For two years, Earl Watson has endured insults on blogs, in newspapers, and from Sonics fans in KeyArena. My closest friends, who also happen to be my weekly basketball game compatriots, have always hated Watson. Everybody thinks Watson is a basketball Claudius who steals love and playing time away from the local-boy Hamlet, Luke Ridnour.

But I am here to tell you that Watson has played magnificently this February, racking up his first career triple-double (23 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists) against Sacramento and leading a third-quarter comeback against Memphis that might be looked back on as the finest 12 minutes of his career.

And Watson has played this well in an insanely distracting season—a season of multimillion-dollar lawsuits, an inconsistent rookie superstar, an empty KeyArena, massive teammate turnover, and a head coach who constantly reminds the local press that Watson's playing time depends solely on the state of Ridnour's fragile mind, body, and jump shot.

Well, let me get out my hand drum so I can sing this honor song: Earl Watson is a better point guard than Luke Ridnour. Way, ya, hey, ya. recommended