Monday, November 12, 2012

Noble's Weekly Notables: Carmelo Is The League's MVP

Early MVP Candidates

What better way to start this weekly column with a little MVP talk 5 games into the season? With our traditional preseason picks of Kevin Durant or Lebron James it comes time to look at some other names that need to be considered if the award was to be handed out today.  Below are three other candidates early on this season.

Carmelo Anthony

The last undefeated team while missing their second best player is led by Carmelo Anthony.  Carmelo has been playing great this season leading the Knicks in scoring while coming up with impressive wins over the 76ers (twice) and the Miami Heat despite having to deal with Hurricane Sandy.  Carmelo ranks third in +/- and first in scoring with 27.3 points per game.  I know I have always been hard on Melo because I expect more from him.  Maybe this is the year that he accomplishes everything he is capable of, including an MVP award.

More after the jump!

James Harden

This one isn’t much of a contention even though his production has dipped off recently.  James Harden changed the culture of the Houston Rockets turning them into playoff hopefuls instead of lottery luck, which they were destined.  Coming in as the third best scoring in the NBA this season, scoring more than his two buddies in Oklahoma, with 26.5 points per game.  Houston is going to win a lot more games than most had predicted and the reason is because James Harden is finally playing starting minutes.

Joakim Noah

The Bulls will always be able to compete even without Derrick Rose so long as they have Joakim Noah and Tom Thibodeau.  Joakim has been playing great averaging 15 points per game along with almost 10 rebounds.  What’s more impressive is his defensive play early on averaging over two blocks per game and almost two steals per game.  Joakim has been the catalyst for this Bulls team in the absence of Derrick.

Mike Brown never had a fair shot
"I think it's unfortunate," James said Friday. "I just don't think he got a fair shake, honestly. With the shortened season last year, and five games into this year, he didn't really get a full season." 
Inevitability is a funny situation, especially when it comes to the Lakers’ decision to fire Mike Brown five games into the season.  Mike Brown is not as bad of a coach as many portray him out to be.  Whether you agree or not, I think this situation was a matter of the front office having the “get the best players possible” mentality over a philosophy. 

The Lakers were starting a new philosophy offensively this season.  To jump start their stagnant at times offense, this season they were going to implement the Princeton offense.  This system of fast moving, constant cutting offense that requires a type of personal to work.  I truly believe obtaining Dwight was the sole reason the offense never got working.

Dwight Howard is a great player. No one should doubt this.  However, his style of play does not suit the Princeton offense. That type of offense requires a lot of movement, whereas Dwight has always been about spacing the floor for others because he requires more attention than any other player in the paint.  To further this point, the Lakers don’t have a strong three point shooting unit.  Their best bet to win games will come from inside with Pau Gasol alongside Dwight. 

Let us jump back to the Lakers coaching vacancy.  I don’t think the Lakers were very honest with Mike Brown.  If you grab Dwight, and if you have that option you do it every time, than I think you need to be up front with the coach about changing the style of play.  Returning to the triangle offense will be the best thing for the Lakers with their personal.  However, now we are hearing the possibility of Mike D’Antoni or Phil Jackson.

I have always believed in the “Don’t quit your job unless you have another one”.  The Lakers must not like that plan because the two candidates they are chasing have reasons why they can’t coach, at least right now.  First the word is Phil Jackson can’t endure a full season of travel with his health.  Outside of that, Phil has nothing to gain coming back and only a legacy at stake.  Well, not his entire legacy but if he doesn’t bring a title it’s a failure on him. He will still be the greatest coach of all time.

As for Mike D’Antoni is resting after having knee replacement surgery.  His health time table is up in the air.  Also, do the Lakers really want to grab the master of “Seven seconds or less” with a team build for half court offense? This whole Laker coaching situation gets more confusing by the day.  It will be interesting to see who they actually decide to pick up.  Or who agrees to take on this task.

*Update Mike D'Antoni was hired last night. Next up, my opinion why it won't work.

The Thunder will be just fine with Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin is filling the 6th man role better than James Harden would have for the Oklahoma City Thunder, if the first six games tell us something.  Many Thunder fans were upset about the James Harden trade without looking at the basketball aspect of it.

James Harden was a staple for the Thunder fans, beard and all. However, I don’t think they have been able to appreciate the type of play Kevin Martin brings.  In the first six games with the Thunder, Kevin Martin has 18 points per game with 48.3% shooting from the field, 91.9% from the charity stripe and 51.6% from downtown.  To top this off, he is playing much better defense at the shooting guard position than James Harden.

Kevin is averaging 1.5 steals with .3 blocks and an incredible defensive rating of 99 while having an offensive rating of 124.  His PER rating is slightly better and his win shares are slightly better.  Kevin Martin is one of the more efficient scorers in the league being a candidate of the 40-40-90 club, which is 40% fg, 40% 3pt, and 90% ft. 

It’s early in the season but I always felt that the Oklahoma City Thunder made out well in the trade of James Harden.  Kevin Martin will be the perfect third wheel for this team that needs an experienced scorer to come off the bench for them.  There weren’t enough minutes when Harden was in town, now they have a player who is scoring more while playing less minutes than his predecessor.

And lastly, a little laughter for everyone on Veteran's Day.


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