The Miami Heat this year are once again poised to win it all. The Heat have the best record in the Eastern Conference and are playing up to the level everyone expected. The Miami Heat look like a team that can make a deep playoff run and win the whole NBA Championship. Lebron James could very well achieve his first NBA Championship this year.
Hold on though, the road will not be easy. I am not even sure that the Heat will make it out of the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Bulls playing well and the emergence of the “new look” New York Knicks. I might even say that the Miami Heat may have had their best chance to obtain a Championship ring last season. While the Heat are not a pushover by any means, many teams are adjusting to their style of play. In addition, other teams are constructing their own Championship caliber rosters to challenge the Miami Heat.
Who wins the Eastern Conference this year?
The Dallas Mavericks can of course cause some trouble for the Miami Heat if they see them again in the NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs could pose some interesting matchups for the Miami Heat and may be able to pull off a miracle similar to the Dallas Mavericks improbable playoff run last year. However, the Oklahoma City Thunder could very well not only be a challenge for the Heat but be one of the only teams that can prevent the Heat from reaching their goal for a second consecutive year.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are two of the most dominant scorers in the game. Serge Ibaka is a defensive force in the middle and James Harden may very well be the new Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson. The Miami Heat will have their work cut out for them if they see the Thunder in the NBA Finals. I am confident that the Thunder will have no problem finishing games this year.
We know which one has proven to be more clutch….
Kevin Durant is as clutch as they come when the game is on the line. Give Durant any sort of room and he will shoot “the dagger” that will put the game out of reach any time. On the other side we have Lebron James who has still yet to prove that he can finish important games. If James has a meltdown in the 4th quarter during playoff games like last year, the Miami Heat will have a hard time even making the NBA Finals. In addition, once the Miami Heat make the Finals, if Lebron James is still having the same issue, the curtain could fall on the Miami Heat show again.
It is a distinct possibility that the Miami Heat will lose in the playoffs again this year, and everyone will say the experiment has failed. The Miami Heat will have tried to bringing players with phenomenal talent together without the teamwork needed to be successful. If Lebron James does not win this year can he truly keep the name “King” James? All the kings I have ever read about have crowns and Lebron James will be lacking one. Maybe Lebron James will need to take on a new moniker. I am voting for “Knight” James until Lebron James can prove that he can deliver at least one of the many promised rings to South Beach.
The question that everyone wants to know that watches NBA basketball is, how good can the New York Knicks be? The answer is that the Knicks can be very good. The New York Knicks, once they figure out how all the pieces fit together, could challenge the Miami Heat for Eastern Conference dominance. With the addition of J.R. Smith and the discovery of Jeremy Lin, the sky is now the limit for the New York Knicks.
The problem that the New York Knicks face is that no one knows how all the pieces will coexist. Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin, Carmello Anthony and J.R. Smith all have to form some semblance of team chemistry. The main problem that was apparent in last night’s game versus the New Jersey Nets was that Carmello Anthony was not sure where to fit in within the Jeremy Lin run offense. It was easy to see that Anthony was trying to find his place on the team. I cannot remember the last time that Carmello Anthony played 37 minutes and only had 11 points.
Can Jeremy Lin and Carmello Anthony coexist in New York?
Until Carmello Anthony finds his place on the team and fills his scoring role, the New York Knicks will be just another good team. However, once everything clicks for Anthony, the Knicks will become one of the great teams in the Eastern Conference. No one doubts that Carmello Anthony can score and put up some spectacular performances. The real dilemma is how long will is it going take for Anthony to figure out how to do the same without being the main focus of the offense? Carmello Anthony has to become a role player, who is willing to sacrifice his own personal numbers for the good of the team. I am not sure if Anthony can accomplish the feat, no matter how much Anthony claims he can. Carmello Anthony for most of his career has been a shoot first and ask questions later kind of player. This is definitely one of the most anticipated “wait and see” stories of 2012.
