful assault in the NBA. That’s what champions are made of. The Thunder have what many call the best player in the league, and are no doubt on track to win a championship in the next few years, but it’s Miami’s time now. The Heat don’t’ just want to win, they simply have to.
Sam M - Title: The Heat are under the radar at the moment. They wont even feel the glare of the spotlight till the 3rd round of the Finals. This team has a new attitude – work hard and win. No talking, no bragging, no taunting, just win. Thats what they are doing. This year they have the best starting 5 in the league. One on one they might lose but they are the best team in the game today.
Thanks for reading today – this was our first table.
If you think we got it wrong, think we are out of our minds or just want to say hi the easiest way is to contact us via our twitter’s;
Nick How: @Nick_A_How
Rod Wallis: @RoddmannW
Nick Caro: @NickToGo
Sam Monaghan: @mono85
See you next week for another edition of NBA Roundtable.