A look back at what the first half of the lockout season has given us.
Now that we have reached the unofficial midway point of the NBA season (All-Star Weekend) it is time to take an aerial view of the first half of the season in lieu of the our usual NBA Power Rankings. Now I present the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the NBA season.
Miami Heat - Not breaking any new ground here. This team is deep, athletic, defensive monsters and hungry to win. I need to thank CBS Sports.com Senior NBA Blogger Matt Moore for coming up with the best name for the 2012 Miami Heat - Flying Death Machine.
Oklahoma City Thunder - The clear leaders of the pack in the Western Conference behind another great year from superstar Kevin Durant. They locked up Russell Westbrook for the future and James Harden is the best sixth man in the NBA. Defense isn't championship level, but dropping 70 points on teams in the first half helps mask the funk of crappy defense.
San Antonio Spurs - They looked old and left for dead before the season even started. Then they lost Manu Ginobili early in the shortened season. All they did was win 12-13 as they headed into the All-Star break. Well-played, you sneaky San Antonio Ninjas.
Jeremy Lin - Yes, you have been beaten over the head with this story. Yes, this story would not get near as much run if it was not happening in New York. That does not make it any less amazing. This is a great story happening to a great player.
Back-to-back-to-back games - You want to see players with tired legs chuck up horrible shots and set offense basketball back a couple decades? Then try to catch teams at the end of a back-to-back-to-back games.
Injuries - Another item that has plagued the lockout shortened season. Manu Ginobili, Zach Randolph, Steph Curry, Danilo Gallinari, Andrea Bargnani and Al Horford are just a few of the players who have all missed significant time this season due to injuries.
Dwight Howard - Anytime you have a marquee/superstar player in your league trying as hard as he can to dump his small market team in hopes of landing with a bigger market team it is a bad thing.
Boston Celtics - Somehow they have managed to look older and slower than they did last season. Now that is not an easy feat to accomplish.
Charlotte Bobcats - The Bobcats need to be put down. That is as plain as I can say it. I don't say that lightly either. I know how hard it is for people to put down the pet they love but it needs to be done. As a dog owner I know how tough this is to do. But I have also owned my dog longer than the Bobcats have been a team. Here is the proof to support my argument. Earlier this season the Bobcats had a six game losing streak, won a game then lost their next 16 games...in a row.
Washington Wizards - A fired coach and apathetic players leads to an ugly season. The bright spots for the Wizards are few and far between. When John Wall tries he is a treat to watch with the speed he shows at the point guard position. And they do have JaVale McGee who is the gift that keeps on giving.
Slam Dunk Contest - There is no easy way to put this but the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest was a turd. Let's recap what we saw from this year's edition. We had guys jumping over motorcycles, teammates, and midget comedians. Paul George showed his affection for Olivia Wilde by paying tribute to her work in Tron: Legacy. Lest we forget the horrible skits/ conversations from the players with Kenny Smith before each of their dunks that lead to a horrible rendition of White Men Can't Jump from Chase Budinger. That moment by Budinger was surpassed quickly by Paul George messing up the name of the President of the Indiana Pacers, Larry Bird. Paul George let the crowd know that his next dunk was a tip of the hat to the legend "Larry Brown.... I mean Larry Bird." That earns Mr. George a wag of the finger.