And the 2nd round begins

Ok so we have concluded the 1st round of the NBA playoffs, no real surprises, Philly got by a banged up Bulls squad but with all the injuries, that was the most likely scenario.

The Lakers got pushed but that was more due to lack of effort from Bynum and Gasol, Kobe calling them out was absolutely the right thing to do. L.A gets OKC next and they will be an underdog and cant afford to give away games due to lack of effort. If they go down 0-2 on the road thing could get ugly real quick. Bynum just has surly demeanor at time and still doesn’t seem to get it, make no mistake the man can play but I just don’t see a consistent passion for the game and that bothers me. I think OKC should have no trouble advancing but I think Kobe and co can get at least 2 games. The Metta World Peace- James Hardin aspect of this series will be fun.

San Antonio gets the most rest and then a banged up Clippers team that was pushed to the brink by Memphis, I thought going in that Memphis had an advantage with their size but it was the Clippers quickness and Memphis lack of 3 point shooting that was the difference. Spurs are a different story, they are deep and rested and have 3 HOF’s along with a HOF coach all ready to go. It would shock me if this series goes deep, I think Chris Paul and Toney Parker is a great matchup but the Spurs are too good defensively and have too many options in the half court game for the Clippers to stop.

The Heat won the 1st game of their series with Indiana, but I think the Pacers showed why they are for real, not a lot of people are familiar with these Pacers, but I like them a lot. I said in previous post that they will be a tough out, they are long and athletic and get good production from the bench. Lebron won his 3rd MVP then dominated the 4th Q in game one, Bosh is out for now so the Heat will need James and Wade to play the way they can to control this series, the Pacers are not gona continue to get 1-11 from their stud Danny Granger so I can see them winning at least 2 games and possibly pushing the Heat to 7, The Heat are good but they will struggle to rebound in this series and will need more production from Miller, Battier, Haslem and Turiaf.

The Celtics get the good fortune of the D Rose injury and take on Philly and as game 1 showed this will probably be a real ugly series. Pierce has a bulky knee and Allen is still working into shape and while the C’s should handle Philly relatively easy they will need to find ways to keep KG off the floor. If Garnett continues to play 35+ minutes every game and this series has any length, he might be spent when it comes time to play the Heat. Then again the way the big men on the boston bench have played I don’t see how you could rest KG unless they build some big leads we will see.

Lebron

So ESPN just listed their top 500 players in the NBA list,  I think that’s a bit much I mean with 30 teams each with 15 roster spots that is 450 players so I don’t really believe they should have been that in depth, but hey at least they are thorough. I love the fact Eddie Curry is listed at #493, I wonder how he feels about that!

 

I have no real problems with the List, the NBA is a stars league and you could probably make an argument for about 7 or 8 guys to be the best player in the league, (Wade, Bryant, Durant, Dirk, Lebron, Rose, Howard). It did get me thinking about “The King” “The Chosen One” Mr. Lebron James. I love watching him play, he can do anything on the court and has the ability to take over games, but he has disappeared in some big spots, Yes he scored 25 straight points against the Pistons to get a lowly Cleveland team to the finals, He played fantastic in last years Eastern Conference only to disappear against the Mavericks. I really don’t understand how a man with his ability can check out in a NBA finals.

 

I really am under the impression that we as fans and the media enable Lebron, People praise his abilities when they need to be focusing on the Failure. Failure inspires the greats to get better and that’s exactly what separates players from being Great vs being gifted. For ever all anyone wanted to talk about with Tracy McGrady was that he couldn’t get his teams out of the 1st round, McGrady could have used this as inspiration to get better but he didn’t and that’s why he was gifted but not great. Don’t get me wrong I Love Tracy and personally don’t think it was Tracy’s fault, he was absolutely phenomenal in the Playoffs but losing will always be placed at the feet of a teams star.

