Posted on: February 27, 2012 6:36 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 8:10 pm
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Baseline Award Predictions for the season to come

Derrick Rose will play big minutes in the second half and could steal a second MVP from LeBron James. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

As the NBA catches its breath after a hurried rush to the season and a whirlwind All-Star Weekend, we turn our attention to the NBA's stretch run, the second half. We're at the point with the trade deadline looming two weeks away where teams will begin to make moves to either ramp up for a playoffs run or bottom out in rebuilding projects. Will the Heat keep up their pace? Can the Bulls finally get healthy and if so, how good can they be then? Are the Thunder legitimate title contenders? Are the Spurs "back" once again?

So many questions, so little time.

A huge element in the second half of the season is going to be minutes. The best teams will rest their players while desperate teams will have to play to the bone. The Bulls are somehow a great team and a desperate team. They want every advantage including homecourt advantage, and below we'll tell you how that could impact the MVP race.

So we present the Baseline Awards second-half predictions, focused on who will be taking the various trophies for the second half of the season.

Projected Eastern Conference Player of the Second Half: Derrick Rose

LeBron James is the runaway MVP leader, the best player on the planet, and was nearly flawless in the first half, despite the end to that All-Star Game. So why isn't he here? Because the Heat will have a top-two seed locked up by early April, and then you're going to see James take more and more games off as the Heat rest him for the playoffs. What he does between now and then will determine is MVP, but in the meantime, Tom Thibodeau plays his players 35 minutes a game even when they're hurt. Assuming that the All-Star rest helped Rose recover from the back and leg injuries that hampered him this season, he'll get the minutes, he'll get the production, he'll get the win. I expect big things from the reigning MVP in the second half.

Projected Western Conference Player of the Second Half: Kevin Durant

It's terrifying that a kid, a 23-year-old kid, can lead the league in scoring two years in a row and then make the leap. But that's what Durant has done. Everything is better. His efficiency. His productivity. His team. His leadership. His clutch play. And his defense. It's a phenomenal streak the kid's on and there's zero reason to think he'll slow down in the second half. The West is just competitive enough for the Thunder to keep Durant playing nightly and yet not good enough to challenge the Thunder for the top spot in the West (though San Antonio's making a good show of it).

Most-Likely to Succeed: Miami Heat

They have it together. They have no discernible weaknesses, outside of "Can LeBron James succeed in the clutch?" and that's not a regular season concern. The offense is clicking, their chemistry is good, they've had fewer distractions, they're playing at an elite level on both sides of the ball and their injuries haven't been significant. It may be sickening, but it doesn't change the fact that this is the baddest team in the land until further notice.

Least-Likely to Succeed: Charlotte Bobcats

Here's the worst thing about the Bobcats. They don't even have anything of value to firesell. Tyrus Thomas is having a terrible season, Corey Maggette has been injured, D.J. Augustin is just good enough to be their best player and not good enough to draw huge offers on the market. Gerald Henderson may be their best asset and he's too good to move. If they keep this team, they'll be horrible. If they sell off the parts for future components, they'll be terrible. If the lottery doesn't help this team, it's going to be classified as negligible cruelty.

Best Dressed: Indiana Pacers throwbacks

These jerseys are awesome. (Getty Images)


Those blues and yellows are just sharp as all get out.

Worst Dressed: Memphis Grizzlies throwbacks

This, not so much a crime against fashion as a crime against humanity. (Getty Images)


Let us never speak of these again.

Class Clown: JaVale McGee

Runs the other direction, denies things he's said into tape recorders, goes for triple-doubles in blowouts, makes ridiculous goaltends and has somehow failed to get better with John Wall on his team. McGee is funny. But someone really needs to get into his head and straighten things out or a world of potential is going to be lost.

Projected Defensive Player of the Year: Luol Deng

Andre Iguodala deserves it, but Deng may end up winning it simply based on reputation. If Deng is healthy, he's the best perimeter defender in the league. Dwight Howard has struggled at times and hasn't been as dominant. If the coaches really vote this one right, Deng should win as long as he continues to get healthy and Tom Thibodeau doesn't run him into the ground.

