NBA Big Questions: Week Nine

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Every Monday (except for the two week holiday hiatus we just had) during the NBA season The Hoops Manifesto and its Bloguin bredren team up to answer some of the burning questions from the world of the NBA. In this edition we name our All-NBA Teams after the first two months of the season, decide whether the Suns should trade Steve Nash and figure out which division is the toughest so far.


Contributors: Jeff Fox from The Hoops Manifesto, Aaron Hodges and LIVES from Knicks Fanatics, Diego from Leaving It All On The Court, Philip from Orlando Magic Daily, Deborah Horton from Hawks Highlights and brumbygg and Don from With Malice.


1) All-NBA Teams after two months of play:

First Team

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Guard – Dwyane Wade – Miami

“Dwyane Wade has to be given much respect for the load that he’s carrying in Miami. After getting off to a sluggish start he’s been nothing short of spectacular during the Miami Heat’s recent run.” – Aaron Hodges 
 
Guard – Kobe Bryant – Lakers

“For all the hemming and hawing from supposed experts, Kobe’s putting up his career averages despite playing fewer minutes than he has since his second year.  If anyone’s counting, that’s 14 years ago.” – Don

Forward – LeBron James – Miami

“LBJ continues to dominate. Fortunately for Celtics fans, he can’t handle The Truth in the playoffs….” – brumbygg

“LBJ’s doing what he has always done: that is, playing excellent basketball and putting his foot in his mouth.” – Don

Forward – Dirk Nowitzki – Dallas

“The Mavs’ struggles without him have shown how good he is. He is the guy on Dallas that has them back in title contention, which not many people went into the season expecting. I expect him to win the MVP because I don’t see the media voting for the MVP for a player on Miami, Boston or San Antonio.” – Diego Quezada

Center – Dwight Howard – Orlando

“We know what Dwight Howard has been all about since he’s been in the league. Defense and rebounding are his cornerstones. Now that he’s taken his offensive repertoire to another level he’s on the verge of being a very scary player.” – Aaron Hodges 

“There is just no other center in the league playing at his level. He is a rock defensively and his offense has improved dramatically. Might say more to his leadership abilities that his team has turned around while integrating three key players on the roster.” – Philip

Second Team

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Guard – Rajon Rondo – Boston

“Despite his injury worries, Rondo continues to take his game to new levels. The addition of the mid-range jumper spells trouble for the rest of the league. The Celtics continue to be hot and Rondo is the QB running the show.” – brumbygg

“The assist numbers are just insane. He is making 20 assist games look normal. NBA has not seen that in a long time.” – Philip

Guard – Derrick Rose – Chicago

“Thus far, for my money the best point in the game.  In contention for MVP.” – Don

Forward – Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City

“The preseason favourite for MVP honours, Kevin Durant has been slept on a bit to start off the season.  But with OKC in first place now, the spotlight should be back on KD.” – Jeff Fox

Forward – Amar’e Stoudemire – New York

“Who’da thunk the Knickerbockers would be this good?  And that’s largely on Amare.” – Don

Center – Pau Gasol – Lakers 

“The best second banana in the NBA (no, Miami doesn’t really have a second banana.”) – Jeff Fox

2) Rumours abound that the Suns are contemplating trading Steve Nash, perhaps to the Knicks.  Should Phoenix ship Nash out of town and should New York make an effort to get him, or are they better off continuing their efforts to woo Carmelo Anthony?

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“The main thing is Nash doesn’t want to leave Phoenix, so the Suns really shouldn’t go out of their way to try to trade him.  While Goran Dragicis a solid backup, he appears to be nothing more than that – a backup.  Only if a team is willing to part with a young stud (which they probably won’t be), the Suns are best off keeping Nashty in the desert.” – Jeff Fox

“The Suns should probably ship Nash off – but maybe not to New York.  Anthony seems a much better fit for the Knicks than does Nash.” – Deborah Horton

“From New York’s perspective it makes sense to entertain the idea of acquiring a player like Steve Nash but there’s so many factors to consider and I just don’t believe that they should go too far down this road. If he falls into their lap witha deal that doesn’t handcuff them financially then, yes, pull the trigger but I can’t imagine a deal making sense for both teams that doesn’t involve Raymond Felton, who should be untouchable right now.  From the Suns perspective they should trade Nash only if it means they get a young superstar in the deal. Other than that i don’t think it would be wise to trade one of the best point guards, albeit an aging one at the end of his career, when he could help bring along the younger fellas and put butts in the seats. I don’t think he goes anywhere.” – Aaron Hodges 

