Josh Smith may get flak for his shot selection amongst other things, but we know he can take flight. My apologies to Chris Bosh
Josh Smith may get flak for his shot selection amongst other things, but we know he can take flight. My apologies to Chris Bosh
One, Two, Three,…and counting
By: Ronnie Hamp
The Miami Heat are looking to three peat this upcoming season. The
Heat have been to the last three NBA finals which is a remarkable
feat. The Heatles last title run brought many challenges, but, they
hoisted up the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season. Since
then several teams have tried to catch up with the Heat to take the
throne from them. Teams such as the Pacers, Spurs, Nets, and Thunder
(with Westbrook) pose as real threats to the Heat, but when you have
the best player in the game playing with an even better supporting
cast it makes it a tough task to handle. When the Heat win title No. 3
the next question is that, Will the Big Three stick together to make
this dynasty official? The free agency period is a long time from now,
so until then lets enjoy the ride to #3.
No legit threat
Call me crazy, but I feel that there is no legit threat to dethrone
the Heat. In the Eastern Conference, the Pacers improved in all areas,
but they failed to add a point guard which could have changed my mind
a bit. The Bulls are a tough team, but they peaked three years ago
when the Heat were in their first season, and they lost in the Eastern
Conference Finals 4-1. LeBron James is better, and the chemistry is on
another level, so I see it tough for the Bulls. Maybe GBE can help?
The Brooklyn Nets may have the best starting lineup in the NBA on
paper, but that does not always translate to wins. I think Deron
Williams will play great under Jason Kidd, but I think Paul Pierces
psyche may be off by being in a different environment for the first
time in his career. In the West you have the Spurs, Grizzles, and
Thunder to worry about to a certain extent, but nothing to sweat over.
Even though the Spurs took the Heat to 7 games they are also a year
older. The Thunder will be up there, but the ghost of James Harden
will continue to haunt them. The Grizzlies are the same team as last
year, and they brought in Mike Miller for some shooting, but can they
muster enough offense to compete with the champs? I’d say no.
I am not even going to mention Greg Oden, because there is a huge
unknown, but if he plays we already know what to expect with his
defense and rebounding. When Jordan won his titles he had role players
such as Kerr, Kukoc, Buchler, Bison Dele, Ron Harper, John Paxon, and
B.J. Armstrong. LeBron & Co. have a great stable of role players. Guys
like Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole, UD, Birdman, Ray Allen, and Michael
Beasley are perfect compliments to the “Big Three”. If you can get
around 70 points from the “Big Three”, How hard is it to make up for
the rest? Role players like Chalmers, Beasley, and Allen can all erupt
for points very quickly when given the opportunites.
Erik Spoelstra will never get credit for being a top tier coach.
LeBron has improved so much as a player while wearing a Heat uniform,
and Spo has some reason for that. I know that Spo has a team of stars,
but he is putting them in the best position to succeed as a team.
Spo’s unconvientional lineups will always throw opposing teams off,
and he isn’t afraid to challenge his stars. Phil Jackson has two hands
full of championship rings. Did he win any of those ring without Shaq,
Kobe,Pippen, or Jordan? My point exactly.
This is a team that knows what is at stake. There aren’t many players
that can say they’ve three-peat as a NBA Champion. With guys on the
roster having the taste of winning they will only get hungry for more.
The Heat players know that this may be the last time they all play
together this season due to players being able to opt out of the
contracts next season. With Pat Riley being at the helm of everything
he will let his coaches and players know what is at stake. Riley never
three peated as a coach or player, but he will get a legit chance to
this time in a front office position.
LBJ, LeBron, King James, or whatever you want to call him is head
above the rest of the NBA. I know guys like Kevin Durant, Melo, and
Derrick Rose are fan favorites, but at the end of the day they can’t
hold a candle to him. LeBron has quieted haters for the past two
seasons, and he will only continue to do so. The four-time MVP (should
be 5) is only 28 years of age, which means he has a lot of basketball
to play for the rest of his career. LeBron has aspirations of being
the best player that the game of basketball has ever seen, and the
only way to get close to that is to win championships. We all know
that Dwyane Wade is not the Wade of 2006 or 2009, but Wade has the
luxury to play second or third fiddle to LBJ. Chris Bosh is not an
intimidating force, but he will have his best season as a Heat Player.
