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Monday, August 30, 2010

Miami Heat vs. Dream Team: What Was More Unfair?

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These guys would have made a great team, too bad they never tried... wait a second.

NBA legends like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan have grilled LeBron James for his decision to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the new-look Miami Heat. They have said that they would never dream of playing together, because of their strong desire to beat each other. Many people have gone into depth about how all of those legends were blessed to play alongside other legends, thereby making their arguments invalid. However, the picture above made me think they are hypocrites on a much grander scale than even I gave them credit for.

Let me get this straight old-timers. When the United States finally lost an Olympic game fair and square in 1988 in route to a bronze medal, the country lobbied to allow professionals to play in the Olympic games. The USA then proceeded to assemble a "Dream Team" that beat the opposition by 43.8 points per game. If Miami has committed a sin against the spirit of the NBA, what kind of crime did USA basketball pull against the sanctity of the Olympic games, which were meant to be an amateur competition and still remains an under-21 competition in soccer, as an example.

America's desire to pile up easy gold medals at the Olympic games has compromised the competitive balance at the Olympics games as well as weakened FIBA's World Championships to a point where it has no chance of comparing to soccer's World Cup. If creating an NBA Dream Team was a punk move, as Charles Barkley has coined it, then the original Dream Team are the biggest punks the game has ever seen.

Thankfully, the world embraced that 1992 Olympic team in spite of it being "unfair" to the competition. Likewise, this Heat team will be embraced by the world, because fans outside of this country want to see beautiful basketball. No matter what anybody says, Miami still has a lot of work ahead of them if they want to win a championship. They have absolutely zero chance of winning every game in blow out fashion.

If and when "The Heatles" do embarrass a team like the 1992 Olympic team did, they will be crushing a city's fan base and not an entire nation. LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade simply took the Dream Team concept and transferred it to a domestic league, but somehow the original Dream Teamers take offense? Pay them no attention, they are so caught up in their own glory that they are unable to maintain perspective.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Does Spoelstra Inspire Confidence?

Spoelstra joined the Heat staff in 1995 as the team's video coordinator and within two years was also named an assistant coach. In 1999, his video coordinator tag was shed for the much nicer advanced scout and by 2001 he became director of scouting. His biggest break came in 2005, when he was credited by Sports Illustrated (May 30, 2005) for honing star guard Dwyane Wade’s "shooting balance and smoothing out his release after the Flash’s return from the Athens Olympics."

Riley made him his successor in 2008 saying: "This game is now about younger coaches who are technologically skilled, innovative and bring fresh new ideas. That's what we feel we are getting with Erik Spoelstra. He's a man that was born to coach." Pat Riley also predicted: "A lot of players want the discipline; they will play [hard] for Spoelstra, because they respect him."

Two years into the Erik Spoelstra experience a super team has been created. Riley had hinted heading into the off-season that he would be open to a return to coaching, but ultimately the decision was to give the young up and coming coach the opportunity to become a legend in his own right.

Personally, I have my doubt about this decision. My impression so far is that the man was born to assistant coach. His in game decisions have left a lot to be desired (do not get me started... maybe on another blog) and inspiring a team full of expiring contracts to play hard seems like a function a school counselor could accomplish. As far as respect goes, I think it is obvious when a player looks at you in disgust and bullies you into a substitution, which way it flows. The innovation that Riley spoke of has not been displayed as of yet, instead he has leaned heavily upon "Heat culture". In other words, more of the same.

I would like to see Spoelstra win coaching matchups throughout the season, because coaching will be key against old dogs like the Celtics and Lakers come playoff time. I don't think Riley would hesitate to upgrade the roster, so why do I get the feeling he is hesitant to upgrade the coaching position? Does Riley believe in him that much? I don't think so.

Pat Riley probably feels, like many of us, that he would win the title and is a tad less confident with Spoelstra leading the troops. One possible problem with Riley as coach is that he has quit on Dwyane Wade twice in his first five seasons, which on its own would have ruined the player/coach dynamic to some degree. Riley is allowing the players the freedom to play hard for Spo, but the players know that if they fail to win their way he will take control of the situation.

Riley would coach again if the players begged him, but otherwise I would pay close attention to Doc Rivers and his expiring contract with Boston. He is a coach that commands respect and has played in the NBA, which LeBron admitted is important to him. That is the type of guy I would want in charge of a potential dynasty, but these players are confident they can win regardless of who is sitting on the bench and who am I to argue? Let's hope they are right or else he could be asking them for ideas next June.

Friday, August 27, 2010

James Already Working Out With the Heat


Here is video of LeBron working on his individual game with Coach Spoelstra. At the beginning of the video you see Spoelstra teaching LeBron some footwork starting from the baseline, which seemed ridiculous at first, but he does sometimes take an extra step without noticing. He is not the only one as even the great Kobe is guilty of this. I will use video from team USA to show what I mean. Most of this stuff is too fast for the human eye and seems like a bad habit that might be close to impossible to break:


That along with free throws and some post moves would be the three things I would like the King to work on. As a matter of fact, maybe he and Wade can push each other in those areas. That is what the off-season is for, to continue to perfect their games and it is also when Coach Spoelstra seems the most in his element, although it can be argued that the young players have regressed under his off-season program -- specifically last season when the Summer League was discarded in order to focus on fundamentals and explosiveness.

While I would like to see improvement in some individual areas as those two great players (Wade and James) continue to mature, I expect the real key to this season's success to be the team workouts. The Celtics and the Lakers have had their cores for three seasons, which is why I get more amped hearing this tweet from yesterday around this time than anything I could get out of these individual drills:

Just left 'The U' hooping with the team, @Oneandonlycp3, Mike miller, UD, Pat Bev, and LP. Great runs! Needed that



Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Untouchables

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Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James. Would you trade that for anything?


When your team puts together the greatest off-season heist in the history of the game and puts three franchise players on the same team, it becomes a little bit hard to wait for the season to get under way. Years of speculation came together in one fateful week in July and it has left us in a spot a month and a half later where we are still anxious to see them debut. As bloggers, it is pretty safe to say we have never been here before - the dream became reality on a really large scale. We tend to always discuss the possibilities, but hardly ever do we expect the reality to eclipse the possibilities we had in the back of our minds. Three fifths of the Eastern Conference's All-Star starting lineup are going to play together and they took paycuts to add two premier role players to the mix.

Some bloggers have begun to run out of things to talk about and have started talking about what it would take to trade LeBron James. It is only hypothetical and comes out of pure boredom, but I want to make sure everybody keeps perspective. The guy is who you want to build your franchise around. There is a reason why he was able to put on a show called "The Decision" and it got better ratings than the majority of NBA telecasts last year. Everybody wanted him and we got him discounted. The guy is not going anywhere unless he is unhappy. Trading him in your mind might seem harmless and you might think the guy will never click on Ira's blog and read the comments, but you just don't know how bored he gets in the off-season. Maybe he wants to hear how people really feel about him.

