It’s always fun when the NBA Conference Players of the Month (POM) offer such a compelling contrast in styles—in this case, an impossibly gifted scoring dynamo and a throwback big with vintage moves and skills to match.
I don’t know, I’m always skeptical about these awards. Like sometimes I think they just pick certain players in order to boost their superstar street cred, which helps the NBA from a marketing perspective because…
Yeah, never mind. These guys were bananas last month.
KD comes as no surprise, of course—guy now has more POM fruitcakes than I have teeth (I’m assuming the awards are fruitcakes). Also, he's scored 25 or more points in 38 consecutive games, and could tie Michael Jordan's mark of 40 when the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Houston Rockets this Friday.
So, that's crazy.
Jefferson, however, might be the more feel-good choice. Criticized last summer for choosing a top-tier payday with the Charlotte Bobcats over other, somewhat more stable basketball environments, Big Al has done nothing but talk the talk all season, helping lead his team to its first playoff appearance since the 2009-10 campaign.
Ask Jefferson, however, and he’ll tell you he saw something in Charlotte’s youth-laden roster worth rolling the dice on. From an interview with Steve Reed of the Merced Sun-Star:
I thought this could happen for us if we worked for it. I couldn't tell you when I signed that we were going to be here in a playoff run, but I knew that if we locked into what coach (Clifford) wanted us to do and committed and dedicated ourselves to this team, that we were going to have a chance.
Turns out they have more than a chance: The Cats are currently just two games back of the Washington Wizards for the Eastern Conference’s No. 6 seed.
In Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Gerald Henderson, Charlotte boasts a youthful core perfectly suited to the veteran Jefferson’s more floor-bound game.
And then you remember Al himself is only 29 years old and quietly cry yourself to sleep because oh my Lord do I feel old.
As for Durant, we just hope his freezer has room for one more POM Fruitcake*.
*Yes, that is trademarked.