Few things I learnt from the last couple of days:

The Washington Wizards must have the collective memory of a goldfish. So far pushing Lebron’s buttons has been about as successful as Lance Whitnall’s trips to the fat farm. But wait, I know, why don’t we call him a whiner who’s afraid of getting hurt? Yeah, good idea Brendan Haywood. Telling Lebron James to HTFU would be fine, except you’re down 3-1 in the series and will probably end up with your tail between your legs tomorrow in a game 5 playoff exit. That’s if your legs aren’t broken from Lebron dunking on you. I don’t remember a series of trash talking that backfired so badly as this. Eddie Jordan must be furious because any chance the Wizards had of matching the Cavs in the on-court basketball talent department has been lost with their silly war of words and mind games. It reminds me of the Pistons a couple of years back when Sheed was yelling “no way we lose to these cats!” and other disrespectful comments towards the Cavs, which almost came back to bite the Pistons who escaped in a frankly embarrassing seven-game series. Sheed has learnt his lesson. Looks like the Wiz are learning theirs right now.

On the subject on Sheed, how bout a little bit of love for my main Detroit man? Yesterday Sheed had a tidy 20-10 including the game-changing treys in the third quarter that sealed the W for the Pistons – a much needed, “must win” W. I know a lot of people knock Sheed for his tendency to float outside a little too much, hey I sometimes do too, but its games like this that show the true value of his range. I’ve watched a lot of Detroit games this season, and I can tell you that there is no single play more uplifting for the Pistons squad and more damaging to the opposition than a long Sheed three. It takes the air out of teams. It creates this whole sense of “hopelessness” – the opposition usually struggles enough guarding Sheed in the block, now he starts hitting them from out there?! Its demoralizing, and its what buried the Sixers in game four. And if you think I’m just a ranting Pistons fan boy, then at least take note of this quote from KG today: “Joe Johnson is the most underrated player in our league besides Rasheed Wallace.” When KG tells you a fellow power-forward is the most “underrated player in our league” it’s probably worth listening to.

Kobe Bryant is in a groove right now. I finally got to watch game 2 of the series where he exploded for 49 – it probably deserves a spot somewhere in his top 10 ever. In games 3 and 4 he toned his scoring down, but he was just as lethal. It’s amazing how the addition of some decent scoring options can free up a player like Kobe and turn him into something even greater. The same happened with MJ when Paxson, Scottie and Horace started coming along – we already knew he was great, but then he went to another level. Every year the Bulls won the championship Jordan turned the playoffs into his own personal showcase – he made history with every series. I get the same feeling watching Kobe Bryant right now. He’s averaging 33-6-5 shooting 50%, not to mention his stellar defensive numbers, but I don’t even think he’s hit top gear.

Each 3-1 series could end tomorrow, but one of them won’t. I’m not sure which one it is, but I guarantee you either the Rockets will upset the Jazz or the Mavs will defiantly stamp all over the Hornets. Yes Jason Kidd is a thug, and yes he was completely useless in game 4, but I’m tipping he’ll come back hard in game 5. Jason Kidd has far too much pride (and he’s far too good) to bail out of the playoffs with a 3 point-3 assist performance. Then there’s the Suns, who had to rely on Boris Diaw of all players to get them over the line in game 4. I’ve been hearing a constant stream of abuse from Chucko all year on Diaw’s suckiness, and then this email near the completion of game 4: “Who is this imposter, and what have they done with Diaw…. ” I had to laugh. Diaw really does suck.

Hedo Turkoglu deservedly won the NBAs Most Improved Player (MIP) for 2008. I know he’s been in the league eight years and it seems a little ridiculous you can be “most improved” after playing 600 games, but it’s hard to look past the guy who I believe was the main reason the Magic became the unchallenged third seed out East. Without Hedo’s breakout season the Magic would have been stuck in the middle of the pack with the Cavs and Wizards. But he was the guy who surprised everybody, who created match up nightmares, and who hit clutch shot after clutch shot all season long. He was probably directly responsible for more wins than Dwight thanks to his shooting ability late in games (obviously Dwight has the bigger effect over the full 48). Some amusing results from the Most Improved voters:

- Chris Paul finished 8th with 41 votes
- Bogut got 7 votes and two sports writers were nice enough to give him 2nd place votes
- Someone voted Lebron James the Most Improved Player?! Do these guys take their job seriously?
- Someone gave Shaquille O’Neal a 2nd place vote – Ok, that has to be a joke. Shaquille O’Neal was the opposite of the Most Improved Player this year. Never mind his half-assed efforts over the last few weeks of the season where he was applauded for things like “running”. How bout those first few months of the season where Shaq was so dismally bad he looked like a mascot in fat suit who was playing for laughs? During that seemingly never ending streak of Miami games on ESPN (before the Heat entered tanking mode) I would spend more time laughing at Shaq than he had court time, if that’s even possible. We should be awarding Shaq the NBA’s Most Unimproved Player, not giving him MIP Votes that could be spent on more deserving players like Linas Kleiza (3 votes) and Roger Mason Jnr (1 vote).

On to the real votes then.

Day 9’s Playoff MVP Votes
3 votes – Lebron James
2 votes – Boris Diaw
1 vote – Tayshaun Prince (11-12 shooting… that is ridiculous)

Day 10’s Playoff MVP Votes
3 votes – Joe Johnson
2 votes – Kobe Bryant
1 vote – Dwight Howard

Playoff MVP Leaderboard
Chris Paul – 6 votes
Lebron James – 6 votes
Kobe Bryant – 6 votes
Dwight Howard – 5 votes
Tony Parker – 4 votes

Comment posted by
at 4/29/2008 12:11:08 PM

[…] Will Shelton wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptEddie Jordan must be furious because any chance the Wizards had of matching the Cavs in the on-court basketball talent department has been lost with their silly war of words and mind games. It reminds me of the Pistons a couple of years … […]

Comment posted by
at 4/29/2008 1:53:20 PM

[…] Kickz101 TrashTalk Podcast Blog wrote an interesting post today on Day 9 & 10 – Kobe cruises and the MIPHere’s a quick excerptHedo Turkoglu deservedly won the NBAs Most Improved Player (MIP) for 2008…. […]

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