That isn't even the point, really. The point is that you don't trade LeBron James and you don't even consider it because he made the toughest decision of his life to join your team and you have to treat him like family for buying into your franchise in that way. The same goes for Bosh, Miller and Wade himself. Haslem was part of that group, but he already had an incident that takes him outside of the circle of trust. He is still a cherished member of the organization, but one that is no longer viewed as untouchable.

Miller is next on the list. His performance will have to be up to par or Riley will feel no remorse in dealing an underperforming talent. Wade, Bosh and James are the guys you want to avoid moving, but their contracts all have out clauses in four years and they could always leave you at that point, so I guess it is worth thinking about it. What would it take for you to consider moving one of the big 3. Do you see any of them wanting to leave in four years? Who would you trade and why?

I would allow them to play out their deals and if they truly wanted to take their talents elsewhere hope to receive something via sign and trade --- provided that option still exists in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. The three kings arrived by choice and they have earned the right to depart by choice too. Breaking up the core would seem to be a bit too ruthless when the core was seemingly built on the idea of family and mutual respect.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fans of Miami Heat, A.K.A. Team John Dillinger, Become a Public Enemy

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Heat fan wearing LeBron jersey getting kicked out of Cleveland Indians game


I have lived in Los Angeles for almost five years now and have typically been LA friendly. Even when Miami won the title with Shaq as its center, you had people who liked Miami because Shaq played there. It was almost like Lakers East to some of these fans - the Heat was kind of likable. Wearing my Wade jersey did not draw the ire of the people. Maybe it had to do with the fact that the Lakers were in rebuilding mode.

Now that the Lakers are two time defending champions and three time defending Western conference champs, the waters have changed. I cannot wear my Wade jersey without someone loudly demanding I take my shirt off. I don't take them seriously, but then again, when I laugh it off they always say "I'm serious" as if they are tempted to do it for me.

Why the sudden hate? The Lakers were high in the clouds dreaming about their own dynasty when all the stars aligned in Miami to present them with a real challenge. If not for LeBron's decision, Phil Jackson would be heavily favored to pull off his fourth 3peat and second one in LA. Many are still convinced that nothing will stop Kobe, Pau and Phil from fulfilling that destiny, but a major contender was born overnight and that has caught the attention of Laker nation.

Also, while the Three Kings have yet to hold court, their welcome party was loud enough to get things kick started. First you have the crowd chanting "Beat LA" and then you have LeBron saying things like "I feel sorry for whoever has to guard us" and "not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7" in regards to how many titles they are aiming for.

It is only pre-season and my Wade jersey is causing waves from Hollywood to Long Beach. I am a proud fan, but I have to be honest with myself -- last year, a co-worker visited the hospital every day to visit a friend that laid in a coma after being assaulted by a group of Mexican gang members in Laker jerseys following a game in what was reported as a random act of violence. I like representing "Team John Dillinger", a term coined by LeBron James via Twitter, but do I really want the target on my back? Nah, by the time the Finals roll around I will have my LeBron high school "Irish" jersey, D-Wade's Marquette uni and Bosh's Georgia Tech gear ready to go. I may get a mean glare or two, but the people that worry me probably couldn't put two and two together.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ask A New Day - 8/21

new a's on old q's:
A New Day

Q: Are the Heat looking at Delonte West? I realize he has some emotional baggage and is suspended for 10 games, but there’s no denying he has been, and can still be, a consistently reliable contributor to a team, especially like the Heat, that needs outside shooting and ballhandling help. — Joseph.
A: Have you not heard the rumors. I would think Delonte West in just the last person that LeBron would want on the Heat.
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Q: Ignoring Haslem’s recent legal situation, will he still be a team captain? I have a hard time thinking he’s going to outrank Bosh or LeBron in any kind of team discussion. — Barry.
A: Co-Captians Wade and LeBron
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Q: Chris Bosh getting $110 million? I thought the Heat made a mistake paying someone that much to be the third option. And let’s be honest, there was no “Big Three” in this summer’s free-agent class. There was LeBron and D-Wade, and then everybody else. — Mike.
A: He’s the third option on this team, he is a 1st or second option on every other team in the NBA…we’re paying him $110M over 6 years, he could have easily gotten than plus $15M from several other teams….we are lucky he was willing to sign for ONLY $110!
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Q: As the Heat stands, we have 15 guaranteed contracts (counting Beverley), plus you allude to Da’Sean Butler partaking in the NBA’s rookie photo shoot, perhaps signaling the team’s intentions to keep him. If so, what gives? Does this mean Hasbrouck has no shot to make team, even if he is better than some others? — Jose.
A: Guarenteed contract means guarenteed money not that they are guarenteed to make the team.
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Q: Ira, I’d like to be the first person to come out and say that if the Heat fails to go undefeated in the regular season and playoffs on their way to winning the next four championships, along with Riley personally finding a way to solve the impending lockout problem next season, then this whole free agent process will have been an utter and complete failure. — Ben.
A: I too think some people are purposely trying to create unwarrented pressure on this team…hoping that the intense pressure might be our weakness. I think we will be just fine…and its VERY likely that our first championship won’t come till the 2012-2013 season.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Answers from the Asylum: Is Spoelstra in charge just appease LeBron and Wade?

Jason said...

(jlak on SS blog)do you think they have spo there just to make lebron and wade feel good about themselves?

Ohshz said...


Will Beasley thrive in Minny? Hes got competition with Love, Johnson and Brewer.


I do not think he will have a breakout year, because they do have other youngsters who they have invested high draft picks on and could keep him from getting the 36 minutes a game he needs to put up All-Star type numbers. I do think he will play a little bit more loose and rediscover some of that Kansas State swagger. Coach Rambis installed the triangle offense which could be good for Michael in the long run, but will also be an adjustment. I actually would like to see Michael play with a point guard like Ricky Rubio, but I'm not sure he is thrilled about playing in the triangle. Those two guys are crucial to Minnesota's rebuilding plan, but I think the main reason they invested draft picks on them was to have some disposable trade assets. Mike has his work cut out for him if he wants Minnesota to be his final NBA home, because this has "flip that draft pick" written all over it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

You Didn't Ask Me, But I Will Tell You Anyway...

