Are you experiencing Lakers fatigure? Are you tired of reading posts about what the Lakers need to do and outrageous trade rumors involving Gasol and Howard? Me too.
There’s 29 other teams that have interesting story lines going on. With All-Star weekend a little over 2 weeks away, there are some other notable happenings and player performances that are worth talking about
1) Kyrie the point Gawd: It’s easy to loathe Duke products, but Kyrie Irving is 1 of my favorite young players to watch! The Cavaliers as a squad have left much to be desired since the caustic exit of King James. But Irving is a great source of energy and excitement for that fanbase. Although the Cavs aren’t going to the playoffs anytime soon, Kyrie Irving is averaging 26 ppg and shooting almost 50% overall for the month of January. He’s 1 of the most clutch players in the league right now, contrary to popular belief. With Rajon Rondo out for the season, I hope that opens the door for Kyrie Irving to be starting PG for the Eastern Conference All Star team.
2) The return of John Wall: When I discussed the 2012 rookie class so far, I mentioned that I wanted to see how effective Bradley Beal would be once the Wizards got back a healthy John Wall. And as I anticipated, they’re still figuring out the right rotation in addition to managing Wall’s minutes. Having Wall out left the Wizards without a consistent distributor, which clearly affected other players finding their rhythm in the offense. This month, he’s averaging 14 ppg on nearly 25 minutes per game. The athleticism of Beal and Wall are underestimated since we haven’t seen them play together with Wall at full speed. This development could really test Wall’s role as a leader on a team of meh talent (similar to Cam Newton in Carolina)
3) Chandler Parsons can ball his butt off: The story in Houston is all about Jeremy Lin and James Harden. But a silent partner in this Texas bunch is small forward Chandler Parsons. The Rockets were on a 7 game losing streak, with 6 of those being road losses. Statistically speaking this team is extremely unpredictable. But them holding onto the 8th seed is largely in part to Parsons (and the absence of rookie Royce White, see #5). Having watched him in Florida, I wondered how he’d fair in the league. But I think this Rockets team is a perfect fit for the type of player he is. He’s not going to score a ton of points, but he has a decent mid-range jumper and a solid basketball IQ. He’s as good a defender and rebounder as you’d expect a small forward his size to be. I love him on this squad and he’s getting better.
4) Steph Curry is Steph Curry’ing: So goes the never ending saga of Warriors’ starting PG. Him and Klay Thompson are posing such a problem for defenses when they’re the coming off the high screens. They both have great jumpers and execute well off the dribble. Curry is averaging 21 ppg as he’s started every game thus far. If he can do that with a problematic ankle, it’s scary to think what he could do if he stayed consistently healthy. I’m in the class of fans who say Curry not making the Western Conference team is a major snub. I think he absolutely deserved a spot over Tim Duncan or LaMarcus Aldridge. But this is what happens when you let fans vote. Hopefully the coaches will vote him in as a reserve.
5) The curious case of Royce White: I’m torn on this situation. While I commend the Rockets GM Daryl Morey for taking a chance on drafting White with his well-known anxiety issues, it’s felt as if White has taken advantage in some instances. For starters, he’s been in breach of contract from the moment he signed. Morey has gone on record saying that the Rockets’ front office has gone above and beyond to accommodate and assist White in managing his anxiety disorder. But they’ve been met with White’s twitter tirades and flat out unprofessional demeanor. Reported by Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, White’s suspension (without pay) has been lifted and he’ll be suiting for the D-League affiliate, Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Some people are saying White’s actions are childish and unreasonable. It’s easy to pass judgement on a situation when you just see it as being as black and white as “he’s getting paid millions, he needs to suck it up.” Professionally speaking, he’s doing a great disservice to his teammates and the Rockets fanbase because they could use more depth behind Parsons. But the fact that he’s going to suit up for the RGV Vipers is a step.
What other story lines have you been paying attention to?