It's no secret by now that I am a die hard Laker fan. However, I am also a fan of basketball altogether. Although I may not like a certain team, I will always give the appropriate marks for players who show consistent play.
Lets start with Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics. The Lakers long time rivals have produced a guard who remains a thorn in every teams side. His quick and precise ball-handling and movement on the floor allow him to glide around most defenders with ease and cunning, much like a rattlesnake attacking a mouse. Deadly and accurate.
At this point the only real problems Rondo has are the fact he remains in the shadows of the big three of Pierce, Allen and Garnett whose play can be considered shaky at best. The team most often looks disheveled, a far cry from the dominance they brought only two years ago pimp slapping my Lakers into submission.
Rondo's weakness: I believe, will be loyalty to the Celtics in hopes for another championship. With Allen and Garnett's careers in the balance, I admire his constitution, but maybe it is time to consider a team with more consistent play.
Next is Dwayne Wade, I still admire and respect this man as probably one of the best to play the game. Wade has faded into the background not because of his play but because of a bad team all around. If your team is not doing well, you can kiss any chances of MVP out the window. No matter how much he tries to bring his team into contention, bad ball-handling, missed shots and what appears to be a laxed attitude by his team is placed on Wade.
Wade's weakness: Much like Rondo he suffers from what I call Karl Malone syndrome. He is focused so much on staying with Miami, he fails to realize he has a massive chance at getting to a team that could take a championship within two years of him arriving. Oklahoma is my top choice for Wade. More on that in a bit.
Next is my boy Shannon Brown of the Lakers. Brown has been laying in the weeds and only playing minimal minutes due to Vujacic always replacing Bryant. But with Sasha not delivering, Brown has been given a chance and has flourished in his new role. He may not make 27 or 28 in night while starting but he usually will produce with a decent FG% and assists. While Brown is far from a LeBron, Anthony or Kobe status player he is one of the main reason's why a bench player can be a migraine for an other team.
Shannon's weakness: I feel sometimes he focuses to much on the flashy style of dunking and not enough on his jump shot. True Shannon is probably the best dunker, (regardless of his poor showing at the All-Star game). But; you do not win games off flashy dunks. Shannon keep it simple and trust your execution and jump shot.
LeBron James, the king is never a far thought from any contender or fans mind. LeBron is probably the best all around player in the game today. Attacking his enemies with skilled and surgeon like precision that never fails to excite an audience and frustrate the opponent. The mere mention of his name will raise every emotion in a true basketball players body. LeBron never fails to give anything less then 100% every night.
LeBron's weakness: I feel is his attitude towards Basketball. LeBron has been, for a lack of a better word, hyped so much he believes he is indestructible. A very poor showing of sportsmanship after losing to Orlando and then his references to other teammate's having to, "force points", when asked about his teams defense. LeBron return to the humble king you were and not this vain cougar you have become.
Kobe Bryant is, as far as I am concerned, still the best in the game. To reach stamina to play with dislocated or broken fingers and still come out champions is nothing less then amazing. Numerous buzzer beaters this season to give L.A. the win is exciting for the Lakers fans. For a persons drive to be so much to win, I am sorry, is enough to make him the best player in the league. But; in hind sight. If the team had been playing the way they were last year, maybe those buzzer beaters would not be needed.
Kobe's weakness: I feel Kobe is back to where he was in the 2000-2001 season where large numbers for him = losses for the team. I think Gasol and Odom are getting frustrated and Bynum is producing very little to the team. Kobe is reaching goals and all the while feels he needs to produce everything for the team. Love his game, but I admit, ego is raining its ugly head again. Kobe and all the Lakers. OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS! Just because a team mate puts up a shot does not mean you can run to the other end of the court with the assumption the ball is going in or somebody else will get the rebound.
Last and far from least is Kevin "The Icicle" Durant. I seriously can not say enough good things about this young man. The forward for the OKC Thunder has taken a team that finished at the bottom of the league last year and has now put them into title contention. Durant is now listed as NBA.com's second choice for MVP. I think LeBron, Kobe, Anthony and Howard should be tossed aside this year, Durant should receive the award.
I seriously do not think he is the same caliber as the above mentioned names. At least not yet. However; Durant has placed his team in a higher seed then more established teams in the West. Lets also mention how much tougher the Western conference is compared to the Eastern conference and you have a sure footing for MVP. LeBron, Kobe, Anthony I love you guys but Durant has my vote!
The simple point is Like a player or love a player you have to admire their play. From Anthony and Billups in Denver to Dwight Howard in Orlando each player brings something to the game that causes us to tune in and see what happens. This is what makes the game so great.