Smoke and Mirrors Award for False Relevance: Atlanta Hawks

Always a top-six team in the standings, never a top-six team in the conference. The Hawks have managed to survive a drop-off from Joe Johnson and the injury to Al Horford. The team is supremely in need of a complete makeover but none seems imminent. So they will continue to drift through the season, winning games and getting no credit, losing games and getting hammered, never going up or down. Consistency in this league is often heralded as success. But with the Hawks, it's always seen as evidence of either a mediocre student over-achieving or an excellent student never living up to potential.

Most Likely to Blow It Up: Boston Celtics

The holes have not been plugged. They have not rounded into shape. They have not righted the ship. The experience has not come through. The casual approach to conditioning has not yielded the results they want. They did not coast, they stumbled. They did not cruise, they crashed. They are alive only because of Rajon Rondo and the weakness of the Eastern Conference. The time has come to end this and move on. Sentimentality is not worth wasting time, because if the big free agents get re-aligned and the Celtics have nothing to move forward with, they'll be back in the stone age they were in before the Big 3 arrived.

Carmelo Anthony Award for MeloDrama: Dwight Howard

"I want a trade! But I love it here! But I want more input on decisions in the front office! But I'm just trying to play! I'm not talking about free agency! Except to talk to you about how much I'm not talking about it! I love my teammates! But I love Deron Williams! I love New York! But I love Orlando! I love my mom! But I make my own decisions!"

It's like watching a teenage girl decide between four boys while the one she's with can't figure out what he did wrong.

Projected Rookie of the Year: Kyrie Irving

Ricky Rubio's a nice story. Neat passes. Irving should have been an All-Star and is going to be an elite player in this league over the next decade. Cleveland's rebuild is on its way, just 19 months removed from "The Decision."

Most Likely to be Traded: Stephen Jackson

Steve Nash could go. Dwight Howard might go. Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Josh Smith, Rajon Rondo, Jose Calderon. But Jackson is owed a lot of money, the Bucks don't need him, and he and Skiles hate each other. He's a bad fit in the locker room and a bad fit on the floor. It's .50 cents on the dollar time in Milwaukee for CapJack.

The 2012 Version of the 2011 Memphis Grizzlies:

The Houston Rockets. I'm starting to buy into Houston as a surprise team. Memphis used team play, star power from Zach Randolph and a unique matchup with San Antonio to get into the second round. Houston has a Should-Be-All-Star in Kyle Lowry and world of versatility in lineups they can deploy. Throw in the work that Kevin McHale has done and the fact they're 4-4 this year against division opponents (three of which are likely playoff teams) and you've got a great shot at Houston making a surprising, if ultimately futile, run. Hurray, another mid-first-round lottery pick!

Most Likely to Hit the Rookie Wall:

MarShon Brooks. Brooks is going to be a terrific scorer in this league for a long time. He's got an elite set of offensive skills and tremendous length. He can play in an offense, too. But his game is predicated on shooting percentages and that's the kind of thing that can drop off when it hits the rookie wall. I full expect to have jinxed Brooks and he will now go out and win Rookie of the Year. His play in the win over the Knicks last week was superb.

Most Likely to Make Himself a Name by Season's End: Paul George

Should have won the dunk contest. Played Rose great last year. The Pacers are better than last year and are primed for a playoff run. Getting them out of the postseason is going to be a serious job, and George is going to be a huge part of it. More versatile on offense, better on defense, athletic, explosive, with range. George isn't going to score 40. But he's going to be a part of a lot of playoff wins for Indiana and is going to be that guy in the playoffs that make sports bars of opposing teams groan "Not that guy again!" time and time over. By the way, I've started calling him Mega-Man because it seems like every game he picks up a new ability he didn't have before.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:24 pm
 

Dwight Howard's mom wants him to stay with Magic

By Matt Moore 

Mama tried

Sunday night during the NBA All-Star Game, TNT's Craig Sager reported that he had spoken with Dwight Howard's mother and she had said she wants Howard to stay in Orlando. 

Meanwhile, multiple indications suggest the Nets continue to believe they are the front-runners for Howard according to multiple outlets.

So Dwight Howard is essentially torn between one of the most powerful men in Russia, and his own mother. This is like some bizarre political thriller, only with a poor hook shot and too many commercials.

