LeBron Blah Blah Something Something Legacy

Posted in NBA on May 17, 2010 by oneskinniej

So, it’s obviously been a while since we’ve updated, but unfortunately, all three of us hit very busy times in our real jobs, and then once you haven’t updated in a while, the inertia builds up, and it becomes more difficult to make a new post.  There’s a lot of pressure – if you haven’t posted in a while, the new post has to be noteworthy.  As such, as the most noteworthy storyline in the NBA right this second – including the Playoffs – is LeBron’s elimination from the postseason and what he’s going to do when his contract expires in a few short weeks.  Every sports commentator in the world has rendered an opinion… I even watched NFL Live on Saturday morning and the hosts spent a good 6 or 7 minutes talking about LeBron.  I figure it’s only fitting that I render my own.

ESPN’s “The Sports Guy,” Bill Simmons, has put it best so far, in my mind – LeBron has three ephemeral ideas he can choose at this juncture.  He can choose loyalty, winning, or immortality.  Now, I’m not as reliant on hyperbole as Simmons is, but I think it’s a pretty much accepted fact that LeBron has the most physical gifts – and mastery over said gifts – of anyone playing basketball on the planet Earth right now, and some would say, ever.  I’m not saying he’s the BEST player, right this very second, but I AM saying that, depending on what he decides, he could end up being the best EVER, if you quantify that sort of thing by the number of league titles a player accumulates over the course of his career.  With that said, I’ll try to analyze the three ideas LeBron can select between, and based on what I/we think we know about LeBron, offer up a suggestion for King James’s next move.

Ever since Cleveland landed the #1 pick in the 2003 NBA draft, LeBron’s career has seemed, well…. a little predetermined.  Honestly, I don’t know why there’s not a conspiracy theory floating around about a “frozen envelope” for the 2003 draft, because LeBron and Patrick Ewing (of the frozen envelope theory fame) aren’t even comparable.  LeBron grew up in Akron, led St. Vincent / St. Mary’s to national prominence with his best friends his senior season (the movie about this is actually really entertaining…and enlightening, too), and moved right on to the NBA only a short drive down the interstate to Cleveland, a town famous for sporting-related disappointments.  Despite his undeniable star appeal, LeBron’s carefully cultivated an “aw shucks” demeanor designed to make him more marketable.  After all, the best way to sell a 6’8″ 260+ lb African-American man to America-at-Large is to make him seem like someone you’d love to have over for dinner, because he’d probably bring a casserole. The fans in Cleveland love him, partially because he’s local, and partially because they’ve been let down so many times before.  They’ve almost successfully talked themselves in to believing that he’ll stay, just because he cares so deeply about their feelings, and he’s been warned (indirectly) about how much his leaving without a championship would hurt them.  He made a big show of accepting his MVP trophy this season in Akron, and referred to himself as “just a boy from Akron” multiple times. Personally, I think that’s a little messed-up. LeBron, to me, seems like a really nice, caring, empathetic person.  Cleveland seems like the girlfriend who’s MOSTLY OK, and not actively difficult to be with, but you’re afraid to break up with her because she’s dropped some not-so-subtle hints about bad things happening in that event.  It’s not that you don’t want to be with the girlfriend, because she’s hot, she’s a good girlfriend, she cares about you… but she’s got you “locked in,” for lack of a better term because you actually do care about her feelings and well-being, and begin to feel an obligation to be with her to prevent her feelings from being hurt and her well-being from going South.  We’ve all been there….am I right?  Am I right?  It’s unfortunate, because that can ruin even the best relationships.  You’re with someone because you want to be – not because you feel like you have to be.  “Obligation” implies work, and even though LeBron James is a professional basketball player, basketball (and the accompanying lifestyle it provides) is supposed to be fun.  Loyalty is great if it’s YOUR choice, but loyalty out of obligation only breeds resentment.  I’ve seen multiple relationships fail for that specific reason – romantic and otherwise – and one of the most relevant examples I can come up with is that of Kevin Garnett.

