Mario Chalmers is the Heats’ whipping boy.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, pretty much all the Heat players are not shy about yelling at Chalmers. He’s no rookie anymore — he has a ring and he’s hit big shots for the Heat — but he makes the little mistakes that infuriate veterans, and they let him have it. All the time.
On media day, Chalmers said he hoped the veterans would tone it down this year.
LeBron says that’s up to Chalmers. Via the Palm Beach Post (hat tip to SLAM).
“If he’s grown up in the last year, then it will tone down,” James said, laughing. “It’s that simple. If he doesn’t want that type of reaction from me or—”
“Yeah, I could do a better job of that as well,” James said. “I understand. I could do a better job of that. But I don’t do it just to do it. He messes up sometimes. But he comes through for me, though.”
Is LeBron maturing as a team leader? Well, that or he’s gotten soft in his old age.
The real test? How much does Ray Allen start yelling at Chalmers?
Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.
This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?
He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.
The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.
“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”
As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.
“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”
Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.
I think Cousins can help provide that.
I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.
After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.
So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?
Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.
The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.
Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.