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.
The regular season is just about done. What’s your favorite story – whether it had a big headline or not – of 2011-12?
Steve Aschburner: For feel-good moments, it was hard to top the night Kaleb Canales took over as interim coach of the Portland Trail Blazers. Plopped into the job unexpectedly to replace fired Nate McMillan, about 24 hours before a road game against the mighty Chicago Bulls, Canales on the sideline looked like a young fan who’d won a “Coach-for-a-Day” contest. But he helped Portland to an improbable 100-89 upset. His players – most of whom had “come up” with the newly promoted video coordinator – demonstrated their affection for him (and vice versa) with their performances and their embraces afterward. It was a happy highlight in a very down year for the Blazers.
Fran Blinebury: Zombies. The Walking Dead. The San Antonio Spurs. Every time we bury them, they come back to bite us and now they’re growling and hungry going into the playoffs.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Jeremy Lin is a good one. But there is something about the Spurs of 2011-12 that hooks me. The way Popovich has merged youth with the big-name veterans, the way Tony Parker has advanced his game, the way management made a series of in-season moves, the way the roster overcame the lengthy absence of Manu Ginobili and still finished with the best record in the West. Never saw this coming.
Shaun Powell: I’m not sure how anyone who loves fairy tales could not be captivated by Linsanity. I mean, it had it all: underdog does good, ethnicity, fish out of water, saving a desperate franchise, doing it in the Big City. Sure, in some ways, it was over the top, but only because of the media age in which we live. Taken at its core, the tale of Jeremy Lin going from the sofa to the penthouse was refreshing in spite of the hype.
John Schuhmann: The Linsanity eventually got out of control, the Knicks have been overhyped all year, and I’m one who likes to focus on what goes on the floor, but it’s impossible not to appreciate the story of Jeremy Lin. He came out of the Ivy League, went undrafted, was waived by two teams, and then sparked a run on the league’s biggest stage. The Knicks were in a bad spot and this guy, a few days from being waived once again, gave them exactly what they needed. Oh yeah, there was the whole international sensation aspect of it too.
Sekou Smith: Even without any ties whatsoever to New York, the Knicks or Jeremy Lin, it’s hard to ignore Linsanity. Anytime people you know have absolutely no interest in the NBA or basketball coming up to you at church and in the grocery store asking about Linsanity and wondering if this “thing is for real,” it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the story. The only thing that bothers me is we never got the chance to see how the story would end. Lin handled the pressure better than anyone could have imagined, but he his body couldn’t stand up to the stress. But when you look back at the highlight reel from this season, Linsantiy has to be prominently displayed.