The Big Ticket, KG himself, has gone on record with advice to LeBron: “Loyalty is something that hurts you at times, because you can’t get youth back,” Garnett said…. “I can honestly say that if I could go back and do my situation over, knowing what I know now with this organization, I’d have done it a little sooner…”  That’s sage advice from one of the stand-up guys in the NBA, and one who’s career can be compared to LeBron’s fairly effectively.  Garnett was a straight-outta-HS phenomenon when he was drafted 5th in 1995 by the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Garnett was also the first player drafted directly out of high school in 20 years, paving the way for players like LeBron.  In his 3rd season, as his rookie deal was set to expire, Garnett agreed to a 6-year, $126 million contract, unprecedented at that time.  As a great player with incredible expectations placed on his shoulders immediately after being drafted, Garnett can really relate to what LeBron’s probably feeling right now, and Garnett felt like rewarding the faith the Timberwolves had shown in him by agreeing to the extension.  He was richly rewarded financially, of course, but his team in Minnesota was never really built to compete for a championship, and Garnett’s incredibly large contract ended up becoming a handicap to the Timberwolves in that they couldn’t sign other top-tier players because under the salary cap rules, they simply didn’t have the money to pay other elite players.

Now, Garnett was certainly not WRONG in signing the huge, long-term extension, but now he looks on that decision with regret.  He said himself that he can’t get his youth back, and although he’s earned one championship since moving to the Boston Celtics 3 years ago, the euphoria he experienced after winning was a stark contrast to the consistent years of just barely missing the playoffs, or else losing in the first round and never being considered serious contenders with Minnesota has apparently had Garnett re-evaluating what is important to him in his professional career.  Sure, money is wonderful.  Being a millionaire, like most NBA players, would be a dream come true for anybody.  I tend to think that once I reach a certain level of financial security, however, everything else in addition to that would just be added benefits, since as long as my tastes stayed reasonably the same, I’d be able to afford whatever I wanted for the rest of my life.  Garnett’s already made that kind of money, but at the end of the day, his legacy hinges on his winning.  Winning even one NBA championship as the focal point of your team cements your place in history, but winning multiples ensures your name’s mention among the game’s greats.  If Garnett manages to win another championship this season, I guarantee his career will be considered in an entirely different light.  Once you’ve got “money,” like LeBron already has – forever, if he’s even a little bit smart – then the next thing you look to for fulfillment is what you’ve produced.  And, so far, what LeBron’s produced is some positive feelings in the Cleveland fans, some disappointment locally as well as nationally for falling short of a title every season, and a lot of sneakers sold for Nike. This season, the Cavaliers COULD have won a championship, but they didn’t – and with the same roster a year older next year, I wouldn’t have considered them favorites even if they did win and everyone returned.  That team’s not built to be a dynasty, and a big part of that is because with a player like LeBron commanding the salary that he does, other players who would elevate the team to that status simply aren’t affordable.

No, I think LeBron should go for the legacy.  That’s what drives Kobe Bryant, and that’s what has made him the penultimate player in the NBA today — maybe not the BEST right this second skill-wise, but certainly the premier player in the entire league.  Kobe and LeBron are entirely different people; that much is obvious from their on-court demeanor.  They’re both great players at very different stages of their careers, but the biggest difference between the two men is what motivates them.  Kobe has ALWAYS been motivated by legacy.  Ever since he came in to the NBA as a high-school phenom, he’s planned on being the best to ever play the game.  Even as he was playing Scottie Pippen to Shaquille O’Neal’s Michael Jordan on the early-2000′s Laker Dynasty, the chemistry on that team was always an issue.  Everyone could tell that Kobe wasn’t going to be happy being the second banana forever, or even for very long, and that came in to conflict with Shaq’s own substantial ego, resulting in the early destruction of a team that could have won three more titles, and Miami and Dwyane Wade earning one before Shaq ran out of gas.

