BOB’S ALL-NBA FIRST TEAM...NO ROOM FOR CARMELO ANTHONY
ANTHONY VS. KEVIN DURANT FOR NBA SCORING CROWN
LEGGIO ALL-STAR SNUB IS A JOKE
JACKIE ROBINSON FACTOIDS
SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Do you think New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is a worthy All-NBA First-Team selection this season?
I give Anthony credit for playing the best all-around basketball of his NBA career, but I can’t give him one of the two All-NBA forward spots over LeBron James (Miami) or Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City).
This is how my All-NBA ballot would look:
FIRST TEAM – F LeBron James (Miami)…F Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City)...C Marc Gasol (Memphis)...G Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)…G Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
SECOND TEAM – F Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)...F Tim Duncan (San Antonio)...C Brook Lopez (Brooklyn)...G Russell Westbrook…G James Harden (Houston).
THIRD TEAM – F Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)...F David Lee (Golden State)...C Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers)…G Tony Parker…G Dwyane Wade.
High honorable mention – Stephen Curry (Golden State)...Paul George (Indiana)...Paul Pierce (Boston)...LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland)...Chris Bosh (Miami).
I’d take Dwight Howard over any other center in terms of talent but he’s had a poor season by his lofty standards and hasn’t been as consistent as Marc Gasol or Brook Lopez)....Parker was worthy of First-Team consideration before injuries took a toll...Harden is a scoring machine. I won’t second-guess anyone who prefers him over Kobe for First Team...Griffin’s dunks are awesome, but his overall game needs work. I’m surprised he hasn’t shown more progress.
--Will Kevin Durant win his fourth consecutive NBA scoring title or will Carmelo Anthony win his first?
They’re locked in the tightest race for the individual scoring crown since David Thompson (Denver) and George Gervin (San Antonio) in the 1977-78 season.
Entering the final day of the season, Gervin was averaging 26.8 points per game and Thompson was averaging 26.6.
Denver played in the afternoon against Detroit and his teammates did all they could to help him win the title. He had 32 points in the first quarter (a new NBA record for one quarter) and 53 points at halftime. He finished with 73 points (28x38 from the field and 17x20 in free throws) in 43 minutes.
San Antonio played a night game at the New Orleans Jazz. The Spurs knew Gervin would win the scoring title if he scored 58 points. No problem. Gervin scored 20 points in the first quarter and 33 points in the second quarter (breaking Thompson’s record set several hours before). He finished the game with 63 points (23x49 from the field and 17x20 from the line) in 33 minutes to edge Thompson for the scoring crown (27.22 to 27.15).
There will no such shenanigans between Anthony and Durant. Their teams play their final games at the same time.
Anthony and Durant both played Thursday night. Anthony scored 36 points in a 118-111 Knicks loss in Chicago. Durant had 31 points in a 116-97 home win over Golden State (not surprisingly, teammate Russell Westbrook took more shots and made fewer: Durant 10x16; Westbrook 7x17).
The remaining schedules:
Anthony (Knicks; 4 games) – at Cleveland Friday...host Indiana Sunday...at Charlotte Monday...host Atlanta Wednesday, 8 p.m.
Durant (Thunder; 3 games) – at Portland Friday...Host Sacramento Monday...host Milwaukee Wednesday, 8 p.m.
--Rochester Americans goalie David Leggio did not make the AHL official first- or second All-Star Game. I have lost all faith in the voters. Did they do their homework?
Considering the turnover on Rochester’s defense – the veteran stalwarts all are gone (Sabres GM Dacry Regier didn’t do much to fill the void and it figures to show in the playoffs) – it is a hockey miracle that the team’s record is 39-27-4. I can’t imagine a more valuable player in the AHL this season. Leggio leads AHL goalies by wide margins in wins (36), games (59), shots faced, saves and minutes. He ranks 7th in save percentage (.923) and is 8-1 in shootouts.
--Selecting quarterback Ryan Nassib in the first round of the NHL Draft April 25 would be one of the most controversial picks in the history of the Buffalo Bills. One draft talent analyst recently compared Nassib to a young Drew Brees. If he’s close to being right, Nassib would be a bargain.
--Probable Kentucky Derby (May 4) favorite Verrazano will try to become the first Derby winner that did not have a two-year-old campaign since Apollo – in 1882. Of course, he doesn’t know that.
--The movie 42 – the mostly accurate portrayal of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier, opened across the country on Friday. Here are a few Robinson factoids:
He played briefly for the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs in 1945. He hit .414 (24x58).
He was International League MVP in 1946 as second baseman for the Montreal Royals: 124 games; 113 runs; .349 batting average (155x444); 25 doubles; 8 triples; 3 HRs; 66 RBI; 40x55 stolen bases...The Royals played three series in Rochester. Robinson missed the first series because of injury. According to newspaper clips, there were no incidents on or off the field in the subsequent two road series he played against the Red Wings.
He was the National League Rookie of the Year (and fifth in MVP balloting) as first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers: .297 batting average (175x590); 125 runs; 31 doubles; 5 triples; 12 HRs; 48 RBI; 27 stolen bases; 74 walks; 36 strikeouts; NL-most 28 sacrifice hits.
His final season was 1956: 117 games; .275 batting average (98x357); 15 doubles; 2 triples; 10 HRs; 43 RBI; 12x17 stolen. The Dodgers traded him to the New York Giants after the season and he retired rather than play for his long-time rivals.
His Major League Baseball career line: 10 seasons; .311 batting average (1,518x4,877); 947 runs; 273 doubles; 54 triples; 137 HRs; 734 RBI; 197 stolen bases.
His numbers are impressive, especially considering the fact that he wasn’t allowed to play in Major League Baseball until he was 28 years old.
His top salary was $39,750 in 1952. He was paid $5,000 in his 1947 rookie season and $21,000 in his 1949 league MVP season.
--A few things I’d do to improve college basketball:
Reduce the shot clock to 30 seconds to speed up the action...The shot clock began at 45 seconds in 1985 and was trimmed to 35 seconds in 1993. It wasn’t enough.
Junk the NBA rule requiring the very best high school players to play one year in college...Let the cream-of-the-crop dozen-or-so top high school players join the NBA work force immediately...That would be better than having kids play one year in college taking courses such as NBA 101.
Require the other high school players to spend two seasons in college or in foreign countries.
Increase the foul limit from five to six – perhaps with an extra foul shot for opponents after the fifth foul. It would take some pressure off the referee and make it more likely to have the best players on the court when the game ends.
Automatic technical fouls on coaches who are on the court during play on the floor (for example, Rick Pitino).
Bring back the game for third place prior to the NCAA championship game.
--RIP Buffalo Sabres. After an encouraging 2-0 start, it was mostly all downhill. The season will be remembered mostly as the one coach Lindy Ruff got fired – and GM Darcy Regier stayed (at least for now)