As we spring off into NBA free agency, otherwise known as The Decision II, here are my thoughts on the 2014 NBA season.
* The Spurs exercised the hell out of Game 6 demons of the 2013 Finals.
Say what you want, but the to lose a series that was in your hands based on missing a crucial rebound and seeing Ray Allen step back and rip your hearts out with a corner three ball; live with that all summer; start your training camp by watching the film of that game making that the theme of your redemption story; work your way through the season with a game plan so precise that you not only earn the top seed in the playoffs, but none of your players averaged 30 minutes per game; work through the playoffs in the Wild Wild West including a riveting 7 games against the Mavericks… want the Heat, get the Heat, then dismantle the Heat winning 4-1 by an average of 15 points per game… that’s goal setting, game planning and execution at it’s best. PERIOD! That entire organization is a model of a great lesson of perseverance, unity, and trust. Kudos the Spurs for not panicking and blowing the team up. Kudos to Tim Duncan who played his ass off last year and missed the bunny at the end of Game 6… and continued to turn back the clock this year. He meant what he said when he predicted victory this time. To Danny Green who shot the lights out last year for the first couple games, then dropped off the map. He returned with vengeance. So did Manu, who was H20 (HumanTurnOver) in last year’s finals. That dunk in Game 5 over Bosh and Haslem summed up his resolve. And Boris Diaw, Mr. Do Whatever It Takes!
* The Spurs are every coach’s dream.
In this day and age of AAU one on one ego ball gone wild, the way the Spurs shared the ball, cut, moved and mixed in drives with jumpers. Their dedicated team/accountability defense was a textbook script for successful basketball. If the NBA were a copy-cat league like the NFL, every team would be trying to replicate the Spurs formula. For youth and high school coaches, they should be salivating at the opportunity before them to promote team play! I can only hope!
*The Heat Had a Helluva Run.
Four straight finals is four straight finals. 2-2 is better than the Buffalo Bills 0-4. Nuff said!
*LeBron Haters are Ridiculous
The one thing I hated about the playoffs, is the social media hateration of LeBron James. I don’t feel sorry for him. He’s a champion, an MVP, and will one day be a billionaire before he becomes Hall of Famer. But the utter jealousy of such a positive and awesome young man is very disturbing to me. LeBron has never been in legal trouble, never beat his wife, objectified women, has employed many people and given more of himself that most mainstream athletes over the last 25 years. He is a talent we won’t see again in our lifetime. And after he’s gone dammit he will be missed. I suggest we appreciate him while we have him. Unfortunately, some people are so utterly and distastefully jealous. Twitter/nemes make for some bold cowards!
* What Now For The Heat
Obviously the Big 3, (Big 2 little 1) can opt in or out. D-Wade is holding the trump card in all of this because he’s in the slot for $40 million over the next two years. Want to know what LeBron is going to do? Look at what D-Wade does. He can blow this all up with a little paperwork faxed to Pat Riley in a heartbeat. Whatever he does, business is business. He has the right to take the loot. But I tell you what, that guy is washed up. A huge Wade fan from his Marquette days, I’ve long grown tired of his refusal to get back on D, (we could call him E Wade) and his whining to officials if not pointing to his teammates to pick up his man. James logged hundreds of minutes more than anyone else on the team because they were pacing Wade. He claimed he was healthy, so I’m going to take him at his word. No excuses he sucked! As much as LeBron may be able to trust Pat Riley, Pat can only do so much. Owner Mickey Arison is NOT one to want to go into the luxury tax. And he’s already shown that he will let players walk in order not to pay them, I.e Mike Miller. If LeBron takes a pay cut, he’s going to demand that Arison spends that extra loot. He’s been carrying the piano on his back long enough. P.S. Carmelo Anthony is NOT the solution.
* Best NBA Stories of 2014
*Worst NBA Story 2014
Speaking of Sterling, after all the hub-bub of Adam Silver slinging the hammer like Thor on The Donald, it seems the Sterlings have played the NBA at their own game. After saying none of the Sterlings’ would have anything to do with the team, it’s been leaked that the Steve Ballmer agreed to let Shelly Sterling have 2 floor seats, parking, and be ‘owner emeritus’ of the team. If that’s not back tracking I don’t know what is. I guess $2B wasn’t enough. Regardless of what one thinks about whether they should have been forced to sell the team in the first place, the NBA has totally walked back just about every demand they made at the press conference. Most notably, the NBA owners didn’t have to vote. Which brings me to this… Why the hell hasn’t the NBA re-scheduled the vote since Donald Sterling is again suing the league? Isn’t this why they were having the vote in the first place? Are they not back to where they started? I’m thinking that BOTH the Sterlings’ are playing the NBA. Don and Shelly have been married for over 50 years. Is it not obvious?