The Lakers have shown loyalty to Kobe, but interestingly enough, he hasn’t always shown undying loyalty to them.  He’s stuck with them for basically his whole career (save from the brief period he was a Charlotte Hornet in name only), but he’s only stuck with them because he’s re-evaluated them every season, and determined that staying in Los Angeles is his best option for winning another championship that season, and multiple championships as the star are what drives Kobe, because he knows if he gets enough, he will HAVE to be considered the best.  However, rumors of Kobe going to the Chicago Bulls, or the Los Angeles Clippers, as a free-agent or even in a trade, reared their head as recently as a few years ago, when Kobe had begun to believe that the players Los Angeles’s management had surrounded him with simply weren’t going to cut it.  He had no problem calling out the Lakers management or even calling out his teammates specifically, as he has notably done on Andrew Bynum numerous times.  That’s the biggest difference between Kobe and LeBron – Kobe doesn’t mind being feared to get what he wants, while LeBron seems to be driven – at least to this point – by an overpowering need to be loved. Could you imagine LeBron making some of the awful faces Kobe has been known to make because of his teammates’ perceived ineptitude in games?  I couldn’t.  Kobe’s an employee of an organization furthering his own agenda – LeBron is his teammates’ best friend.  There’s nothing wrong with either approach, but considering the expectations heaped upon LeBron’s shoulders and his universal acclaim as the most gifted basketball player in a generation, LeBron could benefit from taking a page from Kobe’s book.

Could you imagine what would happen if LeBron had a press conference and said “Cleveland’s management has let me down by not putting the correct pieces in place for me to win the championships I expect to in this uniform.  Unless serious changes are made to our personnel, I’m going to seek my fortune elsewhere.”   Sure, he’d be blasted as a spoiled athlete – AT FIRST.  Kobe was, too.  But look what happened.  The Lakers brought in Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, brought back Derek Fisher, and allowed Andrew Bynum the appropriate time to develop, and the reaction to Kobe’s “spoiled athlete” press conference is ancient history.  Now the Lakers are the favorites to win their 2nd championship in a row, furthering Kobe’s personal agenda as well as the team’s.

In his post-game press conference shortly after his unceremonious elimination in game 6 by the Boston Celtics, LeBron stated that he and his “team” have a gameplan regarding his free agency, and they’re “going to execute it.”  Many have speculated that LeBron’s “game plan” involves consultation with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, two other top-tier free agents available this summer and teammates and friends of LeBron’s dating from their time on gold medal-winning “Redeem Team” in 2008.  The possibility of the three of them joining together on one team exists, however remote due to the salary each could individually command.  However, there’s an angle to this option that I don’t think has been explored effectively enough yet that I’d like to throw out there, in terms of “legacy.” It’s generally accepted knowledge that LeBron, as well as Wade and Bosh, will command “max salary” this off-season; meaning, they will earn literally as much money as players are allowed to earn based on the rules of the NBA.  Considering the presence of the salary cap, this would likely be preventative towards the three players joining forces in one city.  The accepted logic behind this being that your financial legacy and family’s long-term future are the most important things you can insure, and making as much money as possible while your value is at its highest is the logical, obvious way to go about doing this. But, I disagree. Like I said earlier, once you have “MONEY,” then the idea of adding more millions to an already hundreds-of-millions-deep money vault is almost imperceptible (at least in my broke-ass imagination).  LeBron, as well as Wade and Bosh, don’t HAVE to take the max contracts.  They can sign for whatever they want — they could play for the league minimum, if they WANTED to.  If the three of them, or even more than that as other marquee free agents will be moving teams this summer, like Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Ray Allen, Carlos Boozer, David Lee, etc. – if a group of “elite” players decided to, together, sign with one team, long term, sacrificing some (probably substantial) personal salary wages for the sake of legacy, they actually COULD play together.

