It's the thing that broadcasters talk about and columnists decry in its absence, but "making adjustments" doesn't quite sum up the counterpunching dynamism of the NBA Playoffs. At this point, the glass-jawed coaches are at home, icing vigorously and updating their resumes. What's left are the best teams, sure, but also the tacticians savvy enough to compete in the playoffs' high-speed, high-stakes chessboxing matches.
Even in a league of massively gangly humans, Tayshaun Prince stands out thanks to what might be the NBA's most instantly recognziable pair of arms. It's what he does with them, and how unassumingly and well he does it, that makes him one of the NBA's more reliably underrated players.
The NBA's actual awards are nice enough, but also dull and subjective and mostly silly. Here are some subjective, mostly silly awards that don't actually exist. Pablo Prigioni, you've earned this one. Kevin Martin, come claim your sad ham.
Gerald Wallace has been one of the NBA's highest-flying and most admirable players for a decade, playing with a heedless force that was bound to wear him down. But no one expected him to come back to earth quite as quickly, and painfully, as he has this season.
We will always have Steve Nash. Not the Nash that was on the floor at the beginning and end of his career, the first hamstrung by strange use, the latter diminished by age and wear. But the Nash that was Nash—the one that won those two MVP's, the one that powered the most entertaining non-championship teams in recent memory—belongs to history.
Kenneth Faried isn't an especially polished or skilled basketball player. But in his unrelenting verve and the way that he makes the most out of chaos, Faried is as good an example of what makes the NBA fun to watch as anyone else in the game.