The Chosen One Chooses

The Chosen One has to choose and we will all be witnesses. I personally don’t think he’s leaving. If he was leaving, he wouldn’t have a one hour special to announce it. If he wanted to become a pariah in his home state he could punch Drew Carey in the face and then take out a two page ad in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that says “This city smells weird.” I don’t think having his news conference in Connecticut has any relevance either. Is he going to join the Connecticut Sun? He’s just driving the suspense so he can milk this as much as he can until he goes through this again in 5-6 years.
It may not be his best chance to win a championship but it is still a really good situation for him. Cleveland was the best regular season team each of the last two years and ran into a team that was matchup from hell for them (’09 Orlando) and a hungry veteran team that played fantastic defense (’10 Celtics). He certainly didn’t play his best basketball during the Celtics series this year but neither did anyone else on that team. In fact, let’s compare LeBron’s numbers in the series against the Celtics versus Kobe’s in the Finals.
Kobe: 40.4% FG, 8 Reb, 3.8 Ast
LeBron: 44.7% FG, 7.8 Reb, 7.2 Ast
I’m not saying anything about Kobe here. He’s a champion and rightfully so but statistically he did not have as good a series as LeBron. The Celtics didn’t even play ostensibly different either. The Celtics were consistently good throughout the entire playoffs. The biggest difference between the teams would be the teammates. The Cavaliers didn’t have a Ron Artest to stifle Paul Pierce or a Pau Gasol to provide a consistent secondary scoring option. The Cavs had Jamario Moon and Antawn Jamison. Moon wouldn’t see the floor for the Lakers and Jamison would be a 7th man behind Odom. Boston is yet another year older and Miami needs to surround Wade and Bosh with the right players before they can be taken seriously. Orlando is too conventional with The Tin Man (Vince Carter) instead of Turkoglu and I am a firm believer that Vince Carter will always let everyone down at every given opportunity. They’ll still be the favorites in the East. Not big favorites, but favorites still.
The Heat are the big winners this offseason as they now have two building blocks with Wade (superduperstar) and Bosh (star). Wade can handle the ball and if he stays healthy, will continue to be a top 5 player in the league. Bosh gives him a presence in the post that can score consistently on the block, especially against the weak East front courts. They’ll need a defensive presence in the paint with Bosh since he isn’t a great defender but if they don’t add LeBron, they’ll have enough cap space left to fill out the roster some nice role players: They’ll project out to something like this:
PG-Chalmers (Defends well and doesn’t get in the way, good for this team)
SF-Beasley (Can be destructive offensively at times)
C-Brendan Hayward (Plus defender but a total ball-stopper on offense)
Bench: Haslem, Jason Williams, Jermaine O’Neal, Mike Miller, and three 2nd round or undrafted rookies.
This gives them role players who know they’re role players and won’t upset the natural pecking order in the locker room. Are they better than Is that team better than Cleveland is right now? Tough call but I give Cleveland the edge with the amount of time that team has played together.
The winners you aren’t hearing about are out west. The Thunder signing Kevin Durant to a max extension now was the right thing to do. He led the league in scoring last year and is nowhere near his prime yet. He’s going to be a terror about year three of that extension. They also added Cole Aldrich (and his 6 fouls) to help them on the glass and defensive end and they even wrangled a future Clippers number one on draft day, which is the NBA equivalent of buying Microsoft stock in 1985. If they keep their core together that team is going to own the West in the coming years. Kobe needs to soak up as many rings as he can right now because two years from now they won’t be the prohibitive favorite they have been.
Right now you may be asking yourself, “Hey, you haven’t mentioned anything that Warriors have done to frustrate you to the point that you blacked out for 23 minutes and woke up with blood on your hands.” Thanks for bringing this up. The Warriors got bumped down to the 6th pick in a 5 player draft and they drafted a skinny, raw, athletic power forward who has the potential to be pretty good. Not too bad, except you could describe the Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright, the other power forwards on the roster, the same way. Now there are trade rumors about a sign and trade for David Lee and giving up a potential game changer in Randolph plus other parts. I can understand selling potential for proven commodities but David Lee is a 6th man who masqueraded as a main option on a terrible team the last two years and the same goes for Monta Ellis. When your two best players would be the third or fourth option on playoff team, you are headed for a terrible season. They can’t sell this team fast enough.
Speaking of the Knicks, if they strike out on LeBron (which they are going to), the thinking is that they will go after Carmello (which they are going to). That sounds like a recipe for success, two of the leagues top scorers who can’t defend surrounded by role players who also can’t defend in a system that has never won anything ever. I would feel bad for the Knicks fans if it wasn’t for the previous paragraph. It’s all for naught anyway as Anthony would be a fool to not accept the max extension that is on the table from Denver right now. Stern is going to crush the Player’s Union and he’ll lose three million a season. Unless he’s just really disenchanted with the Nuggets, I don’t see him leaving. I just don’t see what they can do to get better. They have no space to sign anyone who’s close to significant and the contracts on the players they could trade are so bad that I can’t even see the Knicks getting duped into taking them. I’m sure the Warriors will pick up the phone though.
Comments? Hate mail? Contact me at or follow me on twitter @stefanhynes.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!


  2. Keep up the good work, I like your writing.


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