Cheap Knock-off of A New Day's Idea Today To Answer Questions

These are from the Herald's Heat live chat ...ZoFighting

Most Recently Answered Questions

Q: I'm a huge Heat fan and as soon as Bron mentioned he was going to retire he's #23 i knew only possible cities were Chicago or Miami. But what do you think of a possible return to the sidelines by Alonzo Mourning? I know he's 40 years old now but 12-18 minutes a night is well enough for this cast? What do you think? Is February an option for return? Eddy B

A: Look at Brett Favre, look at Alonzo. Look at Brett Favre, look at Alonzo. I would think a guy like Alonzo could still play in this league. I have heard things about that patellar tendon injury in 2007 that make it sound like it was what forced him into retirement. To me, that is more encouraging than if it were the kidney that concerned him. I expect Alonzo is secretly working on his game and if he feels good, he may report for active duty. I believe you can never have enough talented big men, which is why Juwan Howard's roster spot is justified. If Alonzo can be on your defensive unit, you have just eliminated another weakness on a team that has precious little to expose.

Submitted by Romario

Q: It is time to quit hating and come to a realization that the Miami Heat are arguably the best team in the NBA. The THRINASTY is a bond created from drat day seven years ago, played together in the Olympics, and is a special relationship you will most likely never see in sports again. This is a unique situation where friendship, cap space, and family got this deal done. Riley and Wade thank you. Sit back and enjoy the show

A: Preaching to the choir. Next time I will need a question mark somewhere in there so I can do my job, but what the heck, I will sit back and enjoy the show.

Q: very respectfully think that you do not respect the play of Carlos Arroyo on your final analysis or you have it playing in the rotation you know Carlos Arroyo has always had to shut his mouth to people like you who just think that the best players are those that are produced in the United States fortunately in recent years has shown that basketball has grown.

A: I think Carlos is the only prototypical point guard on this roster. He should work on his jumpshot if he wants to hold onto his spot long term, because his spot is very coveted. He should be very proud of himself for putting himself in this position after playing in Israel. Miami actually has three other guys who have worked on their game abroad - Big Z is from Lithuania, Joel Anthony and Jamaal Magloire grew up in Canada, Udonis Haslem got ready for NBA duty by spending a year in France's pro league and Pat Beverley has been transitioning into a PG in the Ukrainian and Greek leagues. I don't think Riley believes that the best players are produced in the US, but moreso that an American prospect has one less question mark than an international one. For the purpose of this question, I consider Arroyo to be an American prospect as he played college ball at FIU.

Q: Q: Does Carlos Arroyo have a chance this year? He did better than Chalmers last year and is good for the Latino fan base. This has nothing to do with any fan base; this is about championships. I suspect this season will start like last, with the starting job at point guard being Mario's to lose. But if Carlos has a strong showing at the World Championships with Puerto Rico, I would not be surprised if LeBron and Dwyane take note and perhaps make a note of it with Erik Spoelstra.you think of this

A: Arroyo is your back up point guard. There is nobody like him on the roster and he makes a lot of sense if a true second unit is used. With that said, I expect his minutes could be cut severely from last year as there could be a lot of lineups with LeBron or Dwyane running the offense.

Q: Charles was a great ball player, but now he is playing a new position and that is the loud mouth EX-Player. Charles I am a fan of yours and I am disappointed with you and your tunnel vision, you value your own opinion to much. you see thats all your talking is, an opinion. charles you are still ok with me even if it does not matter to you. charles do me a favor shut up get off Bron. every great player who has won the NBA title has had Great players playing with them..ie Magic, Mike, Bird, even you tried to hook up with the Dream. charles lets stop the Black on Black crime..

A: Barkley was a loud mouth player and has always said how he felt at the moment. If he changes his mind, he will not shy away from admitting as much. In fact, Barkley has moved from the Sixers to the Phoenix Suns where he led Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle to an NBA Finals. He thinks that is different because he was clearly superior to those two, but he fails to realize that LBJ is so good that he feels superior to his teammates as well. He respects their games, but nobody can convince him LeBron James is not the best player in the world... therefore anybody that plays with him is his supporting cast. The perception that he has joined Wade's team does not intimidate him, because he has seen how Shaq and Wade spent a year and a half saying it was the other guy's team and eventually it no longer mattered... the same will happen here.

Q: Hello, Michael Wallace, How will new Heat addition, Mike Miller fit in the Miami Heat's system of playing basketball on the court? Will Haslem return for his 7th season with the Heat? What do you think about the new big three of Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade on the same Miami Heat team? take care.

A: It will be interesting to see if Miller actually cracks the starting lineup as having LeBron at the point, Wade at shooting guard and Miller at small forward could make this the most intimidating starting lineup in the league. In addition to being an excellent shooter, Miller is also a good rebounder and passer. I will always remember Riley talking about the future of basketball in 2003. He said that the game had evolved to a point where you did not need true centers or point guards, just a lot of guys around 6'5" and 6'10" who could really play the game. Welcome to the future guys. True point guards and centers are going to be chess pieces, but the building blocks are those 6'5" - 6'10" ballers. What a change from the Shaq and Zo years.

Q: Lebum is the only guy in the league that I hope gets an career ending injury...so I don't have to see the stupid faces that he makes..chalk in the air..I wish he would've taken his talents to Europe...enjoy the NBA's most hated player Miami! Come to think of it, the Heat are the Oakland Raiders of the NBA - Finally, Lebum said he's keeping track of all the negative stories and comments people have made - yeah right...he would have to get a computer with 1000 Gigabyte hard drive to store all the negative comments that fans, players, etc. have been saying. And whats he going to because of it? Stop choking in the playoffs - the opposite will happen - Lebum and his management dream team of morons/idiots will never get BIG advertising deals in the future because what BRAND wants to be endorsed by a VILLAIN...Lebum thought he could take 10 Million a year less with Miami and it wouldn't matter because of his endorsement deals...oops - I predict even NIKE drops him when they realize EVERYONE outside of Miami HATES LEBRON JAMES...I will be tossing my Nike B-ball in the trash and buying some Converse - anyone that pays Lebron James money ids getting boycotted by me...As a season ticket holder in LA - I have already given my tickets for Miami's game in LA away...I will not profit or support that BUM or his team...D.Wade and LeBum said the rest of the NBA should thank them for helping them sell tickets...EGO's are out of control - Sorry D.Wade no more T Mobile commercials for you either

A: If your question was "Should I seek counseling?", then my answer is immediately.

