A Championship Winning Season …….Perhaps Not !
By tophatal ………
I don’t know that one can necessarily define a championship winning team much less a season . But the NBA at present is clearly trying to position itself as that despite poor play of the teams as it now stands . Within the Eastern Conference the Chicago Bulls , Miami Heat and Philadelphia Sixers are looking to separate themselves from the rest of the conference as well as their combatants within the respective divisions .
Slide show details for your perusal .
Now while every NBA story at present seems to be encapsulated around the exploits of New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin I have to admit there have been far more compelling dramas within the league in spite of the media bias currently being shown. And though Lin’s exploits have been well chronicled , everything fell back down to earth when the team inexplicably lost to the New Orleans Hornets . As we know, the Hornets much like the Charlotte Bobcats and New Jersey Nets are giving a new meaning to the word ineptitude this season , albeit that the Bobcats had their first victory in 15 games having defeated the Toronto Raptors .
The Miami Heat everyone’s prohibitive favorite this season for the NBA title seemingly seem to be not only running away with their division but with the apparent injury now suffered by the Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose might just give Erik Spoelstra’s …. players the opening they’ve been looking for in terms of gaining that number one berth in the Eastern Conference , as well as securing that top spot for the playoff picture .
Now in spite of the offense we’ve seen from the teams and the players . From my own perspective the play overall this season has seen a marked decline but I do believe that much of this has to do with the poor coaching as well as the lack of conditioning of the NBA players . There should be no excuses being made for the lackluster performances we have seen from the teams this season at all ! And as to the idiocy of the premise that the Miami Heat are one of the best defensive teams in the league when you’re giving up 94.2 points a game that to me doesn’t indicate a team that is said to be a defensive stalwart not when compared to the teams within their conference and the NBA as a whole !
And as good as the Miami Heat have been of as of late I get the feeling that not until they have been really pressed , we may not get to see what this team is truly made of ! Leading the way as usual for the team are LeBron James , Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh who are being ably supported by the cast of role players on this roster .
After the All Star break it remains to be seen whether or not the Miami Heat will be able to weather the storm by playing themselves into contention for playoff and then going all the way deep into the postseason. There was a sense of complacency in the team’s appearance in the NBA Finals last season when they fell to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in a rather embarrassing fashion . A repeat performance of that nature but not only will would we be questioning the LeBron James’ legacy in the NBA so far but also the astuteness of Pat Riley as a front office executive .
As much as I look at the Boston Celtics and their trio of Ray Allen , Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce . The more I look at the team to gauge where they are at , it is the more I become more suspect as to the ability of the players and specifically the trio in question. As experienced as they are said to be it is becoming increasingly clear for Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge time is not necessarily on their side .
The only thing that makes the Celtics relevant at present has been the play of Rajon Rondo . All while , the league and fans simply tend to be talking about the point guard play of players such as Jeremy Lin , Deron Williams , Chris Paul , Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker , all of whom are very capable of playing the position competently. To my mind , no player at present is worth more to their team in terms of the point guard position than Rondo !
What may well assist the Boston Celtics as they pursue another NBA title may well be the experience of their famed triumvirate. Now while this could be viewed as an advantage , it also can become to the detriment of a team and given that fact , Rivers now has to rely on a core group of players coming off the bench and being productive . And this is where the Celtics now seem to be extremely suspect and of course places general manager Danny Ainge in a situation where he will no doubt seek to improve this roster at the trade deadline. If the Celtics’ front office is said to be using Rondo as trade bait in order to seek a favorable deal . I personally can’t see Wyc Grousbeck condoning this action even if the members of the front office believes this to be their best option. This team without Rajon Rondo would be barely above .500 in terms of their record within the NBA Eastern Conference .
In the Western Conference with the Oklahoma City Thunder riding high within their division as well as the conference an I have to admit that I am not at all surprised by the team’s …. play this season ! Scott Brooks’ players and their experience of last year in the postseason , while showing their complacency it became a learning tool for James Harden , Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook .
The hype over the Los Angeles Clippers while valid , beyond Blake Griffin and Chris Paul there isn’t a great deal to suggest that beyond the duo to convince me that they are good enough deep into the postseason . Let’s put it this way the dominoes would have to fall in such a way that their march towards an NBA title that would see them facing an opponent from the NBA’s D League . So before we all get amped up about the Clippers let’s all face a dose of reality ! I mean , we already have the idiocy of the fans believing that Jeremy Lin was the ” second coming “ of Pete Maravich . Has anyone actually seen Lin’s stats and the turnovers by the player over the course of these 7 games as a professional in the NBA ? The tally so far is a mind-boggling 35 and counting _______ and you can expect that total to get even higher over the remainder of the Knicks’ schedule with Jeremy Lin in the lineup .
As good as he (Lin) is , even the coaching ability of Mike DAntoni and his coaching staff isn’t all it’s cracked up to be ! If he can’t get his team to play a lick of frigging defense then what makes anyone truly believe that Lin will in fact improve as a player under his tenure ? The air is already leaking out of the Lin balloon as the player’s performance in the team’s 89-85 loss to the New Orleans Hornets . In that game Jeremy Lin accounted for 9 of the team’s 21 turnovers in the contest that saw the Knicks’ 7 game .. unbeaten streak come to an abrupt end . Still buying into the hype ?
Mike Brown is having a tough time proving himself a worthy successor to Phil Jackson . And inasmuch as a number of individuals within the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office may well have felt that Brown was the best option I get the feeling that Mitch Kupchak and Stephen Buss , son of owner Dr Jerry Buss may well have been a rush to judgment with regard to this hire . Forget the the “triangle offense “ and the apparent change in persona of this team is a far way off from the players where on this roster last season .
This Lakers’ team will simply go as far as Kobe Bryant can take them and that is even with the added play of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol . Beyond that there isn’t much that one can take away from this team in terms of its play. Metta World Peace is a step slower and is certainly is no longer the defensive presence he might well have been three much less four years ago .
If the Los Angeles Lakers are to succeed then clearly there has to be a greater contribution from the point guards on this roster , specifically Steve Blake and Derek Fisher . And while the team tried out former Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards’ point guard Gilbert Arenas . The veteran’s greatest strength was a scorer and not much beyond that . So the thought that Kupchak and Brown brought the player in for a tryout smacks of their idiocy and can be seen as nothing more than an act of desperation , they are said to be looking for someone who’s productive and gives them added option at the position then clearly they are using poor judgment ! There are far better options available for o the general manager and coach , if only they had began to use due diligence.
The Dallas Mavericks are clearly proving that old adage ” once you win that first NBA title then the hardest act is to make a successful defense of that championship ” . Rick Carlisle may well have his greatest triumph as a professional coach in the NBA in leading the franchise to their sole title . But clearly this season this team is a poor image of the one that simply ; took apart the Miami Heat in last season’s NBA Finals .
Poor play all-round from the likes of Dirk Nowitzki , Jason Kidd , Shawn Marion and several others on the roster is disturbing enough but you clearly knew that GM Donnie Nelson made a profound mistake in allowing ….. Tyson Chandler to leave as an unrestricted free agent to join the New York Knicks . Chandler more than anyone else on this team from last season provided the defensive presence needed . Offensively the Mavericks are still a force to be reckoned with but from a defensive standpoint they continue to struggle for all of the reasons we now associate with a Rick Carlisle coached team . Unless he has the right players in place then the mindset of the coach is simply to play offense and nothing but offensive and leave the defensive strategy as a measure of last resort .
On Sunday the Mavericks were the guests of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Gardens , New York City , in-front of a sell-out crowd and national television audience of millions and tens of millions back in his native China and Taiwan . Once again the hero of the moment became Jeremy Lin but at the same time the player while performing admirably , the turnovers beset his game with another 7 notched up during the game.
The Dallas Mavericks for their part had no answer for Lin and his teammates during the 104-97 loss . And while this defeat may not have dampened the Mavericks’ hopes of gaining ground on the San Antonio Spurs within the Southwest Division of the Western Conference . And so the Jeremy Lin story continues with unabated passion , so much so that the young Asian American has become the biggest draw in the NBA and most certainly the biggest attraction on or off-Broadway .
