Since January, I have been working for the National Basketball Association in the production department. My job is to more or less break down every game into video clips by the possession, so the important people can use them in highlights, promos, etc. But, what that job entails is a lot more than sitting around watching basketball. I have to know every player on every team. Every assistant on every bench. Every mascot in every arena. I know more about the Atlanta Hawks "A-Town Dancers" then I ever thought I would... and I'm not complaining.
So for the past week and a half I've had the absolute joy of working four of the five Hornets/Mavericks games (and hearing every post game interview and press conference that goes along with them). I don't think there's a person out there that isn't in love with Chris Paul's game, and anyone who watched these games should have no doubt in their mind that he should be this year's MVP. Sure, Kobe Bryant is the best player in the game, but in terms of most valuable, it's Paul hands down. Would I be shocked if Kobe wins? Not at all. Disappointed? Completely.
Of course it's easy to win games when you have the MVP of the league on your team, but it makes things a whole lot easier when you have Paul's fellow all-star David West canning jumpers and owning the post. There were times when West was just flat out dominant. Erick Dampier should be ashamed. Let me put this into perspective: when we "star" a play, that means it goes into a bank that the producers can choose from for highlight reels. There were more David West turnaround and fadeaway jumpers than anything else. That speaks volumes when you have guys like Paul running the floor with exciting youngsters like Julian Wright and Tyson Chandler.
Oh, by the way, Julian Wright is a name you should remember for a long long time. And you won't have trouble remembering it when he's plastered all over SportsCenter's Top 10 plays for the next few years.
I can't forget about guys like Jannero Pargo and Peja Stojakovic. It seems like every time the Hornets need a big hoop, one of them delivers. Not who you'd expect, huh? Neither did I.I'm sold on Pargo as one of the best backup point guards in the league. He's got handle, he's got a smooth jumper and, man, does he have the speed. I can't forget about his professionalism either. He could have broken every bone in his face because of Jason Kidd. I don't know if this made it on-air, but Pargo hugged Kidd after they won last night. Classy, knowing what I would have done if I were Pargo.
Then you have the 2007-2008 Coach of the Year, Byron Scott at the helm. Scott is suspect to me... I don't really buy into him. I feel like his success with the Nets had a lot to do with Eddie Jordan, but I can't argue with his record when he has the talent on his roster. The players love him too. West and Paul praised the living daylights out of him in last night's press conference. And rightfully so... I guess.
The bottom line is, how can you not have fun watching this team? How can you not feel good for the city of New Orleans? While our Knicks are festering in the basement of the Eastern conference, I think I may have to "adopt" the Hornets.
Watch some Hornets games, you'll share the same sentiments.