Here's a quick quiz question for you: As of Friday, which NBA team was first in the Western Conference, trailing only the Celtics in the overall standings? Was it Dallas? Phoenix? The defending champion Spurs? No, it was none other than the New Orleans Hornets, a team that didn't even have a home the last two years and has the second-lowest attendance in the league (Indiana is last). The Hornets played in Oklahoma City for two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.
New Orleans is riding the transcendent play of third-year guard Chris Paul, who is making a case for himself as the top point guard in the game. The Hornets are also getting strong performances from forward David West, center Tyson Chandler and veteran off guard Peja Stojakovic, who is lighting it up again from three-point range. Clearly, Paul is making everyone around him better.
Paul is one of the mid-season favorites for MVP, along with Boston's Kevin Garnett, Cleveland's LeBron James, the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, Phoenix's Nash and Orlando's Dwight Howard. I'll give you my mid-season MVP in Sunday's News, along with other observations on the league at the midpoint.
Any thoughts on MVP? Is there anyone I've missed who deserves consideration?