Welcome to another edition of NBA Nation Australia’s Roundtable! This week we’ll be tackling more hot topics from around the league including George Karl, the MVP award, the free agent debate in LA, most improved teams, Derrick Rose and Kobe’s mum (only because it’s Mother’s Day). We also welcome back podcaster and blogger Jabari Davis from The OpinioNation (theopnation.com), Brent Veale formerly of That Basketball Show and Tom Read from the #BelieveTheHype podcast!
Portland Trail Blazers rookie, and 6th overall pick in the NBA Draft Damian Lillard has won the 2012/13 Kia Rookie of The Year Award, the NBA announced this morning. 22 year-old Lillard had a phenomenal year and was considered the clear frontrunner for the honor for the better part of the season, averaging 19 points and 6.5 assists per game over an average of 38 minutes (lead NBA). He was voted as the winner unanimously by a panel of sports journalists totaling 605 votes, nearly double that of second placed Hornets/Pelicans center Anthony Davis. It is the first unanimous vote for the award since Blake Griffin in 2011. Congratulations, Damian Lillard.
Read the NBA’s press release HERE.
After yesterday’s embarrassing loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and his untimely ejection from the game early in the third quarter, and what appeared to be a confrontation with GM Mitch Kupchak (later dismissed) Lakers center Dwight Howard finally opened up to the world via Twitter in an attempt to rectify what he felt to be one of the most disappointing seasons of his career. Howard, widely regarded as the league’s best center, was ejected from yesterday’s game following his second technical foul for questioning the officials non-call after what he believed to be a hard foul. In the midst of all this, the Lakers were down by 20 points and Dwight being ejected at this point essentially spelled a loss before the game was even over, and the end of the 2012/13 Lakers season.
DeAndre Jordan just registered his Dunk of The Year application all over Brandon Knight. OUCH!
We don’t really know what to say apart from WOW! Vintage Kobe, with authority sends Staples Centre into a frenzy with this thunderous dunk over Josh Smith down the stretch ofg the Lakers 99-98 win over Atlanta. BOOM!
Is he even human?
Fights are not often seen in the NBA anymore, but this one between the Indiana Pacers and Golden State Warriors is definitely the most confronting of season 2012/13.
Bring back the biff.
This week’s tweet of the week comes from new Twitter convert Kobe Bryant, and it’s a doozie. After Mavs owner Mark Cuban suggested earlier this week that the Lakers, if they truly wanted to accommodate Dwight Howard, could potentially amnesty Kobe Bryant to make their future franchise centerpiece happy and save some serious money. Not only is it unrealistic, a move like this would be a PR nightmare for the Lakers, as Kobe has become a symbol for the City of LA throughout his career and fan backlash would be outrageous. This isn’t to say Cuban’s comments are out of line. He mentioned amnestying Dirk in the same sentence, but it’s still not something Laker fans like to hear, and with good reason. He just dumped 38 points 12 rebounds and 7 assists on the Mavs in the Lakers emphatic win earlier today. He’s still got it, and decided to let Mark know exactly how he felt. Not only did Kobe speak with his game, he also gets our Tweet of The Week for his very public response:
Cuban took it like a champ though….
As you were.
It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Lakers have built their franchise on risk taking and money spending. From the showtime era to the current…well… not so showtime era, the Lakers have always been happy to spend the extra money, and take the extra risk to ensure that silverware returned to the city. This ethos has paid off for the Lakers time and time again, but now, they face a whole new risk and as of 3PM (US EST) today, they officially handed over the reigns to a man who now has the club, and the people of LA eating out of the palm of his hand and bowing to his every need. The Lakers are now at the beckon call of Dwight Howard and if this team is to succeed in the near future, it is imperative that they do all they can to keep him. I have argued, as have many, that the Lakers, in order to remain top dog should trade Howard as the risk of losing him to free agency for nothing is too great a risk to take. If he leaves, the Lakers are left with nothing but a memory of the year that could have been, but wasn’t. They however, do not feel the same way. The trade deadline has come and gone and as Mitch Kupchak stated would be the case, Dwight Howard is still very much a Laker and he will be until July 1st 2013. Beyond that only he knows but now, he can dictate his way around the Lakers organization just as he did Orlando. He can direct to his taste the offense, the defense, the coach, the players. Everything.
Washington Wizards guard Jordan Crawford has been traded to the Boston Celtics today in exchange for the injured Leandro Barbosa, sources confirm. Included in the deal, Jason Collins who will suit up for the Wizards. While Crwaford was seemingly a valuable part of the Wizards’ plan, he has been on the receiving end of reduced minutes behind Bradley Beal and more recently has had four straight DNP-CD’s to his name. Boston’s need for athletic big men have not been the focus of trades this year, but it is thought that Crawford’s ability to register good numbers will help Boston’s back court offense alongside Avery Bradley, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Paul Pierce. Leandro Barbosa’s contract stands at only $2.3 Million giving the Wizards room to move under the cap in free agency.
Orlando Magic guard JJ Redick has been traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in a 6 player deal before the 3PM trade deadline Thursday (USA). The trade sees the veteran head to the Bucks alongside Gustavo Ayon and fellow guard Ish Smith in exchange for Beno Udrih, Doron Lamb and Tobias Harris. Redick has been scoring a career-high 15 points per game since his minutes increased post-Dwight Howard, and is set to become a free agent this summer.
The Magic had no intention of signing him to a long term deal for the money he was asking therefor making a trade the likely outcome. Orlando also traded Josh McRoberts to Charlotte for Hakim Warwick making them the deadline’s most active team, considering Atlanta’s hesitation to move Josh Smith before his impending free agency and the Lakers refusing to trade Howard. Redick will serve as a back up guard to Milwaukee’s Monta Ellis as he too was not moved before the deadline.