• Chris Bosh’s injury is worse than originally thought. They are now using the dreaded “High Ankle Sprain” moniker to describe it. In all, he will end up missing around 3 weeks total, which puts him in line with what is usually expected with a High Ankle Sprain injury. With the Miami Heat “no practice, no play” policy in place, expect Bosh to make his return versus the Orlando Magic on February 3rd at the earliest.
• Dwyane Wade’s migraine issue forced Coach Spoelstra to “adjust” or use the injury to put in some interesting sets. Those post opportunities that you saw Lebron James have versus the Toronto Raptors, are the same opportunities that Dwyane Wade has gotten on a regular basis. So did Lebron James just take over some of Wade’s duties? Well, yes, but it is deeper than that. The simple fact is that their positions on the court make a vast difference on how the opposition defends these post ups. Lebron catching the ball 10 feet from the basket creates many more mismatches than a mere Wade post up does. For one, Lebron James is a better passer from the post, and quite frankly is bigger, and that alone causes teams to try to matchup with their #4′s and Lebron can just chew those guys up with his speed, drawing fouls.
• The “goggles” Dwyane Wade has worn in practice this week are merely the same M Frame Oakley glasses with slash strap that Amare Stoudemire also wears. They go for about $250 retail with custom red tint lenses. They do fit very snugly and feel pretty good on your face (I have worn them before), so this might start a brief Dwyane Wade fashion trend. Remember the Dwyane Wade “Nelly like” band aid?
• Carmelo Anthony finally mentioned the elephant in the room. The impending labor unrest. When New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov announced that the Nets would pull out of negotiations for a Melo trade, the Denver Nuggets immediately went to the front of the line for Carmelo Anthony’s services. The simple facts are these: The only team that stepped up to Denver’s demands were the Nets. The Nets have since “pulled out” of talks. Melo’s preferred destination (New York Knicks) have displayed no interest in emptying out their roster in pursuit of the Denver forward, and the only place where 3 years for 65 million is a sure thing is Denver. 12 to 15 million a year on a new max deal under a hypothetical “new” CBA next year or a average of around 22 million a year for the next 3 years? You be the judge. The Nuggets have played a game of chicken with Carmelo Anthony, and they seem to be winning. For the first time in a while, the Nuggets retaining Carmelo Anthony by default is not such a far fetched idea.
• Of all the buyout candidates around the league, Troy Murphy, as stated in a previous column of mine really intrigues me. The original scuttlebutt among NBA writers was that he really did not have any enthusiastic suitors at first glance, but that could easily be a residue of the obvious lack of trade partners for the New Jersey Nets for the power forward’s services. I have to believe that Troy Murphy can help teams such as the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks and even the Miami Heat in a “stretch four” capacity.
• Blake Griffin sneaking himself onto MVP discussions is a bit premature. Griffin is on a mediocre to bad basketball team and his numbers, although impressive are dwarfed by recent MVP snubs Dwyane Wade’s (08-09′ season) and Kevin Durant’s (09-10′ season). His season has been very impressive from a efficiency standpoint, but his team is just not winning enough.
• Jerry West made some comments this week that should surprise no one. The Los Angeles Lakers are getting “old” and their window is almost closed? Well, yeah. Kobe Bryant is not the same player he was just a year ago. Pau Gasol has been fading since the Christmas Day beatdown at the hands of the Miami Heat, and their offseason acquisitions are pretty clearly a bust (Steve Blake, Matt Barnes). The Lakers still remain a viable championship contender due to their size and their newly found defensive prowess, so there is no need to panic in La La land, but any talk of a “dynasty” should be tempered. The Window is definitely closing.
• You can cross off the Dallas Mavericks as serious contenders now. The loss of Caron Butler has exposed their deficiency at defending wing players and their 2-3 zone has suffered mightily in his absence. The Mavs have taken to signing Peja Stojakovic in the hopes that he can find his 3 point stroke to offset some of the loss of Butler’s offense. The defensive liability will be amplified now.
MVP: Derrick Rose - CHI (The leader of the runaway #3 seed in the east, while dealing with many injuries)
ROY: Blake Griffin - LAC (no brainer)
DPOY: Lebron James - MIA (Has been erasing his counterpart on a regular basis all year)
Most Improved: Dorell Wright - GSW (from irrelevant bench fodder to getting starter minutes and filling up the boxscore)
6th man: Serge Ibaka – OKC (Glen Davis is a strong contender here, but he has started several games to pad his stats, Ibaka has as well, so tabbing Ibaka for this award is fair)
Coach of the year: Gregg Popovich - SAS (Seriously, who saw this coming? This is indeed a remade Spurs team playing at a quicker pace, the wins have piled up. Pop deserves credit.)