True Hoop Drew

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

Tag: magic johnson

Heat, LeBron better without Wade?

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LeBron James led the Miami Heat last night to a 98-87 victory over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. He did this without Dwyane Wade. The Heat and LeBron are now 4-0 this season when Wade is on the sideline.

Is it possible that this Miami Heat team could be better when Dwyane Wade does not play? I think so and I’ve pretty much felt this way all along about LeBron.

My biggest issue with LeBron choosing to play with Wade was that we would now not see the true individual potential of LeBron reached. Had he gone to New York or stayed in Cleveland we would have gotten an entire career of LeBron playing at his peak.

When he plays with Wade, we will never see this totally. We get glimpses from time to time and they can team up for some pretty spectacular plays but for the entire course of a game or season, we don’t see it.

Far too often when you watch Wade and LeBron play together, there are instances when LeBron is just standing in the corner or on the wing, out of the play completely as Wade is doing his thing. You never saw that in Cleveland (except when he started doing that in Game 6 vs. Boston and let Mo Williams go to work while he made sure to grab every rebound off missed free throws at the other end).
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Part 1: Best players in the NBA by position

I’ve always wanted to take the time and make a list of the best players in the NBA. Anyone who loves the NBA does this all the time and people are always debating who the best player in the league is. It’s a debate that will always go on because it is nearly impossible to compare players at different positions and tell which is more valuable (although everyone thinks it’s easy).

I’ve spent some time trying to come up with the best players by position. But there aren’t really five positions in basketball because there aren’t five different types of players. So I’ve come up with the most relevant positions (player types) that help a team win a title and ranked their importance and tried to come up with the most relevant/valuable players in the league when it comes to winning a championship.

First off, here are the positions and by importance:

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Classic NBA Playbook – 1988 Michael Jordan vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Since the NBA finished up and there’s only been baseball, I haven’t felt the urge to write much. But I’m now living in a new apartment and finally have DVR and NBATV (a deadly combo for me and possibly my relationship). If there’s any other NBA blog out there that I’d like to model this one after, it is Sebastian Pruiti’s NBA Playbook.

He breaks down basketball in blog form as good as anyone out there and made this year’s playoffs a ton more interesting as if they weren’t already interesting enough. I plan to start a portion of this blog centering around a classic version of what Pruiti does. There might not be a season this year but I’m okay with that if NBATV keeps rerunning so many great games every day and NBA 2K12 is as good as it probably will be. Dedicating a portion of this blog to some classic NBA playbook breakdown seems like as good a way as any to spend my time.

Let’s start with…

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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 »

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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History says Dallas won’t beat Miami

Timing is said to be everything in life and it is no different when it comes to sports and the NBA. I’ve been saying all year that this was the perfect time for LeBron James to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami to win right away. If the timing is right for them, it most certainly is not for Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks.

We overanalyze a lot in sports sometimes and can get into trouble doing so. Like looking at the Bulls and how they are a bad matchup for the Heat. They were but the Heat were still that much more talented and that much better at playing their game consistently that it didn’t matter in the end.

Underanalyzing is also a problem. Like saying the Heat will win because they have the best player (LeBron) is boring and not entirely true.

I tried to combine the two, while overanalyzing the underanalyzing when it comes to the matchup between the Heat and the Mavericks. Read the rest of this entry »

Winning can’t be everything in the NBA

Is winning everything in the NBA? This question will be as relevant as ever if we have a Miami Heat-Dallas Mavericks NBA Finals matchup. In terms of winning and as it relates to success, two franchises could not be more opposite.

You have the city of Miami that has three championships since 1997, two for the Marlins and one for the Heat. Other than those three seasons where they won it all, both the Marlins and Heat have been pretty awful teams. They each have had their stars but overall, not a lot of success outside of three rings.

Then there’s the Mavericks who have no championships ever yet have won at least 50 games in 11 straight seasons and have come so close to hoisting a championship trophy, most notably when they lost to Miami in 2006.

What would you take as a sports fan? What would you take as an owner? It’s nice to win it all three times but it must also be nice to be able to go see a great product on the court for 11 straight years with the best owner in sports and one of the greatest players in NBA history right? Read the rest of this entry »

LeBron will never be Jordan

Michael Jordan finally spoke up about LeBron James so now it’s time for me to as well.

I took my time thinking about what to write about LeBron because something of this magnitude needed to sink in and I didn’t want to let my emotions immediately following “The Decision” factor in too much.

LeBron made a huge mistake calling the one-hour special. This is no secret. It was ridiculous and proved how little guidance he has had over the years. He hurt Cleveland like no other person has ever hurt a city before and while I don’t particularly care about that, it still wasn’t right.

Jordan faxed the Bulls a sheet of paper simply saying “I’m back” in 1995 when he returned. LeBron did the opposite. He called attention to himself over the sport and embarrassed all professional sports and ESPN in the process.

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