Kobe says he would beat LeBron in 1-on-1 [video]

“I’m a one-on-one player.” So true — that’s both the best and worst thing about Kobe’s game.

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Kobe puppet finds LeBron puppet dead in apartment bathtub

Reason # 1,487 why I love The Onion.

LOS ANGELES—Upon returning to his apartment fresh off advancing to the NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant Puppet discovered his roommate and rival, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James Puppet, lying dead in their bathtub. Los Angeles police officials stated there was no evidence of foul play, as the deep lacerations on James’ felt wrists appeared to be self-inflicted…

Classic.

2009 NBA Playoff Power Rankings v3.0

The conference semifinals are upon us — where does everyone stack up? I’ll also give a brief offseason blueprint for the teams that have been eliminated.

R.I.P.

16. Pistons
Click here for my brief offseason blueprint for the team that traded Chauncey Billups away.

15. Heat
One look at Miami’s salary cap situation reveals that the Shawn Marion-for-Jermaine O’Neal trade pretty much locked in the current roster for another season. Until O’Neal’s salary comes off the books, the Heat won’t have any real cap flexibility to make a signing. Next summer, when Dwyane Wade becomes a free agent, the Heat should have the cap space to re-sign their star and sign another big-name player. For a long time, the rumor was that they were going to go after Carlos Boozer, but the team sees Michael Beasley as the future at power forward, so the team will be looking for a long term upgrade at center, point guard and maybe small forward once they have the freedom to make some moves.

14. Sixers
Elton Brand’s injury threw a wrench into Philly’s plan to contend for a title this season but the truth is that it wasn’t really working out when he was healthy. The Sixers are stuck with Brand and his monster contract now, so they have to hope that he can get back to his All-Star status. Philly’s big decision this offseason is whether or not to re-sign Andre Miller, who is getting a little long in the tooth but is still playing at a high level. If the team sees Lou Williams as the heir apparent, they can let Miller go and roll the dice, but if he’s not, the wise thing to do would be to re-sign Miller to a shorter deal (two years?) and draft his replacement this summer.

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Report: LeBron to win MVP

According to reports, the NBA will name LeBron James its Most Valuable Player later today.

The Associated Press and Cleveland Plain Dealer, both citing a league source, report that James is to receive the award at his preps alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio.

James would become the first player in franchise history to win MVP honors. He also finished second in voting for defensive player of the year.

No surprise here. Given his stats, his improved defense, the nature of his supporting case (particularly when compared with Kobe’s) and the Cavs’ league-best record, LeBron is the clear choice for MVP. Kobe fans do have an argument (i.e. the West is tougher, so the record is misleading), but their guy won last season, so he would have had to be the clear winner to really have a shot, if that makes any sense.

Artest says Brandon Roy is better than Kobe and LeBron

Craig Sager conducted an interesting interview with Ron Artest on Wednesday. In it, Artest says that Brandon Roy is the “best player” he’s played against, including Kobe and LeBron.

Artest: “They are doing a good job, they are well coached. (Brandon) Roy is probably the best player I’ve played against, to me he is the best shooting guard. Not on defense now, defense is kind of suspect. He’s the best player I’ve played against.”

Sager: “He’s a better player than Kobe Bryant, better than LeBron James?”

Artest: “He’s the best player I’ve played against.”

Sager: “Are you saying that just because he’s your opponent in this series?”

Artest: “No, he is. He’s the best player I’ve played against, outside from a guy from my hood in Queensbridge, a guy named Mike Chafley. He went to jail a couple of years when he was 15 or 16 years old, but he was the best player I played against and now it’s Roy.”

You’ve got to love Artest’s flair. His team is primed for a matchup with the Lakers and he gives Kobe bulletin board material. (Like he needs the extra motivation.) And I love the reference to Mike Chafley in Queensbridge…did Artest play him before or after he went to jail? If it was before, then he’s saying that some 14 or 15 year-old is the best player he’s ever played against. If it was after Chafley got out of jail, why isn’t this cat in the NBA?

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