Accentuate the positive and simply ignore the negative . This may well be the season where that statement might well mean than it has ever before . With a truncated schedule of 66 games crammed into a time-span that even the purists and observers of the game might think somewhat ludicrous or possibly downright preposterous . Certainly in light of the league hierarchy mandated lockout that has led to a shortened season , we have seen the poor play and injuries to several prominent players this season . Now there are many who might state that the level of performances is simply due to the fact the players simply weren’t afforded the chance to practice because of the lockout . From my own perspective that is somewhat of an idiotic excuse to use when one considers that a number of the players simply went on the road playing charity games merely as a face-saving image exercise to promote the NBPA amongst the public . While that madness continued David Stern and the franchise owners pled their case to anyone willing to listen . Suffice to say, that the commissioner’s communications skills were not all they were cracked up to be ! All this from a one time practicing lawyer , …………… did I miss something here as to the astuteness and alleged business mind of the renowned NBA executive ?
The league hierarchy while reaching an accord with the executive committee of the NBPA did little to create the perception that from the very outset they were in a position of power , much less being right in their stance in seeking concessions from the union . At the same time NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter and union President Derek Fisher did themselves and their union no favors with their intransigence during the labor negotiations . Avarice simply was the mainstay behind the argument behind both sides though you would be hard pressed to believe the premise being pushed by both Stern and King at that moment in time . Suffice to say with an agreement of sorts now in place the league itself still remains in something of a financial mess and absolutely nothing has really been done by either side to simply rein in the costs of the NBA . All this from a $ 4.5 billion a year industry where the teams themselves choose not to abide to league mandate in terms of their soft “soft” salary cap ($57.5 million) .
Picture gallery for your perusal .
As the NBA’s mid-season showcase event comes into focus with the All Star Game weekend being staged at the Amway Center in Orlando , Florida , home to the Orlando Magic . It will be interesting to see what transpires while the general managers , coaches and team owners get together to seek solutions for their teams’ issues by making the usual trades that tend to be effected at this time of the season . What impressions have you had during the first half of the NBA season and what if anything are you expecting to see during the second half of the league’s schedule ? Simply chime in with a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, center, sits on a bench between teammates Jimmy Butler , left, and Ronnie Brewer , during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, in Chicago. Rose missed his fifth straight game because of back pain. The Nets won 97-85 . AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …
(2) Chicago Bulls guard Mike James , left, is fouled by New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012, in Chicago. The Nets won 97-85. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast …..
(3) MIAMI, FL – FEBRUARY 19: LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat controls the ball during the game against the Orlando Magic on February 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images …. ……
p> (4) Dwight Howard (12) of the Orlando Magic posts up Joel Anthony (50) of the Miami Heat during a game at American Airlines Arena on February 19, 2012 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….
(5) Fans hold a sign about New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin during the first half of the Los Angeles Lakers-Phoenix Suns NBA basketball game , Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Matt York ………
(6) New York Knicks’ J.R. Smith , right, celebrates with Jeremy Lin during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in New York, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012. The Knicks defeated the Mavericks 104-97 . AP Photo/Seth Wenig ……..
(7) Jeremy Lin (17) of the New York Knicks drives against Jason Kidd (2) of the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden on February 19, 2012 in New York City. Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images ……..
(8) Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (9) drives on Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Knight (7) in the first half of an NBA basketball game , Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012, in Auburn Hills, Mich. AP Photo/Duane Burleson ….. ……
(9) (9) PHOENIX, AZ – FEBRUARY 19: (Middle L-R) Jason Kapono (28), Kobe Bryant (24) and Pau Gasol (16) of the Los Angeles Lakers stand attended for the National Anthem before the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ……
(10) Kobe Bryant (24) of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball under pressure from Shannon Brown (26) of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images …..
(11) Head coach Mike Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 19, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Lakers 102-90 . Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images ….. …..
You can either get your kicks on ” Route 66 ” or get your fix by checking out Lucy Pinder’s assets . Your choice .
Now this is a “double double ” worth watching !
Cam’ron …. feat’g …. Juelz Santana … ………. “Oh Boy”