Well, last night didn't go as planned for the Lady Gamecocks. They were drubbed in short order by the God-level UConn Huskies, further pushing the issue of talent discrepancy in women's basketball. Despite the loss, I'm still hopped up on basketball juice, and since we're in the thick of NBA season, why not give out some mid-season awards, Hollywood-style!
Best Costume Design: Charlotte Hornets
Given to the team with the best overall look
I never had as much animosity as some did for the "Bobcats" era of the Charlotte professional basketball team. Yes, orange is a tricky color, but really the whole design felt so weak compared to the iconic teal and purple stylings of the Hornets. For a complete redesign, I always advocate either going with funky colors and bold fonts or return to a classic, retro design. The nü-Hornets did both, returning to their original colors and name, while still having a strong-yet-inoffensive unique font for numbers and names. This might be one of the few "rebranding" attempts by a team that went off without a hitch. Well, unless you count signing Lance Stephenson.
Best Cinematography: Cleveland Cavaliers
Given to the team that's the most enjoyable to watch
It wasn't like this at all at the start of the season, but LeBron James' "Redemption Tour 2K15" is rolling in sixth gear right now, with 13 wins in 14 games. True, they don't have the best record in the league, the conference, or the division, but this is the Cavaliers team Cleveland expected to see when LeBron first resigned with the team. Watching these players form into a fairly cohesive unit has been remarkable, and with a whole half of a season left to go, as well as playoffs, there's no telling just how much better they can get.
Best Supporting Actor: Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls
Given to the best bench player
Once again, it's Taj to the rescue. Since entering the league, Gibson has been Chicago's top weapon off the bench, providing top-caliber defense mixed with a nice mid-range shooting touch and an other-worldly level of hustle. Normally a player who can come off the bench to ignite a team is called a spark. Taj Gibson is a one-man wildfire. There's few players in the league who are likely to get a max contract while still coming off the bench, but nobody in Chicago would deny that he deserves it... and that Chicago truly needs him.
Best Director: Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
Given to the league's best coach
There were few doubts that Steve Kerr would make a good coach. He'd won five titles for two of the greatest coaches of all time (Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich) and had played with some of the greatest players of all time (Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Tim Duncan, David Robinson), in addition to having a reputation as a great general manager during his time in Phoenix. Nobody, however, thought that Kerr could take the Warriors to the level they're currently at, and that's considering they had the best record in franchise history the season before. Kerr seems to know just how to read and react to every situation and player, and has brought the best out of his potential-packed young squad. Kerr learned a lot from his championship-winning coaches, and when the Warriors do reach the playoffs, that's when the fun is really going to begin.
Best Actor: James Harden, Houston Rockets
Given to the league's MVP
Ah, it's so refreshing to see a player actually respond to criticism by getting better. Harden has always been an elite offensive weapon, but there was so much missing, like his defense. He didn't have any. The proof is in the pudding, people. Really, there wasn't much else to his game outside of his scoring and athleticism, but that's all changed. Harden has turned the corner seemingly on his own, and that's including the greater offensive burden he's taken on since Chandler Parsons left for Dallas. Over the past ten games alone, Harden averaged 31 points, five rebounds, and nearly seven assists. Now, with Dwight Howard expected to miss six-to-eight weeks due to injury, those numbers might grow even higher, as preposterous as that seems. Harden is a one-man wrecking crew for the Rockets, and while that may not be enough to get them to the Finals, it damn sure makes Harden the most valuable player.
Best Picture: Atlanta Hawks
Given to the best team in the league
Well, I gotta reward the team with the best record right? You know, the team that won every single game in January, going 17-0? Oh, you don't know? Well I can't blame you. Prior to last season, the Hawks were the picture of mediocrity, constantly making their way to the playoffs as a low seed, then losing in the first round. Then, after a roster revamp and a new coach, something just clicked. The Hawks' roster of no-names, specialty players, and former second bananas has accrued a 43-10 record, which should scare every team writing out eight-figure checks to "superstars" that were supposed to turn the franchise around and bring titles to the team (looking at you, New York Knicks). Is there a trick to the Hawks winning ways? Not really. Good team chemistry, great coaching, and players being used correctly is all it really takes. Funny how that works.