Howard's mother will no doubt have an influence on his decision but there are so many factors to consider. His agent, his publicist, his teammates, his friend, his former coaches, his relationship with Stan Van Gundy, Otis Smith, and Rich DeVos are just a few of the things weighing on his mind. While family's obviously important to Dwight, ths is his decision to make. Still, it's never good to have your mom publicly come out and state what she thinks, since now it'll be known he went against her wishes if he leaves. From the Orlando Sentinel:  
Unless Dwight does an immediate about-face, takes his mother's advice (she reportedly told TNT's courtside reporter Craig Sager she wants him to stay in Orlando) and commits to signing an extension, the Magic must deal him and get something of value.

"That's my mom's opinion," Dwight said afterward when asked about Sager's report. "… I don't want to talk about that stuff right now."
via NBA All-Star Game: Orlando must turn out lights on All-Star party, Dwight Howard era - OrlandoSentinel.com.

Got to be your own man, the saying goes. But man, to have to deal with all this and now your mom? Bet this isn't how Dwigh thought All-Star Weekend would go.  
Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:02 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 2:24 pm
 

Reports: Sacramento, Kings agree to 'framework'

Looks like they were right. They are staying. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

The Kings have taken a significant step towards remaining in Sacramento for the foreseeable future, with team and city agreeing to the "framework" of a stadium financing proposal, according to multiple reports.

SI.com and NBA.com reported that Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Maloof family, who owns the Kings, told reporters in Orlando that stadium funding is on track.

"It's game over, so our community should be really excited," Johnson said, according to SI.com. "I want to jump up and down."

Johnson added, according to NBA.com: "I’m very excited. It’s a new day for Sacramento. We’ve all been working around the clock to get to this point."
   
Negotiations that involved the NBA league office, the City of Sacramento and the Maloofs took place throughout All-Star Weekend.

During his annual All-Star Weekend address on Saturday, NBA commissioner David Stern said that a deal was close but that money still separated the two sides and that "several remaining [deal] points" need to be hammered out.

"Life is a negotiation," Stern said on Saturday. ""The City would like the Maloofs to make the largest ‑‑ both have come up with very substantial contributions.  It's really getting there.  It's just not there yet.  And we're looking for other ways, imaginative ways, to bridge the gap ... It's coming down to money after all of this?  Yeah."

SI.com reports that the Maloof family will put up $73 million towards the $387 million expected price tag and an additional $60 million could follow in future years.

SacTownRoyalty.com reports the next steps in the arena funding process include a City Council vote and approval of a plan to create stadium funding from parking structures.

The Maloofs attempted to relocate to Anaheim last season but the NBA actively encouraged the family to reconsider and give Sacramento another year. Johnson has been pushing hard to keep the Kings throughout the process. The city of Seattle has also been interested in landing a team.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:01 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 12:07 pm
 

A-Rod: Kobe considered retirement over knee

A-Rod says Kobe Bryant almost retired last summer. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez told reporters on Saturday night that Kobe Bryant almost retired because of the pain in his right knee, until he had the experimental procedure performed in Germany done, which he advised A-Rod to also have. From the Los Angeles Times
Yet, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez told reporters Saturday that Bryant told him the pain in his right knee and ankle felt so overwhelming that he considered retiring. That is, until an innovative procedure in Germany this off-season on both his right knee and left ankle fixed everything.

Bryant "was really adamant about how great the procedure was for him," Rodriguez told reporters. "I know that he was hurting before, almost even thinking about retirement, that's how much pain he was under. And then he said after he went to Germany he felt like a 27-year-old again. I was still a little apprehensive about it and he kept staying on me about it."
via A-Rod: Kobe Bryant considered retirement last season - latimes.com.

Can you imagine if Bryant had retired after last season? That his last moments on an NBA floor could have been the sweep from the Mavericks? Instead, the 33-year-old leads the league in scoring, and has scored over 30 points 13 times this season. The Lakers very much remain in position to contend for the West despite front-office turmoil and a disappointing perfromance from his supporting cast, and Bryant is a huge reason why. 