What’s actually preventing this from having happened already, with other superstars in the past, really, other than the need to get as much money as you can while you can get it?  That shouldn’t be the only argument against it.  If Michael Jordan hadn’t won six championships, would he be as wealthy as he is today?  I guarantee you that a large portion of Jordan’s net worth comes from extra-curricular activities.  Winning six championships catapulted Jordan from “great basketball player” to “ubiquitous American personality.”  Hell, my little sister used to make up stories about “Michael Jordan flying her to the moon” when she was 3 years old, just because she’d already had it burned in to her brain that some “Michael Jordan” person could “fly.”  America is a nation of hyperbole, and if you’re the best at something for an extended period of time, you become far bigger than you actually are.  Michael Jordan isn’t just famous for being the best basketball player ever anymore – he’s famous for being Michael Jordan – for being someone that EVERYBODY knows! Winning consistently does that in America, and since we export our culture across the globe, really does it the whole world over.  Michael Jordan is one of the wealthiest athletes or former athletes in the world, but much of that wealth is a direct result of his being embedded in our consciousness so deeply that simply “who he is” has great value to it, instead of just “who he is when he’s holding a basketball.”

This summer, if LeBron and some other top-tier free agents are able to somehow get on the same page and agree to sacrifice some personal salary for the sake of joining a dominant team, the sporting world would be turned on its head.  Stories would abound about the selflessness of the players, taking less money in order to compete for multiple championships, and if they were able to achieve that goal of multiple championships, LeBron would forever be known as the catalyst – the person so concerned with being loved that everybody actually DOES love him, including his peers at the top of the basketball world – and they love him so much they bought in to the revolutionary idea of building a juggernaut team solely for the sake of dominating the league for multiple years.  Yes, their personal salaries would have to be chopped in order for it to happen, but could you imagine the extra-curricular income each player involved could make?  Over the course of their lifetimes???  I don’t have any idea of actual numbers, but in the logical path my thoughts have followed to present this option, it seems as though the legacy would become infinitely valuable and provide for the individual players involved more than adequately. So, LeBron, think about it.  If someone reading the Transition 3 happens to know LeBron, send this to him.  I’m urging you, guy – think it through.  KG went years and years without any success due to loyalty, and everybody started thinking he was going to go crazy for a while there, until he actually won a championship finally.  Kobe’s got the long-term legacy in his sights right now, and really, has always had it there.  LeBron, you’re the most gifted and talented player in the world, and everybody agrees on that, but that means that everybody expects you to perform better than any other individuals active right now because you DO have those gifts and skills.  Make the most of who you are – you’re desperate to be loved, buddy.  And America loves winners – especially winners who do something differently than anybody’s ever done before.  Your buddies in the basketball elite already love you, and look to you for leadership on the USA Basketball Team and in the public eye.  Convince them – get them on board.  Sign somewhere that can afford you, and dominate the NBA for a decade.  You’ll live forever that way.

Thanks for reading, and look forward to more frequent updates in the future!  Go Suns!

-Jack

Assists and Turnovers

Posted in NBA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by oneskinniej

This is my opportunity to share a little knowledge (assists) and cast a little judgement (turnovers) with you, the adoring readers.  Post deadline, the NBA title picture has become a lot clearer, with the big moves like Butler/Haywood to the Mavs, and Jamison to the Cavaliers, et cetera.  The Cavs were and still are my favorite to win the Title, but Jamison’s presence hasn’t translated in to wins – yet.  It will, though, and a tough loss to Orlando is nothing to be ashamed of.  A big bright spot for the Cavs in that loss – Shaq outscored Dwight Howard 14-9 when they were actively guarding each other.  I guess Superman isn’t quite ready to give up his title yet.  More after the jump …

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When all players are healthy, which NBA team has the most talented roster (post-trade deadline)?

Posted in NBA on February 19, 2010 by oneskinniej

Trade Deadline 2010 – Did Everybody Win?

Posted in NBA with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2010 by oneskinniej

Since I can remember paying attention to the NBA, I’m fairly certain there’s been at least one trade every season.  The trend lately has been that teams in contention for the title at the point in the season the trading deadline rolls around (mid-February) are under a lot of pressure to “fix” any lingering weaknesses perceived about their lineups, or else a weakness in their balance sheets (more on this in a later post).  The Lakers epitomized this last season with their mid-season move to acquire Pau Gasol, who turned out to be their “missing piece.” More after the jump …

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Kobe Hate Will Fuel Lakers to Second Consecutive Championship

Posted in NBA on February 19, 2010 by tonysinclair

If anything is clear this season, it is that Kobe Bryant may have finally been surpassed by Lebron James as the best player in the league. With Lebron projected to finish in the top five of all time in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) for the second consecutive year, an argument can be made that Lebron is the most statistically dominating player ever.

