True Hoop Drew

I breakdown basketball constantly in my mind and occassionaly translate it into blog form

Tag: bill walton

Forecasting the next decade of the NBA

Before the Finals started I did a little research looking at the past NBA champions and runner-ups. I basically came to the conclusion that the Dallas Mavericks could not beat the Miami Heat this year. The Heat’s big three were all in their primes and Dallas was simply older than any other team that won the title.

The only thing I could see that could explain Dallas winning the series in a historical context was that Dirk Nowitzki really was one of the greatest 15 or 20 players to ever play in the league and despite being in his 12th season was still in his prime and thus a worthy star to single-handedly lead this team to a title.

Now the Mavericks did win this series with great “team” basketball, as everyone likes to say, but at the end of the day when people look back at the record books and the teams that won it all, this Dallas team will stand out and be remembered for having one unbelievable star player.

When I looked back at all of the NBA champions since 1980, it was never surprising who won and why they did. Everything made sense. At the end of the day, you needed to have one of ten different players to even have a chance: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant. And now Dirk is on that list. He and Moses are the only ones I put on that list who only won a single title. Dirk could have easily won two and Moses was a top 12 player of all-time and deserving. Read the rest of this entry »

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Trying to understand LeBron

LeBron James had the most inexcusable performance in the history of the NBA last night. He scored 8 points on 3-of-11 shooting in an 86-83 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the NBA Finals. The series is now tied at 2-2 but now LeBron has put himself in a no-win situation.

Before the season started all of the criticism of LeBron was well deserved and aimed appropriately. At least the real criticisms like he was taking the easy way out by going to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and the way he handled the whole “Decision.” As the season went on, people started to forget about why we really criticized LeBron. The Heat struggled and weren’t dominant so the focus shifted to simply this season, as it probably should. Heat and LeBron supporters started making their case for how LeBron and Miami would shut up the haters by winning a championship this season despite their struggles and everything before the season started. Well, that’s not what it’s about, not at all.

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How important is it to be in your prime?

As the Miami Heat were busy eliminating the Boston Celtics, I got thinking about how it was clear that the Celtics did not have anything left in the tank and were too old and too injured to keep up with Miami.

As someone who was watching the series hoping that Boston would advance because I like watching them play more, before the series even started my biggest fear was essentially what ended up happening.

Things like Kevin Garnett wouldn’t be able to be effective enough on both sides of the court, Ray Allen would be relegated to a jump shooter and not hitting in every game and Paul Pierce would have to carry too large of an offensive load. Even while watching the regular season meetings between the two teams you could kind of see this fate looming. While Boston seemed to always get a ton of good looks, it also seemed like they had to play pretty perfectly to get those looks and it’d be harder in the playoffs.

A big reason why Miami won the series was youth and talent overpowering Boston. They have their best three guys in their prime. It sounds simple but it really allows for them to play more minutes and play them more effectively. When Doc Rivers was forced to bring back Garnett early in the fourth quarter for Game 4, Boston was doomed and Garnett ran out of gas as the game eventually went into overtime.
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Nothing better than Walton cheering from the sidelines

Well, I didn’t watch a lot of sports today, at least not any recent sports. It’s past midnight now and that means fair game for just about every classic NBA game I own so there’s really no telling where the night will go. I think I’m going to try and go daily with this blog from now on. As long as I keep it short and sweet and all about me, there’s no reason why I can’t keep the updates coming.

On the subject of classic NBA games, which is another way of saying “while we’re on the subject of my life”, I double-dipped somewhat last night and had a solid 45 minutes of YouTube researching as well.

I started off with the “Bird Steal” game in Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals against Detroit. You really can’t go wrong there. Bird pours in an amazing performance numbers wise and also caps the game off with the great steal. But hands down, the best part of re-watching the game was Bill Walton’s reaction to the play (no surprise here and fast-forward to the 5:28 mark for the reaction).

I had just gotten a solid dose of Walton the night before via Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals in 1995 that featured a Rockets-Suns matchup. Walton was announcing and on top of his game as usual. It’s always a treat to pop in an old game, not knowing who’d be announcing and then get Walton.

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