Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Pale View

Jason Terry is probably the favorite at this point for the 6th man of the year award, and deservedly so -- he's having a great year, scoring an efficient 20 points per game off the bench. But why haven't we heard more about Nate Robinson's candidacy for the award? Robinson's averaging 18.2 points, 4.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting solid percentages from the field and the free throw line. I'm assuming we'll start hearing more and more about him as a possible 6th man award winner because of how he's performed recently -- since the all-star break, he's putting up 25.8 points, 5.2 assists, and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 47% from the field, 39% from the 3-point line, and 87% -- all off the bench (33.5 minutes per game). That's a remarkable run. 

Meanwhile, it's starting to seem like it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to see Donyell Marshall have a huge impact on at least one or two playoff games this spring. He's only appeared in 16 games for the 76ers so far this year, and in very limited minutes, but he's shooting close to 54% from the 3-point line in those games, which is exactly what Philadelphia needs. So far, the team is 5.3 points per 100 possessions better on offense when Marshall is on the floor.

In the Western Conference: with Thabo Sefalosha playing, the Thunder have stretches when they look like a respectable defensive team, which is a big improvement from where they were without him. Not to mention, he's averaging 2.4 steals per game on a team that loves to get out and run. Step by step, this team is making its way towards being competitive. They've been right around .500 since their abysmal start, and they are definitely going to be worth following closely next year.

And finally: I don't watch NCAA ball and I've never filled out a tournament bracket (though if I did, it would be this very attractive one). So for no particular reason, here are my completely uninformed picks for which teams will make the elite eight: Pittsburgh, UCLA, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Louisville, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Memphis. Let's see how I do!

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