Q: What's going on Mike, I've heard your interview on the "Armando & The Amigo Show" and I must admit it was lively to say the least. The guys said that LeBron James would be a "punk" if he did not confront Sir Charles Barkley and I agree to a certain extent. A fight with Barkley has suspension and fine from the NBA written all over it. I know it's the right thing to do if we were on the streets but we're not on the streets anymore Mike. Lebron James is a walking multi-million dollar superstar and Sir Charles Barkley is a Hall of Famer. I highly doubt, LeBron meant that he was going to fight every single person who said something negative about him or the Heat. I'm a true LeBron James fan and I support him no matter what decision he made. I believe that he was just letting his true fans know that he is hearing all of the critics and that he won't let us down during the season. Besides he's not the only one to take mental notes. Michael Jordan took mental notes back in his day, so much so, that the media use to think that he was making them up just to get himself pumped up for the game. I'm not comparing LeBron to Jordan, personally I have always thought of LeBron more Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson than Michael Jordan. I've always thought of Dwyane Wade as more Jordan-esque than LeBron. What I'm trying to say is would LeBron still be considered a "punk" if he called up Sir Charles Barkley and they talked over their differences. Instead of coming to blows as if they were back on the streets because I state again we're not on the streets Mike. And LeBron isn't trying to jeopardize playing next season let alone his career.

A: I think LeBron would just say that he has spoiled a lot of analysts.

Q: Do you see LeBron James playing the Magic Johnson role (point guard or point forward)on this team and averaging a triple double?

A: Averaging a triple double will be tough this season, but I think he has a legitimate shot at averaging ten assists. LeBron loves to set guys up for easy baskets and these guys will not miss too many easy ones. The rebounds have been increasing every year and I suppose he can make a real run at it. Last year he got really defensive about his ability to be scoring champ every year. If he gets really defensive about his ability to pull down 10 boards a night, he could probably do that too. I would have a really hard time betting against anything that he wants to do when it comes to individual statistics, but I would hope it does not become a meaningless obsession. The stats are a nice reflection of the work put in, but they should not be the ultimate goal. LeBron's stats will be insane and I think it is reasonable to see rebounds and assists to go up while his scoring goes down.

Q: Who do you believe will be the leader of this Miami Heat team? And do you believe it will take long for their chemistry to develop? I think it will be co-lead by Dwyane Wade and LeBron James with no problems. And I think Wade and James will be on the same page early on with the rest of the team to follow towards the middle of the season. Besides Wade is quoted saying that he's played with LeBron more than he's played with his own teammates.

A: Wade will be the public leader for the first year and a half, but will say great things about LeBron being the best player in the game, which will keep LBJ satisfied. He can share the stage as long as he is still thought to be the best player. In reality they will be co-leading this ship and maybe should be co-captains. Bosh is an excellent player, but there is no need for three captains.


Friday, August 20, 2010

Cleveland Comic Dedicates a song to LBJ

I found this video on Dave Hyde's blog. He credited the song vaguely and erroneously to a coffee shop singer. Perhaps it is better that way, instead of giving the guy free publicity, but in fact this song is performed by Cleveland comedian Mike Polk, who is an avid Cavaliers fan and has even done a Cavaliers preseason special on Fox Sports. His claim to fame are Youtube videos, including the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Videos which landed him on TNT, where he made another one dedicated to their NBA broadcasts. Nothing to get worked up about, just a comedian trying to make name for himself:


Thursday, August 19, 2010

SuperFriends to bring back Miami Swagger?


All of us remember the dancing that went on with the Cleveland Cavaliers. James and the gang would put a whooping on you and then they would dance and clown on you while you had to continue to play out a sorry blowout defeat in shame. We saw how it offended players around the league like Joakim Noah. Now, it seems, you will see it for the better part of 100 games a year.

It was evident at the introduction ceremony. These guys feel like they are the best in the business and do not care how you feel about what they do. They will win. They will win big and they will make any apologies for it. Miami - are you ready for this? I think you are. Quite frankly, this is the one thing that I appreciate about the Miami sports scene. We make great villains.

The Bad Boys of the NBA are back. Except, in this case, it is more like Martin Lawrence and Will Smith than Dennis Rodman and Bill Laimbeer. It is going to be classic comedy all the way as we laugh all the way to the title. Is it sportsmanship? No. Do I care? No. Let others complain about our behavior, all we have to say is scoreboard. There is no team that will stop this team at full strength. Bet the house on it. Too much motivation and too much Miami swagger. We already won.

Is Rudy Fernandez an Option?

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Fernandez's emphatic slam energizes Spain late in the 2008 Olympic final against the USA




Spanish swingman Rudy Fernandez is gearing up to participate in the World Championships of basketball with defending champion Spain at the end of the month. It sounds better than Olympic game runner-up, although that is where we might have seen the best out of that group. They gave the Redeem Team a real run for their money even without starting point guard Jose Calderon, and the highlight of Rudy's career in my opinion was the one handed slam after beating Dwight Howard to the spot - it seemed to emphasize the notion that Spain was no longer intimidated by USA basketball no matter who was staring at them on the other side.

We may see great things out of Rudy at this year's tournament as he will have to step his game up even further to help alleviate the loss of the team's heart and soul, Pau Gasol. However, it may be the last we see of him as he has just let it be known, through his agent, that he will not return to Portland, preferring to sit out two seasons in his prime and then returning to Europe. His main issue is that Nate McMillan has turned him into a bench player whose only significant role in the offense is to hit the open three pointer. It actually reminds me a lot of what Miami did with DaeQuan Cook, who was chosen ahead of Fernandez in that same draft.

There is a lot more to Rudy's game than that and he knows he could be a star player in this league if he lands in the right place, so I believe that is his number one option. Could Miami be that special landing place? Only if he gets a role similar to the one that has been earmarked for Mike Miller. I would gladly bump Miller into the starting lineup and turn Fernandez into the super sixth man. As of right now, the only realistic offer Miami could make is Mario Chalmers and Dexter Pittman for Rudy Fernandez.

I get a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about giving up Pittman because I think he could be a steal for this team. However, if you can add a young player who can stroke it from the perimeter and is a better facilitator of the offense than any of the current point guards on the roster, why would you hesitate? We may be losing the center of the future in the process, but it is no different than giving up Michael Beasley in order to squeeze Mike Miller into the fold. If Portland is interested, you pull the trigger and never look back.

UPDATE: Fernandez has been fined $25K for "public statements detrimental to the NBA". I know he was being very open to the Spanish press about his unhappiness in Portland. In Europe, this is common practice, but the NBA has really taken a strong stance against players forcing their way out of a team.

SIDE NOTE: Public perception of the NBA in Europe will go down if they continue to bully their players and go forward with a lockout. Nobody, especially overseas, understands how the league can possibly lose money - nobody is forcing teams to spend the type of money that they are spending, the minimum allowed player budget seems to be low enough for any team to make a profit. I am dumbfounded by the seemingly inevitability of a lockout that on its face seems preposterous.

UDONIS, U DID IT!!!