The sooner Carmello Anthony becomes another working part of the Knicks machine rather than driver, the better off the New York Knicks will be. The problem is that time is running short. The shortened NBA season gives the New York Knicks a limited amount of time to make everything fit together before the playoffs. The New York Knicks are going to have work overtime to develop the kind of team work that wins a championship in less time than many of the other top playoff contenders, including the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Miami Heat took almost all of last NBA season to finally come together and start playing like a NBA championship contending team. Even after the Miami Heat were deep into the NBA Playoffs, we still saw some lapses in team chemistry. The New York Knicks can only hope that their learning curve is much shorter and the team comes together before the NBA playoffs begin. If the New York Knicks are able to accomplish the task, the Knicks could ride the Lin-Mello-Stoudemire-Smith wave far into the playoffs.
By now the World is enraptured by the next great thing and that next great thing people are clamoring about is Jeremy Lin. Lin has generated all sorts of buzz leading the New York Knicks on an impressive win streak. The more impressive part is the Jeremy Lin has done it without any help from the injured stars Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. Jeremy Lin has had five games of scoring more than 20 points. Lin has become the go to guy on a very limited New York Knicks roster.
In addition, Lin is dishing out an impressive amount of assists, averaging eight assists a game . Jeremy Lin is drawing comparisons to a lesser impressive Steve Nash clone. While Jeremy Lin does not nearly have the resume of Steve Nash, Lin is catching the attention of all the critics with his improved play. Everyone is wondering is this some fluke run that will end abruptly as teams begin to figure Jeremy Lin out?
The answer to that question is inevitably yes and no. To explain, what Jeremy Lin will do will change as Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony return. His role will change from being the go to guy for every play to being much more of a facilitator. Instead of Jeremy Lin having to try to knock down as many shots as possible as he did in previous games, Lin will share the wealth so to speak with Stoudemire and Anthony.
Can Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemore coexist with Jeremy Lin?
This does not mean Jeremy Lin will not score. I can easily see Jeremy Lin continuing to average 20 points and 8 assists a game even with Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony back in the lineup. Lin may even average greater or less numbers depending on what the team needs him to do to win. With the defensive attention Amare Stoudemire and Carmello Anthony will receive when on the court, opposing teams will have to allow Jeremy Lin to roam free. Having to lessen the pressure on Jeremy Lin will definitely cause some defensive mismatches to fall Lin’s way.
None of the signs are there to say that Jeremy Lin will be a one week wonder. Lin did not suddenly acquire some, “Space Jam Michael Jordan”, basketball skills. Jeremy Lin is just a diamond in the rough that needed the right coach to make him shine. The New York Knicks may have found the missing piece and created their own “Big Three.” Only time will tell if the pieces will fit together. My best guess is that Linsanity will continue as Jeremy Lin continues to help the New York Knicks Win! Win! Win! or should I say Lin! Lin! Lin!
We are one day away from the beginning ofNBA free agency and the talks have already started. While there are bound to be quite a few deals worked between different teams, two players are destined to monopolize all the free agency talks. The two players that I speak of are Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Howard and Paul are both looking to leave their current teams for greener pastures. No one knows where the two all-stars will land but the speculation is they are looking to play for the same team.
Rumors were flying not too long ago that Chris Paul or CP3 had requested a trade to the New York Knicks. While it would be great to see Chris Paul, Carmello Anthony, and Amare Stoudemire create another, “Dream Team”, in New York, the more intriguing rumor is the Lakers are reportedly interested in both players. The Lakers have said that no player on their roster is off limits besides Kobe Bryant. This means Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, Ron Artest aka Metta World Peace, Pao Gasol, and Derek Fisher are all trade bait.
