All last season Dwyane Wade and LeBron James did their press conferences together, usually well after Chris Bosh cleaned up in the locker room, came out and did his by himself.
That combined with Bosh scoring 7 fewer points per game than either of the other two, and the fact the other two took over games far more regularly, led to a perception that it was not really a “big three” in Miami.
Enter Shaquille O’Neal. In his first gig as an analyst he didn’t disrespect Bosh so much as just dismiss him. The Associated Press sums it up.
The Miami Heat, they’ve got a lot of great players, the ‘Big Two.’ They will be back.
“LeBron James is taking a lot of criticism, but I know LeBron very well. He hears everything that everyone is saying, so I think he’s going to come back and have an MVP year this year….
“Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, you know, they’re great players, they’re probably the greatest backcourt ever assembled.”
Mario Chalmers would like to remind Shaq he was the Heat’s backcourt partner with Dwyane Wade. Chalmers would like to remind you of that, too, you probably forgot.
Bosh was never mentioned, intentionally as the door was opened a few times for the chance. Bosh heard this during the season and essentially shrugged. Whatever. He’s getting paid and he’s there to win and he seemed not to really care what people though of him or his role.
Sounds like Shaq has figured out this television thing. The fact remains though that the Heat will need big games — and frankly bigger games at both ends — from Bosh if they are to ever take that next step and win a title.
The Detroit Pistons’ playoff dreams hinged on them being able to hang around until point guard Reggie Jackson got back from this thumb and knee injuries. They have done just that — the Pistons are 11-10 and would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started today.
And now they get Jackson back. Stan Van Gundy made the announcement Sunday at shootaround, before the team takes on the Orlando Magic.
It will take a few games to get his conditioning back, but this is huge for Detroit. Jackson running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond is at the heart of Detroit’s offense – the Pistons were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with the ball in his hands. Ish Smith played well for the Pistons in his absence — 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists, and he’s been solid. Move his playmaking to the second unit and suddenly the Pistons become a lot more dangerous.
The scouting report on Jakob Poeltl coming out of Utah said he could run the floor well and he was a good finisher around the rim.
But we didn’t expect this.
During the Raptors win Sunday against the stumbling Hawks, Poeltl filled the lane on the break, got the rock, and nobody was going to stop that finish. Least of all Tim Hardaway Jr., he just ends up in the poster.
Entering free agency last July, Hassan Whiteside said his first choice was to stay in Miami — then Pat Riley gave him 98 million reasons to stick around. While the Heat have been up and down this season, Whiteside has thrived as the franchise player in Miami.
Last July he also met with Dallas, but it turns out that was not his second choice. Here is what Whiteside told Erik Gunderson of the Miami Herald before his team fell to the Blazers on Saturday.
“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”
Interesting. There were reports the Blazers chased Whiteside, but it didn’t seem that serious. Apparently, it was. If The Blazers got Whiteside, would they still have spent $70 million on Evan Turner? Probably not. And suddenly a lot of things look better in Portland.
For Blazers fans, watching their team try to outscore opponents while playing terrible defense this season — in part because of a lack of rim protection behind their undersized guards — it’s easy to imagine how much Whiteside would have changed the picture in the Northwest. But at this point, that’s just fan fiction.
JaVale McGree has become a solid contributor for the Warriors off the bench, giving them a needed shot blocking presence. He’s not getting a ton of run (seven minutes a night), but he’s efficient when he’s out there.
Still, there is his reputation as the guy most likely to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He hasn’t done anything like that for a while… until Saturday night, when after a made free throw he tried to inbound the ball for the Suns for a second.
The Warriors bench was laughing under their shirts and towels.