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  1. #1
    You can't stop the signal SilverPlayer's Avatar
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    I don't know how this can not have been posted but I don't see it.




    People ask me the same questions every year at this time: What's surprised you? What's happened so far that you didn't expect?

    This can be a harder question than it seems. Over any six- or seven-game period, almost every player and team in the league will perform at least slightly better or slightly worse than expected, just due to normal random variation.

    That said, some early trends are worth noting. Inevitably, some players and teams have done so much better or worse than we expected that they have raised a number of eyebrows around the league. Today I want to take a closer look at those players and teams and see what they're doing differently.

    Let's begin with the usual disclaimer: It's early. Real early. We're only two weeks into the season, and there is still a lot of basketball left to be played. So the teams and players below aren't necessarily destined to continue down this path.

    But we've had enough games that these players and teams bear watching over the coming weeks and months. Either they'll continue surprising/disappointing us, or they'll revert back to their usual production and we'll forget this two-week blip ever happened.

    We'll start with the good news before we move to the bad:

    SURPRISES


    Manu Ginobili, Spurs
    Like I said, it's still early. Really, really early. But just for kicks, let me throw a few questions out there, because we might need to start coming up with answers for them soon: Is it possible for a sixth man to be the MVP? If Ginobili pulls it off, don't we pretty much have to give him Most Improved too? And at what point should Alex English worry about his status as "best second-round draft pick ever" being in jeopardy?

    While the media's agreement with the league stipulates that nobody can talk about the Spurs until June, I'm going to break it today, because through seven games, Ginobili has been unbelievable. He leads the league in player efficiency rating by a wide margin while averaging 27.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists per 40 minutes. Also, he's seemingly on his way to completing his evolution from slasher to shooter by hitting 42.9 percent of his 3s and taking nearly half his shots from the great beyond.

    Especially notable is his recently developed knack for hitting step-back 3s off the dribble going to his left -- a shot that is more or less impossible but one he knocks down routinely. (Seriously, for all you rec league players, try this some time. If you're right-handed, try taking a hard dribble right, stepping back with your right foot, and then launching from distance. Half the time you'll miss the basket by 4 feet).


    Boston's defense
    I can believe that the Celtics are first in the league in offensive efficiency through five games. What I have a hard time fathoming is that they're also first in defensive efficiency. This is not the stereotype of a dominating defense, for several reasons. For instance, they employ Ray Allen. Also, they're a body short in the frontcourt, they have no wing stoppers or shot-blockers, and their bench leaves most analysts uninspired.

    Nonetheless, Boston has suffocated opposing offenses throughout its first five games, most impressively during its demolition of Denver's high-scoring outfit at the Garden on Friday. If they continue defending this way, the name "Tom Thibodeau" is going to come up an awful lot this season. Jeff Van Gundy's top assistant in Houston a year ago, Thibodeau is a highly regarded defensive coach the Celtics brought in to upgrade their effort at that end.

    Boston wasn't the only team to hire him this summer -- Thibodeau originally went to Washington, but quit the Wizards after four days when he discovered coach Eddie Jordan and GM Ernie Grunfeld weren't on the same page, or even in the same book. In fact, they weren't even using the same alphabet. Literary metaphors aside, Washington's (and Houston's) loss was Boston's gain, and if he can keep this up, the Celtics' le hopes are much more realistic than many surmised.


    Kevin Martin, Kings
    Here's why Sacramento's five-year, $55 million extension for Martin made sense: He keeps improving. Few players have been as diligent about constantly upgrading their arsenal, and the result is that Martin has gone from being an end-of-the-bench scrub as a rookie to one of the league's most dangerous scorers three years later.

    Martin is third in the league in scoring right now, right behind Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady even though he averages only 16.4 field goal attempts per game, well below Bryant's 21.0 and McGrady's 21.9. The key is efficiency: Martin's true shooting percentage is 62.0, which if he keeps it up would mark the third straight year he finished with a TS% above 60 -- a flabbergasting feat for a guy who scores in the high 20s, especially one on a team as devoid of help as his Kings are. He's become both a deadly outside shooter and a free-throw magnet, and unlike a lot of big-time scorers, he never takes a bad shot.


