The world of NBA takes a pit stop this week as we await for the stars of the game to assemble in the yearly ritual that is the All-Star game. While the elites of the game make the trip to Houston, we look at all the rumblings that are happening in the NBA.
The MVP race has now narrowed down to two. Kevin Durant may again end up on the wrong side of the ballot results. The season may well be remembered as the greatest individual performance by a player who didn’t win the MVP because there was a certain Lebron James who played that year.
We have been witness to the greatness that is Lebron James; the facilitator, the leader and this month, we saw James the ice cold shooter. Lebron created history on Tuesday when he scored 30 points in six straight games while shooting over 60% in each. That streak finally ended in the win over the Thunder recently but that was only after he had dropped 39 in a rematch of last year’s NBA Finals.
The talk of Kevin Garnett and his retirement has been a topic of much heated discussions ever since he suggested that this would definitely be his “last All-Star game”. The future Hall of Famer would be making his 15th All-Star appearance this year and started off all the talks after he was heard quoting the above post a 71-69 win over the Bulls the previous week.
The power-forward turned Centre, who still has two years remaining in his contract added “Y’all don’t know what I know.” It’s certainly enough material to keep the media interested in his near future.
Kirilenko may not be heading to the All-Star game in Houston but the Russian forward really seems to have found his niche back for the game. His efforts were recognised and rewarded when The International Basketball Federation announced his name as the 2012 FIBA Europe Men’s Player of the Year.
2012 was a year to remember for the lanky Russian who returned to his native Russia with CSKA Moscow as the lockout fiasco dragged on in the NBA. He led CSKA to a Euroleague Final, a VTB League Championship and a first-place finish in Russia’s domestic league, the BEKO PBL. He then ganged up with the likes of Timofey Mozgov and Alexey Shved to lead Russia to a bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics, Russia’s first ever Olympic medal in the sport.
The list of awards for Kirilenko keeps piling on for the Russian for his 2012 efforts. After being named 2012 Euroleague MVP and 2012 Euroleague Best Defender for his efforts with the CSKA and Russia, he was also bestowed the Euroscar European player of the year award.
It’s hard to envisage NBA trade talks and rumours without the mention of a certain Josh Smith. Smith’s name has been there like forever and each year everyone is left disappointed, but this time it looks like that it’s getting to boiling point. Smith was recently quoted in the press saying that he would be demanding a max deal.
Smith is outrageously athletic and very talented but his attitude and decision has always left you with much to desire. Then you take Smith’s play this year and he has been nowhere near the Josh Smith that has has been much adored. Simply put, he is not playing at the level of a max player and has hardly convinced the Hawks to shell out such money on him.
With his contract up after 2013, a trade seems the most logical and foreseeable outcome.
It was announced on Wednesday by the NBA that Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu had been suspended for 20 games after he tested positive for steroids. The Turk has denied taking any types of steroids on purpose. Turkoglu, who has made a name for himself with his 3 point shooting ability, won’t be missed on the basketball side of things by Orlando.
He has averaged a meagre 2.9 ppg in 17.2 minutes per game and with $11.8 million due on his last year of the contract, the unpaid suspension would be saving the Magic some money.Published 16 Feb 2013, 01:07 IST