Well, it has been a few days since Udonis Haslem was arrested on felony drug charges stemming from a driving violation and I think it obviously needs to be addressed and documented on our blog. The incident has created a bit of a stir and has vindicated those who felt Beasley had gotten the short end of the stick by getting his character assassinated for doing the same thing that approximately half of the league does according to the estimates of some current and past NBA players.

My hope is that this thing goes away as painlessly as possible. Udonis has not had a history of run ins with the law and hopefully something can be worked out in a plea bargain so that this does not drag on and become a distraction. I don't think it is going to impact his performance this season, but on a human standpoint I have always found it ridiculous to consider 20 grams of marijuana a felonious amount of weed. It is my understanding that the law is harsh in its definition in order to stick to those career criminals and/or put a scare into small time criminals and that you should be able to plea down your case if you are otherwise a solid citizen. As far as his record indicates, Udonis Haslem fits the criteria and many would even call him a pillar in the community.

We have just found out that the man is not perfect. For some this is a revelation and for countless others this is a confirmation of what they already suspected. Pot smokers sometimes like to figure out who the other pot smokers are and in my case I pegged UD to be especially good at rolling blunts. So I pat myself on the back and I move on, because that is the extent of my interest in this story.

UD has exceeded expectations and could become the rare undrafted player that carves out a 12+ year career with their home town team. I do not think this qualifies him to have his number retired, but it does make him a very unique player in the history of the franchise. In the long run, I hope it does not tarnish his legacy. Considering the man took a paycut in order to remain in the 305, I hope they don't confiscate his Mercedes Benz. In fact, I wish they would have also caught him with some product that he could promote and gain some endorsement dollars... if only they would have found a baggie of Cap'n Crunch under his seat.

ccrunchpulverlized.jpg

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ramifications of the NBA 2K11 Heat Starting Lineup

img_7934949.html.jpg



The new version of the popular video game will not be released until October 5th, which is a bit of a disappointment for people like myself who want to get a head start on the season. Quite frankly, I have already made the trades in the 2010 video game and actually sat back and watched the little video game dudes do their thing by putting the game in head coach mode. Coach Spoelstra had Chris Bosh starting the 4th quarter without Wade and James and took over the game, which brought a big smile to my face. I am not sure that would work out unless Bosh gets a quick breather halfway through the quarter, but it is fun to think about the options.


A very enticing option for coach Spoelstra is to keep either Wade or James on the floor at all times, never allowing the opposition a prime opportunity to make a run. However, this screen shot from the video game puts the spotlight back on the starting lineup. If memory serves correctly, Wade has not started at the point guard position since his rookie year and has publically said that he does not want to take Mario's job (prior to re-signing Arroyo, who is actually the incumbent at this point), but there is little doubt that the lineup above presents the team the best chance to win.


If the people at NBA2K11 are correct in their projection, it could push Chalmers from a projected starter all the way down to a reserve role. I do not expect many of you to shed a tear in the process either. Carlos Arroyo would give Mario a serious run for his money due to his being the only true point guard on the roster and you figure Eddie House would have a leg up in the combo guard world. Not to get carried away, but Pat Beverley could be the better option off the bench when the team wants to clamp down on the opposition.


Your guess is as good as mine as to what would happen to the perimeter rotation should Mike Miller enter the starting lineup, but I have a theory that this decision would bump Eddie House and James Jones up in the rotation at the expense of either Arroyo or Chalmers. This would be good news for me, because I am a big fan of the three ball.


For my taste, the starting lineup above is a no brainer and the only thing left to discuss is whether Dwyane or LeBron should get credit for being the starting point guard. Either one would make sense, but I think LeBron James needs it in order to regain his rightful spot in the hearts and minds of his fans. A lot of detractors of his decision would sit back and privately admit to themselves "I get it now".


You see, LeBron is going to play pretty much the same way no matter where he lines up during tipoff, but starting at point guard changes the perception dramatically. Any great point guard would want to have a great perimeter scorer at his side and a low post stud at his disposal, this is something that is easy to understand and digest for most basketball fans. Many LeBron fans feel betrayed by his decision to take "the easy way out", but this move would give them a prime opportunity to change their perspective on the situation and jump on the bandwagon.


While James definitely gains an edge by remembering all of the criticism that he has and will continue to receive, he really does not need or want half of his fan base to jump ship. He knows deep down that everything will be alright once the championships start rolling in, but the more witnesses that he can turn back into believers the more comfortable he will be in his transition. LeBron running the point is something that is bound to turn most cynics into giddy little school children. Magic Johnson was forced into early retirement due to his contraction of HIV and most fans that are old enough to remember it still feel a little bit ripped off about it. LeBron could help heal that wound in the history of the game a little by bringing back that "magic".


Pat Riley already told us the vision was LeBron as Magic Johnson, Dwyane as Kobe Bryant and Chris as Kevin Garnett, so should we really expect to have a below average point guard to get in the way of such a marketable starting lineup? I do not think so, especially when it is the one that makes most basketball sense as well. NBA fans, prepare to be wowed. A Miami Heat team with Mike Miller in the starting lineup will make this team even more invincible.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Miami Heat's Patrick Beverley Could Surprise, Win Point Guard Role

610x.jpgThat guy does not trust his head around Pat Beverley, watch the video below to find out why


Pat Beverley was recently signed to a two year fully guaranteed contract without much fan fare. The 2009 second round pick was sent to Greek powerhouse Olympiakos last year after his acquisition from the Lakers for a 2011 draft pick plus one million dollars.

The second part of that trade - one million dollars - is what makes me believe he is not merely "camp fodder" as Ira Winderman suggests on his blog. Of course, you do not compound a bad investment by throwing more money and a roster spot at it if your evaluation was wrong, or if the player no longer fits - neither of which seem to be the case at this point, as a defensive stopper with a high ceiling at the point seems to be just what the doctor ordered.

Beverley is a hardworking player who has offensive potential, but is already a force on defense. He was once a hyped prospect, the 2006-07 SEC freshman of the year at Arkansas and one of the leaders for the under 19 Team USA alongside the recently departed Michael Beasley. He is the real deal, but has fallen off of the path a bit. His two successful stints abroad indicate that he is serious about making it in the league. Keep in mind that this is a youngster who caught Wade's eye at Tim Grover's gym prior to the 2009 NBA draft. Check out what Scoop Jackson said about him last year on ESPN Chicago. I also attached a link for a preview for the documentary referenced in the article:

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/columns/story?columnist=jackson_scoop&id=4300069

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJiVFR_EQrw&feature=related

His defensive game is so stifling that Pat Riley refers to him a defensive stopper. I focused on him at the European final and watched him change the complexity of that game by forcing Ricky Rubio into multiple mistakes that got him benched within a few erratic possessions. Riley is not blowing smoke, Bev would be a pitbull of a situational defender off the bench until his game rounds into shape.