LeBron is the center of everything for the Heat. The Heat goes as he
goes, and when LeBron gets a head start you can forget about it. When
LeBron said Not 1…Not 2…Not.3… and so on many people laughed,
but if LBJ keeps it up he may have the last laugh.
Not 5, not 6, just 2…
By: Derrick Bond
1. Lebron James is the best basketball player on planet earth. He was
not the best his rookie season in 2004. He was not the best in 2009
despite his commercials battling with Kobe Bryant. Right now however
in 2013 Lebron is by far the best player in the world on the best team
and Kevin Durant a dominant player in his own right is a distant
second. I’m aware of the off season acquisitions of Michael Beasley,
Greg Oden and Roger Mason. I’m aware the “Big Three” remains intact.
With that being said I’m going to give you the top five reasons why
the Miami Heat will not win the 2014 NBA title.
Will Dwayne Wade be healthy?
The last three seasons Wades health particularly his knee’s have been
a tremendous question mark. At stretches he looks like an average NBA
two guard compared to his top form in 2007. I think it’s safe to say
he is no longer a superstar because of his steady decline and
postseason disappearances. Oddly Wade has managed to return to
greatness at times during the last two postseasons but I don’t see it
happening this season.
The health and age of the backup singers
Ray Allen, Chris Andersen, Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem and Dwayne
Wade who will be 32, are all in their mid 30’s not exactly the peak
age for playing basketball for another grueling 82 game schedule and
extended postseason. You can go ahead and add Greg Oden to this list
because of countless injuries his knee’s are about 214 years old. As
we saw in game 6, title number two does not happen without maybe the
clutchest shot in NBA history by role player Jesus Shuttlesworth.
Simply the odds
The “Heatles” have made the finals the last three seasons straight.
That’s right don’t forget about that shocking loss to Dallas. Only
three teams have made the finals four straight times in the history of
the NBA; The 1980’s legendary Lakers/Celtic teams and the Bill Russell
led Celtics from the late 50’s to mid 60’s. In the modern era there
seems to be too much competition to continue to rattle off
championships without other teams finding your kryptonite. After the
Shaq & Kobe three peat they failed to even make it out the second
round in the following season.
Sometimes it is impossible to find the motivation after
accomplishment. At times this past season before the epic Heat streak
took place, we saw a team that looked like it was going through the
motions. All teams face it even most super bowl winning teams fail to
make the playoffs in the next season. With the Lebron haters silenced,
D Wade winning his third ring and the experiment resulting in obvious
success are the Heat satisfied? Most recently we saw the Kobe/Phil/Pau
Lakers lose against the Celtics in “08” come back win it all in “09”
get revenge in “10” against the Celtics just to embarrass Phil Jackson
in his last season by losing it’s intensity and getting swept in the
2nd round of the “11’ playoffs.
Other Teams figure it out
The Brooklyn Nets are here! They added Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce
(Nemesis of Lebron in classic shootouts), AK47, and new head coach
Jason Kidd to team up with Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe
Johnson. They are stacked and with immediate chemistry could really
give the Heat trouble. The Indiana Pacers remain a constant threat
because of size, defense and emerging star Paul George. They now have
star shooter Danny Granger back to add to their offensive attack and
look as dangerous as ever. The Chicago Bulls may be the key to the
demise of the Heat. They always play the Heat tough and now they
finally have the last man not named Lebron to win an NBA MVP award on
their team. Welcome back Mr. Rose we missed you.
We revealed our Top 10 Centers on Monday, today we are back to give you our Top 10 Power Forwards. This position is a log jam at the top. This position should get a lot of juices following depending on who you feel is the best at the position, check out where your favorite 4 spot ranked.
Our contributors again are (Me, Ron, Martel, Nate, Tyler and Rohit). Tyler is a contributor over at FWO365 and Rohit is the EIC over at MettaChronicals. Check out their sites and show them some love we appreciate them helping us rank the players this year.