Bryant became the all-time leading scorer in All-Star Game history Sunday, and passed Shaquille O'Neal on the NBA regular season all-time scoring list earlier this year. In the past three years, he's played his way through torn ligaments in his finger and wrist, severe pain in his knee, twisted ankles, and a broken nose and concussion. The words you're looking for are "tough as nails." That we almost lost a giant in this game like that too early in his career is terrifying. Instead, Bryant looks prepared to light up the scoreboard for another half-decade or more, and has talked about wanting to play till he's 40.  

Let's be thankful we get a few more years of prime Bryant.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 10:10 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 10:23 am
 

Howard update and Bynum thinks he's staying

By Matt Moore 

Andrew Bynum has had the same noose hanging over his head that Pau Gasol has for the past few months. The more the Lakers don't look like a Finals contender, the greater the chances are that the team will do what it has always done, reload with the best parts available, in this case, Dwight Howard. That would mean Bynum would be headed out of town, despite being the prized possession of new ower-in-charge, Jim Buss. 

But for Bynum's part? He told the Orlando Sentinel he's not concerned about it, and doesn't think he's going anywhere. From the Sentinel: 
"It doesn't matter to me; I don't read the headlines," he said. "There's a bank in every city, and I'm going to play hard basketball wherever I go, so I'm good."

Bynum believes he'll be a Laker after the trade deadline, although he ought not take that to any bank.

Until then, Bynum isn't going to allow it affect him the way its bothered Lakers PF Pau Gasol.

"I really don't care about it, man," he said. "You've just got to play basketball, just have fun. A lot of people lose that … it's a business and this and that. You're playing a game, and it's something you've been doing since you were a kid. If you just get back to that and just play, nothing matters."
via Orlando Magic: Glen "Big Baby" Davis speaks his mind in Magic team meeting - Page 2 - OrlandoSentinel.com.

Typical stuff in terms of "I don't let trade talk bother me," but the fact he thinks he's not going anywhere either shows a youthful ignorance of how disposable any player is to teams, or an indication from ownership that they don't think Howard is going to fit with L.A..

Meanwhile, Magic ownership shot down a rumor over the weekend of a potential trade with the Lakers for Dwight Howard.  
Orlando Magic continue to say they have made no decisions about what they'll do with Dwight Howard as the NBA trade deadline approaches on March 15.

And they are saying that a rumor making its way around Orlando that they've reached a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and a third team is totally false.

The scuttlebutt is that the Magic would send Howard, Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson to the Lakers and the Magic would receive Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. A third team, the Toronto Raptors, could be part of the deal or in a separate trade with the Magic, sending point guard José Calderon to Orlando.

Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Sentinel the rumor is wrong.
via Dwight Howard trade rumor: Orlando Magic deny Dwight Howard trade to the Los Angeles Lakers rumor - OrlandoSentinel.com.

The next step is for the Magic to offer Dwight Howard an extension, again, on March 1st, in the hopes his wonderful experience over All-Star Weekend will entice him to stay.  When that fails, and it will fail, the Magic will have fourteen days to review offers from Howard before the March 15th trade deadline and decide to move him or keep him and risk his entering free agency. There continues to be doubt from those in the league that the Magic will actually leave open the possibility of his abandoning the fanchise in free agency with their having nothing to show for it. But with the stubborn, yet admirable dedication to not losing Howard lingering, it's impossible to tell how this whole saga ends. 

For the time being, Bynum's not going to Orlando, and Orlando's not shopping Howard.  

All's quiet on the Superman Front.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 1:48 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 7:53 am
 

Kobe suffers nasal fracture, mild concussion

By Matt Moore 

The Lakers announced Sunday that Kobe Bryant suffered a nasal fracture during the All-Star game after a foul from Dwyane Wade. The Lakers say that Bryant will be re-evaluated Monday by an ear, nose, and throat specialist and is expected to resume practice Tuesday, according to the Orange County Register

Update: Yahoo Sports reports that Bryant also sustained a "mild concussion" on the play. If so, Bryant will be subject to the NBA's new concussion policy, which requires league approval for him to return to the court.

