Four Big Things (and One Dominant Player) To Remember from the 2008-09 NBA Season
This season has been crazier than Anthony Anderson was during the Kings' romping of the Knicks this past Friday in New York.
The Pacers, a team that will not be making the playoffs, beat the Lakers, Celtics, Magic, and Cavaliers all at least once this year. The Clippers beat the Celtics in L.A., only to travel to Sacramento and get run out of the gym by the worst team in the league.
Antonio McDyess was traded to the Nuggets from the Pistons, then bought out by the Nuggets and re-signed with the Pistons. Stephon Marbury went from being a banished player in New York to a key piece off the bench for the Celtics.
Is there any point to all of this? Not really.
I'm merely making observations about things that happened this year. And as this season draws to a close, there are five other things that happened I would like to honor.
How will I honor these things? By writing this mediocre article that will probably be scoffed at by just about anyone who reads it.
Here are five arbitrary things that I felt needed to be mentioned about this season.
1. Biggest Surprise: Paul Millsap
Millsap has been a great player for the Jazz this season, and has always been effective off the bench. But it wasn’t until Carlos Boozer would be out for an extended period of time that Millsap would get his chance to shine.
In the months of December and January, Millsap averaged a double-double and had a 32-point explosion against the Celtics. His career high came against a team known for its tough interior defense.
2. Biggest Blessing in Disguise: Tracy McGrady Out for the Season
Poor McGrady. Since T-Mac decided to shut it down for the remaining games this year, the Rockets have been red hot. The Rockets have gone 16-5 since McGrady decided to sit out the rest of the season, including a six-game winning streak after McGrady’s last game, which coincidentally was a loss.
The Rockets are 20-15 with McGrady playing and are 27-11 when he has not played.
3. Most Dominating Player: Dwyane Wade
This one really goes without saying. D-Wade has put the Heat on his back and carried them through this entire season. He has finished 11 games this season with 40 points or more, two of which he scored 50 points in. The Heat would be nothing without Wade, and he has gotten the rest of the team to rally around him.
Wade is averaging 29.9 points per game, 2.23 steals a game, nearly a block and a half a game, 7.6 assists per game, and 5.1 rebounds per game. It is hard to say who will get the MVP, but Wade has a pretty good case to be made.
4. Biggest Upset: Sacramento Beating Los Angeles on Dec. 9, 2008
Wow. Let me tell you about that game. I am clearly a Kings fan, no doubt about it, but this game has to be one of the biggest upsets of the year. The Lakers currently hold the best record in the league, and have lost one less game than the Kings have won.
But their third loss of the season would come at the hands of the 5-16 Kings. John Salmons and Francisco Garcia frustrated Kobe Bryant the whole game and never really allowed him to get into any sort of rhythm.
The highlights on SportsCenter suggested Kobe had an “off night,” and that was the focus, even when Garcia and Salmons carried the team through the fourth quarter and Garcia had several big shots down the stretch.
5. Biggest Joke: The Los Angeles Clippers
This team has been a train wreck the entire year. There are a few notable wins, like the one they had against the Celtics, but there has been little to be excited about in Clipperland. Baron Davis has been in a season-long slump, Marcus Camby has been injured along with Chris Kaman, plus the Clippers have their hands tied with the terrible contract of Zach Randolph.
They have effectively created an awful logjam in the post between Kaman, Randolph, and Camby, and will have little to no cap flexibility in 2010. Mike Dunleavy is quickly becoming the new Isaiah Thomas. And that is saying a lot.
Perhaps next year they'll be more competitive.