Note: We are putting the player name, team, points and what their rank was last year. (Maximum about of points that can be earned is 60)
9t.Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder, 14 pts(NR)- Serge “Iblocka” presence as a rebounder and shot blocker in the league is well-known, now if he is able to continue the development of his mid-range shot and low post game his impact on the offensive side of the ball will match the intensity he brings on the defensive end. Nate
9t.Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks, 14 pts(2nd)- Injuries slowed down the Dirk-ster last year, he’s getting up in age so him being higher on this list next year might be out of the question. Dirk is still a threat on the floor but will he improve on his 17.3 ppg and 6.8 rpg from the 2012-13 season? Mark Cuban sure hopes so. JT
8. David West, Indiana Pacers, 18 pts(NR)- I used to be one who thought West was over rated as an all star forward in New Orleans. Now I believe he might be a little underrated in his current position. Paul George and Roy Hibbert gets a lot of the credit for the recent success of the Pacers but it’s West toughness that’s rubbed off on the rest of the team that has made them so formidable. The fact that he averaged 17pts and 9 rebounds and bad either. Martel
7. Chris Bosh, Miami Heat, 21 pts(5th)- Chris Bosh is the social media whipping boy, but on the court he does his thing on the court. Bosh’s confidence may have taken a dip during the last month of the season, but Bosh is a nightmare matchup for most power forwards. Without Bosh on the floor the Heat are not the same team. One day Chris Bosh will be appreciated, but I am not sure when. Ron
6. David Lee, Golden State Warriors, 25 pts(10th)- David Lee should be on this list for the simple fact that Golden State fans don’t have to hold on to Latrell Sprewell being the last Warrior to be an all-star anymore. Lee finished the 2012-2013 season putting up 18.5 pts/game, 11.2 rebs/game, shooting an average of 52 percent from the field in the 79 games he played. In addition to his impressive numbers on the offensive end, Lee is known around the league for leaving it all on the floor. His heart and hustle was not an issue, and probably will never be one. His defense, however, brings his value down a fair amount. Rohit
5. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs, 28 pts(8th)- One of the best if not the best power forward in the history of the NBA. Duncan while he is not a young guy anymore still puts up numbers that would make people think he is. That bank shot he has is a thing of beauty. He is a very good team leader, and well respected around the league for his play and actions. Tyler
3t. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers, 39 pts(3rd-T)- Lob City will be in full effect again next year, but the Clippers progress in the slowed down, strategic games of the postseason will rely in large part on Griffin’s development as a post player. There were stretches where he was simply outplayed by more skilled power forwards and the Clippers faired poorly. Nate
3t. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies, 39 pts(6th)- Z-Bo is the man he can face up, post up and rebound while only sporting a 5 inch vertical. He also provides muscle in the paint. Z-Bo is a double double machine who until the Western Conference Finals may have been the MVP of the playoffs. With more shooters around him this year it should make Zach’s job a lot easier in the paint. JT
2. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers, 43 pts(3rd-T)- Aldridge is one of the most versatile power forwards in the game. He can play down low on the block and he can step out and face up. He avera 21pts 9reb and even gave you a block a game last year. The Blazers should be a much improved team which will make Aldridge a more recognizable player even though he is already one of the top power forwards in the NBA. Martel
1. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves, 44 pts(1st)- Love has been hit by the injury bug as of late, but he is still the best power forward in the game. Love has the inside/outside game, and we all know how he is a force on the glass. If Love is healthy it will be interesting to see if he can lead the T-Wolves to a playoff birth. Ron
Let us know how you liked or disliked the list. Drop a line on who you would’ve ranked and where.
Tis’ is the season where many players get cashed out more than what they deserve. NBA executives fall in love with marginal players hoping to turn them into superstars, and this is the season where superstars lack motivation after a lucrative pay day.
The NBA Free Agency period is very risky business. In the NBA contracts are guaranteed so whether if the player is injured or on the hardwood they will be paid. Under the new collective bargaining agreement players contracts can be amnestied, but there is a limit on how many players can be amnestied and they are still paid out rest of their contract despite being amnestied.
Despite a lot of negativity, not everything is bad when it comes to free agency. The Miami Heat revamped their team in 2010 by signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh to team up with D-Wade. We all know that the Miami Heat has won two NBA Championships in three season. Not all teams can accomplish what the Heat did during the free agency period, but teams can go from ashy to classy in a matter of a few days.
In the past players like Shaquille O’Neal(Lakers), Tracy McGrady(Magic), Chauncey Billups (Pistons), and Steve Nash(Suns) has shown the positive side of what a team with a lot of cash can do during the free agency period.
As a player entering the free agency period they are normally coming off of one of their best seasons in their career. I don’t find it odd that some players are motivated by the dollar bill. In 2007 the Orlando Magic signed Rashard Lewis to a contract over $100 million dollars to give them some added punch to keep the lanes clear for Dwight Howard. In the first few years of that deal Lewis played pretty well but on the back end on the contract he was not even close to the player that they paid a few years prior to his demise. I can go on and on about several NBA GM’s mistakes when it comes to free agent blunders.
