The Miami Heat are going to be a regular season force — with little time to prepare for them (and there is little time in the regular season for teams) it will be hard to find and execute the little things that could slow LeBron, Wade and Bosh.
But what about in the playoffs? In a seven game series where you are focused on just one team.
Boston’s Kendrick Perkins told KILT in Houston that he thinks Boston could fare well against Miami in the postseason.
“It’s not hard. I think we proved that this year. It’s not important where you finish in the regular season in my opinion. If you got a team that has just one goal, the goal is getting into the playoffs. Last year we finished the year at 17 and 17. That wasn’t even above .500. That was right at .500 record. A lot of people were counting us out but we knew what we were waiting on. We were just waiting to get to the playoffs. When you get to the playoffs, it’s a totally different game. It’s not more fast paced, it’s all slowed up, it’s more of a half court set, and it’s more physical. It looks good on paper with Miami and stuff like that, but at the same time each team is going to come at you. You gotta be prepared. It would be nothing more than amazing for us to meet up with Miami and beat them. I think any team would love to upset them. They’ve got a lot of pressure on their end. Forget the other teams have to play against them, they’ve got a lot of pressure on their end to win, to actually produce. It won’t just be as if you’re gonna get three All Star players and then you win a championship. You gotta have the right coach, everybody has to sacrifice, you gotta be willing to move the ball, it’s gotta be about team, and you gotta be able to play defense. We’ll see when it’s time to match-up so we can just go from there.”
Perkins is right — talent like Miami now has gets you regular season wins, but it takes another level to get a title. The Heat may be able to reach that level (Wade has), but they are going to have to prove it. Boston already has shown they get it.
Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.
That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.
Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.
He’s certainly got the athleticism.
James Harden‘s defense is not as bad as its reputation.
Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.
Harden got a massive contract extension this summer, and Dwight Howard is Atlanta’s problem — now Harden has to lead the Rockets. By example. Corey Brewer told ESPN you’re going to see that on defense.
“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”
We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.
Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.
Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?
If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.
I can see the questions on Twitter/in the comments already so let me save you some time.
Because it’s summer.
Because it’s Drake (he’s a celebrity and an NBA hanger-on with some quasi-official position with the Raptors).
Because Stephen Curry did it, too.
Because what other hoops are you watching on a late August afternoon?
And besides, you clicked on it. You know you want to see it.
So here it is, Drake, hitting a halfcourt shot while doing a sit up. Enjoy.
Mario Chalmers was thriving with the Grizzlies after a midseason trade from the Heat when a torn Achilles ended his season.
Not the way Chalmers wanted to enter free agency.
Still unsigned, he says he’s progressing.
Can he go 100%, though? If not, when?
A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.