    Richard Jefferson, Nets
    I guess the ankle's OK, then. Jefferson had five 20-point games all last season, and seven straight to open the 2007-08 campaign. He's scoring 26.9 points per game to help the Nets offset dismal starts from two other starters (more on that below), and doing it at a high rate of efficiency (49.1 percent from the floor with a high rate of free throws). And as an added surprise, he's also shooting a scalding 67-for-69 from the charity stripe.


    Jason Terry, Mavericks
    Of the top three players in PER, two come off the bench for contenders in the Southwest Division. Terry would be the front-runner for Sixth Man honors if not for Manu Mania in San Antonio, but on their own his accomplishments in his new role are pretty impressive. Not only is he scoring in bunches -- 26.3 points per 40 minutes on 56.8 percent shooting -- but he's also taking care of the rock, with just six miscues in six games.

    Throw in 53.6 percent shooting on 3-pointers and, in sporting an absurd 70.5 TS%, the Jet makes Kevin Martin look like Antoine Walker.


    John Salmons, Kings
    He's playing in anonymity in Sacramento, but fantasy owners are building statues of this guy because of how well he's played while Ron Artest and Mike Bibby are out. He's also making an early bid for the Most Improved trophy. In five NBA seasons he never averaged more than 8.5 points per game, but so far he's pumping in 20.7 a contest , thanks in part to a massive increase in free-throw attempts.

    He may see his minutes and shots decline precipitously once Sacramento's other two stars return, but in the early going he's been a revelation who has helped take some of the heat off Martin.


    Chris Kaman, Clippers
    L.A. needed its center to step up since Elton Brand is going to miss most of the season, and he's done exactly that while helping the Clippers to a surprising 4-2 start. Actually, "step up" doesn't quite describe it -- he appears to be in vastly better shape and is dominating inside.

    Kaman's 18.5 points and 13.5 boards per game and 55.4 percent shooting are eye-popping, with the per-game averages nearly doubling last season's output. If he keeps it up, L.A.'s hopes of staying in the playoff hunt until Brand returns don't seem nearly as far-fetched.


    Marvin Williams, Hawks
    With Chris Paul and Deron Williams tearing up the league, at least the Hawks can take some solace in the fact that their Williams -- the man they drafted ahead of those two talented point men -- is putting up some numbers of his own. His stats are up across the board, but the one to take note of is the nearly six free-throw attempts per game.

    If he keeps attacking like that, he'll have a good season, even if his 55.9 percent shooting mark cools down some. And he's only 21, so there's plenty of room to grow.


    Rudy Gay, Grizzlies
    Gay gave no indication during his rookie year that he could be a nightly scoring threat, but he's doing it in a big way to start his sop re season. Through five games he's averaging 20.6 points on 50 percent shooting, and has appeared much more confident shooting the 3-pointer -- something he's doing nearly three times as often as he did last season.

    His numbers would be even better if he'd avoid foul trouble -- his 20 fouls in five games are an awful lot for a perimeter player, and have kept his minutes down in a few games.


    Kelenna Azubuike, Warriors
    Golden State may look lost without Stephen Jackson, but his replacement is doing just fine, thanks. Azubuike has arguably been the team's best player during an 0-5 start, shooting 53.1 percent while averaging 18.8 points per game as Jackson's replacement.

    He even threw in 11 boards in his last outing, which is more than Jacko gets in a week. He'll probably go back to the bench once Jackson returns, but expect his early results to earn him extended minutes regardless.


    Chris Wilcox, Sonics
    It's not just that Wilcox is playing well, though he is -- he's averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 boards and shooting 56.5 percent through seven games. It seems there's a lot more polish and professionalism than we saw in his first five seasons. Maybe we're being fooled by two good weeks, but he looks to be in better shape and his offensive repertoire seems to have expanded beyond the flying one-handed dunk down the lane.

    I'm not sure he was in the Sonics' long-term plans when this season started, but if he keeps playing like this, he'll be in Oklahoma for a long time. (Ouch. It hurt just writing that.)


    Yi Jianlian, Bucks
    Since Kevin Durant received the Rookie of the Year award by acclamation before the season began, it's worth noting that if I had to give out a trophy at this very early juncture, I would not be voting for KD. Instead, I'd go with Yi, who has adjusted far more quickly to the NBA game than anyone thought possible.

