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Of tweets, tanks, and tabloid fodder: the NBA midseason awards

SportsNBAPro BasketballBasketballLos Angeles LakersNick YoungBrooklyn Nets

It's always more fun to be inclusive when it comes to NBA midseason awards.

So for every Kevin Durant (our most valuable player), we like to mix in a Larry Sanders (most exasperating) or a Kendall Marshall (most unlikely rise to a starter).

Here, then, are the picks for the most fascinating teams, players and entities besides Jeff Hornacek (our coach of the year), Michael Carter-Williams (rookie of the year), Lance Stephenson (most improved player) and Jamal Crawford (sixth man of the year):

Most likely to spend the rest of the season going four on five: the Lakers.

This is a team more undermanned than a Walter Mondale campaign rally. Cedars-Sinai could have run out of beds just tending to the Lakers' injured point guards.

Things got truly bizarre last week when a spate of injuries combined with two centers fouling out left the team with only four available players against Cleveland. Thankfully, officials invoked an obscure rule that allowed Robert Sacre to keep playing despite the fact that he had six fouls.

Hey, whatever works. The Lakers went on to post their first victory in more than two weeks.

Most tank-tastic team: Milwaukee Bucks.

Are Khris Middleton, Nate Wolters and Ersan Ilyasova really NBA starters or just three guys in the witness protection program?

Fortunately, the Bucks picked a good time to go from middling to appalling based on the potential of the top few projected picks in this year's draft.

Most entertaining fake Twitter account: @Fake_Prohorov.

The phony incarnation of Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov has a quip for each of his billions.

"Very soon Jason Kid [sic] may have chose 'more time for spend with family,' " read one tweet.

"Injury for Brooke [sic] [Lopez] is devastate, but he can be replace," read another. "Bring me this Other Lopez."

Most entertaining real Twitter account: @Hoya2aPacer.

Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert spent four years at Georgetown, so he's sophisticated as well as sassy.

"Has there ever been an African American, Asian or minority as the 'Bachelor' or 'Bachelorette'? " Hibbert tweeted. "I know everyone has pondered this ? B4."

Most likely to keep New York tabloid headline writers happy: Tie between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.

The Knicks have untied opponents' shoelaces, taken three-pointers when all they had to do was run out the clock and stashed timeouts in the final seconds of a game instead of advancing the ball to midcourt and setting up a play.

The Nets have a largely absentee owner, a vastly underperforming roster with the league's highest payroll and a coach who asked a player to bump into him late in a game so he could spill a drink, buying a few extra seconds to give out instructions.

Yep, they're equally awful.

Most disappointing team: Cleveland Cavaliers.

Everything seemed so promising this summer. The Cavaliers brought back Coach Mike Brown! They got the top pick in the draft! They signed Andrew Bynum, Jarrett Jack and Earl Clark!

Flop. Flop. Flops.

Someone recently superimposed a cutout of rookie Anthony Bennett's head over that of Wilt Chamberlain's in the iconic photo of the big man holding up a sheet of paper with "100" scrawled on it from the night he hit the century mark in points. Bennett's sheet has "15," representing his recent career high — and nearly as many points as the 17 he scored the rest of January.

Most hubbub about someone averaging 4.4 points per game: Omer Asik.

He was unhappy the Houston Rockets signed Dwight Howard. He wanted to be traded. He was hurt. He had setback after setback and hasn't played since early December.

And here we thought Lamar Odom was having a bad year.

Most likely to trigger a national referendum on race relations: Matt Barnes.

After his ejection during a game in November, the Clippers forward sent out a tweet that included the N-word. Barnes later said the media would have to get used to the word because it's commonly used by younger people and the hip-hop community.

Of course, as some have pointed out, that doesn't make it right.

Most likely to drive the analytics nerds statty: Portland Trail Blazers.

Every time LaMarcus Aldridge makes a 17-foot jumper, a small part of analytics gurus Daryl Morey and John Hollinger dies. Mid-range jumpers are passe among the statistics gurus who favor three-pointers and shots around the basket but they just might help carry the surprising Trail Blazers deep into the playoffs.

Most likely to have a 1980s MTV wardrobe consultant call and say she wants her outfit back: Nick Young.

What was GQ thinking listing the Lakers swingman as the 19th most stylish athlete of 2013?

"There's a reason Nick Young's alias is 'Swaggy P' — the guy loves to stunt," read the blurb accompanying a picture of Young in a get-up that looks straight out of Michael Jackson's "Beat It." "Whether it's on social media or at a news conference, he doesn't shy away from bold Versace printed shirts or Clothsurgeon leather jerseys.

"How does he manage to pull it off? The Lakers guard knows how to rein it in. Wearing statement pieces is all about balancing them out with quieter items, a trick Young's got down pat."

We prefer to call his look halt couture.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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