Opinion: NBA midseason report card

Michael Moses

Michael Moses

Contact Michael Moses at [email protected].

I don’t know what’s harder to believe — that the NBA season is halfway through or that the Cavaliers just beat the Lakers. In just four months, lots of things have happened on and off the hard court. We’ve seen “The Heatles” take their tour bus throughout the continent, drawing both boos and more bandwagon fans than the Green Bay Packers. We met Blake Griffin and said goodbye to a coaching legend, Jerry Sloan. We cringed after every news alert through the longest losing streak in decades, as the Cleveland Cavaliers dropped 26 straight. We lost Greg Oden (again) to a season-ending injury. Yao Ming, too (surprised?).

As All-Star weekend starts Saturday evening, it’s time to hand out midseason awards.

MVP: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

He stays out of the media and doesn’t join a “super team.” He doesn’t demand trades and he stays in a small market. Yet his 28.9 points per game lead the NBA, not to mention Durant is third in minutes played.

For those reasons, give the man what he finally deserves! If you take KD off of the Thunder — a typical question when discussing MVPs — the team would not be the same.

This argument wouldn’t hold strong for LeBron James, as two of his fellow musketeers would still be in uniform.

Durant is a special talent with the stats to prove it. He’s easily the league’s Most Valuable Player to his team.

Rookie of the Year Not Named Blake Griffin: John Wall, Washington Wizards

The No. 1 overall pick in this draft hasn’t attracted as much attention as Griffin, but Griffin’s spectacular rookie season will go down as one of the best of all time. Wall is seventh in the NBA with 8.9 assists per game. He’s scoring, putting up Jason Kidd-like numbers and, most of all, leading a team as a 20 year old.

The lightning-fast point guard won’t take home the award, but Wall will be adding plenty of hardware in years to come.

Most Improved Player: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

The man went from averaging a respectable double-double last season to a monster double-double this season. His points are up from 14 to 21.1 per game and rebounds jumped from 11 to 15.5 per game.

The Lovemaster leads the NBA in rebounding by almost two whole rebounds (Dwight Howard is second at 13.8 per game).

The most impressive part about Love this season is his remarkable double-double streak, which includes the NBA’s first 30 point-30 rebound game since Moses Malone in 1982.

As of Thursday, Love has recorded 42 straight double-doubles. His total of 51 before the All-Star break snaps a 61-year-old record held by Hall of Famer George Mikan.


The Cleveland Cavaliers will turn their season around.

Byron Scott’s boys found out they could actually play the game of basketball this past Wednesday night, when they dropped the Los Angeles Lakers. Their record stands at 10-46. With 25 games remaining, they will win 12 of them and finish the season with 22 wins.

Carmelo Anthony will end up in a new jersey that reads New Jersey.

From the minute Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov ended all trade talks with Denver, I thought it was all a media stunt. He wanted everyone off the organization’s shoulders, wanted to focus on basketball. I knew they would continue to pursue Anthony, though. He’s simply too good to quit on. When the Feb. 24 trade deadline comes around, I’m betting Anthony is on the next flight to Newark.

If the Clippers can somehow get the No. 8 seed in the West, Blake Griffin could make a case for MVP, not just Rookie of the Year.

Think about that. A rookie winning MVP of the league. He would be the third player in history to do so, joining Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain and Wes Unseld. It’s not out of reach or crazy to think, either. He’s 12th in the league in scoring and fourth in rebounding. Griffin has led the Clippers to a turnaround season and a chance at a playoff birth. Do the voters look at what the player means to their team, or not? Of course they do. This issue would not be a joke.

The Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs will meet in the NBA Finals.

So much for all of the hype in South Beach. Forget the talk of three-peating in Los Angeles. Nobody gave the Celtics or the Spurs a shot at the title, and here we are midway through the season with two teams full of veterans leading the surge. The veteran presence (Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett) and emerging youth (Rajon Rondo, Dejuan Blair) of these two teams makes for the perfect balance. Boston (40-14) was once known for having the big three, but would be nowhere without their young point guard. The Spurs (46-9) have tons of experience in Duncan (Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili) and have cruised to one of the best starts in NBA history. In the end, head coaches Greg Popovich and Doc Rivers will have the teams everyone is talking about.