NBA Mailbag and End of Season Awards

Nate SmithCorrespondent INovember 2, 2016

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This is my first mailbag and I'll be answering questions that have been sent to me.


James (LA): I love your articles about Kobe. Do you think he'll be MVP this year?

Nate: Yes. While a number of sportswriters have a strong dislike for Kobe that will prevent them from being fair to him in MVP voting, I think the vast majority will place Kobe where they honestly think he should be based on his play this season. 


Ricky (Philly): Kobe is a punk! Giving him the MVP sends the wrong message to kids about the role of being a good teammate.

Nate: Good catch. I do worry about rewarding Kobe after his offseason demands, but in my opinion they were off-season. I only look to what happens during the season.

In any event, had the Lakers imploded and stunk, Kobe would have (rightfully so) shouldered almost all of the blame. It is only fair that he gets some of the credit when then win.


Roland (no location specified): Who do you think is coming out of the East?

Nate: I think Boston is going to come out of the East. The one thing I look at is defense and point differential. Boston is an excellent defensive team that wins convincingly.

Detroit has not exactly built up an impressive rhythm going into the playoffs, and I think that's going to hurt them in the later rounds.


Eric (Ft. Lauderdale): Why can't Melo stay out of trouble? 

Nate: Youth. Carmelo is good for one bonehead incident per year. 


Jack (San Antonio): The Lakers win against the Spurs was impressive, but I still think San Antonio is the team to beat once they get healthy. Agree?

Nate: Absolutely. The problem with San Antonio is that they go through long dry spells where they can't score. It doesn't matter how good their defense is, teams are going to go on runs. If San Antonio cannot score, they aren't going to be able to whether those storms.

Nonetheless, the reintroduction of Brent Barry, Manu Ginobli, and perhaps Robert Horry will allow San Antonio to be much more effective scoring the basketball.


Laura (NYC): Fact or fiction, Isiah Thomas will be the coach in New York next season.

Nate: Fiction. I think the Isiah experiment has run its course. He has managed to go from worst GM in the league to worst coach in the league. He is an absolute disgrace to the game of basketball because New York deserves a team that is competing for a title.

They have the best fans in all of the NBA and hopefully they get a coach who can push them. They really need a coach of Nate McMillian caliber.


Jeremy (no location specified): How can you say Kobe is the best player in the league? LeBron owns him head to head, puts up better stats, and is more dominant because of his size.

Nate: LeBron is the second best player in the game in my opinion. LeBron doesn't have the multitude of moves that Bryant has and isn't as good from the charity stripe. Kobe has elevated his team to a higher status while playing through injuries that LeBron sat out, all while playing much better defense than LeBron.

This is not a knock on James. He just has a while to go before he can claim to be as skilled, as dominant, or as mentally tough at Kobe. He's on the right track though. 


End of Season Awards



1. Kobe Bryant

2. Chris Paul

3. Kevin Garnett

4. LeBron James

5. Amare Stoudamire



1. Byron Scott

2. Doc Rivers

3. Nate McMillian

4. Jerry Sloan

5. Phil Jackson



1. Al Horford  

2. Kevin Durant

3. Luis Scola



1. Kevin Garnett

2. Marcus Camby

3. Kobe Bryant

4. Josh Smith 



1. Hedo Turkoglu

2. Chris Kaman

3. Chris Paul


All NBA 1st Team

G - Chris Paul

G - Kobe Bryant

F - LeBron James

F - Kevin Garnett

C - Dwight Howard


All NBA 2nd Team

G - Deron Williams

G - Steve Nash

F - Tim Duncan

F - Amare Stoudamire

C - Marcus Camby


All NBA 3rd Team

G - Manu Ginobli

G - Chauncey Billups

F - Dirk Nowitski  

F - Tracy McGrady

C - Tyson Chander


All NBA Defensive 1st team

G - Kobe Bryant

G - Bruce Bown

F - Josh Smith

F - Kevin Garnett

C - Marcus Camby 


All NBA Defensive 2nd Team

G - Raja Bell

G - Chris Paul

F - Shane Battier

F - Tim Duncan

C - Tyson Chandler


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