x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Yao Ming and LeBron James among NBA's biggest stories of the season

The NBA approached its half-way point, which is a good time to make our mid-season awards.

Houston’s Yao Ming warms up for an NBA game in October before injury struck again.
Houston’s Yao Ming warms up for an NBA game in October before injury struck again.

The NBA approached its half-way point, which is a good time to make our mid-season awards.

Biggest heartbreak: The latest injury to Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets centre. So much talent, such a huge international following, so many hopes dashed as his career may have come to an end. A special runner-up goes to Brandon Roy, the Portland guard. Once the leader of one of the league's most promising teams, the Trail Blazers have fallen on hard times and Roy is poised to have surgery on both knees.

Biggest let-down: Miami Heat against the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas day. The big showdown turned into the big wipeout, as the Heat rolled.

Best coming out party: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers. After missing all of last season with a knee injury, he has been a double-double monster (22 points, 12.7 rebounds per game) in his rookie season.

Best breakout season: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves. Was a solid player in his first two seasons, but now at 22 he has become a star. Leads the league in rebounding at 15.7 per game, and has upped his scoring average from 14 points last season to 21.5 points this season.

Most booed player: LeBron James. He is the new super villain! He is also a double-winner for having the biggest persecution complex.

Most disappointing team: The Phoenix Suns. A team that won at least 54 games in five of the last six seasons (including last year) and they are now 17-21 and looking like a completely lost franchise.

Most forgotten good team: Oklahoma Thunder. Not a perfect team, but young and athletic, and with two superstars (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook).

Best off-season addition: Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks. His signing was almost overlooked with the Miami Heat coup, but he has put the Knicks in sixth place in the East and poised to make the play-offs for the first time in seven years.

Worst guarantee: Dan Gilbert, the Cleveland Cavaliers owner, in an open letter printed after LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat, wrote: "I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA championship before the self-titled 'King' wins one." Here is your half-way update: The Cavs have the worst record in the league at 8-31 and the Heat are 30-12. Remember, it is better to stay quiet when you are seriously ticked off.

Best old team: San Antonio Spurs (34-6). Runner up: Boston Celtics (30-9).

Longest running soap opera: Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets. Trade him already. I don't care if it is to Turkey for Allen Iverson, just end the speculation.

 

sports@thenational.ae