NBA Points of Interest

  • Shaquille O’Neal is likely not to make the all-star team for the first time in his 16-year career. He’s averaging a career-low 14.2 points and grabbing just 7.8 rebounds per game. O’Neal has already missed eight games with injury this season, and he’ll miss some more time with a hip problem.

    He entered the league in 1992 when I was eight years old. He was the first superstar I’ve watched since the beginning. He still has two years on his contract, but he appears to have very little diesel left in the tank. Watching him limp to the finish after he dominated the league for so many years is depressing.

  • Kwame Brown was booed at home in a bad Lakers loss to Phoenix last week. Yes, Laker fans are frustrated that Andrew Bynum was injured 35 games into his breakout season. But they’re also frustrated with Brown, who has been a bust with two teams now. The Lakers traded Caron Butler, who has since become an all-star player in Washington, in order to get Brown.

    Now in his seventh season, Brown’s pedestrian career averages of 7.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game raise an interesting question: Is Kwame Brown the NBA’s worst number one draft pick in the lottery era? I say yes. Who else is even in the running? Michael Olowokandi? Pervis Ellison? While he is still just 25 years old, Brown’s numbers and lack of impact suggest he is worthy of this dubious distinction.

    Who did the Wizards pass on in 2001 to take Brown first overall? Pau Gasol, Jason Richardson, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Tony Parker were all available. Oh, and someone named Gilbert Arenas slipped all the way to the second round.

  • With NBA teams at or around the 41 games played mark, the conference standings couldn’t be more different. In the East, first place Boston is the only team in the league. without double digits in the loss column. Detroit is chugging along in second place, and only four other teams are above .500. Meanwhile in the West, ten teams have records above .500, and first place New Orleans is just five and a half games ahead of Utah, who would be lottery bound if the season ended today.

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