Who needs basketball when wrestling is an option.

The Eastern Conference side of the 2012 NBA Playoffs has degenerated into a typical slug fest. This is what happens when teams don't trust their talent and can't execute. They get physical and macho and the beautiful game turns into a wrestling match. Ugly.

The Miami Heat ended up winning Game 5 and are up 3-2 on the Indiana Pacers. The silliness started with a hard foul by Tyler Hansbrough on Dwyane Wade. Udonis Haslem upped the ante with an even harder foul on Hansbrough. Then Dexter Pittman, who brings little discernible basketball value to the court, followed up with a needless hit to the neck of Lance Stephenson's with a wink.

Making the entire situation even worse heading back to Indiana for Game 6 is Larry Bird calling his own team "soft". That can't end well.

Here's what's on tap for Wednesday on 2012 NBA Playoff schedule:

Boston Celtic at Philadelphia 76ers at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT on ESPN

Can Brandon Bass follow up his Game 5 outburst of 27 points? If not, the Sixers should be able to win at home and force a Game 7. Between the injuries on the Boston side and the lack of an offensive plan on the Philly side make this another brutal series in the East.

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It's OK, Markieff.  You still have plenty of time to demonstrate your value. Just keep dunking over Griffin.

The NBA announced its All-Rookie first and second teams today, and Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris was not among the 12 players selected. According to NBA.com:

The voting panel consisted of the NBA's 30 head coaches, who were asked to select five players for the first team and five players for the second team, regardless of position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team. Two points were awarded for first team votes and one for second team votes.

Morris received 7 total votes, including 1 for first team, leading the "others receiving votes" category.

The Suns have not had a player named to the All-Rookie team since Amar'e Stoudemire in 2003. Stoudemire also won Rookie of the Year then but in the years since, the likes of Alando Tucker, Earl Clark and Robin Lopez have received zero rookie honors. If Suns President Lon Babby is serious about improving the team's drafting, it won't take much to do better than they have in recent years.

More after the jump....

Morris was the #13 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, controversially picked ahead of his twin brother Marcus, a player generally thought to be the more talented of the siblings heading into the draft. However, Markieff came out of the gates strong for the Suns, showing great range in leading the team in 3-point shooting % early on, and recording 13 double figure scoring games before the All-Star break, securing a spot in the NBA All-Star Weekend's Rising Stars Challenge.

His shooting and overall production dropped steeply in March, and Morris struggled as a starter for the last two games of the season after Channing Frye's shoulder injury. He finished the season averaging 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game on .347% 3-point shooting and .399% overall shooting from the field, with his 3-point shooting dropping from .403 before the All-Star break to .255 after.

All-Rookie first team, in order of votes, with draft position:

Second team:

For more, official release at NBA.com.

As all three faces demonstrate, busts can happen anywhere in the draft.  (Mandatory Credit: WILLIAM PERLMAN/THE STAR-LEDGER via US PRESSWIRE)

The NBA Draft is a lot of fun. We all get super excited about young players who, with a few exceptions at the very top of the heap, are very much a crap shoot. It's one reason why I really don't understand the fuss over trying to "tank" and "rebuild through the draft" when the results are so hit and miss with the vast majority of players.

This project -- grading past drafts -- that Tom Ziller is doing over at SB Nation.com is a great example of how random things are.

How many of you thought Nic Batum would turn out this good? Who would have guessed that Yi Jianlian and Joe Alexander would bust out?

Yes, ALL NBA players come through the draft. The trick is picking which ones will be good and which won't. Some teams have better or worse records at this art, but none are right ALL the time.

Ziller's project demonstrates that and is also a fun look back in time. Here's his 2007 grades and here's 2008.

A look at how the Suns graded out after the jump.

Alando Tucker (29), D.J. Strawberry (59)
Grade: C

No-fault zone, though I cast a disappointed eye at trading the No. 24 pick to Portland for cash.

Robin Lopez (15), Goran Dragic (45)
Grade: C

Dragic was a great second round pick-up, but Lopez has been a major disappointment, especially compared to the big men taken in the remainder of the first round. Lopez alone would have had Phoenix wavering between a 'D' and an 'F'; Dragic's success (even though he was eventually traded) makes up for it.

One thing to note in the 2007 draft was the Suns having the Hawks pick that was top-three protected. Atlanta had the fourth-worst record so when they "won" the lottery and jumped to the three spot, the Suns got hosed since that picked the following year was 15th.

Imagine, however, if the Suns had landed the 4th pick in the 2007 Draft. They were rumored to be very interested in Chairman Yi...but who knows. History is a bitch sometimes.

As for the 2008 grades, it's hard to argue with the "C" even though I like Robin as much (more) than most. The Dragic pick, however, did show some serious chops by the Kerr-led front office.

He called Goran the second-best point guard in the class behind only Derrick Rose. Westbrook might not agree with that, but then again, Russel isn't exactly a "pure point" either as evidenced by James Harden running the offense late in games for OKC.


I can't wait for the 2009 grades to see how Earl Clark turned out.

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PHOENIX — The perspective of Marcin Gortat’s value and success during the 2011-12 NBA season lie in two paradigms. On one hand, there was his career-high averages of 15.4 points, 10...

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See ya, Kobe

The Los Angeles Lakers were ousted in the second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs in a clear shift of Western Conference power from Kobe Bryant to Kevin Durant and his Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers couldn't get the stops they needed to make Kobe's 42 points on 33 shots stand up and they are now done and moving on to bombastic claims and roster questions.

The Thunder won their series 4-1 which gives us the inevitable meeting of the two best teams in the West in the Conference Finals. The Spurs are well-rested, deep, healthy and even seem to be a little hungry. It should be a fun series.

In the East, the slog continues with both series destined to go long as no clear dominant team exists. The Boston Celtics took a 3-2 lead over the Philadelphia 76ers thanks to a huge performance from Brandon Bass. He dropped 18 of his 27 points in the third quarter to lift the Celtics to a 101-85 win. For a Eastern Conference team to break 100 is big news.

Here's the schedule for the 2012 NBA Playoffs for Tuesday:

Indiana Pacers at Miami Heat at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT on TNT

With the series tied 2-2, the Heat will try and do what the Celtics did and take a lead over the Pacers but can they really count on 70 combined points from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade again? Indiana needs to stop taking so many outside shots and pound the ball inside to Roy Hibbert and David West.

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