Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  48 responses

Post Up: Full of Surprises

Who has impressed halfway through?

by Holly MacKenzie / @stackmack

Okay, I’m going to keep this short, or at least try to. Because yesterday was a holiday –and technically, I’m writing this Monday evening– I’m taking a bit of a holiday myself. There were 80 million games on all day on Monday and there were lots of good ones that went down to the wire. Hi, Jamal Crawford, nice try.

We’ve got plenty to talk about.

First, let’s talk about the dunk contest.

Shannon Brown.

That’s all I needed. Gerald Wallace and Nate Rob are the other two guys who will be competing and then whoever wins the dunk-in between DeMar DeRozan and Eric Gordon. I’m going to go with DeRozan, just because I’ve seen so many of his slams in person and the boy truly can fly. Maybe EG will surprise me, though.Are you happy, sad, angry, disappointed, pleased, ambivalent about these picks? Let me know. I’m happy because really, all I needed to make me happy was Shannon getting a chance to show his stuff. Of course, now he’s got the hype thanks to #LetShannonDunk and I’m sincerely hoping he can give us something exciting.

Who’s your pick to win it, kill it, blow it, etc?

Speaking of G. Wall, holy hell the Bobcats. They’ve been quietly piecing together wins and have been very, very impressive as of late. They own the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference right now and regardless of how weak you want to say the conference is, you can’t take that away from them. That huge victory over the Suns the other night raised some eyebrows, I think. Wallace is playing like an All-Star, Stephen Jackson has been a leader and Raymond Felton is even making Larry Brown happy.

Felton was one rebound shy of a triple-double yesterday as the Bobcats held on against the Kings to grab another win and move to 8-2 over their last 10 games. Basically, they are the hottest team in the East, if we’re talking about the last 10. I just like thinking of them surprising the hell out of everyone, I think.

In the West, the team to talk about is the Thunder. They love being young, they love basketball and they love each other. They are the closest thing to an NCAA team we’re probably going to get in the league and I love that. KD caused a Twitter argument between our ow Vince Thomas and NBATV’s Sekou Smith about whether or not he could be the best 21-year-old anyone’s ever seen.

What’s your take on that.

All I can say is, damn, the boy can score. Like, score 25, make it look effortless and make me do a double-take when I peep the boxscore. Russell Westbrook has been putting in solid nights and has been working hard on becoming that point guard they need him to be. On the nights when he’s struggling, they find ways to get it done anyway. Jeff Green has this smooth throwback feel to his game and I love their bench, too.

OKC is 23-18. I wasn’t expecting them to come together as quickly as they have. The win against the Hawks yesterday was pretty awesome. It just sounds like fun to be a member of the Thunder. If I had to pick a team to play for, that’s where I’d be.

And now, Matt Moore’s team needs some love. The Grizzlies are 22-18, 8-2 over their last 10 and have won against San Antonio and Phoenix in their last two contests. Zach Randolph looks like a new player, or at least one that’s revitalized. Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo are making it work and Marc Gasol continues to make me love his passion when he’s on the floor.

Who is surprising you by how good (or bad) they have been as we are approaching the midway point of the season?

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  • Lebran

    Holly i love KD too, but the kid is MAD skinny.

    Everytime i catch him play (admitadely at 2am so im a little on the drowzy side) i’m always pretty sure that an extra from slumdog millionaire has infiltrated the the game and thrown on a thunder jersey.

    His jumper is silky and his ball I.Q is einsteinian, but i really think he needs to bulk up if he wants to really mix it with the greatest and the baddest.

  • Ken

    I like those Cats unis.

  • Ken

    Oh, and I guess I’m most surprised this season by how bad the Wizards have been. Even before the Gil-gun drama, they were letting me down. Over the summer I thought for sure they’d be top 5 in the East.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    The Grizzlies have really impressed me. So has Zach Randolph.

  • jumpman3224

    If Crash isnt an all-star that will be this year’s game’s biggest shamockery. I was listening to ESPN Cleveland Radio the other day and they were discussing possible players the cavs could pick up at the trade deadline and among them was G. Wallace. Are you kidding me? The Bobcats are playoff bound, there is no way they give up their best and most sportscenter worthy player.

  • Peter

    What about MJ at 21 (rookie)? 28, 6.5 and 6 vs. KD with 29, 7 and 3…plus MJ added 2.5 steals vs. 1.3 for KD.