“The best move for the Suns would be to trade the Suns to the Houston Rockets for YaoMing’s expiring contract to get some cap relief. The Rockets have some prospects — Aaron Brooks, Courtney Lee — and picks to help the Suns rebuild. It’s funny to notice how Phoenix almost went to the Finals last June, but has now decided to start all over again.  With regard to the Knicks, is there really a need for Nash with Raymond Felton playing so well? I know Felton is no Nash, but New York has more pressing needs. They need more depth. Right now, the latest reports are that the Nets are trying hard to get Carmelo Anthony in a New Jersey uniform. The Knicks should also get creative, bringing in other teams to try to help them bring Melo to NY.” - Diego Quezada 

 I think New York should not be looking into Steve Nash. We know how the Stoudemire-Nash-D’Antonithing works out, and it does not equal a championship. And those Phoenix teams had a lot better talent to work with around the Nash-Stoudemire combo. So I think New York is better off looking for a perimeter scorer from another source. The Knicks have a pretty decent point guard in Raymond Felton. While he is not at Nash’s level, with Anthony in the fold, I think he would do the job.” – Philip

“Get Nash, and the chances of persuading Melo to come as a free agent increase tenfold.  Getting him there via trade is looking very unlikely.  New Yawk simply don’t have the pieces to interest Denver.” – Don

“The Knicks are simply better standing pat at this point and getting what they need short term, which is more length and bulk in the front court and another point guard that can play about 12 minutes and run the offense including distributing the ball.” – LIVES


3) Which division is the League’s best currently?

“I’m going with the Northwest – four of its five teams have 20 wins already with Minnesota being the only dog of the bunch.  Whether any of the teams are legit title contenders, however, is another story.” – Jeff Fox

“The Southwest Division is slightly better than the Northwest at this point. San Antonio and Dallas have been straight up balling and they both have a chance to win it all. New Orleans is a dangerous team on any night and Memphis and Houston are very competitive teams that hover around .500.  The Northwest has four squads above .500. Something no other Division can claim, but I don’t think that any of those teams will be there at the end.” – Aaron Hodges 

“I’m liking the Northwest a lot so far, but the division is probably the most competitive rather than the best. The presence of the Spurs and the Mavs in the Southwest along with NOH, Houston and Memphis makes this the standout division.” – brumbygg

“It comes down to the Southeast and the Southwest — those are the two divisions that have two teams that many expect to compete for a championship in May and June. With Dallas’ recent struggles, I’m going to go with the Southeast. Both Miami and Orlando have won their last eight straight. The Magic’s move have clearly improved the team – a lot of people, including myself, questioned them – and they may be right there with Boston and Miami at the end of the regular season. Meanwhile, the Heat have won 12 straight road games and are clicking on all cylinders now. The struggles the team endured in November seem like they were nine months ago.” – Diego Quezada

“This might be a bit of a homer pick, but I am going to say the Southeast Division. Miami and Orlando are two of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta is going to compete for home court advantage (and likely settle for fifth or sixth) and should not be slept on. Those are three teams that are incredibly good and getting better. Charlotte and Washington are a mess right now. But both of those teams have their potency and can be very dangerous if you are not prepared.” – Philip

“I have to go with the Southwest at the moment.  The Atlantic’s close – with Philly playing some inspired basketball of late… but a division where Memphis is your worst team?  With San Antonio, Dallas, New Orleans and Houston… Memphis is going to have a tough time of making the playoffs.  And they’re a good team!” – Don 

“Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and Charlotte head the best division in the Southeast and they have they greatest potential for improvement.  Charlotte is destined to improve after taking the Brown shackles off his squad.  Atlanta is a very good team by birth, but for some reason they can’t seem to pull all that talent together to become uber elite.  Miami and Orlando are elite.  The Lakers may still be the best team but their division has the reeling Suns as the number two team.  No contest.” – LIVES

4) Finally, every week we’ll be picking a Game of the Week that we will predict a consensus winner of. This week’s game – Wed, Jan 12th – Orlando @ New Orleans

Record so far: 4-4
Consensus:
Orlando (seven votes to one)

About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto & The MMA Manifesto

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