Here's video of the play from Wade in the third quarter which resulted in the broken schnoz:  



Clearly a purposeful foul in an All-Star game, which isn't going to endear Wade to Lakers fans. Bryant stayed in the game and passed Michael Jordan for all-time leader in points scored in the All-Star Game. Wade also famously was involved in the injury to Rajon Rondo in last year's Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Celtics.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Bryant was suffering from headaches after the game, which lead to him missing media availability after the game.
Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:05 am
Edited on: February 27, 2012 10:43 am
 

LeBron James wants to 'take back' late turnover

Fourth quarter. LeBron James. Again. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ben Golliver   

ORLANDO -- Another big stage, and another big mistake. This one doesn't really count, but don't try telling LeBron James that. 

The Miami Heat's prodigiously talented forward began Sunday night by dancing during playing introductions, shimmying with a wide smile for a global television audience. He ended it looking away from the camera, struggling both to maintain eye contact and to keep his head up.

That transformation is one we've seen before, and it was brought on by an all too familiar set of circumstances: the ball was in his hands, the game's outcome was in the balance and the fourth quarter clock was ticking towards zero.  Given the opportunity to win or tie the 2012 All-Star Game, James chose to do what he so often did during the 2011 Finals: He passed. Twice. 

With the East trailing the West, 151-149, James handled the ball out of an inbounds play, opting to find New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams, who popped open on a screen, rather than attack the basket. Wiliams launched a deep three, which rimmed off. After a scramble for the ball, James came up with possession with roughly five seconds remaining, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hawking him near midcourt. James took a few dribbles to his right as New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony popped open to the top of the 3-point line, calling for the ball. Instead, James looked off Anthony and attempted to fire a pass through traffic to Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who was cutting in from the left corner.

The pass never had a chance, as Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin stepped over to easily intercept it. The East was forced to foul immediately to stop the clock, and the West went on to win, 152-149.

"I'll get over with it," a dejected looking James said during a post-game interview on TNT. "I can't turn the ball over like that, let my teammates down like that."

Later, in a post-game press conference, a somber James explained what was going through his head on the final possession.

"I seen my teammate open for a split-second, I told him I seen him open the first time and I didn't release the ball," he said. "When I tried to throw it late -- that's what usually happens and it results in a turnover. Definitely wish I could have that one back."

Here's video of James' late turnover in the 2012 All-Star Game via YouTube user nbaus3030 and @Jose3030.


Williams told reporters that he was the "last option" on the designed play out of the timeout. 

"Coach drew up a great play to give me a shot. There were a couple different options, I was the last option. We went through it and we missed our shot." 

East coach Tom Thibodeau, whose Chicago Bulls were eliminated by the Heat during the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, said he considered calling another timeout after the loose ball but opted instead to let one of the league's best play-makers do his thing.

"He made a lot of big plays," Thibodeau said. "He made big shots, great reads. You have a scramble situation and an open floor, and you have a very dynamic scorer and a guy with great vision and good decision-making. You know, you can call a time-out and it allows the defense to get set, or you can trust his ability to make a play. Throughout his career, he's shown that he's capable of making big plays."

Given the overwhelming attention paid to James' late-game passivity against the Dallas Mavericks, how was this sequence of events anything but an absurd self-fulfilling prophecy?

James' reputation for late-game struggles added another chapter, and his turnover provided fuel for his critics while erasing an MVP-caliber performance. He finished with a team-high 36 points plus 7 assists, 6 rebounds and countless highlight reel dunks.  James even shot 3-for-4 in the fourth quarter, including 2 3-pointers, helping the East dig out of a 21-point deficit. Those shots and plays will be lost in another wave of "He doesn't want to be The Man when it matters" shouting. All the game-dominating good things disappeared with his fourth and final turnover of the game.

In a twist sure to intensity the endless "Kobe vs. LeBron, LeBron vs. Kobe" debate, James admitted that Bryant, a 5-time champion who has fashioned a reputation for never being bashful about pulling the trigger in late-game situations, was egging him on to shoot.

"Yeah, he was telling me to shoot it," James said. "You have some of the best competitors out on the floor at the same time. Not only me and Kobe, but D. Wade and [Kevin] Durant and [Anthony] and [Chris Paul] and all the rest of the guys. We all wanted to win, and it came down to the last minute or last seconds."