  • http://myspace.com/showbread Bryan

    I can’t say okc surprised me , Durant is a beast and by the end of the year my 30 and 8 prediction at the start of the year is gonna come to fruition. With that said I think they’re gonna hit a mid season struggle. David Lee has been a surprise the way he scores and passes this year. This month he’s putting up 20 ppg 12 ppg and 5 apg. If that’s not all star I don’t know what is. The knicks are going to regret lowballing him. Also the pistons are surprisingly bad, sorry Tad, but I really am shocked. I thought Charlie V was really going to shine and he just hasn’t . Their best player right now is Ben Wallace, which would be great if the year wasn’t 2010.

  • Peter

    Or for that matter Lebron…31, 7 and 6.5!

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I’m not sure of the exact amount, but i’m sure the Pistons are top 5 if not tops in the whole league in games lost due to injury this season. They have only had a complete roster 1 game this year and that was game 1. Not trying to make excuses but you cannot incorporate a new coach, new players and a new philosophy without having struggles. Injuries just make it that much more difficult.

  • therighttoremainsalient

    I agree entirely with the positive thoughts on Zac Randolph playing at such a level deserving of allstar selection and add David Lee to the mix too – and thats not me trying to make friends; I don’t need you. The Pistons, Suns and New Orleans have all failed to deliver this season where as on the other hand Memphis, Charlotte and San Antonio have been doing things that have made it worthwhile to watch (which is BIG when talking like that about the Spurs?!) where teams are rising and falling. I can’t don’t really see the benefit of the ‘dunk-in’ though… Could Eric Gordon actually be described as a “creative dunker”? Two handed throw downs through the lane is one thing. But to give an undersized man, a ball, an empty half court and a 2nd chance if he doesn’t finish doesn’t exactly ADD to his bag of tricks. Perhaps it’s really hiding my disdain for LeBron snubbing the dunk comp. Arguably the 2nd best player in the NBA doesn’t care for the furtherance game. P to the UNK.

  • therighttoremainsalient

    TADO you a Pistons fan yeah? I fell for you. Injury riddled season are a crying shame.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    No doubt injuries played a role Tad that’s not an excuses that’s a fact. Still surprising.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    As for Charlie V, he has been hurt as well. But even when he was healthy he has not really impressed me. I wish he would commit himself to the weightroom.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    The one good thing that has came out of this season has been the play of Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye. The Pistons got two quality players in the draft.

  • http://myspace.com/showbread Bryan

    He’s always gonna be one of those tantalizing per minute players but I don’t think he’s gonna figure it out. He’s better than Tim Thomas but.. You know what I mean?

  • therighttoremainsalient

    Jonas Jerebko is like the euro birdman, sans tats but better offensively.

  • http://myspace.com/brandnew Bryan

    Talking about Charlie V there.

  • Dagomar

    The season Lebron turned 21 he was putting up 27.2/7.4/7.2. The season he turned 22 he put up 31.4/7.0/6.6.

    Right now Durant is putting up 29.1/7.0/3.1.

    They both shot around the same FG%. Lebron probably helped his team win more than Durant, because the Cavs back then were indescribably bad. It’s surprisingly similar but overall I still give the edge to Bron.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Well that is why I made the reference about Charlie V needing to get into the weightroom. He has all the skills to be really good, but he lacks the athleticism and toughness. He needs to visit Tim Grover this summer.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Hidden within all the hoopla of the MLK Nike Specials (butt ugly grey colourways imo) was the fact that Crash and Ray Allen were sporting two of the hottest colours of the Air Jordan XII ever made. Black/orange? White/green? Thats just too damn pretty. After he wore white/gold AJ XI’s last year for a few games, now this? Ray Ray’s special colours are killing me..

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    My biggest surprises, good or bad, are: Durant’s scoring binge, Crash amongst league leaders in RPG, the Mavs holding on to 2nd best status in the West (i was expecting a bad season from em, my bad), Atlanta’s play, as well as Memphis and the Kings, Bogut coming back from that back fracture to have a very good season (dude was moving tenderly when i met him in July, now this?), Kob’s buzzer beating 3′s, the joyless expressions of Mr. Wade, Shaq’s utter regression, Chris effing Kaman being the Clippers offensive option no. 1, Gilbert0′s ignorance, how much i love writing/reading tweets from players/writers i admire.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Wallace is going to be an All-Star this year. Nobody deserves it more than him. Im not sure what radio broadcast jumpman3224 is listening to, but Wallace is going to retire a Bobcat. No way in hell we trade him for a center (like Big Z, the only guy Cleveland is offering anyone), or anyone for that matter. Gerald Wallace has been and always will be Charlotte Bobcat Basketball.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Statisticaly speaking, Gerald is within the following: top 30 in scoring, top 5 in rebounds, top 15 in steals, top 30 in blocks, top 50 in field goal %, and is on the best defenisive team in the NBA. If that is not an All-Star i dont know what is.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    What’s with the MLK shoes Nike made players wear yesterday? I’m sure that’s what MLK had in mind.
    “I have a dream – that one day the sons of slaves and slave owners will come together…and purchase Nike kicks produced by 3rd world children.”

