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Old 12-21-2016, 03:07 PM   #17
RealMrGame10
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Location: Land of Stars and Harmony
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I have to agree with what you're saying about the frontcourt issue in Philly, phoopes, and I think there's definitely a consensus that something needs to be done. Most people are actually calling for trading Noel, considering his apparent dissatisfaction with the current situation and the fact that a lot of people like Okafor as a player more. Others (including me) go in a similar direction as you, suggesting that Okafor is not as good of a fit in the Sixers structure, looking at Embiid's upside once he starts playing more minutes. Some want to trade both and get some smaller vets or some assets. (some fringe speculators want to trade Embiid just in case he gets injured again).

Having played multiple games against the Sixers fully healthy in 2k (basically making me an expert :p), I can say that a Ben Simmons/Joel Embiid tandem will be one to watch when Simmons returns. Hopefully, the Sixers' other issues will be on the way to resolution by then.

>Thunder
People were hoping that Victor Oladipo and the development of Steven Adams (along with the offensive presence of Enes Kanter) would help the Thunder be a little closer to the team that they were last year, but like you said, OKC's shooting is just not dangerous enough for them to be actual contenders in my opinion. Russ is like 0 for 5 with last second shots, and he's one of the better shooters on that team. Oladipo's just not an outside presence (however fun it is to watch him play). However, I do disagree that Russ can't be an MVP candidate solely because of the middling performance of his team. One of the common criticism's of Russ is that he's simply stat-padding, and though I'm sure that might be part of it, Russ' reactions to the questions of stats and the importance that he has to the team indicates otherwise to me. He's playing as hard as he can, and if the 26-11-22 triple double that he picked up the other day is any indication, he's getting his team involved, too. To be sure, the middling performance of the Thunder is a barrier towards his receiving of the reward, as the last time that someone who wasn't on one of the top two teams in a conference won MVP was in the 1980s with Moses Malone. But I think in terms of narrative (and stats), Russ is undeniably a strong candidate. The star player to whom many considered Russ a sidekick unexpectedly leaves the team, leaving Russ by himself to carry the Thunder to whatever wins they can get, maybe finishing 4th or 5th in the conference, but he undeniably carries them. To the Thunder, at least, Russ is definitely the Most Valuable Player. Who knows, though, maybe Lebron will get it again.

>Bucks
Their performance thus far might be partially attributed to Middleton's injury struggles, but for me, I think that their issue is that no one on the Bucks is really at All-Star level beyond Giannis. Jabari Parker is getting there, but perhaps not fast enough. Once Giannis increases his outside scoring ability, though, it may not even matter, that dude is insane.

>Award Predictions
MVP: Russ (see above)
Coach of the Year: Mike D'Antoni: he's really transformed the Rockets, and if they can keep it up, he's a lock. (I'd say Gregg Popovich but he's Gregg Popovich and probably doesn't care)
Sixth Man: Lou Williams (let's be real, setting a record for most points scored off the bench between four games is probably enough for some analysts)
Defensive POY: Kawhi (I like Draymond's energy, but you can't even hold onto the ball in the Klaw's presence. 3peat?)
Rookie of the Year: Joel Embiid
Most Improved: Giannis Antetokounmpo (spelled it right on the first try!)

I liked Kawhi for MVP in the preseason, but the Spurs, as always, have been quiet (though deadly) this whole season save for that season-opening Warriors blowout. If they were a little flashier, Kawhi would be a lock, given the Spurs' winningness, but alas.
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