The Diss-cussants! They’re back! And they’ve watched the playoffs! This makes me happy. The Diss is a better place when they’re around.
1. LeBron’s MVP again, for the fourth time now. You feeling bad for Kevin Durant, CP3, or Melo?
Alex Maki: On a certain level I always make sure not to feel bad for rich athletes. Do I feel bad that they have Lebron James to compete with every year in the MVP race? No, I don’t. Mostly because I don’t think that they deserve it over Lebron, and I don’t think that they would want to be awarded the MVP trophy knowing that they didn’t have as a good of a year as another player.
Hans Peterson: Nope. At least not yet. Most players don’t get to win MVPs. Even really, really, good players. Jerry West never won. Elgin Baylor didn’t win. No MVP for Isiah Thomas or Stockton. If he continues his current trends and trajectory, it might be a shame if Durant never won one, but it is FAR too early to worry about that, and his game should age quite nicely. Paul and Melo are great, but not historically great in my eyes. I don’t weep for Patrick Ewing or Gary Payton for never winning MVPs. I wouldn’t for Paul or Melo either.
Symbol Lai: Meh. Whatever. To echo Alex and Hans, I don’t think the above-named players have had a definitive, breakout year to beat out Lebron and lots of great players don’t get MVP’s. I can see Durant pouting a little, but I don’t feel that bad because he’s still got a lot of his career ahead. Also, I’m sure they know the politics behind the voting as industry insiders so don’t really take it as an accurate reflection of their worth.
John Reyes-Nguyen: Nope. I don’t feel bad that Stockton and Malone, Ewing, and Barkeley don’t have rings because of Michael Jordan. Those guys should focus on getting rings. Kobe has one MVP and five rings, he’d easily trade that MVP for another ring.
Andrew Snyder: I think LeBron’s total number of career MVP’s vs. ‘ships (clueless guess: 7 MVPs vs. 4 rings) will be an interesting footnote in how we define him as one of the GOATs with Jordan, Russell, and… well let’s not get completely off topic here. As basketball bloggers, I think we all have problems with the MVP award (and Gary Washburn), but career total MVPs is certainly a big part of how we define NBA greatness (not that I’m advocating for a “pyramid” or anything, c’mon). I think it’s inevitable that Durant wins a few MVPs, but Melo and CP3 — sorry guys, wrong era, unless Chris is interested in joining the Knicks at some point soon.
Jairo Martinez: I really felt Melo had a very good shot at winning the MVP this year. Especially when he started the year on a high note and had New York on a tear. KD was robbed last year and made marginal improvements after Harden trade. But a better question is does LeBron really need/deserve to win it every year?
2. How’s your playoff bracket looking these days?
Alex Maki: Of the eight first-round matchups, I called seven. This mis-pick was the Nuggets over the Warriors. My picks this round? Heat, Pacers, Spurs, and Grizzlies.
Hans Peterson: I didn’t really make official predictions, but if I’m honest with myself, I would have guessed Denver would win with home court advantage. I would have probably called the Clippers/Grizzlies a coin flip, but that really was not a very good matchup for the Clippers. So I don’t know.
Symbol Lai: Well, I had the Bucks in six sooo…
John Reyes-Nguyen: Not as bad as my NCAA tournament bracket.
Andrew Snyder: I don’t have a good answer to this one that’s going to add anything to the discourse, but I do have a relevant Onion link to share.
Jairo Martinez: Clippers finally ready to make noise? Fail. Bucks going to show up and actually play basketball? Go fish. The end of a era in Boston? *tear*
3. This is our first playoffs without Dirk Nowitzki (and the Mavs) in 13 years, and our first playoffs without Kobe in eight years. Do you miss those guys, and/or their teams?
Alex Maki: I suppose I miss watching Kobe lose in the playoffs. I don’t really miss Dirk, the Mavs, or the Lakers going deep into the playoffs. I enjoy seeing the somewhat fresh faces.
Hans Peterson: No. I like Dirk. I hate Kobe. I would not have expected either to figure prominently in the final rounds, so it doesn’t impact my experience of the playoffs much. I didn’t need to see Kobe or Dirk chuck themselves into an extra one or two first round wins on their way to a series loss against a much superior team. Kobe doesn’t do anything but delay the inevitable in that Spurs series. The Mavs weren’t going anywhere as constructed.
Symbol Lai: Not in the least. I don’t really like empires and dynasties on principal. It’s much more interesting to have some breathing room for other teams and new playoff stories that are not about the Lakers’ drama, “airing-out” meetings, and Kobe’s 4th quarter comebacks to get behind.
John Reyes-Nguyen: Yes I really miss these guys. Don’t forget this is also the first time in about 5 or 6 years both the Celtics and the Lakers didn’t advance into the 2nd round. It truly is a young man’s game.
Andrew Snyder: As a Celtics fan, I felt cheated by the Kobe injury. I love seeing that man fail of his own volition, not the catastrophic NBA injury gods’. Robbed of Lakers schadenfreude, although at least D-12 gave his all in the “looking like a classless a-hole” dept at the end of Game 4 to try and make up for Kobe’s absence.
Jairo Martinez: The Mamba is the closest thing to Jordan there is in the league. Once he sets foot in the playoffs anything can happen. Having Dirk and Dallas in the playoffs for the past decade feels like a blur. To think Dirk has only come away with one title is a shame.
4. Take a guess: will your team be in the playoffs next season?
Alex Maki: No. The West is too stacked, the Wolves players are too injury-plagued, and the Wolves front office is too incompetent. Ask me the question in two years or ten. My answer will probably be the same.
Hans Peterson: Ugh. I don’t know what to say for this. I do think the Timberwolves will eventually take a little mini-leap and have an outlier year with a 7th or 8th seed in the West and maybe win one or two playoff games. But even with all their best pieces (Love, Rubio, Pekovic, Kirilenko), they’d need things to go very well. They absolutely cannot handle a crippling 3/4 season injury to one or multiple of those pieces. So if I’m betting, no, they are not in the playoffs. If they snuck past Houston or LA I wouldn’t be shocked, however.
Symbol Lai: HA! Every so often, Jacob will feel bad for my tortured existence and try to convince me that the Sixers aren’t really that bad off, but I’m kind of a harsh, realist so I’m always like NO WAY!!! The Sixers are going to have to start over. They have a lot of good pieces but not enough to push them into a deep, meaningful playoff run, even if it were through a big trade (that works out). Though this is still up for debate, as a person tired of losing, I’m capitulating to ”the dark side.” They need a superstar and, as of now, the organization doesn’t have enough draw to net a game-changer.
John Reyes-Nguyen: Yes. The Lakers will definitely be in the playoffs and better than this year. This year was worst than probably the entire Kwame Brown era. I felt really giddy going into this year. After Mike Brown was let go, I was fired (pun intended) up about getting PJ and talking some major trash. But we hire D’Antoni and father time kicked our ass and that was that.
Andrew Snyder: Depends whether Danny Ainge blows up the Celtics or not. If Pierce and Garnett are both on the team, there’s no way the C’s are missing the playoffs in the [L]eastern conference. Even a Rondo on 1 ACL/Jeff Green/SULLY/FAB MELO lineup could probably snag an 8 seed in 2014.
Jairo Martinez: My Bulls are thankfully still in it and are the talk of the town with their “upset” of the Heat. I expect them to be competitive in the East. Having Tom Thibodou as their defensive guru will make them formitable. The biggest problem going forward is salary cap management to put a true title contender on the floor.