The 1-2-1 Zone: Fun With the BS Report
4. Fact or Fiction: Most owners would rather tank '11-12 than concede.
Marc Stein, ESPN.com: Fiction. I've been led to believe that there are some smaller-market teams out there, like Phoenix and Sacramento just to name two, that want or even need to have some semblance of a season as much as they'd love to see a restrictive NHL-type system in place. Call me gullible, but I still believe more teams out there would rather play than not play.
Three rounds later, I have to make it clear I remain firmly in the camp which maintains that the Boston-Chicago series in Round 1 -- dramatic, historic and irresistibly terrific as it was -- needed to have a bigger impact on the championship itself to merit any Greatest Series Ever consideration.
You are entitled to disagree, as always, but you are likewise invited to consider how quickly those teams faded from our consciousness as the playoffs progressed. The view here is that if the outcome had no real impact on the Eastern Conference bracket -- an indisputable reality given Garnett's absence -- it doesn't matter how many games went to overtime. The stakes simply weren't high enough to get Celtics-Bulls into the greatest-ever debate.
None of that, though, would dare stop us from putting the Bulls -- pretty much all of them -- high on this list. Derrick Rose playing better in Games 1, 4 and 6 than he ever did during a regular season in which he was the rookie of the year, Joakim Noah suddenly looking like an NBA difference-maker, Ben Gordon performing under pressure -- these guys were catalysts for a postseason that was far more unpredictable than we were all expecting.
Chicago (Illinois): How can you give O.J. Mayo the First Trimester ROY over [Derrick] Rose? Rose (right) is a better all-around player who tries to get everyone involved. Mayo is just a scorer. I hope your decision wasn't based solely on the fact that Mayo leads all rookies in scoring.
Marc Stein: Nope. That's not it.
Mayo has been super efficient as a 20-point scorer, which is rare territory for rookies. He's been a much better 3-point shooter so far than anyone imagined. And don't forget that Rose is also surrounded by more established players, which has to make his transition to the NBA somewhat easier.
The Grizz have been starting three rookies. Their point guard play has been a mess. It's far from an ideal situation -- Mayo is closer to being a veteran than a rookie on that team because the Grizz are so young -- and he's really been special offensively so far. I saw Mayo in his first NBA exhibition and, let me tell you, his progress from then to now is considerable.
But we're still talking about a marginal difference between them ... and I'll admit that the lack of national attention O.J. gets playing in a market like Memphis, fair or not, factored into my thinking. I wanted to give him some recognition now because, let's face it, Rose has a huge advantage in the ROY race playing in a market like Chicago and on a team that will probably be in the playoff hunt all season.
In short: I don't think Mayo has been sufficiently recognized for his fine start and giving him ROFT status was my opportunity to address that.