Assorted Thoughts on the 2008 NBA Playoffs

The Guy I Underrated the Most Prior to the Playoffs

Honorable Mention - Rip Hamilton. Man he's an assassin. On top of that he cared throughout the Celtics series, which did not appear to be the case for some of his teammates. Now on to the winner.

Even after he made the All Star team and dropped 37 points on the Celtics I still felt that David West was a little overrated, largely due to playing with Chris Paul. I tend to make up for overvaluing Celtics by undervaluing players around the league. Then West averaged 21.2 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.9 blocks during the playoffs. On top of that he had the face-tapping incident with Dirk Nowitzki, the run in with Fabricio Oberto (not sure why that’s on fast forward), and overall a sense that he could lose his cool at practically any moment. At this point I’m sold on West’s talent, wonder if he’s secretly xenophobic, and think New Orleans needs another competent big coming off the bench. Although I do wonder about West's wiring. He might need to tone it down a few notches. And this is coming from a guy that defends Kevin Garnett against all critics.

As a side note did you watch that YouTube Clip of Nowitzki and West? What the hell was Dirk supposed to do? Hit him? The Mavericks got beat soundly as is, but would have been in a much worse state without Dirk for a game. 

The Guy That Reminds Me of My Favorite Fantasy Sports Joke

"Man his team would be unstoppable...in 2002." Note that joke really does not work if it is in fact 2002. But you get the point. And the winner is...Jason Kidd. Not a strong playoffs for him. He put up roughly 8.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists while absolutely getting worked by Chris Paul. And let's not forget Kidd throwing down Jannero Pargo.

The Guy That Opened Eyes But Then Came Back Down to Earth

Speaking of Jannero Pargo. He came out of the gate strong against Dallas and had his moments versus San Antonio as well. Unfortunately the wheels came off in that game 7 against the Spurs. Long story short he's still a role player, but a good one at that.

The Guy That Might be the Best Player in the NBA Regardless of What Others Say

LeBron James. I called him the best player in the League and then took it back after Kobe Bryant and the Lakers stormed through the Western Conference. Well then the Finals happened and once again I must reconsider. Would anybody argue that LeBron's supporting cast is better that Kobe's? On top of that I gave Kobe the nod because I viewed him as a better outside shooter. Well that didn't come through in the end despite a few three-point flurries. And don't forget, "A LeBron James Team is Never Desperate."

The Guy That I Felt Better About Before the Playoffs

I'm sure people have several different players in mind. But Carlos Boozer stands out for me. His 21 and 10 from the regular season were missed in Round 2 against the Lakers. I'm still convinced that a strong showing from Boozer would have made the Jazz dangerous. Well that and a concerted effort as a team not to slap opposing players, frequently sending them to the line in the process.

The Guy that Got Called Soft the Most

Pau Gasol. I wouldn't bet against him gaining redemption in the years to come.

The Guy That Yelled at His Mom in Front of the Most People

Lebron James tells Mom to Sit Down After foul (5.12.08) (via 23witty)

That still kills me.

The Guy That Launched LeBron James' Acting Career

Darius Songaila. You call that a punch? Seriously if LeBron tried that on someone like Dave Cowens he would have hated their next encounter.

The Announcer That Defended/Praised a Superstar to the Point That It Was Too Much

The nominees are...

1. Mark Jackson's "some players are champions even if they never win a trophy" argument in defense of Kevin Garnett, Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley, and anyone else (himself included I guess) whose game he admired.

2. Marv Albert's take on the Songaila/LeBron confrontation.

3. Doug Collins for his "looked like he had the ball a little bit",  "hard foul",  "I think they'll call a flagrant 1", and "frustration foul" after Kidd threw down Pargo.

4. Doug Collins throughout the "LeBron sit your ass down" segment but particularly at the end of this clip when he went into the "wise beyond his years" discussion.

5. Doris Burke for praising LeBron to the point that even LeBron was embarrassed in the Cavs/C's game she called.

6. Mark Jackson's "that's a clean play" after KG knocked Zaza Pachulia to the floor with a pick in the back court. Although to be fair I agreed with his assessment that Pachulia's teammates have to call out the pick. But I couldn't tell if my Boston bias was in overdrive.

And the winner is...Doug Collins! His defense of Jason Kidd was just too good. To review Kidd grabbed Pargo by the neck and threw him to the ground. The kicker? Pargo was in the air. Incredibly dangerous.

The Guy Who Added Insult to Defeat in the Most Convincing Fashion

Kevin Garnett for his pick on Zaza Pachulia in the waning moments of Game 7. Now this one is a little controversial. Plenty of people piled on KG for backing down from Pachulia in game 4. But as Donny Marshall noted, Pachulia for Garnett is a trade Atlanta would take any day of the week. Some guys are just too valuable to their teams. Still KG's critics call him a bully until players stand up to him. Blazers fans in particular bring it up. It's an interesting debate. Yet I like KG's approach. A player needs to keep his cool, stay in the game, file it away, and get revenge in a way that is not detrimental to the team.

The Stupidest Team in the League

The Wizards. Hat tip to Charles Barkley for coming up with this. Washington, in particular DeShawn Stevenson, needs to let its play do the talking and shy away from publicly taunting LeBron.

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