The NBA playoffs have been mildly entertaining this year. I say mildly because it appeared early in the 1st round that parody might be creeping into the NBA – only to have the favorites battling it out in the conference finals. If the NBA playoffs had as much uncertainty as the NCAA tournament, they’d draw even bigger ratings.
This list doesn’t include guys like LeBron James or Kevin Durant, mainly because it’s obvious these are two of the greatest players of this era – and getting anything related to them is probably a good idea.
Hot (Stock Rising)
LaMarcus Aldridge – Already considered by many as one of the most consistent players in the NBA. With elevated minuets and shot opportunities, Aldridge had back-to-back 40 point games, and helped his team move on to the second round.
Damian Lillard – Several times during the season Damian Lillard hit big shots to help Portland win. In the playoffs, he hit a shot against Houston which will be remembered & replayed for as long as he is playing. It couldn’t have been better timing for Lillard’s sponsors Footlocker & Adidas, who ran a humorous commercial featuring Lillard, Barry Sanders, LaDanian Tomlinson, Chris Webber & Karl Malone.
Blake Griffin – While on the surface you see Blake in a new commercial, or doing something silly like “accidentally” spilling water on a fan. However, he’s really progressed his game with a mid-range jumper, and his post moves … while sometimes “bull in a China shop” -esque, have gotten more refined & effective.
Steve Kerr – Role player who just happened to be teammates with Michael Jordan. Marginally informative TV personality. All of a sudden is the #1 coaching candidate in the NBA. Kerr’s PR firm (and bank account) can just thank Phil Jackson, because if Phil hadn’t coveted Kerr for the Knicks head coaching job, I don’t think he would have gotten the Warriors coaching job at the salary he ended up getting.
Washington Wizards – Sure they ended up going out in the 2nd round, but they looked like a team that could compete. If they can get Marcin Gortat and other players back, along with Bradley Beal getting more consistent – they could be a solid team around John Wall.
Cold (Stock Dropping)
Chris Paul – Is Chis Paul a good player? Yes. Is he a winner? No.
Period. He’s never gotten his team to even the doorstep of a championship. He’s not Magic Johnson, he’s not Tony Parker or even Rajon Rondo – all have rings and Paul has lame TV commercials.
James Harden – While he puts up fairly solid numbers, I think his act is going to where thin on collectors. His game will become more reliant on the perimeter shooting as his ability to drive to the basket (and draw cheap fouls) will fade away. Joe Johnson rookie cards don’t fly off the shelves, and minus the beard, I don’t think collectors would recognize Harden as a top collectible in a few years.
Donald Sterling – So he has a “wife” who also owns 50% of the Clippers …. but he’s got a 20 something gold digger. To be honest, sounds like a fairly normal rich-person living in Los Angeles relationship to me. If you’ve followed the NBA for some time, the fact that Donald Sterling is an idiot doesn’t break any news. The sad thing is – he’s not going to give up control easily, which could make for a not-so relaxing off-season for the Clippers’ players, organization & staff.
David Stern – Remember that Chris Paul was traded to the Los Angeles LAKERS – and it was Stern’s brilliant idea to cancel that trade and send Paul to the Clippers. Donald Sterling had a boys club, and David Stern was a member.