When NBA general managers were asked who they thought would win the NBA title this year, they overwhelmingly chose the Miami Heat to repeat. Even people looking to pick against the Heat this season have to do so in terms of defining their pick against Miami. They have the best player in the game, two other elite players and system in place now that is proven to work.
But there are no unbeatable teams. Achilles had his heel.
“Yeah, we have weaknesses,” said Wade, whose Heat went 46-20 during the 2011-12 lockout-shortened campaign, an equivalent of 57-25 during a normal season. “We’re not the biggest team in the league. It’s a glaring weakness.”
One of the turning points in last season’s title run for the Heat was when they had to adapt to deal with Roy Hibbert from the Indiana Pacers. Miami had now way of just matching up with him, they had to adapt and find a way to exploit their advantages as well.
“As well as it’s a weakness, it’s a strength,” Wade said. “And so we got a weakness. We’re not going to come out and we’re not going to say this big guy is going to get 14 rebounds a game. We have to rebound collectively as a team. So, obviously, that’s a weakness for us. But it’s also a strength for us because at the other end of the floor, when the ball gets off the rim, we’re able to use our speed.”
And as of right now, 29 other teams have to adjust to that strength. Size might be part of that equation — Philadelphia, Brooklyn Indiana and the Lakers may have a leg up there — but it’s not enough by itself.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.