He may not be ready for a starting job in the NBA, but then again let's compare his statistics with another young PG who recently played in Italy (a comparable league to the Greek).

17 mins 5.5 pts 37.7 FG% 20.7 3 pt% 64.5 FT% 1.6 rebs 2.3 asts 2.1stls 0.0 blks 1.5 to 2.0 pf

17 mins 5.6 pts 60.5 FG% 36.4 3 pt% 65.7 FT% 3.4 rebs 2.2 asts 0.8 stls 0.50 blks 0.8 to 0.2 pf

Player one is Brandon Jennings, the way more heralded prospect with a flashy offensive arsenal. Player two is Mr. Beverley, who still lacks confidence in his offensive game, but is described as a coaches dream, because he attacks the loose balls (as evidenced by the high rebounding total) and the rim with regularity (as evidenced by the ridiculously high shooting percentage).

Ira Winderman is sleeping on his talent, but there is no reason why any of you should. Today marks the beginning of what should be a long and productive NBA career. I am almost Stephen A Smith "bet the house" sure that Beverley will be hounding Rajon Rondo in a Heat uniform this season. He certainly is the frontrunner for the defensive stopper role.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Can LeBron win back to back to back MVPs?

There have been 12 multiple MVPs in the history of the league: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (6), Michael Jordan and Bill Russell (5), Wilt Chamberlain (4), Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone (3), Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Steve Nash, Bob Pettit and LeBron James (2).

It has long been my opinion that LeBron James would win three or more in his career and after winning the last two, I thought back to back to back MVPs were very realistic. However, we all know that MVP voting is a popularity contest and I imagine a lot of voters will be looking for an excuse to vote elsewhere. Dwyane Wade stands to gain a lot of votes usually ear marked for LeBron, not because he deserves them (which he very well may, considering he was snubbed two seasons ago as Palmereinse noted), but because certain members of the media will be trying to create a jealousy storyline between the two superstars. Many expect the presence of both LeBron and Dwyane on one to team to cost each a legitimate shot at winning an MVP trophy under the theory that they took the easy way out by joining forces.

In previewing this season's MVP race I think it should be Miami's trophy to lose using the formula of voting for the best player on the best team. I expect LeBron to have career numbers including 9+ assists per game, which would earn my vote. It would be pretty cynical to give the MVP to someone other than a Heat player if they take the league by storm, but somehow I feel like the odds are heavily against LeBron and Dwyane to take home the honor: 15% for LeBron and 5% for Dwyane would be my guess because one would have to clearly outplay the other beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure enough votes to usurp the hate campaigns already in progress.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

NBA Western Conference Preview

ESPN has rolled out their season previews so I will do the same, starting with my Western Conference analysis. Obviously this is not an exact science, but I feel like I have a slight edge over some of their experts due to the fact that I followed European basketball very closely this past season. I expect big under the radar contributions that will help keep the Spurs and Suns above the hot young teams that are poised to breakout:


Predicted standings for Western Conference: 2010-11

CONF TEAM W L PCT 10 W 10 L 10 PCT

1

Los Angeles Lakers
62
20 .775 57 25 .695


The Lakers will have a lot to prove this season with LeBron James going down to Miami to join his friends. Expect them to be more focused than ever in pursuit of a 3-peat. The addition of Steve Blake and Matt Barnes have solidified their thin perimeter rotation.

2

San Antonio Spurs
54 28
.658 50 32 .610

The Spurs were supposed to contend with the Lakers last season, but they feel quite short of those expectations. They were missing a lot of the role players that were fazed out due to age and Richard Jefferson did not play like a fourth star. Jefferson has been brought back on a long term deal and I expect his play to improve a little. In addition to that we have George Hill's emergence and the addition of 7 foot Brazilian Tiago Splitter. He led his team to a Spanish league title over the heavily favored and European champion FC Barcelona - no small feat. This year, he will relieve a lot of the frontcourt burden from TD, which will result in a boost in the standings for the Spurs and a realistic shot at challenging for an NBA Finals berth.

3

Dallas Mavericks 52 30 .634 55 27 .671

The Mavericks have added Tyson Chandler, which was a solid move and Roddy Beaubois should break out this season, but I see the Mavericks as a team caught in the mud. After ten consecutive 50 win seasons, you almost start rooting for them, almost.

4

Phoenix Suns
49 33 .598 54 28 .648

The Suns are going to surprise folks that expect the team to fall out of the playoffs entirely. Steve Nash is the NBA equivalent to the little engine that could. While he has lost Amar'e to the New York Knicks, the team was able to secure the rights to Hedo Turkoglu and Josh Childress thanks to the sign and trade. I expect Hedo to return to his Orlando Magic level and Josh Childress to be the comeback player of the year after a two year sabbatical in Europe. Stat's contributions will not be replaced by any one player, but expect Robin Lopez, Channing Frye and Louis Amundson (assuming he returns) to do an admirable job. Hakim Warrick could provide some scoring off the bench as well, anything is possible with Nash running the show. There is also the emergence of Goran Dragic to account for, these guys are not dead yet.

5

Denver Nuggets
47 35 .573 53 29
.646


The Nuggets will be facing turmoil the entire season and as a result will dip a little bit from last year's level. To make matters worse, their two brightest stars, Carmelo Anthony and Nene, may decide to head to greener pastures next season. This will force Denver to strongly consider making some trade deadline maneuvers, but they remain one of the most talented teams in the league so do not expect the off-court problems to sink them too far down the standings.








6

Oklahoma City Thunder 46
36 .561 50 32 .610


The most exciting young team in the NBA is expected to make a leap into the elite this season thanks to last year's 50 wins and the scare that they put into the NBA champion Lakers in their first round series. I, however, am reluctant to buy in completely. A four game drop in the standings will still left them up two spots in the standings and help them have a realistic shot at the second round.


7

Utah Jazz 46 36 .561 53 29 .646

Utah lost Carlos Boozer, but was able to replace him with Al Jefferson. The Jazz also allowed some good role players to walk, but they are armed with Kirilenko's expiring contract to keep them in trade discussions should they require a few upgrades. Also, they could really use a motivated AK-47 to remain a top team in this league. Jerry Sloan does such a great job with his guys that there is almost no chance they miss the cut. Also, Derron Williams is going to make sure his team stays hungry.

8

Houston Rockets 45 37 .549 42 40 .512

It is hard to grant the Rockets access into the postseason with the question marks surrounding Yao, but Adelman was able to keep these guys within striking distance last season, so I expect they will gel and get that little push over the top that they desperately need. They have a really underrated supporting cast, so they can go as far as Yao can lead them... the first round of the playoffs?

