Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsLakers

BEN BOLCH / ON THE NBA

And the NBA award ought to go to ....

By this set of midseason measurements, the Lakers, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose and Nikola Vucevic all stand out.

February 16, 2013|By Ben Bolch
  • All-Star guard Kobe Bryant and the Lakers finished their Grammy trip with a 107-97 loss to the Heat on Sunday in Miami.
All-Star guard Kobe Bryant and the Lakers finished their Grammy trip with… (Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images )

NBA awards can be so predictably dull.

There's most valuable this and most improved that, with many deserving topics going unrecognized.

Like the daily disaster that is the Lakers. Or the breathless Derrick Rose updates. Or the laughable use of performance-enhancing drugs by a wiry Orlando Magic forward who has barely played.

Here, then, are the midseason awards for the most captivating players, coaches and phenomena not named LeBron James (our most valuable player), Tom Thibodeau (coach of the year), Damian Lillard (rookie of the year), Paul George (most improved player) and Jamal Crawford (sixth man of the year):

Most likely to get ribbed the rest of his career over a dumb decision: Hedo Turkoglu.

Scores of pro athletes have taken steroids and gone on to win world-class cycling races or hit 50-plus home runs in a season.

Here's what performance-enhancing drugs did for Turkoglu: help him average a career-worst 2.9 points while shooting only 26.4% in 11 games.

The NBA suspended the Orlando forward last week after he tested positive for methenolone, an anabolic steroid that Turkoglu admitted having been given by a trainer in Turkey to help him recover from a shoulder injury.

"As a player this is the worst situation that you want to be in," Turkoglu said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether he meant getting suspended or playing for the Magic.

Most monumental waste of $100 million: The Lakers.

And you thought the Lakers of Gary Payton and Karl Malone got ripped for getting only as far as the NBA Finals in 2004.

Just wait until April if this keeps up.

Four months ago, this roster was hailed as the second coming of the Fab Four. Then little issues kept cropping up, such as Kobe Bryant's relationship with Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol's plantar fascia, Steve Nash's diminishing abilities and Howard's relationship with Bryant.

Oh, and the Lakers also have a coach who has little use for Gasol and doesn't seem to communicate with his players.

Other than that, this team should win it all!

Most consistent center involved in the Howard trade: Nikola Vucevic.*

*You could argue that Andrew Bynum deserves consideration for reliably doing dumb things, like bowling on bum knees.

Orlando's Vucevic has 29 double-doubles to Howard's 26, the former USC standout routinely outperforming a six-time All-Star widely considered the best big man in the league.

Howard's label hasn't meant much this season. He has been solid in some games and a nonentity in others, as quiet on the court as he is when he speaks in hushed tones in the locker room after more losses than he could have possibly anticipated.

Most likely to go from zero followers to a billion on Twitter: Bryant.

The formerly reticent Laker became a social-media megastar from the moment he dispatched his first tweet last month, already amassing more than 1.3 million followers despite composing only a few hundred messages.

Recent topics have included a shout-out to ailing Lakers owner Jerry Buss ("We all LOVE our Dr. B!!") thoughts on former teammates ("It was good to catch up with @SHAQ") and his daughter's getting to play with Chris Paul's son during All-Star festivities Saturday ("At least lil @CP3 and baby Mamba can play together NBA can't veto this one Ha!").

Those who dream of being followed by Bryant probably have better odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery, unless they play for the Lakers. As of Saturday, Bryant was following only 49 people.

Most likely to trigger a massive heart attack without appearing in a game: Rose.

Chicago's star point guard was out until around the All-Star break. Then it looked more as if he would return in late February or early March.

Now there's a chance Rose may not play at all this season because of his surgically repaired right knee.

And here's the weird part: That's OK with him.

"I don't mind missing this year," Rose said last week.

You think Bulls fans share his feelings?

Most likely to change tax brackets in the off-season: Earl Clark.

It's amazing what a little defense and determination can do. Clark has gone from an end-of-the-bench afterthought to a Lakers starter, inspiring a legion of kids who aspire to play for one of the biggest flops in NBA history.

Clark's team may not be headed anywhere, but at least the impending free agent will be able to super-size more than his fries once he signs a hefty new contract this summer.

Most likely to find a new home … or not: the Sacramento Kings.

To paraphrase Lt. Frank Drebin from "The Naked Gun," it's fourth and 15 and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is facing a full-court press.

The Kings' fate continues to be a jumbled mess, with Johnson still trying to assemble a group of local investors who could counter hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen's $340-million deal with the Maloof family to acquire controlling interest in the team and move it to Seattle.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said he hopes to have Johnson's proposal in hand by March 1, well ahead of the owners meeting April 17 and 18 that will determine the future of the franchise.

Seems like a lot of fuss for a team that hasn't been to the playoffs in seven years.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

twitter.com/latbbolch

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|