Kurt Helin

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

PBT Extra: Warriors will be seen as vanguards of new NBA era

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It’s impossible to fairly place a team like the Golden State Warriors in the context of history within 24 hours after a title — but welcome to the Internet, where we try to do it anyway.

I think in 15 years, we will look back on this Golden State team as the team that ushered in a new era of NBA basketball. One where teams want to play fast and small, to shoot the three, and to count on motion and ball movement to get good looks. One that is entertaining to watch. We started to see the evolution with Miami and San Antonio the last two seasons, but Golden State took it all to another level.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that in this latest PBT Extra, but I think to solidify their legacy they need to get back to another Finals or two, at the very least.

Dirk Nowitzki on LaMarcus Aldridge: “We’d love to have him” in Dallas

LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki
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I love that Dirk Nowitzki is honest. Both about both himself and where his game stands as he comes in for a landing on a Hall of Fame career. Here is what he told Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:

“I know that, at 37, I can’t be the No. 1 option if we want to play for the championship. That’s how the cycle goes. Really, if you look at our roster, we only got four or five guys, so we got a lot of work to do. We need a little bit of everything.”

You know who can do a little bit of everything? LaMarcus Aldridge.

Nowitzki and Aldridge may both play the four, but Nowitzki wants Aldridge in Dallas and said he is willing to adjust his role to make it work.

“We’d love to have him,” he said at an appearance at the Mavericks Hoop Camp presented by Academy Sports at Episcopal School of Dallas on Tuesday. “He’s a great mid-range shooter. He plays bigger than he is on the defensive end. He’s a good rebounder on both ends of the floor, and on that left block he’s a beast. So I mean, he’s a really, really good player….

“We’ve been ousted twice in the first round the last two years, and whatever I got to do, I’m ready to help.”

 

Nowitzki is starting the recruiting process early and publicly. Which is what he should be doing.

The Mavericks are considered the most likely landing spot if any franchise is going to pry Aldridge out of Portland. (San Antonio gets mentioned but the whispers are Tim Duncan is coming back for another year, and if so the Spurs will not have the cap space to land Aldridge. Duncan’s cap hold ends that idea.)

Aldridge was born in Dallas and played his high school ball in a Dallas suburb before heading to Austin for college. He is a Texas guy, a Dallas guy, so there is the lure of going home.

Owner Mark Cuban and Dallas will again be swinging for the fences in free agency, targeting Aldridge and another Texas native, DeAndre Jordan. Right now the Mavericks have a nice roster that would be a threat in the East but is considered quaint in the West. However, land one of those big pieces and get some improved point guard play, and suddenly the Mavericks look dangerous again.

Aldridge has some decisions to make. How much does going home to Texas matter? At age 30, how much does the fifth guaranteed year that Portland alone can offer matter? In terms of legacy and getting a ring, would he be closer in Dallas with Nowitzki than in Portland with Damian Lilliard?

This is Aldridge’s last big kick at the can in terms of salary. He’s got to get this one right.

PBT Extra: Despite loss, these Finals should improve LeBron James’ legacy

LeBron James
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Truly the first NBA superstar of the digital age, everyone has an opinion on LeBron James — and some of those people try to stand out by being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. It’s part of the hollow debate of the Internet age. LeBron can’t be enjoyed for being LeBron — clearly the best player of his generation — rather he has to be compared to Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson or Allen Iverson, or whoever.

Which is a shame, because LeBron was nothing short of brilliant in these NBA Finals. He was historically good. He would have had my Finals MVP vote, even if he was on the losing team.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss LeBron and his legacy after these Finals in this latest PBT Extra. For any thinking person not stuck in a rigid box, these Finals should improve his legacy. Few other players in history could have carried this roster this far.

 

PBT Podcast: Golden State earns NBA title, but did Iguodala earn MVP?

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Storylines flip quickly in an NBA Finals. Matthew Dellavedova went from being the next mayor of Cleveland — or so it seemed — to a non-entity over the course of three games. LeBron James could have, and should have, bettered his legacy in a loss. Stephen Curry went from hearing “what is wrong with his game?” to “why wasn’t he named MVP?”

The Golden State Warriors are your NBA champion and in this latest PBT Podcast, we’ve got PBT’s Kurt Helin and Brett Pollakoff, plus NBCSports’ Dominic Ridgard breaking down what how the Warriors flipped the series. Then we get into the maybe hottest topic out of the Finals: Did Andre Iguodala deserve to be MVP? We also get into what this means for the future of the Cavaliers — is Kevin Love going to stay for next season? For the long term?

Also, we briefly touch on the trade that sent Lance Stephenson to the Clippers.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.

Watch Andre Iguodala rack up points in Game 6 on way to winning Finals MVP

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Andre Iguodala was named Finals MVP in large part because he did as good a job as anyone was going to when asked to slow down LeBron James.

I’ve been preparing for the moment for 11 years now,” Iguodala said of defending LeBron (who still put up historic numbers). “I’ve seen him every year I’ve been in this league.  LeBron doesn’t have any weaknesses, or he doesn’t have a glaring weakness.  So you’ve got to pick up on the smaller things to try to make him uncomfortable.  Like knowing which side he likes to shoot threes off the dribble, which side he likes to drive.  One side he’ll drive left more often, and the other side he’ll drive right more often.”

More than just the defense, Iguodala got the hardware for his offense. When the Warriors went small the reason was to expose Cavaliers’ center Timofey Mozgov defensively, and you can see in this highlight package how Iguodala did that. Mozgov wants to hang back and protect the rim, and when Draymond Green or other Warriors drove right at him Mozgov did his job well. But if you can knock down threes, or even nice 18 footers, he will give those to you rather than come out. And when he does come out to cover more on the perimeter, the lane opens up.

Iguodala rightfully fully enjoyed the celebration after the game. He had earned it.