9

Portland Trailblazers
44 38 .537 50 32
.610


Portland could easily take a playoff spot this season. They certainly have the squad to do it. My concern is that this season it will not be as easy to get to 50 wins and they will need a contribution from Greg Oden just to tread water.

10

New Orleans Hornets 42
40 .512 37 45 .451


Chris Paul is going to get his head back on straight and bring New Orleans back to respectability. They will fight for a playoff spot, but will need some sort of trade to get them over the top in a really tough conference. Perhaps they should suggest a move to the Eastern Conference during the labor talks.

11

Memphis Grizzlies 41
41 .500 40 42 .488
OA really underrated side who also seems a move or two away from legitimate playoff contention. Keep an eye on their center position. If Thabeet proves he has a pulse, they may have the best young rotation in the league as the Iranian Haddadi could be primed for a breakout of sorts if he puts together another solid tournament at the World Championships.

12

Los Angeles Clippers 35 47 .427 29 53 .354


The most frustrating team in the league. A healthy Griffin offers them a glimpse of hope, but I am still of the opinion that they should have rolled the dice on Ricky Rubio. For one, he would already be in this league if he would have been picked in the top 2, and secondly this is a team that needs a new identity, something his flashy passing ability would have provided. Even if Griffin makes Clipper fans forget about Elton Brand you get the feeling the team will never completely turn the corner.

13

Sacramento Kings 30 52 .366 25 57 .305


The Kings will have a legitimate shot to win back-to-back rookie of the year awards. Demarcus Cousins could be the piece that puts them on track towards being a perennial playoff team, but not quite this year.

14

Golden State Warriors 29 53 .354 26 56 .317


The Warriors seem content in inflating their offensive numbers in order to dilute themselves into believing they have a future. However, their failure to challenge for a playoff spot will catch up to them and they will have to fire Nellie this season.

15

Minn. Timberwolves 20 62 .244 15 67 .183


The T-Wolves did a nice job in cutting salary by finding a taker for Al Jefferson and using that cash on Darko Milicic and Michael Beasley. The duplication between Jefferson and Love was not working out and they had to change the dynamic. Beasley will be used at both forward spots while Milicic is much more comfortable at the center spot. The move could pay off in the long run, but the transition will not lead to too many victories in the short run. A modest improvement is all that can be expected until something shakes out in the Ricky Rubio saga. Coach Rambis has installed the triangle, which would be a horrible fit for Ricky, so expect Rubio not to play in this league until a trade can be worked out.

Monday, August 9, 2010

LeBron Brings the HEAT: Hip Hop Weekly presents Skyboxx (Collector's Edition)

Today I found myself in a Ralph's supermarket staring at a shiny magazine with a certain basketball superstar gracing the cover wearing the Heat jersey across the front. Only this time it was not Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Shaquille O'Neal or even Dwyane Wade. No, this time it was none other than LeBron James.

I quickly gravitated towards the newsstand and grabbed the collector's edition of Skyboxx from Hip Hop Weekly. I can honestly say that I have never seen this magazine before in my life and felt like dedicating an issue to LBJ was a cheap ploy to capitalize on this entire fiasco after all mediums have inexplicably turned their back on their "chosen one". I felt silly shelling out the $6 for the magazine at first, but I then reminded myself that this was a once in a lifetime historic event that I will want to have with me as a lifelong Heat fan. The Sports Illustrated fiasco had left a bitter taste in my mouth, because they were handed the honor of photographing the "3 Kings" and they largely ignored Wade and Bosh in the article and took cheapshots at LeBron.

Side note: a worthwhile nickname is still a work in progress, but I will toot my horn for coining "3 Kings" on the sentinel board the day Bosh and Wade signed on... I said if James signed they would eventually be known as the "3 Wise Men" for going against the grain to shower basketball fans with gifts every night they take the court. In Spanish "Los Reyes Magos", the term for the wise men translates to "The Magic Kings"... cheesy perhaps, but very marketable and the most accurate way to describe the phenomenon on which we are about to embark, as blasphemous as it sounds.

So, I looked for the best copy of this magazine and discovered that it actually had LeBron in his Cavalier jersey that you could peel off. A cute idea they have used in their Hip Hop weekly magazine in order to reveal a girl's thong. Solid idea for a cover, the first thing I did was peel off the Cavs jersey and paste it onto the last page of the magazine. He looks so much better wearing that Heat #6.

Right off the bat, I will say that they caught my eye with a good collage of pictures of LeBron dating back to his AAU and high school years and I have to give props to the editor of the magazine, Chris Wilder, for his introductory letter. Not sure they delivered on the "raw, unfiltered perspective" that he promised, but I give him credit for shedding historical light onto the moment by comparing this to Wilt Chamberlain's move from Philly to LA in '68 and to Dr. J's move from the ABA to the NBA - New York Nets to Philadelphia 76ers in the '70s. He claims this to be "the biggest off-court thing to happen to the NBA ever" thanks to the increased media attention and LeBron's marketing team. On that note, this is something I previously pointed out with the Creative Artists Agency connection - something that will not get mentioned in the magazine, therefore Chris gets an A for writing an intriguing Editor's Letter, but loses points for not delivering "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" as he promised his magazine would.

The first feature is called "2 Live Stews Stewing it up". For those who don't know, and I include myself in that crowd, Ryan and Doug Stewart have a morning show in Atlanta and also have appeared on ESPN2. They are former football players and their gimmick is that they disagree with each other in anything they ever talk about. Ryan defended LeBron, while Doug attacked him. Ryan praised LeBron for drawing a 7.3 rating on ESPN, which was higher than 95% of the basketball games on TV that year and pointed out the money that was raised for charity, while Doug was fixated on not only leaving the team that drafted you when you are supposed to be one of the greatest of all-time and was especially down on LeBron for because "he actually came on TV and crapped on those guys". Your equivalent of "Pardon the Interruption", it was a nice way to get both sides of the story. More than I could say for the coverage on other magazines.

The next piece, "An American Dream", was written by Chris Wilder, sort of. He starts off the article with a tidbit about the controversy about who James's fan really is. It was always reported that an ex-con named Anthony McClelland was the disinterested father, but recently a Washington DC Lawyer has emerged, claiming to be the father. Nice job, Chris. However, if you are going to bring this up, why not talk about the fact that this man is suing LeBron for $4 million dollars? Why not bring up the fact that he is now 55, making him 29 when he slept with a 15 year old Gloria James. I thought the magazine was going to be "raw"? Never mind. He does offer a tidbit about how LeBron was discovered at the age of eight at a peewee football game, but none of his teammates knew him because he was not enrolled in school. The coach, Frankie Walker Sr., took him in for the next two years and got him enrolled into school and introduced little LeBron to basketball. Maybe this information came straight out of "Shooting Stars" by LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger, because after writing most of the first page, he quoted an excerpt from LeBron talking about his childhood for a total of five pages, mixing in pictures that should not have been blown up to large sizes due to a little thing called pixels... just not professional. I do recommend reading LeBron's book though, it seems a good read.