    It probably helps that he's 23 (oh, excuse me, "20"; not one person in the league I've talked to believes that birth date, and neither should you) as opposed to Durant's 19, but Yi has been impressive in the early going. He's still learning NBA defense, but his length and mobility make up for a lot of his mistakes -- he blocks two shots per game. And while his 11.8 points and 5.9 boards per game aren't going to set anyone's hair on fire, he's shown range out to the 3-point line and the ability to put it on the floor and go past bigger players. Suddenly that 25-minutes-a-game promise doesn't seem so outlandish.

    DISAPPOINTMENTS


    The Bulls, along with pretty much anyone associated with them
    Those of you who like to stop and stare at train wrecks and car crashes might want to catch a Bulls game. Tabbed as one of the favorites in the East to start the season, Chicago has been unrelentingly awful. In fact, through the season's first two weeks, the Bulls have been quite possibly the worst team in the league. Their most recent game was their worst, losing at home to Toronto by 30 on Saturday, which might not have been so humiliating if they hadn't also already lost to the Clippers, Bucks and Sixers.

    Not surprisingly, the Bulls' individual players have also been huge disappointments. Ben Gordon and Luol Deng have merely been shockingly subpar, as opposed to Kirk Hinrich and Ben Wallace, who have been downright appalling.

    Wallace has been slowed by a bad ankle and really should consider sitting out a few games, because he's not helping at all. With 5.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, Wallace's defense is no longer making up for his dreadful offense, and last season's big free-agent prize is starting to look like an expensive mistake.

    As for Hinrich, he has no physical ailments to blame, but might want to find one. He's shooting 31.8 percent from the floor, including 3-for-20 on 3-pointers, and is scoring just 9.3 points per game while sporting a miserable 7.69 PER. As a result of the struggles of Hinrich, Deng and Gordon, Chicago is last in the NBA in offensive efficiency.

    Ironically, everyone talked before the season about how power forward was such a problem for this team, but the three players they've used there -- Andres Nocioni, Tyrus Thomas and Joe Smith -- are about the only players who haven't been crushing disappointments thus far.


    Pau Gasol, Grizzlies
    Though Gasol's le as the league's best bearded Catalan is not in peril, his status as a go-to scorer might be. At least, it will be if there isn't a lot more "go" in his game soon. Gasol took only one shot in the second half of a loss to Utah and is down to 10.6 field goal attempts per game for the season, a big reason his scoring has dipped to 16.2 per game. Additionally, his work on the boards has been supbar too; he's pulling down just 6.2 a night.


    Vince Carter, Nets
    Nets fans better hope that an early-season thumb ailment is the cause of Carter's woes, rather than his being sated by that juicy free-agent contract he inked over the summer. If it really is the thumb, perhaps his recent ankle sprain is a blessing in disguise that will allow him to heal up before he returns.

    If not, his 17.0 points per game on 39.5 percent shooting are going to leave an already limited offensive team desperately searching for additional scoring options.


    Kevin Durant, Sonics
    OK, I plead guilty: My expectations were way too high. The kid is 19; let's all take a deep breath and try to remember that. Durant is cracking under the strain of being Seattle's go-to scorer, shooting 38.9 percent on more than 20 hoists a game and hitting just 29.5 percent on 3-pointers. Perhaps more troubling is how little he's contributing in other areas -- his 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game aren't quite in Adam Morrison territory, but they're certainly underwhelming.


    Washington's offense
    The Wizards were the league's fifth-best offense last season. As I noted in my Daily Dime item Monday, they've been one of the worst this season, barely squeezing past Miami to rank 28th in the league in offensive efficiency. That's simply unthinkable looking at Washington's trio of Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, but all three have been off and the supporting cast hasn't helped.

    By far the biggest culprit has been Agent Zero, who is struggling to repeat last season's glittering offensive performance after spending his summer recuperating from knee surgery. For those who don't play fantasy hoops and didn't see this Q&A with our resident injury expert Stephania Bell, it makes for some compelling reading -- basically, his type of knee injury tends to be a stubborn one, and it could give him problems all season.

    What's certain is that it's giving him problems now. He's only 5-for-36 on 3-pointers, is averaging nearly five turnovers a game, and he's making 35.6 percent from the field. If he can't turn it around, I'm not sure Washington's offense can either.


    Gerald Wallace, Bobcats
    Last season, Wallace started incredibly slowly too, although he had a better excuse after an early-season concussion knocked him woozy. This season? I'm not sure what the problem is, but his numbers are unusually modest (15.5 points, 5.1 boards, 39.3 percent shooting) even though he's getting more shots than last season, and he's committing nearly four turnovers a game. And shockingly, the high-flying Wallace has only two blocks in the first six games. I've been championing him as the league's most underrated player for two years now, but he's not exactly helping out my case here.


