The (Not-so) big three

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Flashback to July 8, 2010. A small boys and girls club hosted one of the most controversial TV specials of all time, the second LeBron said “I’m taking my talents to South Beach and joining the Miami Heat”. That led to a Vegas-Caliber unveiling of Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade all on the same team. Predictions, (Not one, not two) magazine covers, interviews, fanfare, merchandise, and much more were created and embraced.

Flash forward to June 12, 2011. The Dallas Mavericks took an NBA Finals right in front of all of Miami to see. Bust? It was looking like 2012 was the year instead. The big 3 would prevail, as always.

Flash forward to December 25th, 2011. The NBA was back. Lockout shortened, but back. But this time, it wasn’t around the Heat. It was lob city, New York and other teams sharing the spotlight, and sometimes stealing it from the big three. They were fine, and expected huge seasons from everyone.

Flash forward to June 21, 2012. Turns out, they didn’t need a big three. They just needed a big one, as LeBron led them to a title. But this title didn’t feel too real. The season was a good two months short, and it didn’t seem like domination in the regular season. Some people wouldn’t accept Miami’s championship until they one won in a full season with some domination.

Skip forward exactly one year to today, and we can say this season was dominated by the Miami Heat. Owned by them. But it wasn’t a big three effort. It was LeBron and co. Bosh had a mediocre-at-best season, and Wade was very on and off. Mike Miller and “Birdman” stepped up, along with Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers showing more of an on court presence.

So now, it’s all over. The next NBA game isn’t until October. Which gives us some time to ponder a couple things. First things first, as I said before, this was not a big three performance. It was LeBron and Co. LeBron led the entire team in points, steals, rebounds and assists. His 596 points in the playoffs were second to none anywhere. Bosh performed mediocre, and his point average is steadily decreasing. Wade is seeming older and more injury prone by the day.

This finals has lead people to believe the Heat are the next dynasty. However, I don’t believe that. Why? Because a team simply cannot revolve around a single player. Unless the big three play like they did when they were hired to become the big three, it simply doesn’t work that way. LeBron can’t hold this team up forever, and a huge reason they won was because the supporting cast all stepped up big time. The big three are not being big enough right now for the Heat to become something Jordan-like.

Many people are asking if this team can be compared to the Bulls of the Jordan era. I don’t know if it can. While this team is performing, so much question surrounds them. Will LeBron stay? Will D-Wade retire? Will Bosh step up again? Will Ray Allen leave? Was Miller just a fluke? Is there too much centered around James? Can Birdman play better in the regular season? Is Chalmers good enough? I can think of many more. This team was so dominant this season, but it just doesn’t seem comparable yet. 2 titles. While that’s good, they’re still under the Spurs. LeBron isn’t Jordan yet. He very well can be. But there are simply too many questions around this team.

This team was a guarantee in 2011. They are no longer like that. The only player who is playing like their contract is paying them is LeBron. It’s no longer a matter of dominance. Now, it’s a matter of keeping them at the same level. If somebody slips, that affects everything.

Now don’t get me wrong, the Heat will be sighted in the playoffs many years following this one. LeBron could pass Jordan, but he needs help. Celebrate now Miami about your title. But if you don’t get the people you paid to be big to play like it, watch out. Because I can see Oklahoma City in the horizon.

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Money money money – why so much?

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ca. 2006 --- LeBron James --- Image by © Anthony Mandler/Corbis Outline In the sports world, one thing is inevitable. Contracts. And contracts lead to agents. And agents lead to money. And to play, there is no way out.

And I think that’s fine. That’s completely normal. For any real job, you sign a contract. But here’s what I don’t get.

LeBron James for the next six years will get a total of roughly 110 million dollars. If I got 150,000 dollars a year in savings after tax, I would need to work 122 years to get it. And if I wanted Pujols money? That’s 169 years. Although it’s really nothing when you are immortal.

So why do we think having a player play a game well is worth 150,000 dollars after getting a hit? I simply don’t get why we have to pay these players so much money!

If the sports world was up to me, I would change a lot of things. (BCS, Playoff formats, money, BCS, BCS, BCS, BCS – did I mention BCS?) But this is the second most puzzling to me. I just can’t grasp how a player could be worth so much money (like A-Rod, and 29 million a year) for playing a game?

Playing a game is tough. It takes a toll on you and your body. But throwing a ball into a net is worth that much? I just don’t get it.

 

The NBA: Upside down

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Your best records in the NBA, 33% done with the regular season in the eastern conference are…. crazy.

Look at that! Miami was predictable, but NY, Atlanta, Indiana and Milwaukee? Wow. The west seems to be going a little more to plan, looking at it, but still – Clippers, Grizzlies, Warriors, Rockets, and no sign of the Lakers anywhere? Geez.

