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NBA 2006

Mid Season Props -- All Stars Selected

We’re getting close to the All-Star break, so now would be as good a time as any to recognize the players who are kicking butt and tab our mid season picks for who will be collecting awards at the end of the season -- All-NBA teams, Rookie of the Year (ROY), Coach of the Year, MVP, and the NBA Champs.

It’s been a great season so far, with scoring and shooting percentages up. The spacing, timing, hand-checking rules are all having their intended affect of making the game more fast-paced and offense-minded. “Issues” like the dress code turned out to be non-issues. The guys look good in business casual. And Shaq & Kobe made up in a public way which is good for the game as well. Speaking of the game, let's get back to it with my selections for who will get the hardware -- the rings, the kudos, and the trophy -- and who will be going home without a pot to...


ROY

Fast paced and exciting -- these two terms embody how Chris Paul has played so far. He’s leading his team to the playoffs and is the early run-away favorite for Rookie of the Year. No other rookie comes close to showing Paul’s superstar potential. Of course, this could change once some of the other rookies start getting some PT, but at this point in time, it's all Chris Paul. Next stop, Team USA 2008.


Coach of the Year

When your team has done it all year long, there’s no denying a coach a little respect. Detroit is the team and Flip Saunders is the coach. There is no body playing close to these guys. They slapped San Antonio down twice without breaking a sweat. The coach has brought new energy and if Detroit wins again, they have to considered a mini dynasty.

Strong consideration will also be given to Avery Johnson who has turned the Mavericks around in just one year. Defense is his mantra and he couldn’t have found more fertile ground for his message to take hold.


MVP

I want to go with Chauncey Billups on this… his team has done such a great job of working together to win. He’s the general who makes it happen and he has confidence. But there are a few developing stories.

First is Steve Nash. With superstar teammate, no offense to “The Matrix”, Amare Stoudemire ready to come back, it’s possible the Suns could soar. Nash will get a lot of the credit if they do, as he should.

Second is Kobe Bryant. His team is only hovering around 50% but he’s advancing to places only Jordan took us. We’ve seen glimpses in the past, but right before our eyes we’re watching a player take it to a higher level.

Third is LeBron James. Speaking of taking it to another level, this guy is toying with the league. He plays like a seasoned vet yet he’s only 21. And now he’s leading his team to the playoffs. If he makes hay in the playoffs, it will probably go to James.

Two other players having strong seasons include Dirk Nowitzki and Allen Iverson. Both deserve some votes for the incredible seasons they’re putting together.


NBA Champs

Detroit. It’s an easy call at this time. Who can take them? We’ll have a pow wow before the end of the season, but if the same continues, we’ll be crowning the Pistons. They punished the Spurs in both of their meetings, but the Mavericks, Heat, and Suns also have shot at winning it all.


First Team

Steve Nash
Kobe Bryant
LeBron James
Kevin Garnett
Tim Duncan

Second Team

Chauncey Billups
Allen Iverson
Dwyane Wade – We don’t talk about this guy enough. He’s just so solid in every facet of the game.
Elton Brand – No more sneaking in under the radar. Elton, this is your year.
Dirk Nowitzki

Other players deserving consideration include Carmelo Anthony, Gilbert Arenas, Paul Pierce, and Tracy McGrady


Top Five

1) Detroit Pistons - Ready to fall to number 2? No, but the run for 70 is over. Maybe they'll make 65.
2) Dallas Mavericks - Twelve in a row. That's what I've been asking for all season long. Good teams do this kind of thing. They just need to keep from peaking too soon.
3) San Antonio Spurs - The Duncan injury is keeping him at less than 100%, but his team will need him if they are to repeat.
4) Phoenix Suns - Rising slowly. Will Stoudemire come back strong? The overall success of the season depends on it.
5) Miami Heat - Starting to build some continuity. With Shaq still dominant in stretches, Wade expanding his game, and a strong supporting cast, the second half will show what this team is all about.