CHICAGO, July 10, 2012 – In case you missed it, LeBron James figured out how to play basketball. Not just any basketball, mind you, as King James can drop 50 in any regular season game if he so chooses but a special brand of basketball: June basketball, Finals basketball.
The last time someone this dominant figured this out after a long wait, Michael Jordan happened to the league. As non-Miami natives, fans find the thought of LeBron James steamrolling everyone else year after year unappealing, especially with the newfound help of legendary sharpshooter Ray Allen, but these other teams have the chance to make moves that will put them into prime position to knock the king off of his throne.
This is easily forgotten amongst most NBA fans, partly because of how little it matters, but this team was the top seed in the league for each of the past two years. Unfortunately, the Bulls got shut down in its low series against the Heat, and the current roster offers no reason to think that the same would happen should they think again.
If the Bulls want to beat the Heat, Carlos Boozer needs to go; they need an upgrade. The amnesty clause was built for clowns like this. Maybe not an upgrade in the sense of a superior player, but maybe a solid rookie that they can pay an eighth of the money to do the same thing as Boozer with more defense. The extra cash provided from taking Boozer off the books would greatly help with buying help for Rose once he returns, making the late-game stretches against the Heat that much more bearable when LeBron decides to suffocate Rose and force a different Bull to beat his team.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Please, on behalf of NBA fans everywhere, don’t let James Harden go. Don’t let Serge Ibaka go. Just don’t change. It may be hard to understand, considering the fact that Miami just looked like the superior team by the end of their series, but the Thunder are so young. There’s statistical evidence that a young basketball team that practices together gets better as well as that whole common sense thing. Durant is a titan of the game, Westbrook is good enough to drop 43 in a Finals game, Harden can’t play much worse than he did in those same Finals (which is saying something), and Ibaka is just about to figure out how to add consistent offense to that unstoppable defense of his.
So OKC, if you can figure out the finances of it all, don’t change. You’re the best in the West, and no one’s close to taking that title away from you.
Don’t sleep on these guys. They’re one piece away from angering a lot of Chicago and Miami residents come playoff time. Unfortunately, the Pacers’ big man Roy Hibbert was offered a huge contract by Portland that the Pacers are free to match. If they do, and they absolutely should, they’ll have more firepower than Miami will be able to tolerate with their excellent perimeter shooting as well as the unstoppable 7’2’’ Hibbert all improving from last year. In fact, that might be more than anyone can handle. If the Pacers can pull off re-signing of their star, they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
Los Angeles Lakers
Acquiring Steve Nash was the cutest thing this team could have done, though far from the smartest. At this point, their best hopes in even escaping the West, let alone beating the Heat, would be to work some magic (pun intended) and get their hands on Dwight Howard. Seeing as how this is highly unlikely, don’t expect an aging veteran point guard to take this Lakers team to the next level when he only magnifies their weaknesses on defense.
To contact Nick Goralka, see above to send him an e-mail containing a question, comment, or scathing insult. His work appears in Alley-oops for Touchdowns! and That Liberal Pinko in the Communities at the Washington Times Online.
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