Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Which player will leave L.A. this weekend as the most talked-about of them all? Why?
Steve Aschburner: It’s tempting to say Blake Griffin, but since he plays for the Clippers, he can’t really “leave L.A.” as the most talked-about anything. This would be a great stage for Derrick Rose to make his MVP case, but there will be too many Celtics and Heat dominating things for the East. So I’m going with Russell Westbrook. If he gets the minutes, his speed, athletic ability and aggressiveness should pop out at viewers and spectators in a game where many players seem to be going at half speed.
Fran Blinebury: Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets still won’t have pulled the trigger on a deal. The rumor will only crank up to a decibel level with everyone together in L.A. and with the trade deadline clock ticking loudly. What could make it even more delicious than to have Melo named MVP of the All-Star Game? If that happens, several hundred Knicks fans — not to mention beat writers — might spontaneously combust.
Art Garcia: The most talked to guy this weekend will be Carmelo Anthony and we all know why. With the trade deadline only four days after Sunday’s All-Star Game, ‘Melo is going to be the center of attention leading up to the exhibition and coming out of it. Does he stay in Denver for the rest of the season? Does a trade get figured out with everyone in town talking? Will ‘Melo share some insight on what may be around the corner from happening? He’s got the cards. Will he show them?
Scott Howard-Cooper: Carmelo Anthony, because L.A. this weekend isn’t about L.A. this weekend. It’s a fun rest stop before the push to the playoffs and, more pressing, before the trade deadline. Everyone, even the many people driven to annoyance by months of ‘Melo speculation, realizes these are the final days of the Nuggets’ game of chicken. How it turns out will greatly impact at least two franchises. Too much is at stake to not look ahead in a way that keep Anthony and his future as the center of attention.
Shaun Powell: This being L.A., would it be a stretch to see Kobe and Blake Griffin put on a show and be voted as co-MVPs? It happened before, in Utah with Stockton and Malone. Because defense isn’t allowed in this game, Griffin will put on a dunk fest delight and Kobe might — might — feel threatened that somebody from LA is trying to upstage him in his front porch. Can’t let that happen, right? Anyway, because the All-Star Game loves to showcase established stars and introduce The Next Big Thing, Kobe and Griffin will be an easy angle for the media.
John Schuhmann: Carmelo, of course. And it would make my weekend if he would just come out and say that he’s not going to talk about contracts or trade speculation. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. But beyond Melo, Blake Griffin will be the talk of the weekend. If there are any casual fans not yet on the Blakewagon, they will be after he blesses the rookie game, the dunk contest, and the All-Star Game with seven different kinds of smoke.
Sekou Smith: Kevin Durant was supposed to be a contender for the MVP award this season and was universally hailed as the player most ready to take that next step and join the league’s über elite as one of the global faces of the NBA game. Then the season started and it seemed like Durant wasn’t even generating the biggest headlines on his own team (fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook). But this Hollywood backdrop is the perfect setting for Durant to remind us all that he’s still the same guy that dominated the landscape in August. A 40-point outburst and MVP trophy Sunday ought to do the trick.