NBA 2012-2013 Second Half Season Preview

NBA 2012-2013 Second Half Season Preview
Halftime is over, party people. The second half of the 2012-2013 regular season begins tonight. Teams are looking to move up in the standings for a playoff push or are looking to tank for one of the weakest drafts in a while. Take a look at some of the top issues to be faced in the second half.

Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Danny Granger...who gets traded at the trade deadline?
I listed KG only because media member keep throwing his name out there in spite of the fact that Garnett is on record saying he will NOT waive his NO-TRADE clause. Garnett isn't going any where. I doubt Paul Pierce goes any where either. The Celtics are 8-1 since Rajon Rondo tore his ACL and may be stubborn enough to hold the team together and make a second half move up the standings. Speaking of Rondo, there was a rumor that the Lakers and Celtics have discussed moving Rondo for Howard. This rumor is stupid because it doesn't help the Lakers immediately due to Rondo being done for the year and ignores the fact that Steve Nash is their point guard. Howard will not get moved at the deadline which means the Lakers will risk losing him in the offseason. Danny Granger hasn't played all season so there is no way to accurately gauge his trade value so he stays put. Josh Smith is the most likely big name to get moved by Thursday. He wants a max deal and Atlanta is trying to slash their payroll. He'll find big money this summer, but on he meantime he'll be relocating within the week.

Who are the Championship Contenders?
The Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder. For the second straight year, Miami is going to moonwalk into the Finals due to the low resistance present in the East. The Pacers are the lone wild card to get out of the East but they lack the fire power to definitively beat the Heat or knock off the team that emerges from the West. The Thunder and Spurs are on a collision course to repeat last year's West Finals matchup. Health could derail the Spurs while inconsistency could derail the Thunder. The dark horse in the West is the Clippers, but if Chris Paul continues to battle injuries they can forget any Larry O'Brien aspirations.

Is the MVP race even close?
Despite the torrid pace LeBron is on, the media is largely ignoring what Kevin Durant is doing in OKC. Compare their stats:
  • LeBron James: 27.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.9 blocks, 56.5% FG, 42.4% 3PT, 74.3% FT, 38.5 minutes per game (Heat record: 36-14)
  • Kevin Durant: 29.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 steals, 1.2 blocks, 51.9% FG, 42.7% 3PT, 90.7% FT, 38.9 minutes per game (Thunder record: 39-14)
Both are having fantastic seasons, however LeBron gets the edge in my eyes at this point due to his 2-0 advantage in their head to head meetings this season. Durant's team is going to have to finish with a better record to have any chance at stopping LeBron from winning his 4th MVP.

Last but not least, will Derrick Rose play this season?
Recently, Derrick Rose gave an interview to USA Today and his words made Bulls fans feel less than optimistic that he would return any time soon. The team has periodically provided updates on Rose and each update sounded better and better, making things seem like his return is on the horizon. Rose poured water on such optimism by saying he was "far, far away" from coming back. Personally, I'm fine with him missing the entire season and I wouldn't be surprised if he did. The Bulls' physician who performed Rose's knee surgery, Dr. Brian Cole, stated that Rose's recovery time would be in the range of 8 to 12 months. This month marks month 10. Nothing has changed. Rose also stated that he didn't want to return until he felt that he was "110%." I'm in favor of whatever it takes for him to get back to full strength, even if it means missing out on the entire season. The Bulls' coach Tom Thibodeau always says that his team has "more than enough to win" no matter who is on the court and the way the Bulls play night in and night out shows that they believe this mantra. In the meantime, the basketball world patiently awaits Derrick Rose's return.

RIP Dr. Jerry Buss

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