We are halfway through the NBA's regular season, and with the All-Star Break upon us, it is time to take a look at some of the great players that are involved with the All-Star weekend in Orlando.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe's Lakers are only 20-14 this year, and he has been very vocal about the idea of either trading Pau Gasol or taking him off of the market. Los Angeles is underachieving and losing to teams that it probably shouldn't be losing to, though it clearly isn't Bryant's fault. He is still the game's leading scorer at 28.4 PPG, and s clearly deserving of an A. The Lakers would be incredibly lost without Bryant.
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Griffin's numbers are actually down from last year. That being said, he is still good for 21.4 PPG and 11.4 RPG, and is one of the top big men in the league. The former Oklahoma Sooner has had some remarkable games, including seven straight with at least 20 points scored. He also has 21 double-doubles. Griffin's Clippers are leading the Pacific Division, but we are still giving him just a B, because the team is really improved because of Chris Paul's arrival, not just what Griffin brings to the table.
Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers
When you look at the stats for Iguodala, it is hard to be overly impressed with 12.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 5.3 APG. He's the undisputed leader for the Sixers though, and we could argue that he is the MVP of the entire league for what he means to his team. Sure, the Knicks and the Celtics have struggled this year, but just knowing that Philadelphia is in first place in the Atlantic Division halfway through the season is good enough for us. Iguodala absolutely gets an A.
LeBron James, Miami Heat
King James gets an A for his work on the court for sure. He is the third leading scorer in the league at 27.4 PPG, and one of just a few players in the league that can go off for a triple-double every single time he is on the court. However, we are also giving LeBron an F for the way that he has conducted himself in the media. C'mon, LeBron. Why would you bother to tell anyone in Cleveland that you are open to a return? The truth of the matter is that James' final grade is only going to be whether he wins a title. Winning it all gives him an A. Anything less is an F.
Jeremy Lin, New York Knicks
The Linsanity phenomenon has been remarkable for the Big Apple. There is no doubt that Lin's emergence in the lineup helped right the ship for the Knicks, but we still have our concerns. Sure, he is averaging 22.6 PPG and 8.7 APG since getting into the lineup, but he is also turning the ball over 5.7 times per game, and that isn't going to cut it for a point guard at playoff time. We'll give Lin a B-.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Think that Portland is still kicking itself for taking Greg Oden instead of Durant a few years ago? Oklahoma City is still thrilled about the decision, and this year, Durant is averaging 27.9 PPG and already has a 51-point outing against Denver. With the Thunder sporting the best record in the Western Conference at the midway point of the season, Durant is clearly worth an A to his team.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Rose has to get a bit of an incomplete grade, knowing that he has only played in 25 of the team's 35 games. The Bulls are 21-5 with him in the lineup. Rose might not be the league's MVP this time, but he still has great stats with 21.8 PPG and 7.7 APG. He's good enough for a B, because we know that there is a lot more that he can give to Chicago for the rest of the season.
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
Rubio is fifth in the league in assists with 8.4 APG, and has really started to live up to the hype that was building while he was in Spain. Rubio isn't a great shooter, and he is only knocking down 37.5 percent of his shots from the field, but he has been the glue for Kevin Love, Michael Beasley, Nikola Pekovic and the rest of the big men. Rubio is really why the T-Wolves are going into the break at .500 and why they are the most surprising team still in the playoff race in the Western Conference. Still, with Rubio lacking as a shooter, we are only going to give him a B+.