    Jason Richardson, Bobcats
    Just what Sam Vincent needed to start his coaching career -- his two best offensive players are struggling. In addition to Wallace's troubles above, Richardson's move East has been more trying than expected. So far he's at 35.9 percent from the floor, has been allergic to the free-throw line (just 16 tries in six games) and has more than twice as many turnovers as assists. Somehow, the Bobcats are 3-3 anyway, but it won't last if these two don't pick it up.


    Mike Miller, Grizzlies
    Unlike some of the other guys on this list, Miller's problems have had more to do with quan y than quality. While he's shooting a decent percentage -- 43.5 percent on 3s, 42.8 percent overall -- he's been a bystander for large chunks of the game while Rudy Gay takes over as the Grizzlies' No. 2 scorer.

    Miller is scoring only 12.7 points per 40 minutes, a pretty meager total for a guy whose value is almost exclusively at the offensive end. Somehow, Miller needs to find more shots -- one wonders whether a return to his sixth man role is a potential answer.


    Nenad Krstic, Nets
    New Jersey pinned some of its hopes for this season on his return from knee surgery, but it's apparent that getting the Krstic of old back will be a "process" rather than an "event." He told the New York papers recently that his surgically repaired left knee is only at 75-80 percent right now, and it shows in his results -- a 39.3 TS% and a 6.82 PER that would make even Jason Collins blush. Unusually, he's also made some mental errors in the games I've seen -- a sign that all the time he spent away from the court has left him rusty.


    Dallas' defense
    Avery Johnson has pledged to go easier on his Mavs during the regular season, but he might have to crack the whip if they don't start getting more stops. While Dallas remains primarily an offensive team, and that's kept them at 4-2 in the early going, they've also been well above average defensively in Johnson's two years at the helm as well -- one reason they've won 60 games both seasons.

    This season the D isn't off to such a good start. Dallas ranks 22nd in defensive efficiency thus far, a big reason the Mavs suffered road defeats against the likes of Atlanta and Portland in the early going. Even a neutered Sacramento team shot 50 percent on them on the road, and it wasn't because of garbage-time stat-stuffing either -- the Kings hung 56 on Dallas in the first half. Portland shot 50 percent too, while Golden State shot 49.4 percent from the field, made 11 3s, got 30 foul shots, and only made seven turnovers.

    Injuries and suspensions have played a role, as Devin Harris, Josh Howard, Erick Dampier and Devean George have all missed time, but the addition of players such as Eddie Jones and Trenton Hassell was supposed to offset this. So far it hasn't, and if the trend continues, Dallas will have trouble keeping up with the likes of San Antonio and Houston in the NBA's toughest division.

    John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.
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    Linky

  2. #2
    Alleged Michigander ChumpDumper's Avatar
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    2007-08 All-Decline Team: Who's taking a step back?

    Manu Ginobili, Spurs (last season 24.18, projected 21.7)

    Don't take this too far -- the guy is still an All-Star caliber performer who remains one of the league's most underrated players because the restrictions on his minutes hurt his per-game averages (believe it or not, he had the league's ninth-best PER last season).

    But Manu was so good last season that it would be very difficult for him to repeat it -- he put up his best numbers since coming to the NBA in pretty much every category. As a 30-year-old slasher, we'd expect his numbers to go down anyway, and I think it's a relatively safe bet that he won't finish in the top 10 in PER this season despite his strong start so far.
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insid...l-Decline-0708

    From "All-Decline" to All-NBA in five days.

  3. #3
    Veteran ManuTim_best of Fwiendz's Avatar
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    heh.

    Way to backpeddle Hollinger.

    If Manu was even MVP talks in the later half of the season, that'd be impressive enough.

  4. #4
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    I do agree that Manu is playing as well or better than anyone in the league in a per minute basis. He's just balling like crazy right now. Even not considering his production per minute, he's got to be in the top five, at least.

    That said, he's not going to win MVP. Voters will use Duncan and Parker against him. It's Garnett's MVP to lose at this point. Second in line is probably LeBron. The MVP voting is a popularity contest that is almost always decided early in the season or even sometimes before the season starts.

  5. #5
    Horny Spur BeerIsGood!'s Avatar
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    So Pierce and Allen won't be used against Garnett?