I really don’t know what it is like to be in a general manager’s shoes so I won’t criticize them too much. I will say it is best to take the buyer beware approach before opening the checkbook.
I know it will happen, but hey what can I say. I know the contract ghosts of Jerome James, Austin Croshere, and Larry Hughes are lurking so please take notice before you add more names to list of free agent busts!
Basketball fans, non-basketball fans, LeBron haters, and Spurs lovers were glued to the television last night. The series between the Spurs and Heat may have been the best finals series that I ever witnessed that didn’t have Michael Jordan involved.
I know I cannot speak for everyone, but the series between both teams will go down in the history books.
With so much at stake for both teams, they came out and fought to the end. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, and Chris Bosh fattened up their Hall of Fame resume’s, while the Spurs made everyone around the country see why they have been a first class organization for the past 14 years winning four NBA titles, and being one of the most consistent teams in all professional sports.
LeBron James rose to the occasion in his biggest game of his career, and finished with 37 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, as well putting the clamps on Tony Parker when the game mattered the most.
Dwyane Wade had moments were he looked like Flash, and Shane Battier unlocked the NBA 2K13 cheat code to find his missing three point shot that had abandoned him the past few months.
All in all it was a great series, and with it being David Stern’s last NBA Finals he knows that he is leaving the game in good hands.
Here is a video of the breathtaking game seven.
Prior to the fourth quarter in Game 6, LeBron James did not look and play like himself. James who has struggled against Boris Diaw and the Spurs continued to settle, and display horrible body language while on the court. James saw that his team’s season was on the line, and morphed back into the player that we all know that he can be.
#NoheadbandBron went into playground mode, and attacked the Spurs defense like no other. James led a surge that dug the Heat out of a double digit point deficit in the fourth quarter.
LeBron has been criticized for not being “clutch”, but the numbers state otherwise. James has the highest points per game in NBA History (31.5ppg) when his team is facing elimination.
James ended up with a monster triple double scoring 32 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. LeBron did not play the perfect game, but when it mattered he took his game to another level.
LeBron scored 18 points, and played solid defense on Tony Parker in the closing moments of the game. LeBron was not flawless in the fourth quarter, but he did just enough to will his team to a victory.
Players such as Chris Bosh and Ray Allen had their say-so in the comeback as well by making huge plays on both ends of the floor.
LeBron James and the Miami Heat live on to fight another day. Game 7 cannot hurry fast enough.
When the Miami Heat masterfully formed “The Big 3,” a bulls eye about as big as Precious was placed on them. At the time, you had two top-five NBA players (Wade and James), and a formidable All-Star (Chris Bosh) teaming up.
Since coming together, the Miami Heat have been to three straight NBA Finals. After losing to the Mavericks, winning against OKC, the Heat find themselves down to the San Antonio Spurs 3-2 and the LeBron and/or Heat naysayers are chomping at the bit for another Heat loss.
With the Heat playing against the San Antonio Spurs, you have a battle of two opposites. You have the Spurs who were built the “traditional” way that a NBA organization builds a championship team. And yes, there are some fans who enjoy good ol’ fundamental, blue-collar team ball – and that’s what they get with the Spurs.
The Miami Heat on the other hand are considered, by many, to be hardwood divas with personalities (on and off the court) bigger than your favorite Hollywood starlet. And we all know that many accuse Miami of trying to buy championships with each new player contract.
The perceptions could be right when talking about both teams, but at the end of the day, the Miami Heat are a world class team – period. The Heat may have peaked at the wrong time this season, but they are standing at the end of the season with two possible home games to win their second NBA Title.
If the Heat lose, people will call it a failure. If they win, people will brush it off and claim that they were supposed to win. In either case, they lose in the perception game. Ladies and gentlemen, the Miami Heat are in a lose-lose situation.
Basketball fans will be on edge tomorrow. Heat haters will be on the edge of their seats praying for the demise of the Miami Heat. Spurs fans will be waiting to see if Tim Duncan can go out on top. Big-3 fans will watch desperately hoping that LeBron James and the Miami Heat will live up to the hype.
Either way, Game 6 will be a good one! After tomorrow we’ll see if the Heat will live to see another game.