In case you missed it, Bill Simmons posted his annual MVP Rankings this week starting at #450 with Elton Brand before skimming all the way down to his #1. A few Bobcats made the list:
422. Alexis Ajinca
Keep an eye on this one: Ajinca has a chance to become the first top-20 foreign NBA pick to get cut from his national team within three years. For God’s sake, even Fred Weis started for the 2000 French Olympic team.
51. Raymond Felton
The guy I’d pursue this summer if I ran an NBA team. Ten weeks of trade rumors bounced off him and he never held a grudge. He has lottery pick pedigree (fifth overall in 2005), and if we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that many blue-chip point guards take awhile to “ferment” (for lack of a better word). He’s one of the five or six best people in the league by all accounts. I’ve never seen a Bobcats game where he didn’t play as hard as he could. The arc of his first four years looks exactly like Chauncey Billups, and like Chauncey, his game will open up once he starts making 3s. Just a lot to like. Someone will steal him this summer just like Detroit stole Billups in 2002. You watch.
34. Boris Diaw
Reborn as an all-around player with Charlotte (since New Year’s: 16-6-5, 49 percent FG, 40 percent 3FG), giving us 2009′s best example of the Devin Harris/Avery Johnson Corollary: If you have a choice between making a major trade or firing a coach who clearly isn’t working out, always fire the coach first. OK? OK.
(Here’s how dumb coaches are: Just this season, we witnessed coaches playing Kevin Durant at shooting guard, slowing down Steve Nash, playing slow-it-up with the Sixers, bringing Rip Hamilton off the bench, burying Anthony Randolph on a lottery team, playing Darius Songaila over JaVale McGee on a lottery team, ignoring the stat that’s about to impress you when we get to the Nowitzki paragraph, and doing everything that Mike Dunleavy did. There’s a reason 85 percent of these guys get canned within three years.)
Do yourself a favor and check out the full column here.
It’s odd that Simmons made the Billups comparison with Raymond because Baseline contributor “E” has been saying the very same thing all season, even using Chauncey’s career arc as an example.