NEW YORK — For those scoring in the league office, this is how I voted for . . .
MVP — Would the real Stevie Franchise please stand up?
Everyone says the key to beating the Suns is to shut down Nash. Has anyone done it, slowed him up so his team can’t turn the game into a medley sprint relay?
Maybe it happened; I just didn’t see it. The only thing that clogged the Suns’ arteries, albeit temporarily, was injuries to their “heady” playmaker who had the impossible task of keeping happy two All-Stars, one imported gunslinger and one risking free agent.
You don’t think there was some pungent complaining when he may have over-passed to Amare Stoudemire and possibly missed spotting Shawn Marion, Quentin Richardson or Joe Johnson?
Shaq is MVP for the first three quarters of games, at which time, God’s gift to Stern’s marketing department, Dwyane Wade, takes over Miami’s fate.
I reverentially recognize what O’Neal’s subtraction and addition meant to the Lakers and Heat, but how can an MVP candidate be legit if he’s a liability at the free-throw line of life?
Tim Duncan is third. Dirk Nowitzki and Allen Iverson barely squeezed out Stoudemire and Wade for the last two spots that count in the balloting.
COACH — Scott Skiles not only engineered the reversal of the Bulls’ losing mentality of those still on the payroll over the last three seasons but somehow managed to do it after they had dropped their first nine games of this season.
Indiana coach Rick Carlisle deserves every bit of flattery being heaped upon him for getting his team into the playoffs after the players went into the stands or on IR, but he had Reggie Miller’s leadership as his stanchion; Skiles had Antonio Davis.
Suns coach Mike D’Antoni was savvy and secure enough to relinquish control to Nash and go with a system that matched his team’s talent. Still, having a solid MVP candidate or two on call (see Miami’s Stan Van Gundy) automatically disqualifies you from contention.
Late season injuries to Vladimir Radmanovic and Rashard Lewis cost Nate McMillan serious consideration.
Not getting enough at-bats since being hired Jan. 27 to some extent devalued George Karl’s magnificent manipulation of the underachieving Nuggets into the team nobody wants to play in the playoffs.
ROOKIE — Awards, All-Star teams, speaking engagements, endorsements, whatever, I’m opting for the player on the winning team.
Chicago’s Ben Gordon gets the nod over Charlotte’s Emeka Okafor (double-double, toil and trouble-trouble) and Orlando’s Dwight Howard, a prized possession no matter how I look at it.
Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala and New Jersey’s Nenad Kristic barely beat out Chicago’s Andres Nocioni and Seattle’s Nick Collison for the last two spots on the All-Rookie first team.
MOST IMPROVED — Do you pick someone who’s come from nowhere to earn a starting position, respect and touches, players who didn’t get much of a chance until this season, guys like Dan Dickau, Primoz Brezec and Luke Ridnour?
Or go for someone who had made it big before but has blown up like nitro — guys like Wade, LeBron James and Stoudemire?
I went another way, whittling it down between Tayshaun Prince and Larry Hughes, satisfactory starters last season who have made names for themselves by expanding their games.
My choice is Hughes, who fills up the Wizards’ sheet with points, rebounds, assists and league leading steals.
SIXTH MAN — If you don’t absolutely embrace this role don’t even bother being measured for the award.
Nobody savored, celebrated and accomplished more in less time (25 minutes per) coming off the bench than Gordon.
Ricky Davis, Jerry Stackhouse, Earl Boykins and Radmanovic get honorable mention.
DEFENSIVE MAN — Marcus Camby beats out Ben Wallace, because a strong case can be made that the pushy Pistons’ center isn’t even the most resistant force on their frontline. And I’m not talking about Prince.
Unquestionably the Nuggets’ MVP for his bulky contribution in every positive category, Camby allows Karl to employ a one-man zone.
FIRST TEAM ALL-NBA — Nash, Iverson, Shaq, Duncan and Nowitzki.
SECOND TEAM — Wade, James, Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett and Vince Carter.
THIRD TEAM — Ray Allen, Manu Ginobili, Camby, Marion and Trady McGrady.
Far be it from me to pass up the opportunity to take one last regular-season cheap shot at the Knicks, who couldn’t muster enough pride to whip expansion and intramural teams back-to-back.
Sunday night’s 139-135 OT Garden gag to the horrid Hawks, who showed up having lost 17 of 18 overall and a rancid 3-36 away from home, is the stuff that causes franchises to have their charters revoked.
Allowing this decaying ensemble, whose only goal was not to lose 70 games this season, to come into your blessed building and shoot 55 percent from the field screams “Clean House” in any lingo, including Pig Latin.
Congratulations to the Celtics for procuring their first Atlantic Division title in 13 years (1991-92), Larry Bird’s last as a player.
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