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    OKC, Bobcats, and Memphis have been surprising. I had said Milwaukee early in the season but they seemed to have cooled off…

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    oh and DEROZAN FTW!

  • http://www.slamonline.com/ niQ

    @Anton, you missed the part about the kicks being MLK customized =P

  • snasty10

    @Tad do you think the stones should look for a pg in the draft or getting one at the trade dealine? They have a lot of scorers but no one to distribute the ball.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Man … I have a big black sidebar on the side of this post… anybody else??

  • arthur

    I’m getting that too, on Safari and Firefox

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    @snasty: The Pistons can’t really look for a true PG until they clear up the logjam they have in the backcourt right now. I would not be opposed to drafting a PG but other than John Wall there are no good points coming out in this upcoming draft.

  • jumpman3224

    @BETCATS I hope he does retire a bobcat. I think it would be great if he is the first cat with his number in the rafters. I was listening to KNR 850 Espn Cleveland. I think it was irresponsible of that show’s host to even mention Wallace as a piece that could be acquired via trade.

  • jumpman3224

    Granted its a little early to be talking number retirement, but so many franchises with no/little championship success retire a lot of numbers for players who have done a lot less for their franchise as Crash could do in another ten years in CHA.

  • jumpman3224

    Did anyone else catch B. Jennings going to the line and shooting a free throw when Bogut got fouled last night?

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    KD needs to work on finishing at the rim. Dude likes that jumper at little too much, although it’s pretty as hell.

  • http://slamonline.com Holly MacKenzie

    Allen P. I knew Ray’s J would be heaven to watch from media row, but strangely enough, J. Terry’s release is so fun to watch, too. He’s so quick, before you have a chance to wonder if he’s got room to take a shot, it’s already in the air. Unfortunately, I should have paid more attention to House, but with the C’s my attention goes to Ray and Rondo. Looking forward to the Thunder coming through town, though.

  • jufu

    nets, please please please surprise everyone by getting a double-digit win total. you would make me a veeeery happy nets fan.

  • snasty10

    @ Tad, Ya thats a good point but i was thinking to get rid of that log jam, they could trade one of those guards for a point guard, say like felton, or calderon, for like bynum or hamilton i dunno im just spitballing here, what do you think, oh and if they could get john wall i would be all about it

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    There are going to be three or four teams (counting the Clips) in the West that aren’t going to make the playoffs, but could easily make it in the East.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    From like 4-8 right now in the West is all super tight. Its crazy.

  • therighttoremainsalient

    Pistons should try and secure the rights to Rubio off TWolves but only if they can be guaranteed he would come over the lake to play.

  • Ryan

    Crash deserves to be an All-Star this year he is a solid double-double player and is constantly in the highlight reels. The Bobcats have been the suprise team of the NBA imo, they are winning games and looking like they may surprise people in the playoffs.

  • therighttoremainsalient

    @Teddy – Indeed! The West is all locked up. I’m predicting that the Suns could slide all the way out of playoff contention and leave ALOT of unanswered questions for the management of that ball club. PREDICTION: Amar’e could be traded before the trade deadline.

  • http://www.everyjoe.com/nbaobsessed/ James

    Watched Shannon Brown dunk at Michigan State University many times and that guy can throw it down. He has huge hands for a guy that is not that big.

  • http://nationalhighway.blogspot.com jaywalker

    Was surprised @ the rise of the phoenix they were perfect @ home for long and that kinda rose everyones expectations but now they are back to midway again. Surprised to see T-blazers and Sac Town doing well too. T-Blazers/OKC/Sac town have one thing in common, they dont have ‘superstars’ so to say…and hence play good ball allaround.

  • Ders

    I thought LBJ were supposed to compete this year? I’m wondering whether it was his decision or not. Well, now, I’m going with G.Wallace. I think he can throw down some good ones. Even though, Brown is the favorite, and not without reason. Also, I think DeRozan is a better dunker that EG, but still, Gordon can throw it down as well. Both of them would make a good contest. Last; Nate. I’m really tired of seeing his name on the list every year, no matter how good he is. He robbed Iggy in ’06, was bad in ’07. ’09 was good, but it is enough now. Let someone else win, and let Mr. Robinson go home.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Gerald Wallace has a 0% chance of completing a single dunk. I highly doubt he will win the contest. And I thought the Dunk Contest was only for guys younger then 25

  • Permaculture James

    Holly, I just love how you simply like bball, the equal opportunity love you have for teams and players even though you have your faves, of course. Keep up the good work; your enthusiasm is infectious.