Tag: Chris Bosh

LeBron James

LeBron James: Championship not a requirement of a great team


LeBron James played for a 66-win team. Didn’t win a title.

LeBron and his teammates proved it wasn’t a fluke the next season, winning 61 games. Didn’t win a title.

LeBron joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a team many feared would destroy the NBA’s competitive balance. Didn’t win a title.

LeBron formed yet another super team with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. Didn’t win a title.

But – at least in LeBron’s eyes – that doesn’t mean those teams necessarily fell short of greatness.

LeBron, via Bleacher Report:

If you don’t know the history of the game, man, you’ll forget how many great teams didn’t win championships. And that doesn’t mean they wasn’t great, though.

LeBron was referring to the 2000 Western Conference finals. The eventual-NBA-champion Lakers beat the Trail Blazers in seven games. Portland – with a starting lineup of Damon Stoudamire, Steve Smith, Scottie Pippen, Rasheed Wallace and Arvydas Sabonis – won 59 games and crushed the Jazz and Timberwolves before running into the Lakers.

I agree with LeBron’s premise. A team can be great without winning a title. Sometimes, a team just catches the wrong breaks, like playing in a season where there are multiple great teams.

Those Trail Blazers were borderline great, with both past and future success to support their consistency. They just ran into Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. Nothing Portland could do about that.

But a title is an important consideration – the most important – when determining a team’s greatness. Personally, I think the 1999-00 Trail Blazers fall just short, but either argument is reasonable.

And for what it’s worth, I think all of LeBron’s title-less teams fall short of greatness for similar reasons, though last year’s Cavaliers played great between their midseason trades for Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith and the postseason injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.

Erik Spoelstra: Heat’s starting lineup needs time before it’ll succeed

Miami Heat v Detroit Pistons

Who has the NBA’s best starting lineup?

The Warriors (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut)?

The Cavaliers (Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Timofey Mozgov)?

The Spurs (Tony Parker, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan)?

The Clippers (Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Paul Pierce, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan)?

Take your pick between those four or other contenders like the Thunder, Rockets or Bulls.

But there’s one team that belongs in the discussion despite two oddities:

  • All five projected starters played for the team last season, but its projected starting lineup didn’t log a single minute together.
  • The team missed the playoffs.

Yup, the Heat with Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside.

Bosh was sidelined for the rest of the season with blood clots just after Miami traded for Dragic. So, the lineup’s debut was postponed to this season.

On paper, the Heat have it all – offense and defense inside and out. They’re balanced, and nobody is playing out of position.

But Miami coach Erik Spoelstra cautions against expecting instant gratification.

Spoelstra, via Zach Lowe of Grantland:

“It’s not the kind of lineup where you can just throw it out there, and you know it will work,” Spoelstra says. “It’s going to take practice.”

The biggest question with the Heat’s top lineup is health, especially Wade. He’s 33 and has a history of knee problems. There are also questions about Whiteside’s ability to perform over a full season, Bosh’s rust and Deng’s longevity.

But those are all individual concerns.

Like I said, there’s a lot to like about this unit as a whole. The one area for caution is probably Dragic and Wade sharing ball-handling duties. Though they play different positions – Dragic point guard and Wade shooting guard – both are used to being the lead guard. That could take more time to sort out.

Mostly, though, I think Spoelstra is just trying to lower expectations. The less people think of a team, the more opportunity the coach has to impress (and the less blame he’ll take if the team falters).

Report: Heat want to take long look at young guards before trading Mario Chalmers

Mario Chalmers

The point guard rotation in Miami is clear-cut: Goran Dragic starts, Mario Chalmers comes off the bench, then second-year player Tyler Johnson will mop up any remaining minutes.

But as we noted before, Chalmers has been and remains available via trade. He’s been on the trade block since about when Don Johnson became the face of Miami police.

If a Chalmers trade happens, is Johnson ready to step up? That’s one of the big questions as the Heat head into training camp next month, reports Barry Jackson at the Miami Herald.

And with Tyler Johnson also cleared to return from his broken jaw sustained in Summer League (he has been working out in Delray Beach), the Heat is back to full strength a month before training camp. The Heat, incidentally, wants to take a long look at Johnson and Josh Richardson in training camp before deciding whether to make a renewed attempt to trade Chalmers.

If they can stay healthy, with Chris Bosh and Dragic running the show, the Heat very well could be a top-four team in the East. On paper they have a lot of talent, we just need to see how it all blends. Then, if they are on that kind of trajectory, would they want to trade Chalmers? Only if they have someone who can step in and take those minutes on without much of a drop-off.

Just something to watch as the Heat start to move toward the season. Because you can be sure Chalmers’ name will come up in trade rumors. Guaranteed.

Amar’e Stoudemire feels he can return to All-Star form

Tim Coppens - Front Row - New York Fashion Week: Men's S/S 2016

There was a day when Amar’e Stoudemire was one of the most feared players, one of the toughest covers in the NBA. He was athletic, versatile, inside-out four long before that became trendy. He was a guy worthy of a max deal, he was a cornerstone player — if he could stay healthy.

The last four seasons the injuries have won out. Stoudemire has missed more than a third of the possible games he could participate in, and he hasn’t been the same explosive player when he did suit up (although he has remained efficient).

Stoudemire signed with the Miami Heat for this season and told the Associated Press he thinks he can bring back some of that vintage form.

“Just four years ago I was an MVP candidate and an All-Star,” Stoudemire said. “I feel like I can still get back to that All-Star level of play. If I can achieve that, then that’s going to help the team in its entirety. … I will accept whatever the role is.”

Whatever that role is, he’s trying to be realistic about what might happen. In case he needed to be humbled, fans are still confusing him with Chris Bosh.

“Stay tuned,” Stoudemire said. “At this point, I don’t know what I’m going to bring. My goal is to become a better player than I was last year, expand on what I did last year. I have a lot of skill set left in this body and I want to show that.”

Miami has a ton of potential up front — if everyone can stay healthy. Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside will start. Behind them is Josh McRoberts, Chris Andersen, Stoudemire and Udonis Haslem — all veterans who know how to play the game. It gives Erik Spoelstra interesting options, but he needs guys who can stay on the court this season.

If they do, and if the rotations come together, this could be the second best team in the East during the regular season.


Hassan Whiteside, Draymond Green spar on twitter over small ball

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat

Golden State won its NBA title this year going small — Draymond Green at the five was not something the Cavaliers had an answer for. The two years prior, the Miami Heat won a couple of titles playing Chris Bosh at the five, spacing the floor with his jumpers.

Small ball works. Not for everyone — Green allows the Warriors to go small and not get hurt defensively — but it has proven to work with the right lineups.

Just don’t tell Miami center Hassan Whiteside that.

The Warriors Draymond Green saw that tweet and fired back.

Then they exchanged a couple more barbs.

Whiteside may want to note that the Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies to get to the Finals, and last I checked Marc Gasol was pretty good at scoring inside. Same with Zach Randolph. Didn’t do them any good. To be fair, part of it is the Warriors are versatile — they can go small, play bigger, and they remain very effective on both ends of the floor. But their core identity is smaller and faster.

For two years prior, even Whiteside’s own team leaned small to win — Chris Bosh as the five and LeBron James at the four for long stretches. It’s what created matchup problems for opponents. It’s what worked.

There will always be a place for a skilled big man in the game, but the old basketball adage “tall and good beats small and good” doesn’t always ring true anymore. Not if you have the right smalls.