Part I of our league wide search for the division with the best players. Not the strongest or deepest division, that’s a whole different matter. We’re selecting a five player team from each of the six divisions in the NBA and then we’ll see who’s the best. We begin in the East, showcasing the Celtic dominated Atlantic division, that aside from the C’s and a nice Toronto Raptors team, doesn’t have much to offer this season.
Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
Every season it seems Rondo is becoming a more important part of the Celtics organization and 2009-2010 is no different, with the big three clearly over the hill and Paul Pierce looking like the only one with some gas left in the tank. Rondo is averaging 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 9.9 assists (4th in the league) and leading the league in steals with 2.49. He got to play in his first all-star game last month and has developed into one of the best point guard in the league, although he has to start hitting from the outside (23%) and from the line (60.5%).
Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers
Iggy, like his team, has seemingly regressed this year, scoring 17.1 points per game, still leading his team, but that’s the lowest number he has produced since his sophomore season in 2005-2006. Along with the points come 6.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game(7th) while playing more minutes than almost anyone else in the league (39.9 per game, 3rd) but it’s not enough for the disappointing Sixers, who probably expected Iguodala to be an all-star caliber type of guy by now. I guess it’ll never happen. He’s good, even very good at times, but not consistent enough, especially with his shooting (43.3% from the field, lowest of his career).
Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
Set back by injuries a bit this season, Pierce, like Allen and Garnett, is starting to show his age and mileage more and more this season, although he is a bit younger than Garnett and Allen, and maybe that’s the reason he’s looking better. The last couple of months haven’t been kind to Pierce, scoring above 20 points only once in 11 contests, but again, he’s been injured. He’s averaging 17.7 points (team high, lowest for him since rookie season) and shooting 44.4% from the outside, 5th in the league, made his 8th all-star game but despite a fantastic Rondo and a still dangerous and veteran squad, this probably won’t be enough to win an NBA title or the Eastern conference, with the Cavs, Magic and the Hawks looking better than the C’s.
Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
Although out of action since mid February, Bosh’s 2009-2010 season has been fantastic, with him playing like the best power forward in the league. Well, he is actually, averaging 24.5 points (8th in the league) and 11.4 rebounds per game (5th in the league), both career highs. He’s also 4th in double-doubles with 39 and probably most importantly, leading the Raptors back to the playoffs (although they have been slipping since he’s been out of action) after missing the post season in 2008-2009. Oh, lets not forget the money he’s going to get next year, wherever he plays.
Center – David Lee, New York Knicks
Like Bosh and Rondo, David Lee is enjoying the best season of his career, but unlike the former two, won’t be seeing any playoff games, unless it’s on TV. Yes, he is with the Knicks, therefore, unless LeBron or Wade or Bosh get there next summer, he has no hope as long as he’s a Knick. Lee is averaging 20.3 points and 11.6 rebounds (3rd in the league) with 40 double-doubles. With no playoffs in sight, Lee can focus on breaking his three points barrier, with a big zero under his Three pointers made (career) stat line, out of ten attempts. On a more serious note, what Lee needs to improve on is his defense. He fouls less, he turns the ball over less than before, but he needs to start blocking shots and making the paint a less comfortable area for the opponents.