In those final seconds, James took the loss. And his reaction made it clear, because of the circumstances and the recent history, that he took it harder than you might expect given that it won't show up in the standings. No one -- not even a "King" -- likes to repeat the same mistakes.
Posted on: February 26, 2012 11:58 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 12:00 am
 

Check that trophy off: Durant wins All-Star MVP

Posted by Royce Young



ORLANDO -- There are certain boxes a player needs to check off while building an all-time resume. And Kevin Durant just pulled out a big red marker.

The 23-year-old superstar has already accomplished quite a lot in his four-plus NBA seasons. He's won two scoring titles. He's been named to the All-Star team three times, twice as a starter. Been named to three All-NBA teams. He's played in the Western Conference Finals. He won the HORSE competition twice in a row. OK, so that last one's not so prestigious.

But now he's got an All-Star MVP. That's a bunch of checks for a guy that only started driving seven years ago.

Durant took home the trophy with a 36-point, seven-rebound, three-assist performance in the West's 152-149 victory over the East in the 2012 All-Star Game in Orlando. He tied with LeBron James for the game-high in points, but taking nine out of 13 possible votes, Durant took home the award.

"It's just exciting to be named an All-Star, but to step it up another level and become MVP, it's only something that as a kid you dream about," Durant said. "Coming from where I come from, I didn't think I would be here. Everything has just been a blessing to me. I'm excited. I'm glad I'm taking this back to Oklahoma City."

It was obvious early on that Durant was serious about this glorified exhibition game. He attacked often, slowed into his gorgeous pull-up game and became the West's offensive focal point. Which is saying something when you're sharing the floor with Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin.

Durant had 21 points at the half, 34 at the end of the third quarter and when he checked back in with 7:53 left in the fourth quarter, he had a realistic shot at Wilt Chamberlain's 1962 all-time mark of 42 points in an All-Star Game.

"I didn't know. I didn't know," he said about Chamberlain's mark. "But you know, MVP is something that you want to get in this game, and I'm glad I got it. It made me feel better, all the guys congratulated me. It's just crazy now that I can hoist this trophy."

One thing that helped? Durant's coach, Scott Brooks was leading the Western All-Stars, which meant Durant basically could call his own game. He got a game-high 37 minutes and it was pretty clear that he had an eye on that MVP trophy.

"I wasn’t surprised at all,” he said. “Me and Scotty have been talking about this for a couple of weeks.”

Said Brooks about his golden calf: "He just comes in and does his work. He's a tremendous kid as well as you all know. Off the court, he's classy, he's a special teammate. What he does doesn't surprise me other than he did well at the Three-point Shooting Contest last night. That actually surprised me."

The All-Star Game always has an open feel to it and high point total aren't anything to get excited about. That's just part of it. Players have big games, piling up points on easy dunks, layups and open jumpers. But it does say something about who's getting those looks. It's about who's deferring to who, who's taking control. For instance, with Kobe Bryant on the floor with Durant and the East pulling within a point, it was Durant's running floater that put the West back up three. Durant took the most shots (25) and basically controlled the offense. That's the power of the Durantula -- he pushed the Black Mamba aside and owned the game. Not an easy thing to do.

You can say it was a changing of the guard, a passing of the baton or whatever metaphor you feel like working in, but as Kobe set the all-time mark for points in the game, passing Michael Jordan, Durant took home the MVP and was the West's alpha dog. With three games under his belt, Durant's off to a good start. Bryant sits on 271, Durant 186 shy of that and a lot of years ahead of him.

Said Dwyane Wade, “With KD in the league, I don’t know how long it’s going to last.”

Durant has always preferred to stay humble and quiet about his own other-worldly game, choosing to just let his play do his talking. He's never called himself great, never pointed at anything he's done. And even on one of the NBA's biggest stages after winning one of the game's most prestigious pieces of hardware, he still wouldn't just finally admit he's a real superstar.

"I wouldn't say that yet. Hopefully. Hopefully soon I can say that," he said. "Once I grow old, I can tell my kids that I got an All-Star Game trophy."

Trust me, KD. You're going to be telling your kids about a whole lot more trophies than just that one.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com