  6. #6
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    So Pierce and Allen won't be used against Garnett?
    Nah, Garnett has be crowned the MVP of the league since he was traded. In the pecking order, the media has decided he's clearly first.

    The pecking order in San Antonio starts with Tim Duncan and (not counting tonight) rightfully so.

  7. #7
    Horny Spur BeerIsGood!'s Avatar
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    Nah, Garnett has be crowned the MVP of the league since he was traded. In the pecking order, the media has decided he's clearly first.

    The pecking order in San Antonio starts with Tim Duncan and (not counting tonight) rightfully so.
    I agree, and it goes to show why awards like MVP are sometimes completely meaningless. Unless you are the Suns and Nash's are the only things to hold on to.

  8. #8
    I'm your huckleberry K-State Spur's Avatar
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    heh.

    Way to backpeddle Hollinger.

    If Manu was even MVP talks in the later half of the season, that'd be impressive enough.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Hollinger's all-decline team based on mathematical projections/track records. Meanwhile, this piece on Manu seemed more opinion based.

  9. #9
    Veteran ManuTim_best of Fwiendz's Avatar
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    I think the media looks at it as San Antonio is going to be succesful regardless. So it'll be a long list down and Duncan is considered by default, because he's the game changing big man.
    but I don't think it'd be out of the question if Manu could potentially play at an MVP calibre level if he keeps playing like he does now as the best Spur on the court consistently. It seems he's been on, in every game.

  10. #10
    Veteran ManuTim_best of Fwiendz's Avatar
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Hollinger's all-decline team based on mathematical projections/track records. Meanwhile, this piece on Manu seemed more opinion based.
    Well the article itself seems to be prompted by the unexpected performances of players as of late.

    But yeah, I think mathematical projections/track records are harder to quantify when the players's games aren't always predictable/conventional, I think some other Spurs fans have commented how normally a player at Manu's stage in his career would definitely take a step back. But Manu could be like a late bloomer or something so he could defy the statistics.

  11. #11
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    I think the media looks at it as San Antonio is going to be succesful regardless. So it'll be a long list down and Duncan is considered by default, because he's the game changing big man.
    but I don't think it'd be out of the question if Manu could potentially play at an MVP calibre level if he keeps playing like he does now as the best Spur on the court consistently. It seems he's been on, in every game.
    I don't see any way Manu wins MVP. He could get better as the season goes on and I still don't think the voters would give it to him. Same could be said for Parker. Parker could average 28 and 9 this year and he wouldn't win MVP.

    Tim Duncan is viewed as the lead player on this team. And really, that's the right way to look at the Spurs because everything begins and ends with Duncan.

  12. #12
    Believe. meta2007's Avatar
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    I hope Manu can be selected to play the ASG this season.

  13. #13
    5. timvp's Avatar
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    I hope Manu can be selected to play the ASG this season.
    Yeah, a more realistic goal would be to have three Spurs in the All-Star game.

  14. #14
    Maaaaaannnn fuck.... E20's Avatar
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    Yeah, a more realistic goal would be to have three Spurs in the All-Star game.
    Spurs Big 3 + Pop as the HC in the ASG.
    Bostons Big 3 + Doc as the HC in the ASG.

    See who wins.

  15. #15
    Veteran ManuTim_best of Fwiendz's Avatar
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    I don't see any way Manu wins MVP. He could get better as the season goes on and I still don't think the voters would give it to him. Same could be said for Parker. Parker could average 28 and 9 this year and he wouldn't win MVP.

    Tim Duncan is viewed as the lead player on this team. And really, that's the right way to look at the Spurs because everything begins and ends with Duncan.
    yeah, I wasn't saying that.
    I don't see it either. I guess I was just talking about the "notion" of the notion of even being considered being achievement enough from him playing at a good challenging level for a whole season.

    That said, I think the Spurs are just too balanced to ever be at the top of the list in regards to the MVP award. Tim could actually wake up, and he'd only come in 3rd at best, since we're already a successful team.

  16. #16
    The Crominator J.T.'s Avatar
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    Yeah, a more realistic goal would be to have three Spurs in the All-Star game.
    I'm gunning for Bowen to finally get DPOY over (whoever blocks the most shots this year). The award needs to be renamed Shot Blocker of the Year until Bowen wins it, because that's the stat the award has been judged on for the past several seasons.

