TSN's Jack Armstrong offers his thoughts on the hustle of the Nets' Reggie Evans of the Nets, the value of the Suns' Luis Scola, the improvement of the Raptors' Kyle Lowry and the success of Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks.
1. REGGIE EVANS (Nets): The former Raptor with a huge night last night vs. the 76ers (17 and 24 -- nine of those offensive rebounds) in only 30 minutes. Wow! He's on a tear. When I think of guys that play the game really hard and do it all the time, I think you can put Reggie right at the top of that list almost every year in the league. The great Bill Russell once said, 'Hustle is a talent because not everyone does it.' Evans lays it on the line all the time and beyond the hustle and rebounds, he's a god teammate. Happy for him; good guy.
2. LUIS SCOLA (Suns): Was watching him play last night vs. the Rockets when he got 28 and 8 and was thinking to myself, this guy can still help a really good team and the Suns aren't in that category. He's got two more years on his contract at $4.5M per season which is a reasonable number. Wouldn't be surprised if some contending teams try to work out a trade in the off-season for this 'value player'. Outstanding competitor who rebounds consistently and is a crafty scorer. Turns 33 in late April but still has a bunch of game left. Team first guy; quality guy to have on a team.
3. KYLE LOWRY (Raptors): Playing better and more under control down the stretch and that's an important sign for the organization. So much has been put on the line (trade a #1 pick and trade Jose Calderon) with him that this has to work. Hopefully, his play stays consistent and highly productive. I would definitely be in the market for an established veteran backup point guard for next season. Over the course of the nightly 48 minutes, that position needs to be more productive.
4. NEW YORK KNICKS: Think about this for a second: with all the money that the Dolan family has sunk into the franchise in player salaries, luxury tax, high pay for executives and coaches as well as a first class style of overall operations, this is the first Atlantic Division title since 1994! All that money only takes you so far; you need the right executives and coaches to lead and make the proper decisions to get things done the right way. Happy for guys like GM Glen Grunwald (former GM of Toronto Raptors) and Mike Woodson (former head coach of Atlanta Hawks) who got run out of their previous jobs and got another shot to show that they're excellent basketball men. Former president Donnie Walsh (now president of the Indiana Pacers) deserves lots of credit for getting them through the dark days after Isiah Thomas poor leadership and cleaning up their cap mess.
5. CARMELO ANTHONY (Knicks): Speaking of the Knicks, his jersey is now the #1 selling jersey in the NBA. Congrats! He's playing great and deserves lots of love. Let's be real here though, the only reason for that is that we've all got both our LeBron James Heat jerseys and LeBron James Cavs jerseys. The King is still the King in my book!