Saturday, May 20, 2006

Raja Bell

Raja Bell became something of a hero around our house during the Lakers series. Not because he clotheslined Kobe per se, but because he did it for all the right reasons. And, let's face it, you have to be pleased when an NBA player uses the word 'pompous' correctly in a sentence.

But here's what I want to know: when did Raja Bell become one of the best 2-guards in the NBA? This is getting ridiculous. 29 years old, on his fourth team in six NBA seasons, he was never a full time starter before this year. Which means, by the way, that he couldn't beat out Gordon Giricek and Kirk Snyder in Utah. But here he is, averaging 21 points per game in the conference semi-finals, and it goes without saying that the Suns season would be over without him.

Given the way he plays defense, the way he shoots 3's, and his new-found ability to take the ball to the basket, how many 2-guards in the league are better than him? I've got 6 that are definitely ahead of him (Kobe, DWade, Ray Allen, Redd, Ginobli and Rip), a couple more that are probably ahead of him (JRich and Joe Johnson), and then he's right in the next group, based on his performance this season. (Of course I'm counting TMac, Vince and Paul Pierce as 3's.) That's pretty impressive, for a guy who wasn't even starting until this season.