Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Is Kobe The Best In The NBA?

One of the great aspects of the NBA is the way it allows for a legitimate debate about the best player in the league. One player can have such an enormous impact on his team. For the longest time, it was not much of a debate, though. The best player in the NBA was clearly Michael Jordan. Before that, however, people would get into these intense discussions about the merits of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. And back in the day, it was about Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Or about Oscar Robertson and Jerry West.
Who is the best player in the NBA today? I know Steve Nash is the two-time MVP and a marvelous player, but I do not think he is the best player in the league. LeBron James certainly has proven his point in Cleveland, but only to a degree. Both he and Nash have not won championships. I also think Dirk Nowitzki is underrated on this front. Yet, he has not won a title, either. Tim Duncan has, but does seem past his prime. That leaves us with Kobe Bryant, who will visit The Palace Thursday night. Is he the best player in the NBA right now? As some of you know, I have never thought as highly as others about Bryant. I think he was more a product of Shaq than Shaq was a product of him. I could not stand the way Kobe played against the Pistons in the NBA Finals. What a selfish chump. I thought he got off easy on his legal problems in Colorado, and is generally a phony. I thought last season was ideal for him because he could just be a ball hog. Well, this season, he has been more of a team player and the Lakers are winning. Kobe, finally, seems to be making the players around him better. And I am starting to come to the conclusion he is the best player in the NBA.

Random Thoughts

- So Michigan did not totally embarrass itself at Ohio State on Tuesday. So what? There is something missing in that team. An intangible factor that leads to capitulation at crucial moments of big games. That team should be better than that. Period.

- The Red Wings have a couple million dollars to work with at the trade deadline. They could use a little more firepower up front from a winger. Problem is, with the deadline a little earlier and parity ruling in the NHL, most teams still have a shot at the playoffs. And teams getting into the playoffs see themselves as Stanley Cup contenders - regardless of the seed. It could make for shallow pool of players available at the deadline.

- I see the key pitcher on the Tigers staff this season as being Fernando Rodney. With Jamie Walker gone, he will be asked to get left-handed hitters out in key situations. He will also have to set up because Joel Zumaya cannot pitch every day. Rodney was pretty good last season. Just look at the numbers. But I am not sure he can be "pretty good" again. His inconsistency can be alarming.


Blogger maddog52 said...

The bottom line is winning and losing and Michigan lost. They haven't played one single good game against any good team. In my mind "IF" they make the tournment they will be one and done.

I think Kobe is probably the best player in the league. I mean we wouldn't even be worried about the laker matchup tomorrow night if Kobe was not on that team. He a lone is carrying this team and I think he could carry a team to a championship by himself much like jordan. He is a great scorer and his defense has vastily improved. HE can hit a shot any where on the court and he has proven to get his team involved. At the same time he knows that if the Lakers were to win he has to take over and can do so.

I took one thing out of the Pistons last few games. I think Joe Dumars saw the same thing last night against Boston. He still needs one more peice for that bench. A juan Dixon, Mo. Pete type player would be right on the money. Cause I think Hunter can spell Chuancey for a spell. We are more solid then ever up front with the signing of webber, the emergence of McDyess and Maxiell. I just think Delfino is ok, but is not commanding his role. I just think we need that guy that can play the two/three/maybe even the point if needed.

It is exciting to be talking baseball. ONe guy I want to see excell this year is Infante. For the life of me I could not see why he wasn't used more (especially instead of Perez). He seems to be dominant in the winter leagues. If the Tigers don't plan on using him wouldn't it be wise to try or let his stock rise during spring training and get something for him. PErsonally I'd like to keep him and I don't think anybody has a better reserve infielder then him. Another guy that intrigues me is Thames. I mean if there was ever a guy whose value might not get any higher. We are pretty solid in the outfield. Do you see us trading him for a possible left handed bat or what is your take on our bench and reserve situation. The obvious guys going north we know. I still think we could use one more left handed bat. I'd really like to see break out and grab that reserve spot. Becasue I think he can keep Casey healthy for the stretch. These are minor things, but very important for the long haul. the guy I wanted the tigers to grab this offseason was hillenbrand as I thought he'd be a perfect bench guy and could get lots of at bats. Spelling both Inge and Casey and fill a corner outfield spot if needed. I was just curious to know your take on the reserve situation and how it will play out?

5:35 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

One and done is good enough to save Tommy Armaker's job. The thing is, he has to get to the NCAA tournament or he may be replaced. Seems like his program is on the line the next couple weeks.

7:10 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kobe plays a total game. You forget how good he is defensively.

1:54 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

That is a good point. He is also sharing the ball more.

1:55 AM 
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Hi Pat,

Best in the NBA? That's a tough one. Kobe is a great, great player for sure. He is the closest thing to Michael Jordan that we have. But the best? I'm not sure. I think LeBron will be in a few years. I might throw my support behind Dewayne Wade. He does everything well, he's a good defender and he does make everyone better. Would the Heat even be a .500 team without him? He killed the Pistons last year.

The NBA actually has a lot of great players right now. The only problem I see with the league is that there are too many teams. I think if you had 4-6 fewer teams, you would see higher quality basketball from top to bottom.

7 Days until Spring Training!!

12:38 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

You're right about Wade. I should have mentioned him. It's just that the Heat aren't that good this season and I don't see them as much of a threat in the playoffs.

6:15 PM 

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