 

Now I don’t really think Lebron can get better, I mean how is that even possible, but he needs to be more assertive, The Heat are now his team as much as they are D-wades and he needs to step up and act like it. Going into last year I thought well its gona take some time to mold the roster for them to compete for a title. Once the playoffs began you could clearly see they were in good shape and could win it all, then in the finals they were out worked and Lebron was disinterested for lack of a better word. How is this even possible? Lebron went to Miami sacrificed money and his legacy to WIN, no other reason just to WIN, did he not want it? Highly doubtful but we don’t know. He can blame god all he wants but it’s on him and no one else, he didn’t want the ball, he didn’t use his immense talent to his advantage. He failed bottom line.

 

You can not be the best player in the NBA if you can’t finish, you can’t be the best player in the NBA if your desire is in question during the finals. Could you ever imagineKobedeferring to anyone else in the Finals? Nope, will never happen Paul Pierce is going to say jump on my back I will carry you,  hell I couldn’t even see Carmello giving the ball up in that spot let alone not looking like he gave a damn. Lebron thrived on hatred last year, he went from a hero to a villain over night and the country rejoiced at his failure. He is gifted and there is no doubting that, but he needs to some how find that alpha male mentality and realize the only one who can stop him is himself or he will never transition from gifted to great.

 

After all it is all about the rings!!!

 

A letter to David Stern

David,

 I just wanted to write to you so you can understand my feeling on this whole lockout thing. Maybe my opinions are seriously misguided and you can set me straight. The NBA has flourished in the last 12 years, we have about as much parity as you can have in basketball and the game has grown exponentially both at home and over seas. You claim that a lockout is necessary for the betterment of the game. The owners are losing money and the game can not be sustained going forward.

 Thru all of this you have painted a picture of the players being greedy and made it seem like they are the main reason for all of the red ink in the ledger books. I never recall seeing a player to force any offer, the owners offer the contracts so they should be on the hook. Players get what they can and if owners want to pay absurd amounts to put a winning team on the court that is there decision. You placed limits/escalators on what players can earn and that doesn’t benifit the top tier players, they are earning far less then what their market value would be, for instance if basketball had the same structure as baseball then you would see several players making in excess of 20 million per year. I know that’s apples to oranges but with the way the league is structured the only way teams loose money is cause they do overpay.  

 5 of the top 10 highest players in the NBA are undeserving of their contracts, Vince Carter, Gill Arenas, Michael Redd, Yao Ming and Rashard Lewis. These guys accepted offers that the owners made but they didn’t hold a gun to any ones head to get it. The owners have to take onus on how they operate and be accountable. Instead you want the players to give back 240 MILLION $$$ Why? Because of the bad deals owners have shelled out over the years? I some how doubt DR. Jerry Buss or Mark Cuban regret giving their star players the contracts that they have earned. Teams that win have smart owners who do the right thing. Just because some owners have run their franchises into the ground it doesnt mean there is a problem. Guys like D-Wade and Lebron are paid far less than their market value it’s the middle tier that’s overpaid. Instead of rolling back salaries you should look at placing limits on guaranteed contracts.

 Say each team gets to guarantee 6 contracts and every one else can be cut at any time. A team can move a player off the guarantee list when they sign another contract that is equal or greater than the one it is moving off. By implementing a system like this, players can’t quit or fall out of shape after signing a big deals. Owners would have a chance to back out of Bad contracts at any time and put the onus back on the players to perform. It would limit the need to pay Brian Cardinal 6 years 39 million, or Eddie Curry 5 years 60 million. The list goes on with these types of contracts and its contracts like these to bench players that bloat salaries and cause teams to lose money and be uncompetitive.

 I guess my point is that you can not blame the players entirely; this is the system you agreed to in 1999. This is what it has been for the last 12 years when you saw the sport get bigger and bigger. Ratings are up, arena’s are filled, player movement generates tons of buzz and all the momentum that the league has built up will vanish with a prolonged lockout. You threatening to cancel the season is just ridiculous, work at it and figure it out and come to a solution that benefits everyone, while still making both owners and players accountable.