April 12, 2011
NBA Playoffs- The Best Absentees
The playoffs are now only days away and I'm sure that if you're like me, you're barely able to sit still with all the potential drama that's going to follow in the NBA's postseason. But like every postseason, there are always those who aren't good enough to make it. 14 of the NBA's 30 teams are going fishing early, and some of these 14 teams have serious talent, too.
In the playoffs, we will get a chance to watch the likes of Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, and many, many more stars... But before we splurge into the future and see who amongst these will rule the roast, let's take a moment to celebrate those whose season has already ended.
Steve Nash - Suns: Steve Nash is once again going to be the league leader in assists, and its a shame that he will not be able to step into the postseason to battle once more. The 2-time MVP perhaps saw his finest moment last year when he took the Suns to only a few games away from the NBA Finals. Ever since, Amar'e Stoudemire left and the team has been subpar at best without him. Of course, the 37-year-old point guard's efforts are not to be blamed, as he continues to be one of the strongest players not making an appearance in the post-season.
Deron Williams - Nets: Oh, poor Deron... Remember him? Just last year he was considered to be perhaps the best point guard in the league. With a mid-season trade to New Jersey, went from a team contesting for a playoff spot to one just hoping to not be the league's worst. His departure saw Utah plummet away playoff contention too, but this perennial playoff superstar will be missed this post-season.
Kevin Love - Timberwolves: Yes, Love has never made the playoffs before, and no, there wasn't even a chance for the lowly T-Wolves to make it this year, but he is the league leader in rebounds - that has to count for something, right? Hopefully we'll see his hustle in the playoffs soon in the near future.
Blake Griffin - Clippers: Along with Deron Williams, Kevin Love, and Yao Ming, Griffin is the fourth all-star this season not in the playoffs. Too bad, because the electrifying rookie would've been the toast of the league for a couple of games. At least he'll be able to drown his sorrows with the Rookie of the Year trophy.
Monta Ellis - Warriors: Some believe Monta is only a few steps away from being one of the most talked-about players in the NBA. After all, he did spend the season averaging 24.1 ppg, which by the way, makes him the highest-scoring player not in the postseason.
Special Mention - Kevin Martin & Yao* (Rockets), Al Jefferson (Jazz), Stephen Curry & David Lee (Warriors), Brandon Jennings & Andrew Bogut (Bucks), John Wall (Wizards), Tyreke Evans (Kings).
*Yes, I had to mention Yao.
And then there are those who are missing due to injury; these guys have teams in playoff contention but we will probably not be seeing them in action this postseason - Caron Butler (Mavericks), David West (Hornets), Greg Oden (Trailblazers). Fans will be wishing to see the likes of Shaq (Celtics) and Udonis Haslem (Heat) return to their squads sometime in the course of the playoffs.
The NBA - where even the losers are pretty damn good!