The 2012 NBA Midseason Oscars
It’s that time of the year. The NBA, playing in a ridiculously condensed season that doesn’t seem to provide players with enough time for sleep or meals, is naturally putting an unimpressive product on the floor. With players breaking down and under-performing, scoring is down across the league, with only Miami, Denver, and Oklahoma City averaging over 100 points per game. Things have gotten so bad that the Charlotte Bobcats have started suiting up local rec league teams in order to get their guys some rest. Or maybe the team has a record of 4-28 just because its roster sucks actually; it’s hard to tell which. Fact of the matter is, for all the highlight-reel dunks and “Linsanity” around us, the quality of play in the NBA this season has been pretty poor, and it is high time that we find a distraction.
Incidentally, it’s February out in Hollywood, which means things are not going well at your local movie theater. Even your die-hard movie fanatics struggle through this famine time on the film calendar, when you’re at least a month away from seeing a good movie. When your friendly neighborhood movie buff scans the new releases and is presented with the option of “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” and…oh god, that can’t really be an option, can it? Anyway, the situation is bleak, and the pickings are slim. But there is an oasis in the desert. It’s Oscar season, folks; time to turn away from the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson movies and “Phantom Menace” re-screenings and honor the things we love about movies. So with a break for the NBA All-Star weekend looming on the horizon, and the promise of more bad NBA basketball coming right after it, we might as well co-opt the Oscar format to give out some midseason awards. That sounds like a worthwhile idea, doesn’t it? And if it doesn’t yet, we can point you in the direction of the Wizards-Bucks game after the All-Star break. See you in five minutes when you’ve thought it through and want that diversion from poor NBA play.
The longtime Sixer is finally getting his due as the de facto leader of upstart Philadelphia, which finds itself leading the Atlantic Division at the halfway mark. But though he was groomed to be a superstar, Iguodala is making his mark as the ultimate role player, spearheading the league’s best defense and only averaging 12.4 points per game. The fact that he was selected a league All-Star even though he is being outscored by guys coming off the Sixers bench shows how he is setting up his teammates, framing them well, and thus making him worthy of the award.
Best Adapted Screenplay:
There was a strong push made to get him the statuette in the Original category, but as every game goes by without a significant drop-off statistically, the man who launched a thousands puns has proven himself to clearly be the product of all the sports movies that preceded him. With his inexplicable evolution that has caused him to dominate the competition, it seems like Jeremy Lin is drawing from a heavy dose of “Teen Wolf” on his magical run.
Best Original Screenplay:
Somehow this guy still doesn’t get talked about that often. Last year he ripped off a record 53 consecutive double-doubles, and everyone cried foul that he was the subject of a criminal lack of respect and admiration. This season, he’s fourth in the league in points per game with 25.0 and second in rebounds with 14.0. No other player is ranked so highly in both categories, nor has anyone finished in the top-5 in points and rebounds since Tim Duncan a full decade ago. Love has taken this historic accomplishment and made it completely his own, as no one watching seems to expect him to be doing anything less.
Like the Supporting Actor decision, this one comes down to the two best players from the two best teams in each conference. Unlike the Supporting Actor decision, we have no desire to cop out and give George Clooney and “The Descendants” some love, so it’s James by a hair over Kevin Durant. James and Durant are in a virtual deadlock in points right now, with Durant holding the rebounding edge and James winning assists. However, James gets degree-of-difficulty points for making a Wade injury earlier this season look like a non-issue and dominating in his absence. Although Wade may have been in South Beach first, LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, and this is his team now.
Best Supporting Actor:
This one’s tough to decide
You’d have to call this one a two-horse race between Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade, each bona fide superstars but not the best players on their own teams. Westbrook is outperforming Wade just slightly on paper, with slim edges in points, assists, and rebounds. However, Wade is regarded as the superior defender and is an all-around more reliable player. But at the end of the day, it really does seem like it’s Christopher Plummer’s year, so we’ll concede the win to him on this one.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Ok, yeah, the category name isn’t a perfect fit, but we found a way to make Cinematography work, so get over it. The Heat might be the most dangerous team in the league, and it wouldn’t be shocking if they beat the Thunder in what would be the most entertaining NBA Finals in years. But while James and Wade hold the slightest of edges over Durant and Westbrook, and Chris Bosh is markedly better than James Harden, the Thunder go much deeper than the Heat. The tandem of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden can be relied on to put up points on a nightly basis, but Oklahoma City supplements that with some of the best lockdown defenders in the league. Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins make the post an inhospitable place for opposing offenses, while Thabo Sefolosha will prevent just about as many points on defense as Harden will score on offense. This pick would be unassailable if the Thunder could get a true backup for Durant before the trade deadline; but as it stands right now, Oklahoma City still boasts the best team in the league.