So, how did this happen exactly? I’ll give you one word: Bench. In this era, we have been introduced to the, quote on quote, “Superteam”. A big three here, a big four there, a super coach here, a ton of money there – you get the point. But let’s look at the Clippers players – almost all of them average 10 points or more for every three quarters they play. For the knicks, every player but three has 9 points or more in that time. The Warriors have only 4 that aren’t scoring 11 or more in that time period – I could go on with this forever. (NOTE: I use this statistic because it can range over an amount of games, not just one, unlike PPG)

This season is proving a point I’ve been trying to back up for a while now – a team isn’t a superstar and his supporting cast, everyone has to be there. For instance, when LeBron left, The Cavs gave up 105 points a game and scored 95 – as opposed to it pretty much being vice-versa last year. LeBron had 2,200+ points – nobody came within 1,000 of him. Next year? The top scorer only had 1,100 points. That’s what killed the Cavs – their team was built on LeBron. When the Heat made the finals and lost, it was because only 4 players scored triple digits during the playoffs – the next year, they had 7.

While Blake Griffin and CP3 are a big, if not the biggest parts of the Clippers, the bench takes off the pressure, giving them easy wins almost every time. It’s a new philosophy for winning, which I love, and if you’re not a Heat fan, you probably enjoy this too.

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A city of angels gone evil

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Dear Citizens of Miami, LA, Detroit and San Fransisco-

Miami can celebrate now, Heat fans. You are no longer the evil empire. With the acquisition of Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, and lots of talk about Lebron in 2014, you guessed it – the attention hogging, celebrity snogging, twitter-and-blogging, kobe hailing, kings of staples center, Lakers have taken that burden off of the shoulders of the Miami Heat.

The annoying part is that you’ve made people care, Lakers.. I mean, have you seen the cover here? Never mind – you already broadcasted it to your 2,767,507 followers. And yes. That is a real number Detroit and San Fransisco.  That is real.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week, by the way, when the world series is JUST STARTING. Ouch. Detroit and San Fransisco, that burns. But don’t worry, I’m speaking up for you. By the way LA, this is my “Regional” cover. I live in DC. Yet how didn’t I get Miguel Cabrera? You’ve given the world the impression that you will always be: A) the best, B) making big, mindblowing trades and additions, and C) the greatest show on earth – on MTV at least. Even though you are in the NBA.

Well I speak now for the silent. Enough is enough. I don’t understand. If there are 29 others, why tilt them to you? Why must you inflate the (already) huge fan base, with your sparkly rings, trophies and players? I live in DC. I can understand trying for us, Milwaukee, Houston, New Orleans, and at a point, even your own LA Clippers, your younger brothers (who, any minute now, by the way, will overtake you).

But when a regular season NBA game hasn’t been played and baseball is at it’s climax – how can you use those little puppy dog eyes of yours and bring us back to you? I just don’t get it LA.

And Miami? Don’t expect to be out of it long… it won’t be long before the entire world starts talking about LeBron to LA, thanks to your good friends in LA.

The Lakers have made the NBA a one man show. And unless you live in LA, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me.

-Will

LeBron, LeBron, LeBron – ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!

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I turned on my usual SportsCenter this morning, knowing the Heat had won. There was a segment about LeBron. I was fine with that, as I assumed a lot of attention would be played towards him, winning MVP and all. But as I looked down the SportsCenter sidebar, I saw that the next five segments all had King James’ name in it, and at the top, a memo telling you Dick Vitale would be giving reactions on LeBron’s leading them to the championship. I felt as if I should be singing the song, Di, Di Ainyu, (Which, paraphrased, means, ENOUGH, ENOUGH, ENOUGH ALREADY!!)

The Heat won the NBA Championship. Congratulations Miami, the Heat, LeBron, Chris Bosh and D-Wade. The best team won over the season, and it was a great run. That’s really all there is to say.

 I get the fact LeBron is a great player – he is. He can do things other players take years to develop, but just because he wins a championship doesn’t mean it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. I get it. He’s been there and failed, he’s a changed man, etc, etc, etc. It’s a great story.
But I feel as if they’re forgetting something – the rest of the team won the championship, too! Usually, when there’s a championship, the first five to ten segments are about the team. This time, the first 7 segments were about LeBron. Only LeBron. LeBron’s press conferences, multiple reporters’ reaction to LeBron’s winning, LeBron interviews, LeBron trophy presentation….
“It’s about darn time”, was what LeBron said in his umpteenth interview when asked what was going through his head when the clock hit 0.00. And I think now that it’s over, it’s about darn time we stop paying so much attention and think so so much about LeBron.

Don’t be too sure about the Heat…

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Okay, remember this?

Now, remember this?

Remember this?

Seems familiar, doesn’t it? Well, the first part does. The Heat are rocking and rolling, dunking, winning, and just seeming like a good team. And then. After doing well in the beginning, they choke at the end. Muff it up. Miss the shot. Ouch.

Right now, the Heat are being lead by James and Wade, winning and overpowering all competition. They look to be a clear contender for the championship, right? And I get that. They have what it takes – at the moment.

Have you ever noticed LeBron James is incredible in the regular season, but he scores around five points less in the playoffs, as well as around 2 more assists in the regular season. You are supposed to get better in the playoffs if you are an MVP. Not worse.

Since he doesn’t, like truly great players do, he will be beaten by Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, and Tim Tebow…. just joking on that last one, but he will get beaten, and he will lose if he can’t change it, since he is basically 33% of the team.

But can he?