The All Star break has arrived for the NBA and that means were are halfway home. We will give you our thoughts on the best and worst players and teams of the first half and give some awards as well.
San Antonio Spurs (42-12)
One of the oldest teams in basketball is still getting it done. They not only have the best record in the Western Conference but in all of the NBA. Tony Parker has the led the way at the point averaging 21 points and 8 assists a game. Tim Duncan has rested more in the first half, but is still finding double doubles on most nights. Manu Ginobili continues to be their spark off the bench and Tiago Splitter has been a nice surprise in the middle. Popovich has put himself right in the thick of the Coach of the Year discussion with the way he has managed the experience and youth on his squad.
Charlotte Bobcats (12-40)
After winning 7 games in November, there was optimism in Charlotte. Then the Bobcats won one game in December and have continued their futility into the new year. Although they are a young team, there is too much talent to be this poor. Kemba Walker leads the way with 17 points and 6 assists a game. Ben Gordon was their big offseason move, but has underachieved and is now being shopped at the deadline. Mike Dunlap has done the best he can with an underachieving bunch in his first season, but will find the hot seat if this continues next year. The one positive for Charlotte is if they continue this horrendous play they will be getting a lot of lottery balls.
Matt – Orlando Magic (15-37)
Coach of the Year:
The man that has made hoops relevant again in Oakland. Jackson has the Warriors at 30-22 at the break and right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. He has done this without Steph Curry for portions of the first half due to injury. With David Lee’s inside game and Klay Thompson’s tremendous three point shooting the Warriors are dangerous all over the court. Add veterans like Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack off the bench and Golden State is a team that could be a threat in the postseason.
Matt – Gregg Popovich
Rookie of the Year:
This unknown player from Weber State has taken the NBA by storm. Lillard is averaging 18 points and 6.5 assists per game while running the show for the Blazers. He can drive to the basket and knock down the mid range jumper. He needs some work on his perimeter game, where he is shooting just 35 percent. With Anthony Davis being banged up all first half, Lillard has dominated his class so far.
Easily the best player in the game right now and he proved it all first half. James is averaging 27 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists a game. While there are many in the league that can score like James, there aren’t many that can do as many other things as he can. LeBron is a triple double waiting to happen every night he steps out on the court. In crunch time situations he stepped up his game and has put the Heat on his back in late game wins. Durant is having a great year, but if LeBron keeps this up in the second half, the MVP award is staying in Miami.
Matt – Kevin Durant
Second Half Storyline To Watch:
Matt – Will the Lakers wake up? The Lakers are worth keeping an eye on in any season, but with how big of a mess they’ve been this season it’s hard to look away. Will they continue to fizzle? Will they sneak into the playoffs…and make a deep playoff run?
Call me a homer but I am excited to see what Andrew Bynum will look like in a Sixer uniform. Bynum is expected to return in late February or early March pending on how his knee feels. He will definitely have a chip on his shoulder knowing that his performance could earn him a lot of money. If he performs well for the rest of the season the Sixers and a few other teams will seriously contemplate making him a focal point of their offense.