Tag Archives: Miami Heat

It’s been a while since I wrote about LeBron.  About time to get back to some hoopserving about him.

If you’ve read my other postings about LeBron (and, if you haven’t, I encourage you to click the LeBron James tag and read them), you’ve seen me write that I don’t hate LeBron.  Rather, I have problems with the way he is judged, basically all tracing from the fact that I have felt, for a while, that his hype was always a few steps ahead of his accomplishments.

Slight addendum to that feeling: I hate him now.  Not “hate” the way that I hate criminals or dictators, but “hate” in the way that sports fans hate certain athletes.  In that context, this is the purest, most intense hatred I’ve ever felt.

I’m not sure exactly when or why the hatred became so pure and so intense, but it was undeniable this morning.  I was driving in my car, listening to Mike and Mike on the radio, as they debated whether it would “mean more to” Dirk or LeBron to win a championship this year.  Mike Greenberg was arguing that it would mean more to LeBron, because, while it would be a great accomplishment for Dirk, it would “validate” LeBron’s decision to go to Miami, and bolster his legacy enough that he could start making a case for being one of the top 10, or even top 5, players ever.  Some guest on the show was agreeing with him.

My head almost exploded.

I had to pull the car over, and roll down the window.  The game I love has been hijacked by this putz, and these knuckleheads who analyze it are buying the snake oil he’s selling.

Lost upon them, apparently, is the fact that LeBron hasn’t been all that great in the playoffs this year.  It’s like they entirely overlook the main criticism about LeBron’s move to Miami; HE TOOK THE EASY WAY OUT, surrounding himself with teammates who are perfectly capable of winning without him.  The very essence of the problem with what LeBron did is that he’s now in a position to win without being great, yet these “experts” were saying that a Miami win would validate his greatness.

This got me angry.  Furious, almost.  Like any testosterone-driven, red-meat-eating manly man, when I get angry, I… get on the internet to look at basketball statistics.  (What, that’s not what testosterone-driven men do?)  The stats got me even angrier.

There’s a rant developing deep in my soul, but, at the moment, it hasn’t yet developed into words.  For now, it’s just a bunch of numbers.

Let’s look at some of those numbers.  The Miami Heat have played, as I type this, 13 games in this year’s playoffs.  Let’s look at 3 categories: points, rebounds, and assists, and see how much leadership LeBron is providing this team…

Game 1 (vs Philly): He led them in rebounds, and tied for the lead in assists.  By the way, the opening two lines of ESPN’s summary, which is entitled “Dwyane Wade’s late heroics help Heat open playoffs with tight win” say “Chris Bosh and LeBron James watched from afar when Dwyane Wade controlled the final portions of games during the Miami Heat’s championship run in 2006.  They got a closer look Saturday, when Wade helped save Miami from a Game 1 collapse.”

Game 2 (vs Philly): He led them in points and assists.

Game 3 (vs Philly): He led them in rebounds.

Game 4 (vs Philly): He led them in points and assists

Game 5 (vs Philly):  The ESPN summary of the game says “Dwyane Wade leads Heat into Eastern Conference semifinals.”  LeBron was third – yes, third – on the team in points and rebounds, and led them in assists.

Game 6 (vs Boston): The ESPN summary of the game says “Dwyane Wade, James Jones help Heat stifle Celts, take Game 1.”  LeBron was third – yes, third – on the team in scoring, and tied for the lead in assists.

Game 7 (vs Boston): He led the team in points.

Game 8 (vs Boston):  He led the team in none of the three categories.  None.  As in, not a single one.  (A/K/A zero.  Zilch. Nada.)

Game 9 (vs Boston): He led the team in points and rebounds.

Game 10 (vs Boston):  He led the team in none of the three categories.  None.  Again.

Game 11 (vs Chicago):  He led the team in assists.  He was the third highest scorer.  Yes, the third.  Again.

Game 12 (vs Chicago):  He led the team in points, rebounds, and assists.

Game 13 (vs Chicago): The ESPN summary of the game says “Chris Bosh powers Heat to 2-1 series lead over Bulls.”  LeBron led the team in assists.

Let’s tally up those numbers.  In 13 games so far, LeBron has led the Heat in scoring 5 times.  He led the team in rebounding 4 times.  He led the team in assists (including two instances of being tied for the lead) 8 times.

Many, many, many more numbers to come over the next few days.  Hatred this pure and this intense is backed up by plenty of numbers.

 

2 Comments:

  • Lusch

    I think your hatred for Lebron – deserving as it may be for shorting his legacy – is clouding your judgment about his on court accomplishments this playoffs. Lebron was a notorious late game choke artist with Cleveland yet somehow, he has managed to become THE guy late in the game for Miami. That matters more than numbers (which btw have been impressive factoring in typical reg season >> postseason stat declines) in the playoffs.

  • Tweener

    A good point, Lusch. It will be addressed in one of the upcoming parts of my rant. (Which is shaping up to be a 3 or 4 part series, and will be developed over the next few days.)

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What’s The Best Model?

Here we are.  The 2011 Playoffs.

Of course, there are lots of interesting storylines to talk about as the playoffs begin.  What interests me the most is the clash of styles amongst the teams still standing.

