SBG and myself, without having any idea how to record a podcast, decided to trade some e-mails in a NBA season review/playoff preview. Below are the results from those e-mails.
Season review time, who are your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd All-NBA teams
SBG: CP3, Wade, LBJ, Love, Howard -- Kobe almost gets the nod at the two primarily because Wade a lot of games. Wade's better, although I don't think he and LBJ on the same team is a good fit.
FTLT: It looks like we are going to have some disagreements right from the start. CP3 and LBJ deserve their spot on the first team, for sure. I would love to be able to to include Love on the first team but I can't justify starting him over Durant. I really went back and forth between Bynum and Howard as a first team player. I wanted to stick it to Howard but his numbers are just better than Bynum. My starting 2 guard? Has to be Kobe. To paraphrase Sports Fella here he had a vintage Iverson season and I'd take that over D-Wade. CP3-Kobe-LBJ-Durant-Howard
SBG: 2nd Team: Westbrook, Kobe, Durant, Aldridge, Garnett -- Maybe my bias is showing a little, but good God has KG been an animal over the last couple of months. Durant's a top fiver, for sure and arguably a top-twoer, but he's not better than LBJ. It's not close.
FTLT: Bynum-Love-Josh Smith-Westbrook-Tony Parker. You are doing a much better job that me in sticking to real positions with the ALL-NBA selections. I can justify Josh Smith as a 3 in my head and let's be serious, Russell Westbrook is really a 2 guard masquerading as a point guard anyway. As for Parker, he almost averaged 18/8 as the best player on the Western Conference's 1 seed. That deserves a seat at the table.
SBG: 3rd Team: Parker, Harden, Anthony, Griffin, Bynum -- There are two great small forwards in the game. They are probably also the best two players in the league. The drop off from those guys to the third guy is just as huge as the Shaq, 'Zo, Laettner draft.
FTLT: Marc Gasol-Millsap-Aldridge-Joe Johnson-Deron Williams. Not a lot of great small forwards out there, you are right. As a result I went with a couple of power forwards on the third team.
Also, you may have noticed I omitted Carmelo, Wade and Griffin. I really feel that I only need to justify Wade. He is a great player but if we are going to knock Rose of of the all NBA teams I think it is fair to do the same to Wade. Dude missed almost 20% of the season.
Moving onto the awards, first off, MVP:
SBG: LeBron James. In a rout. No question. The Heat are 12-1 when Wade sits.
FTLT: No contest. Next up, Most Improved:
SBG: Nicola Pekovic. Dude was a brutish foul machine last year and this year, he was a talented big man with terrific feet, an incredible knack for establishing low position, and he looks for all the world to be a potential all-star in the future.
FTLT: And we agree on another. You can make an argument for Ersan Ilyasova, I won't but you could. Pek all the way. I think we can both agree on Rookie of the year (Irving) and 6th man (Harden). Who takes defensive player of the year?
SBG: Kevin Garnett. Okay, I'm biased, but this guy has been terrific. Just an absolute monster like in the good old days.
FTLT: Consider this my formal apology to Tyson Chandler. I mocked his contract in our podcast. Through one season, I was wrong. Chandler 1, Dwight 2, Michael Beasley, last.
Moving past the awards, what team surprised you the most this season?
SBG: San Antonio -- sure they were the number 1 seed in the West last year, too. I'm stunned that they are back in that position.
FTLT: I can't believe the Spurs are the one seed in the West this season. It defies logic. We all thought that the condensed schedule would be too much for their old legs. We were wrong. I am a little worried about the first round match up with the Jazz. It was Memphis' bigs that created match up problems for San Antonio last year and Utah has some big bodies in BAJ, Millsap, Favors, and Kanter.
I am going to go in a different direction for biggest surprise team though-- I am thinking the Clippers. ESPN was crowning them as Western Conference Champs before the season started. It turns out that Chris Paul's situation is not all that different than it was in NOLA. Then again, I would probably take a healthy David West over Blake Griffin. Then again, I am a certified Blake hater.
Were there any teams that you really enjoyed watching this that you expect to make huge strides next season, Wolves excluded?
SBG: I don't know. Golden State? They might be somebody.
FTLT: I really liked watching Milwaulkee with the Jennings/Ellis back court. I like the GSW pick though. It will be interesting to see what happens once Bogut suits up for them next season.
Enough about the regular season though. Let's talk playoffs What is your favorite first round matchup?
SBG: Memphis/Clippers should be good. I expect that Memphis wins that, though. I think the top four seeds will win rather easily in the East. Maybe OKC/Dallas could be interesting, but I don't think things will heat up until the second round.
FTLT: I am right with your on Memphis/LAC. I am going to take a nap tomorrow afternoon just to make sure that I can stay up for the whole game . It is funny that you mention OKC/Dallas as a possible upset. I was thinking the exact same thing. There is just something about this OKC team I don't trust right now. Between Harden possibly being hurt, OKC's big guns being content taking jump shots, and OKC's crunch time line up featuring Derek Fisher I am not as nuts about this team as I was two months ago. If gambling were legal I would put some down on Dallas +350 to win the series.
How about some additional predictions for the rest of the playoffs?
SBG: Lakers make the WCF along with SA. Spurs win the West. Boston/Miami made the ECF. Boston wins the East.
Garnett and the Celtics take down Timmy and the Spurs.
Okay, a girl can dream.
I think that Miami will get it done. They will beat the Thunder in six.
FTLT: I know I got a little ahead of myself with my last answer but I see a WCF of Lakers/Grizz and ECF of Chicago to play the winner of the Knicks/Heat series. For some reason I can't shake this Knicks team. I just feel like they have an upset or two in them. I see a Memphis/Chicago final with the Grizz taking the title in 7.
Feel free to share your thoughts on the season, your picks for NBA awards and your predictions for the playoffs in LTE form below.