Kobe still holds on to the crown, but the advanced statistics are harder and harder to argue with every day.

PER, Roland Ratings, Efficiency, Value Added, and Win Shares all suggest that Lebron is superior to Kobe Bryant.

With Lebron making a strong case for best player in the league and Kobe on the sidelines because of injury, some commentators have taken the opportunity to once again question Kobe Bryant.

Just about every reputable publication from Foxsports to ESPN to SportsIllustrated toSportingNews has named Kobe as the NBA Player of the Decade. There’s a good reason why. Kobe Bryant has been a top three player for the entire decade. He’s been the consensus best player for half the decade. Nobody—not Shaq, not Duncan—can say the same.

That still didn’t stop Charles Barkley from essentially calling the fans stupid when they voted Kobe Bryant last week as player of the decade. Barkley and Kenny Smith thought that Shaq’s three years in LA earlier in the decade were enough to carry him for the other seven years.

It is not enough that Kobe’s made the All NBA team every year this decade. It isn’t enough that he’s made the defensive team nine out of 10 years, or that he’s been to the finals six times winning four rings. It isn’t enough that he’s scored more points this decade than any other player both in the regular season and the playoffs or that he’s been the leading assist man on four championship squads.

It still isn’t enough for a seven letter word: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Kobe heard Charles and Kenny. He’s heard the noise about Lebron being better. He’s heard the criticism that he still shoots too much. He’s heard the knock that he’s not efficient enough.

Four rings and counting and he’s still being second-guessed. He’s still being questioned.

But Kobe doesn’t mind. The hate and the criticism are fuel for Kobe. It pushes him to prove the haters and the doubters wrong.

In 2004-05 after having a coach quit in midseason and having substantial injuries for a significant part of the year, Kobe missed the playoffs for the first time in his career. The haters reveled in the Lakers’ misery. They said he couldn’t even lead the Lakers to the playoffs without Shaq.

Kobe came back the next season and drug Kwame Brown, Luke Walton, and Smush Parker as starters for most of the season to the playoffs. In doing it, he had an 81 point game that will go down as the greatest individual performance the league has ever seen.

Still, after having one of the greatest seasons of all time and taking the second place Phoenix Suns to seven games in the first round, the haters ignored the accomplishment. Instead, they accused Kobe of giving up on his team in a game seven.

In the MVP race, it was clear to anyone with a pulse that Bryant was not only the best player in the game, but that the Lakers would be in last place without him on the team. That’s the year when this ridiculous notion of “making your teammates better” became the criteria for MVP. Instead of Kobe hoisting a MVP trophy that should have been his, some writers left him off the MVP ballot completely.

Another year, more disrespect.

To be fair, Kobe sometimes rubs people the wrong way. After the 2006-07 season, he demanded a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers. Unhappy that he wasn’t getting any closer to a championship, Kobe thirsted for a competent running mate. He’d settle for an older Jason Kidd. He’d settle for Luol Deng. Just give the guy somebody…anybody that could take just a little bit of the responsibility and he could deliver a championship.

There were those who were overjoyed. They thought Kobe had made his bed with forcing Shaq out of L.A., now it was time for him to lie in it. As good as Kobe was, they said the Lakers would never contend with him at the helm.

No trade was made, but by January of the 2007-08 season, the Lakers were in first place in the West.

That little detail gets lost because a couple of weeks later, the Lakers traded for Pau Gasol. But the Lakers were contenders before Gasol ever got into a Lakers uniform.

Again, doubting Kobe proved to be wrong.

That year, Kobe led his team to the NBA finals where they were overwhelmed by the league leading Boston Celtics.

The mantra that summer was initiated by Kobe’s arch nemesis, Shaquille O’Neal. “He couldn’t do it without me. Hey Kobe, tell me how my (expletive) tastes.”

Kobe didn’t respond. Fuel. Next year.

