Happy Valentine's Day, NBA fans!
Aside from a shortened season, the NBA looks like it has been a match made in heaven. Individual players and teams are deep and already it seems like the playoff race, which is months away, will be tight. We've got the Los Angeles Clippers becoming the new heartthrob of downtown Los Angeles, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls ready to contend for a title and, of course, the phenomenon that is Lin-sanity. So, in honor of Valentine's Day, let's take a look at a handful of players who represent the holiday well thanks to their ever-so-fitting names.
Rose averages 22 points and 7.8 assists per game for the Chicago Bulls. (Reuters/Danny Moloshok)
A rose by any other name is just as sweet, but the one named Derrick is just the opposite: displeasing and sour for the opposition. After four years in the league, Rose has blossomed into a perennial all-star and MVP for the Chicago Bulls. He has become a dangerous penetrator, yet a graceful contortionist, able to pluck his defenders one by one on the ground and in the air. And, to top it off, he's considered to be one of the humble good guys in the NBA. So, ladies, if you still like roses, he comes in white during most home games and red during most away games.
Redd is in his 12th year in the NBA. He played the first 11 for the Milwaukee Bucks and is now playing for the Phoenix Suns. The six-foot-six guard was once a feared three-point shooter and scorer (he had two 50 point games in the 2006-2007 season), but has sunk until almost pitch-black obscurity, despite having an All-Star Game appearance and an All-NBA Third Team ballot on his resume. Nevertheless, the Suns loved him enough to sign him to a one-year deal in December because, after all, what color speaks more to Valentine's Day more than red?
If anyone on the Kings should be a thorn to the opponent's side, Thornton would be the guy. He leads Sacramento in points per game (17.4), and is second in both steals per game (1.5) and three-point field goal percentage (35.5). Thornton missed sometime recently with a thigh injury, but upon his return on Feb. 2, he has averaged 20 points a game, and the Kings have won four of six.
It's hard not to love a guy who just epitomizes the old-school toughness that fans crave to see in the paint. Love has 25 double-doubles this season, which is three more than fellow double-double machine and Orlando big man Dwight Howard. On the surface, he seems like a huggable polar bear, but don't let that fool you. Love can eat your heart out in many facets-shooting, posting, rebounding and even running. Luis Scola's face can attest to the last of that.