The next piece, "The Chosen One", by Christopher S. Palmer was very informative in describing LeBron's journey from middle school all the way into the pros. He also used "Shooting Stars" and the documentary "More Than a Game" for his information, but actually wrote the article rather than borrowing a passage from a book, which is lazy and deceptive. He detailed how this "decision" should not have been too much of a surprise considering how he went the road less travelled in his decision to go to St. Vincent-St. Mary's. He and his AAU family had made the pact to create a high school super team and when his best friend Dru Joyce III decided to go to the parochial school in Akron instead of of the predominantly Black Buchtel High, LeBron convinced the rest of the crew to follow. LeBron defended this decision in his documentary saying "Even if the community looked down on us for that decision it didn't matter. It was worth it for a friend." My only beef with the article was that it described that the Cavaliers successfully tanked for his draft rights, but failed to mention that they succesfully tanked for a #1 seed in a lottery, which represented a 25% chance. I think that the Draft Lottery was too monumental to be glossed over.

The next article, "An Era Begins", by RK Byers was the biggest load of opinionated garbage I had read in a while. He starts from the perspective that Stern and Nike were trying to create a star. He says "we knew it might all be a scam" and "LeBron James wasn't even the consensus smart money pick... Carmelo Anthony, was arguably just as talented, a year older than James and certainly more accomplished", but he really took the cake by claiming "It was almost as if the situation came down to seeing if the Cleveland Cavaliers would draft with an interest to what was really best for their franchise, or would they try to put butts in the seats by going with a kid from nearby Akron who might or might not have only looked good because he was beating up on high-schoolers." Is this what the magazine refers to as "in your face style reporting"? The guy was onto something until he tried to get in my face about it. Carmelo was the safer pick, because of his superior jump shot and his accomplishments at Syracuse University, amongst other reasons, however no sensible General Manager would have passed on LeBron. In fact, Carmelo was not the consensus number two pick as evidenced by the Detroit Pistons drafting Darko Milicic at that spot, but that is just proof that even "sensible" GM's can overthink it sometimes. The writer conveniently forgets that LeBron played Melo in a classic game giving advanced scouts enough evidence of the legitimacy of LeBron's game. The only question mark was if he would be able to live up to the expectations, because he was young. He then does a solid job of quickly recapping his year by year accomplishments in the league, with the most interesting tidbit being about his beef with DeShawn Stevenson. Stevenson claimed LeBron was overrated and LeBron responded that he would not comment because it would be "almost like Jay-Z [going back at] Soulja Boy." Soulja Boy then showed up for Game 3 of the 2008 Cavs-Wizards series and his music was played over the Wizards PA system. The Cavs would go on to win that series 4-2 and Jay-Z recorded "Blow the Whistle", dissing DeShawn Stephenson. Nice touch by referencing Hip Hop, but what about mentioning Jay-Z's "New York State of Mind" later on if you want to go that route? A part time owner of a Brooklyn bound franchise writing a song shamelessly promoting New York City and using his and D-Wade's name in a time when many were fined for even suggesting making a pitch to the players would have been very interesting from a Hip Hop magazine, but this is where I realize just how deep we get on our blog.

The final article, "Miami, Here I Come", by Chris Wilder was up and down for me. The writer gets points for being informative on some of the controversy and for making a connection between "I'm taking my talents to South Beach" and Kobe Bryant's announcement in 1996 "I'm taking my talents to the NBA". However, he loses points when he says "The odds are not good that they'll win a championship this year." That is the one thing anybody that watched "The Decision" should know - the Miami Heat are the Vegas favorites to win the NBA title this year. Again, we start to overthink things to make ourselves sound intelligent. In the very next paragraph, Mr. Wilder concludes that "While they might not win this year, they will win and more than likely win big. At some point they will get solid players around them and that's when these three Olympians will shine like the spotlight that's shining on them now."

The rest of the publication is filled with pictures, twitter reactions to the decision by famous folks, merchandise and LeBron's favorite things. The funniest was #10, favorite team: Miami Heat - showing a picture of a Miami Heat jersey. What an odd decision on their part.

The magazine gets a B- from me. They get an A+ for making this issue. I recommend you pick yourself up a copy if you want to have a keepsake that tries to give both sides of the story, unlike Sports Illustrated, who condemned LeBron. However, if you want to learn more about LeBron James than you already know the lesson here is to pick yourself a copy of his book and documentary. If you do that and google a little, you too can make a LeBron collectors edition. The magazine was refreshing, because nobody worthwhile has given this occasion the honor. However, the writing within indicates that this collector's edition might be even more valuable because ten years from now you will not be able to find anyone that has even heard of Skyboxx Magazine, never mind find you a copy of their LeBron issue.

BLOGGING IN THE OFFSEAON



First off I just want to say to Cyrus that no matter how much attention u DON'T get, your blogs are great. I mean it seriously. I think everyone who has contributed on this blog at least once has had some really good posts. Something thats from the heart, something that is truly opinionated, and something thats on everybody's minds. Not just smart comebacks on "ask Ira" to be used as blog fodder. That being said, I know its hard, but I hope u keep on writing Cyrus. Its just hard to get everyone over here because we are so use to the other blog, but I know for a fact the reading over here is 100 times better. I am thinking of finding a different way to format things so maybe it will be more inviting to read here. If anybody has any suggestions let me know. Cyrus, keep up the good work, you are doing a great job. B4 u know it the season will be here and ppl will tire of the Heat Haters flooding the blog and come over here to talk pure basketball. If not, at the very least the chat box will be jumping again.

quickly about basketball .................


This whole thing is still not registering. I know I say it a lot but its cause its true. It still hasnt hit home and I think it will still be surreal till at least like the 1st month of the season is over.


If I had one player I would like to see play above and beyond, that would be Pittman. That centers spot scares me. Its not so much because of the players we got, but its how Spo will use them that scares me. I think each guy brings something different to the table, and from a night to night basis, we need to use whos best  for each situation. Seems obvious to us, but Spo is such a f*cking moron and so robotic with his rotations, I dont expect him to match  up properly. He will still be force feeding UD minutes at center against huge lineups, instead of playing Magloire against the likes of front lines like LA , Portland, and Boston.