The Los Angeles Lakers are sacrificing a great deal to acquire Dwight Howard and Chris Paul but in the end it will be all worth it. The trio of Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, and Dwight Howard reminds me of the days of the “Showtime” Lakers. In the 80’s and 90’s the Los Angeles Lakers had arguably the best point guard in the league in Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the best center in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and a great forward in James Worthy. If the Los Angeles Lakers acquire Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, they will again have, if not the best point guard, at least one of the top five point guards in the league. In addition, the Los Angeles Lakers will have the best center in the league in Dwight Howard. Moreover, the Los Angeles Lakers will have maybe the most lethal scorer in the league in Kobe Bryant as well. The Lakers would be a favorite to win the Western Conference and make it all the way to the NBA Finals this year.
Chris Paul and Dwight Howard both want to be on a team where they can compete for a NBA championship. Both Paul and Howard have tried winning it all with their current teams and both players have failed to be the one that hoists the championship trophy up in the air at the end of the season. If either or both players are to have a chance at accomplishing the goal of being an NBA champion, this year is the time that Chris Paul and Dwight Howard need to find the team that can help them reach the Promised Land.
If the Los Angeles Lakers cannot get the right deal worked out, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard could both go to separate teams. Besides the previously mentioned possibility of a Chris Paul trade to the New York Knicks, the options for landing on a true championship contending team are very slim. The remaining teams either do not have the cap space to be able to offer the kind of contract Chris Paul or Dwight Howard would require or the teams do not have the talent needed to win an NBA championship. This leaves Chris Paula and Dwight Howard going to teams that may or may not be better than their current teams.
When the free agency smoke clears, we will see where both all stars have landed. We will then be able to assess whether Chris Paul and Dwight Howard have made the right move to take their career to the next level. However, we may see that like many of the free agents this year, both players might end up in unexpected places with their future championship hopes looking dimmer and not brighter.
Well the romance is over and all the hype is gone. What we have known for months has finally happened. This event is life changing for some and for other they will think this something they knew all along. The big news is Carmelo Anthony has officially become a New York Knick.
The deal took place in the late night of a national holiday and is confirmed. So what do the Denver Nuggets acquire for their game –changing, franchise player and how does the deal get done?
The Knicks send the Denver Nuggets Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Timofey Mozgov, and a 2014 First round draft pick to the Denver Nuggets, who may also get additional picks and cash as well. The Denver Nuggets would get in return Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, and Renaldo Balkman. New York would then send Anthony Randolph and Eddy Curry to Minnesota in exchange for Corey Brewer.
What does all this mean and why now? The reason as to why now is because the trade deadline is looming and the best time moneywise to do a trade is before the deadline. The other reason is the soon-to-be new collective bargaining agreement will potentially decrease the money available to teams and players.
No one is for sure what the collective bargaining agreement terms will mean for players and teams. One of the major changes almost assured is new salary cap and decrease in players salaries. This means that teams will not be able to offer as lucrative multi-year deals to players as they re-sign their contracts. This unpredictability is a major reason that if a player or team is going to make a move they need to take the plunge and get the deals done.
This means that in New York, Mr. Anthony is untied with Amare Stoudemire. This could potentially be one of the one-two tandems in basketball. I am sure most people are saying we have seen this move before, just this year Lebron James and Chris Bosh joined forces with Dwayne Wade in Miami. The Miami Heat were crowned champions before they played even one game and there was talk they would not lose a game.
We have learned that even with 3 game changing super stars it takes time to build team chemistry. We have seen the Heat struggle with the league’s top teams repeatedly. This brings to mind the question how long will it take the New York Knicks to develop the kind of chemistry that can win championships? I am not sure they even win any competing with the potential Super Squad in the Miami Heat and the ever resilient Boston Celtics. The New York Knicks have their work cut out for them.
I can say this though all this trading for this superstar and that superstar makes me think of a league back in the 80’s and 90’s. The NBA was pure excitement back then with Jordan, Pippen and the Chicago Bulls. Then there was Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabar, and James Worthy with the Los Angeles Lakers. Similarly, no one could forget Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and the Boston Celtics. There were also many other great teams in that era and they all had at least a couple of players that could take over a game. The recent trades this year are moving back to more of an era similar to that time. Only time will tell if these so-called super-teams can bring back the Fantastic! to a league that has been lacking some flash for a few years.