I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the football season has ended.

Let me give you a moment to gather your thoughts and reminisce about the 2007 season.

Now that we have gotten over it, it's time for the good news. Basketball season is now receiving our undivided attention as the NBA heads toward the halfway point of the season during its All-Star weekend.

Since football was on everybody's mind, there has been plenty that many people may have missed going on in the world of basketball.

Let's begin with some of the biggest surprises this year.

It turns out the New York Knicks are not the worst team in the league. That crown goes to…the Miami Heat?

Wasn't this the team that came from an 0-2 deficit to win the NBA title against the Dallas Mavericks two years ago?

Not much changed from that championship team except for one major detail, which will be mentioned later.

I don't understand how a team can be on top of its game one year, then plunge to laughable status soon after.

Dwyane Wade is still a standout on the team. He still averages nearly 25 points and seven assists a game.

I'm completely boggled because I really cannot figure out why this team is on another level of terrible.

Now about that change from Miami. This was probably the biggest "Are you kidding me" moment of the year.

Shaquille O'Neal- all 35 years of him - was recently traded to the Phoenix Suns for Shawn Marion.

Now, I know Marion had been whining about wanting to leave Phoenix, but Miami?

He must have wanted an extended summer vacation.

Plus, Phoenix is known to be a team filled with speed, but with Old Man River…I mean O'Neal…moving in along with his injury proneness, I am not sure how this will benefit the Suns.

However, Phoenix is one of the top teams in the NBA and I'm sure O'Neal will do OK. It's just going to be odd seeing him in an orange jersey.

Another big surprise is the breakthrough of the New Orleans Hornets. That's right, those New Orleans Hornets.

I always figured they were going to break through sooner or later, but I did not expect them to be a playoff contender, let alone a championship contender.

Led by Chris Paul, who is in his third year, the youngster has been sensational averaging nearly 21 points and 11 assists a game.

In addition to his performance, the rest of his team is not too shabby either. David West is also scoring about 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, and Peja Stojakovich has been money on the outside, averaging three 3-pointers every match-up.

Of course the first half of the season has provided us with the typical "duh" moments.

For instance, everybody expected the Boston Celtics to be this good.

As of Monday they only lost nine games and they were 12 1/2 games up on the Toronto Raptors.

The three-headed monster known as Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce has, so far, proven that this team was far from hype.

The three of them have averaged at least 18 points per game

Although Garnett is injured and expected to be out for a while, you cannot deny that he could be the missing piece that Boston needed to be an elite team again.

Garnett is averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. However, a lot can change as the second half approaches. Teams are starting to slowly creep up on the Celtics, especially the Detroit Pistons. They were only three games back for the top spot in the Eastern Division and they have continued to be a dominant force without a marquee player.

The division has always been ridiculed as not being as good as the Western Division since Michael Jordan left the Chicago Bulls, but at the rate things are going, Boston and Detroit could easily go toe-to-toe with anybody in the highly-contested West.

That division is so good, that some of its teams won't make the playoffs.

With eight spots available, there are 10 that not only have a shot of the playoffs, but a chance at being No. 1.

Although Phoenix is on top, the Portland Trail Blazers, who are on the outside looking in at No. 10, were only 7 1/2 games back as of Monday.

There is no reason to overlook any one of those teams in the West, especially the Houston Rockets.

At just 5 1/2 games behind Phoenix, Houston won 10 of its last 11 after Saturday's win against the Atlanta Hawks.

It's amazing what the Rockets can accomplish when their two biggest stars, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, are healthy.

So who are my picks right now for the best players in the league?

The Sixth Man award goes to Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs.

People tend to forget that he is not a starter, although he averages 19 points a game and is the team's second leading scorer behind Tim Duncan.

He plays off the bench like a starter and usually comes out a winner every time.

The Rookie of the Year is Kevin Durant of the Seattle Supersonics for obvious reasons. He's all they got.

The MVP as of right now is a tough one. Obviously LeBron James should be the top player, but why not Dwight Howard of the Magic?

The former No. 1 pick is averaging 22 points and an unheard of 15 rebounds a game.

Every year he is getting closer to being an elite standout in the league and it seems like his time has come as Orlando has become one of the most improved teams of the year.

With 41 games down and 41 to go, there is still a long way till anything is set in stone in the NBA.

Who knows? Maybe the Knicks still have a prayer. Yeah right, and Paris Hilton starts a campaign for abstinence.