  17. #17
    Horny Spur BeerIsGood!'s Avatar
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    No way TD wins the MVP this year either. For one, he seems more than content to defer to his all star caliber teammates on offense and go along for the ride until the push for the le begins. Secondly, even if he had a stellar season media people would point back to games like tonight and say "well, even when he had a horrible game his team is so good that they still blow out the Lakers".

  18. #18
    Believe. porscha's Avatar
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    I really really like to see Manu win the MVP this year

  19. #19
    Mr. Dignity Solid D's Avatar
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    The step-back threes are passe compared with that guided missile Manu zipped, from his right-hand past two oblivious Hornets to a flashing Matt Bonner. Only 2 points yes, but wow!!!

  20. #20
    Vegas Strong Darkwaters's Avatar
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    My pick would be that Manu win the Finals MVP award. That gives Manu some nice hardware, the Spurs a back to back, and gives every member of the big three at least one finals MVP award.

    But if I had to go with regular season awards, give Bowen the DPOY.

  21. #21
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    Manu won't win the MVP,no matter what his numbers look like.
    He didn't win the 2005 Finals MVP
    He din't win the 2007 6th. Man award
    He Won't win the 2008 reg season MVP

    Manu Ginobili will be probably the most underrated NBA player ever by the media.

  22. #22
    Ain't over 'till its over MaNuMaNiAc's Avatar
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    Manu won't win the MVP,no matter what his numbers look like.
    He didn't win the 2005 Finals MVP
    He din't win the 2007 6th. Man award
    He Won't win the 2008 reg season MVP

    Manu Ginobili will be probably the most underrated NBA player ever by the media.
    Underrated by whom? certainly not San Antonio media. Still, I agree he hasn't been getting the attention his superb playing deserves, not outside of San Antonio. It sure does seem as if the Spurs are suddenly a team with two stars instead of three... go figure.

    I'd also like to add that if any Spur ever gets the MVP while Duncan is manning this team, it most certainly should be Timmy himself. Otherwise, the award is a joke. I mean Manu or Tony can play out of their minds, but without Duncan openning up the lanes, neither of them would be able to perform the way they do... not with as much ease anyway

  23. #23
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    I'd also like to add that if any Spur ever gets the MVP while Duncan is manning this team, it most certainly should be Timmy himself. Otherwise, the award is a joke. I mean Manu or Tony can play out of their minds, but without Duncan openning up the lanes, neither of them would be able to perform the way they do... not with as much ease anyway
    Well, 1 st of all, I never said Manu wasn't a star.
    then I said He was underrated by the media in general,not the San Antonio Media,Of course He is a hero in San Antonio,nop doubt,like He is in Argentina too.
    Finally to answer your about Timmy getting the MVPs awards over Manu and Tony, I don't think it's real coze Tony won the Finals MVP over Timmy last season, and He was the best player in the Finals,Like Manu was in 05.
    So, I don't think TP is underrated,and never said so, but I trully think Manu is the most underrated player in the NBA,maybe of ALL TIMES.

  24. #24
    You My Nikka Nikos's Avatar
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    Manu clearly won't win MVP, but I really hope his PER can be around 25-26 this season (but even that is asking a lot). That would mean he has a slightly superior statistical season across the board. That would be nice. But eventually his production will drop as the season progresses, and Tony and Tim continue to improve upon their solid play.

  25. #25
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    I don't see any way Manu wins MVP. He could get better as the season goes on and I still don't think the voters would give it to him. Same could be said for Parker. Parker could average 28 and 9 this year and he wouldn't win MVP.

    Tim Duncan is viewed as the lead player on this team. And really, that's the right way to look at the Spurs because everything begins and ends with Duncan.
    I am not sure about that. You would have said the same for the MVP of the finals.
    If Manu could play 35 minutes with the same efficiency he has right now (would translate to a 24/6/6 statsheet) with the spurs having a 60+ win record he would be in the MVP discussion.
    The same would go for Parker if he could average 28/9.
    This would be true because such statistics would probably means that Duncan offensive production is down well under 20 PPG (probably near 16). He would be considered declining (cause defense doesn't count in the MVP race) and Manu (or Parker) would be seen has the new leader.

    This will not happen (Manu will not play 35 MPG and Parker can't have 28/9) so it is not really important. While Manu play ou of his mind (I hope he will do it in the playoff) and the Spurs repeat, I don't care who is the MVP.

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