That summer, people questioned whether he could fit in with a team of all stars and check his ego enough to help Team USA win gold. Nevermind that Kobe wasn’t on the embarrassing team that brought home a bronze medal in 2004, the questions about winning focused on whether Kobe would “fit.”

Not only would Kobe fit, he would lead. He willed Team USA to the gold by being the go to player in the championship game against Spain. Hitting clutch shot after clutch shot, the best players in the world deferred to his greatness. The Redeem Team was able to redeem itself by simply adding the player it was missing four years earlier.

Still, could he do it without Shaq? Could he lead the Lakers team to the championship?

Nevermind that Shaq has never been on a championship team that didn’t also feature one of the top five players in the league at the time, Kobe was dared to win without Shaquille.

Hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy up at the end of the 2008-09 season, Kobe had answered every criticism. He had answered every question. The haters had to begrudgingly give him his props. They just had to respect him, didn’t they?

“He had Gasol.” “The Lakers were stacked.” “Fisher had to bail him out.”

Nevermind the fact that Gasol had never been considered as good until he played next to Kobe. Nevermind that Andrew Bynum was injured and ineffective. Nevermind that Kobe gave Fisher the game winning assist.

Another year, more disrespect.

Kobe hears the criticism.

Fuel.

Recently, as Kobe has been sitting out to nurse an ankle injury, the Lakers have been winning without him. Some have suggested that the Lakers are better without their star.

Fuel.

Turn on ESPN and you’ll hear Bill Simmons or John Hollinger claim that Lebron is better than Kobe, and it isn’t even close.

Fuel.

Kobe knows that as he ages, another young player will snatch the reigns of best player in the league. The ironic thing is that as he passes on the reigns to Lebron, he’ll be getting closer to his ultimate goal: being the best player of all time.

He’ll need rings to do it. Six of them.

But people doubt that Kobe can win like Jordan.

Fuel.

Now with Lebron playing out of his mind and with the Cavs recently adding Antawn Jamison, the stage has been set for an epic battle in this year’s finals. Cavs-Lakers. Kobe-Lebron.

The world will be watching. Lebron will stand in the way of Kobe’s fifth Championship. A tie with Magic is at stake. The legacy toward Jordan is in the balance. Questions will be asked.

How do you think Kobe will answer?

The Lay-Up Line

Posted in NBA on February 18, 2010 by 25ftrange

Just some random thoughts about basketball and other things by yours truly.

Bill Simmons released his annual trade value column this week. This is always my favorite Sports Guy column even though I don’t agree with everything he says. Look what he wrote under Dwight Howard. Now read what he wrote under the grouping of Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, and Derrick Rose. Now tell me why Durant, Wade, and Kobe are behind Howard.

If they remade ET and had a current NBA player act as ET who would you choose? I’m pretty sure 75% of you said Rajon Rondo. If you could choose a retired NBA player, Sam Cassel would be the hands down choice. This is more of a lock than James Cameron making a film in 2020 with a terrible plot but amazing special effects that grosses $5 billion worldwide. Here is a list of others who could play ET. You already know who number 1 is.

Wouldn’t it be great if the crowd started chanting “Conan, Conan” during the first episode of Leno’s return to The Tonight Show?

I wish I could hit a 99mph fastball. I really wish I could dunk a basketball. Most of all, I wish I could do this.

Speaking of Shaun White and the Olympics, I know winning the World Series, Superbowl, or NBA Championship would elicit an incredible feeling; but getting a gold medal placed around your neck, with your national anthem blaring in the background, in your home country would have to trump it all.

As Nate mentioned below, Jamison is going to the Cavs. Where is Amar’e going? To the Heat? A Wade, Stoudemire, Beasley top 3 would be nice, but I don’t think they could contend with the Cavs, Magic, or even the Celts or Hawks. Although, with the corpse of Jermaine O’Neal shaking off the cobwebs and performing like an actual NBA player recently, who knows.