To set the table for that discussion, I think it’s worthwhile to identify who I think the 20 best players in the league are (otherwise, discussions about which teams truly have “star” power get complicated, as it’s easy to call lots of players “stars” but much harder to identify the ones who truly are).  In no particular order, I think the top 20 players, divided into “superstars” and “stars” are:

SUPERSTARS

1.  Kobe

2.  Durant

3.  Rose

4.  LeBron

5.  Wade

6.  Howard

STARS

7.  Dirk

8.  Gasol

9.  Westbrook

10.  CP3

11.  Anthony

12.  Stoudemire

13.  Randolph (20 ppg, 12 rpg)

14.  Aldridge (22 ppg, 9 rpg)

15.  Rondo (11 assists, 2.5 spg)

16.  Ginobili (17 ppg, 5 apg, 4 rpg, 1.5 spg)

17.  Parker (18 ppg, 7 apg)

18.  Johnson (18 ppg, 5 apg, 4 rpg)

19.  Horford (15 ppg, 9 rpg, 1 bpg)

20.  Granger (21 ppg, 5 rpg)

We could probably debate a few of those guys (CP3, Anthony, and Stoudemire might deserve to be considered superstars, while Garnett, Pierce, Bosh, and Iguodala could be considered stars).  But, generally, it’s a pretty uncontroversial list of the 20 best players in the playoffs.  With that as background, the teams generally fall into a few groups:

NO STARS – Philly and Denver:  Both of these teams are athletic, exciting, and deep.  And neither has a chance to win more than one round, because they don’t have the necessary star-power.

ONE STAR – Dallas, Memphis, Portland, Boston, Indiana, New Orleans, Orlando and Chicago:  This is an interesting group. To me, the critical distinction among the teams in this group is that some of them have big guys who operate in the paint, playing alongside dynamic small guys.  Some do not.  The teams that do — Chicago, Memphis, Portland, and Indiana — are legitimate threats.  Dallas is better than it has been in years past because Tyson Chandler is an effective presence in the paint. But, Dirk, as great as he is, is not a traditional PF, and Kidd is no longer a dynamic PG.  New Orleans would be a threat, but for the crippling injury to David West.  Without him, there’s just not enough horsepower there.  Orlando, in my eyes, just doesn’t have the guards to go deep.  That leaves Boston and Chicago.  Before the Perkins trade, Boston had intimidating big guys and dynamic small guys.  Now they’ve lost the intimidation.  All is not lost, because, though they only have one of the top 20 players, it’s possible that they have four of the top 25.  They might be able to get by simply because they have so many guys who can win a game for them, but that’s less likely than it was before the trade.  Chicago is unique among this group, because it has a superstar guard playing alongside big guys who dominate the paint.

TWO STARS – Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, Miami, and San Antonio:  The primary distinction among the teams in this group is that some have superstars and some do not.  Neither Atlanta nor San Antonio have superstars, but both have two stars playing with capable supporting casts (with all due respect to Tim Duncan, he is now a part of the supporting cast).  It’s rare for a team to win without a superstar, but Atlanta and San Antonio are threats — San Antonio specifically because it has the best backcourt tandem, and a very capable frontcourt.  New York is the wild card in this group, because, if Carmelo and Amar’e play like superstars, they might be good enough to make up for the glaring shortcoming on that roster; no big guys who intimidate anyone to play up front with those two.  Miami is the only team with two superstars, and also the only team that relies on Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony for major minutes.  That leaves Oklahoma City and LA, both of whom have a superstar and a star.

In light of all of that, I’ll make this prediction: I expect Chicago, LA, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City to rise above the rest. Chicago and LA both have superstar guards playing alongside big men who dominate the paint.  San Antonio and Oklahoma City both have overpowering perimeter tandems playing alongside big men who, while not as good as the bigs on Chicago and LA, are effective down low.  Which of those four will emerge as champion?  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

4 Comments:

  • ZachNovakJr.

    No love for Chris Bosh or Josh Smith? How do you see those two vs. Granger? Based on the stars model, it seems like ATL over ORL in game one was no fluke (especially if Jason Richardson is not going to play like he did in PHX). Maybe we should be taking the Hawks and the points (8.5) tomorrow night…

  • Angry Young Man

    Comical to me how much the Knicks have sucked. I told you all CarMElo was not the kind of guy you want on a winning team. Of course he’s an amazingly talented athlete and scorer, but is he an amazing basketball player? Also, Amare was the force behind the Knicks’ turnaround, but he took a backseat once carMElo came to town, and look what has happened.

    Also, I think the Heat are going to win the whole thing. Which will serve only to prove the NBA regular season is a colossal waste of time, along with being a fabricated sham.

    Have a nice day.

  • Tweener

    Thanks for the comment, Novak.
    Nope, no love for Chris Bosh. Never have, never will.
    Josh Smith? That’s an interesting question. Looks like ATL might surprise a few folks, but, with two All-Stars, we probably shouldn’t be surprised to see them win a series.

  • Tweener

    Yeah, you sound angry.

    Comical that the Knicks have sucked? They were a team with a dangerous top-3, and a bunch of barely-adequate parts around them. Only one of those 3 was healthy for the whole series. This counts as comedy to you?

    Do you watch college hoops, Mr. Angry? If so, you certainly remember Carmelo’s team doing quite well when he was on it, don’t you?

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