Posted Nov 1 2010 7:22PM
As the title partner of Kia NBA Tip-Off, Kia was able to catch up with NBA Legends Bruce Bowen, Sam Perkins, and Mitch Richmond and get their insights into the upcoming NBA Season. Check out who they think is the most improved team, who will take home the honors for the end of season Kia NBA Performance Awards, and which two teams will compete in the Finals.
What are you most looking forward to heading into Kia NBA Tip-Off 2010?
Perkins: I'm looking forward to seeing what teams are going to be in the running for the NBA championship! Chicago is interesting since they have acquired Boozer. Blake Griffin finally gets to play, so we'll see what the Clippers can do. I'm also looking forward to seeing John Wall, Gilbert Arenas and the Wizards play.
In the countdown to Kia NBA Tip-Off what has been the biggest off-season move?
Bowen: The move of Lebron James going to the Miami Heat. It's the first time a two-time Kia MVP of the League chose to go elsewhere in pursuit of a championship.
Perkins: The biggest move was Amar'e Stoudemire to the Knicks.
Which team has improved the most heading into Kia NBA Tip-Off?
Bowen: Chicago. The addition of Carlos Boozer, a solid inside low post scorer, and Joakim Noah now playing along side a solid veteran, will allow this team to accomplish things they've been lacking.
Richmond: I think the Boston Celtics have improved in getting Shaq and Delonte West. Going out on a limb, I think Washington, on paper, has improved, as their roster has players and names you're familiar with. They have a lot of depth at their positions and guys that can play.
What do you think are the most important traits for a Kia Motors 6th Man of the Year?
Bowen: In order to compete for the 6th Man of the Year, a player must be willing to put his team ahead of his personal goals. He also must understand that his time to perform comes at the most crucial part of the game - the 4th quarter. Manu Ginobili deserved that award. He was able to carry our team when others weren't able to and understood the importance of the team having a threat coming off the bench.
Perkins: Sixth man of the year has to be consistent; be a player that contributes night in and night out; be the difference; and give his team an edge in close games. He doesn't have to score huge numbers, but be a factor for his team, especially on the road.
Richmond: Consistency is number one quality you look for, and the player has to be able to give his team a boost coming off the bench.
In your eyes what makes a player deserving of the Kia Motors Most Improved Player Award?
Perkins: The Most Improved Player Award is based on how the player has excelled from the previous year. He plays each part of the game both offensively and defensively each time for his team. This award is more of a personal one, as it focuses on a player's growth and skill development from year to year.
Richmond: The kind of player who deserves this award leads his team. He is a guy that can fill up the stat sheet not only with scoring, but with rebounding, steals, and assists. He is a great teammate.
Who are your early predictions for the end of season Kia Motors NBA Performance Awards (MVP, Defensive Player, Most Improved, and Sixth Man) for the coming season?
• MVP: Pau Gasol
• Defensive Player of the Year: Nicolas Batum
• Most Improved: Stephen Curry
• 6th Man of the Year: James Harden
• MVP: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Kobe Bryant
• Defensive Player: Dwight Howard or LeBron James
• Most Improved: Stephen Curry or Derrick Rose
• Sixth Man: JR Smith
• MVP: Kobe is always going to be on that list. LeBron is another candidate as he is going to show what his true talents are this year, especially how well he is as a teammate and a leader. D-Wade could also win the MVP. Kevin Durant could win MVP too - he might average 40 points this year.
• Defensive Player: LeBron James. Perhaps Wade, as I think over the years he's played more defense than in the past.
• Most Improved: That's a tough one. I'm going to go out on a limb and say Anthony Randolph of the New York Knicks.
• Sixth Man: Corey Maggette
Who do you think will be NBA Champions this year or which two teams would you like to see make it to the NBA Finals?
Bowen: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Perkins: Lakers vs. Miami or Lakers vs. Boston
Richmond: I would like to see the Heat vs. the Lakers, but I'm biased because I am from Ft. Lauderdale and live in LA.
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