The other 2 major trades involved the Mavs getting Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood while the T’ Blazers got Marcus Camby. I really like both trades for both team. With the Wizard being terrible and Gilbert Arenas trying to channel his inner Dirty Harry, a lot of people really don’t know much about Buter or Haywood. Both of them are tough players which the Mavs definitely need. While Strong Juice Butler will help Dirk with the scoring, I like the acquisition of Haywood more. He is a better defensive player than Erick Dampier and actually has a semblance of an inside post game. He will help against the Duncans, Gasols, etc. Both helped out last night in the victory over the Suns. This guy thinks Butler is going to make a huge difference.

As for the Blazers, I think getting Camby makes them the 3rd best team in the West, right behind the Nuggets – as long as Brandon Roy comes back completely healthy. With Greg “Sam Bowie v2.0″ Oden and Joel Pryzbilla out, the Blazers were in desperate need of a center who could defend and control the boards. That’s what the Camby man does best. He was defensive POY three years ago and I think he will be reinvigorated playing for a contender.

Why can’t the Lakers play this hard with Kobe on the floor?

I have a solution for the Dunk Contest. Let this guy participate.

Females are crazy. We already know how girls turn everything around when it comes to another girl they don’t like. For example, people in the Aniston camp love saying that Angelina Jolie’s lips are too big and she is just craving attention by adopting all those kids. Whatever. Those lips are amazing and she’s making those kids’ lives 100 times better. Well, women do it to athletes as well. Let me explain. My mom – sorry mom for calling you out – moved to the US in her 20′s and therefore didn’t have a loyalty to any NBA team. Therefore she gravitated towards the best player and best team which was Jordan and the Bulls. She followed Jordan’s career and thinks he is the greatest player of all time. Nothing wrong with that. A majority of people would agree with her. However, most people would also acknowledge the greatness of others, like Kobe and LeBron. Not my mom. I think MJ is the greatest ever and I don’t think Kobe will ever reach his level, but I think Kobe is going to come closer than anyone. LeBron hasn’t reached that level yet, but based solely on talent and God-given skills, LeBron is unmatched on the hardwood. If I mention this to my mom, she won’t listen. She’ll say something about how Kobe and LeBron really suck and that Michael is the greatest ever. That’s it. Kobe and LeBron suck. MJ is the best. No reason why. No acknowledgment of Kobe’s 4 rings or LeBron’s great all around game. That doesn’t matter to her, and in her opinion it shouldn’t matter to anyone else. She’s crazy….oh and she’s also obsessed. Whenever she sees MJ on the TV she reacts the same way a fan of Lost reacts when they see a preview for the next show. Some shrills, some shrieks, and then a smile. She would marry him right now if she could (watch out dad).

If a Duke player gets a black eye, does anybody feel bad for him?

Duke killed Maryland last Saturday when they played at Cameron. Maryland has since won 2 in a row, and if they continue playing this well and handle Duke at home, then Greivis Vasquez should be ACC player of the year. (I am a huge UMD fan. I lived in Maryland for 10 years and my favorite chant is “Fear the turtle”. If I was a bigger homer my last name would be Simpson).

Alright now for some links to articles I think you guys will enjoy.

Ball Don’t Lie midseason awards

A rundown of who might go number 2 in the NBA draft this year.

A look at the underachievers of the last 10 years.

A great read about why the Spurs aren’t as good as they used to be.

Who are the greatest fictional basketball players of all time? Well here you go.

Finally, my cousin Vijay asked me a great question last night. If you could have LeBron and Wade in their prime, or Jordan and Pippen in theirs, who would you chose? I said Jordan and Pippen because they already proved how great they are together. Pippen was the perfect second banana to MJ, the greatest player of all time. If Bron and Wade are on the same team, which one of them is gonna play Robin? What if it’s Game 7 of the NBA finals with one possession left with the score tied and Team Bron/Wade has the ball. Who is the coach going to call the play for? Does he flip a coin? Do they do rock, paper, scissors? I don’t know how that would work. I know Phil Jackson never had to worry about that while coaching the Bulls. I also know people think they would be perfect as teammates based on what they saw during the All-Star game and the 2008 Olympics. Well those are basically exhibition games. I don’t know if they would play so well together for a whole season plus playoffs. Although, there is a chance 6 years from now I read what I just wrote and bang my head on the wall.

