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.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.
Argentina isn’t considered a medal contender heading into the Rio Olympics. Their golden generation — led by Manu Ginobili — has picked up a lot of speed on the downhill side of their careers at this point.
They didn’t provide much of a challenge for Team USA in an exhibition game Friday night in Las Vegas, one won by the USA 111-74. Kevin Durant impressed playing with his new teammates in dropping 23 points, Paul George had 18, and the Americans had their way in the game.
Which is what we’re going to see a lot of in Rio — the USA’s talent level is just steps above any other team in the tournament.
When Kevin Durant chose the Warriors, he received criticism from all angles.
Fans burned his jersey. Charles Barkley decried the decision. Markieff Morris said, “That ain’t right.” Durant’s former Thunder teammates leaked their displeasure with the process.
Durant was so reluctant to face the backlash, he stayed in his
bed luxurious rental house for two days.
It, uh, worked.
Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports:
Though he has heard some criticism from Barkley and fellow Hall of Famer Reggie Miller, various talking heads and people in social media who believe he has cheated the system and cut corners to a ring, Durant said the reaction to his choice hasn’t been too bad: “All that stuff happens on the Internet. I haven’t had one person come to me and say anything negative. … It’s easy for the critics on the outside to tell you what to do, to tell you how to play. I’m the one that’s going through it, so I can’t really worry about the outside noise. The work don’t stop. Everything stays the same.”
This is a good reminder how insulated NBA players, especially stars, can be.
And it adds to why Durant signing with Golden State makes sense. While we’re debating his legacy and discussing the backlash (and the backlash to the backlash and the backlash to the backlash to the backlash and the…), he’ll be playing high-level basketball with his friends in a desirable city for a max salary.
Sure, it’s not all rosy. Durant altered his relationship with his friend Russell Westbrook, and Durant will have to return to Oklahoma City for a game. There, he’ll face plenty of booing fans.
But, all in all, Durant should have little trouble tuning out the critics.
They’re too far away for him to hear them much.