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The Statesman


    Things To Be Learned after 2002 NBA Season

    Despite the expediency of the NBA Finals, many will agree that this year’#146;splayoffs provided much more excitement than anyone could have anticipated.

    From the beginning, everyone predicted the Lakers to win it all. So, therewas no surprise there when they swept the Nets in four games. The surprise wasthat they played the Nets in the Finals.

    With New Jersey coming off a Cinderella season and playoff run, the Lakersthree-peating, and the Kings finally meshing together well, clearly many thingshave been established after this year’#146;s playoffs came to an end:

    1. Jason Kidd proved to everyone that he was deserving of regular season MVPhonors. During the Conference Finals, Kidd averaged a triple double. Manyplayers go an entire fifteen-year career without getting even one. Kidd servedas the only steady force to be reckoned with on the upstart Nets, who struggledthrough the inconsistency of their supporting stars, Kenyon Martin, KerryKittles, and Keith Van Horn.
      Which brings me to the next point’#133;
    2. Next season, the Nets need more than Kidd plus one or two. Before the seasonbegins, the Nets need to establish at least two more consistent scoring options.Whether this happens through a trade or through development of the talentthey already have, simply relying on one or two players (who ultimately remainnameless until game time) to step up is not logical.
      Kenyon Martin has shown enough development to expect that he will be a consistenttwenty point per game scorer. On that note, Kidd should really be scoringabout twenty per game as well. Finally, Van Horn should get back up to thetwenty points per game he averaged his first few seasons in the league, andKittles should add another fifteen. Whether it happens remains to be seen.
    3. Everyone likes Mike Bibby. The man put together a fine regular season aftercoming over from the hapless Grizzles, who will need more than a change incities to help them. During the playoffs, though, Bibby became Mr. Clutch,hitting big shot after big shot at the end of each game, most noticeably inthe Conference Finals against the Lakers. He showed such heart and determination,that people are expecting big things from Bibby next season.
    4. Almost everyone outside of California dislikes Kobe Bryant. He desperatelywants to be beloved like Michael Jordan was, but he is just too cocky andarrogant. He will probably score about twenty-five points per game, but withShaquille O’#146;Neal on his team, he should always be considered the secondscoring option, no matter how much he thinks otherwise.
    5. Kobe and Shaq are no Michael and Scottie. No need for elaboration there.Same coach, totally different players. Kobe has not yet proven that he isthe next coming of Michael Jordan.
    6. The Knicks were not in the playoffs. It is very clear by now that the Knicksneed either Yao Ming or Jay Williams. Either one will do, just as long asthere is an extra threat to take some pressure off of Allan Houston and LatrellSprewell. It will take some trading and whole bunch of praying.
    7. The Utah Jazz have one more shot at a title. More likely than not, the Jazzwill make the playoffs again next season. But since they are in the WesternConference, they will just manage to slip in with a seven or eight seed. Enjoyit while you can, fans, this is the sad farewell tour of an illustrious streakof dominance by Karl Malone and John Stockton.
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