Cavs Get Jamison! Title to follow??

Posted in NBA on February 17, 2010 by tonysinclair

The Cleveland Cavaliers completed a trade for Antawn Jamison today.  The move came as the highlight of a 3 team trade between the Cavs, Wizards and Clippers. The Cavs received Antawn Jamison from the Wizards and Sebastian Telfair from the Clippers.  The Wizards got  Zydrunas Ilgauskas  and Al Thorton while the Clippers received Drew Gooden.

Two things jump out at me: 1) The Cavs are REALLY good now; and 2) The Clippers are REALLY stupid.

The Clippers, for their part, are devoid of rational thought. Explain to me how one thinks it is a good idea to clear cap space to go after Lebron James by helping the Cavs win a championship? Well, that made sense to the Clippers and that’s all that needs to be said.

The Wizards are irrelevant, but one has to wonder whether they’ll buy out Big Z and let him return to the Cavs. If they buy Big Z out, they could avoid paying his salary and save some extra money. In that scenario, Z can return to the Cavs and provide a backup to Shaquille O’Neal in case of injury or even spread the floor at the PF position with his ability to knock down mid range shots.  Still, you’d have to wonder if an arch-nemesis like the Wizards is really going to want to do anything extra to help the Cavs’ title hopes.

On second thought,  they’d probably do it just to piss off Gilbert Arenas.

The biggest losers here are the New York Knicks. Their hopes of landing Lebron James depended on the Cavs not being title winners going forward. Now that the Cavs appear to be, on paper, one of the best teams (if not the best) in the NBA going forward, it’s hard to see why Lebron would choose the Knicks now. Though New York does have Broadway and Lebron loves to sing and dance…

Speaking of New York, Eddie House is having a rough day. He’s getting traded from the Boston Celtics to the New York Knicks. Contender to laughing stock in one day and I thought my Wednesday was bad. House’s son, Jaelen, is not happy either. Rumors are that their TV show has been renamed from “My dad’s a Pro” to “My dad’s a Knick.” The kids at school are no longer impressed. Tough break, Jaelen, there’s always FUBU.

Despite the terrible day in New York, the people in Cleveland were ecstatic when news first broke of the Jamison trade. Then they remembered that they live in Cleveland and misery returned. Still, the Cavs have reason to celebrate. They get an absolute stud in Antawn Jamison.  He’s going to be a perfect compliment to Lebron on the offensive end because he plays pick and roll basketball and can spread the floor. He forces opposing power forwards out of their comfort zones. If a defender doesn’t come to cover him, he’ll shoot the J. If the defender comes out, he’ll use his skill to get to the basket and finish or set a teammate up.

The defensive end is another matter entirely. I’ll just say, Amare’s a better defender and leave you to fill in the blanks.

Still, Jamison makes the Cavs a lock for the NBA finals.

Then again, the Cavs were a lock for the NBA finals last year too.  (As an aside,  I think  Subhodaya and I were the only people in America who predicted that Orlando would have no problem dispatching of the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals last year. Well, Charles Barkley also predicted it, but he also thinks Shaq is player of the decade with only having 3 great seasons in the last 10 years so he doesn’t count.)

Although Lebron looked nervous, biting his nails, when told of the Jamison trade, sources say that he is very pleased with the acquisition.

But Lebron should be nervous. He needs to worry because there are no more excuses. He finally has a squad that, on paper, rivals the Lakers. Everyone is going to be expecting a Lakers-Cavs finals this season. They want to see an epic battle with the two best players in the game today – and possibly, with history as the judge, the two best players of all time – going head to head to determine who is 1A and who is 1B.  Lebron’s ascent to King has been in name only. The throne is still Kobe’s. Lebron knows that in order to get his crown he must take it from Kobe.

My prediction: Lakers in six because Kobe’s a champion. He’s got killer instinct and he’s playing for his place in history. Kobe won’t let his Lakers lose in the finals. Not this year. Not to Lebron.

I guess it isn’t such a bad day for New York after all.

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