Last June’s Miami Heat title was not the first trip down the parade route for Udonis Haslem. He was part of the Miami Heat’s 2006 title team.
That would be the one that came back in no condition mentally to defend its title. One that fell apart as quickly as any champion in recent memory.
Haslem, one of the veteran leaders of the Heat, says he is not going to let that happen again. Granted, the situation on the Heat is pretty different this time around, nonetheless Haslem told the Miami Herald this Heat squad is ready to take on 29 challengers (hat tip SLAM).
“I think it’s not necessarily about being a different group. It’s about the right mindset,” Haslem said. “I don’t think with the ’06 team we really understood what mindset we had to come in with as returning champions….
“I think now we understand what our mindset has to be,” he said, “because the level of expectation has been raised a notch, and we understand that.”
That 2006 Heat team was not built for the long run, unless you think Shaq was suddenly going to be motivated to focus on conditioning. This Heat team has its core players at their peak. But Haslem is right about the mindset.
I still contend what makes the Heat the most dangerous this coming season is they figured out who they are. They found an identity last season and into the playoffs, there is no more guesswork. That said, it’s a long, long way to the finals next June. It’s a marathon.
Haslem just thinks they are ready to run it.
The Nuggets’ have so many injured backcourt players – Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Will Barton and Isaiah Thomas (plus forwards Paul Millsap, Michael Porter, Jarred Vanderbilt are also hurt).
Denver is adding a reinforcement – Nick Young.
Young has had a rough go since winning a championship with the Warriors last season. The 33-year-old is probably on his last legs as an NBA player.
But Denver needs someone. Young might still be serviceable. He can make 3-pointers, though he defends like a sieve and doesn’t contribute much else offensively. With the ball running through Nikola Jokic, maybe that will be enough – until better Nuggets get healthy.
Kyrie Irving‘s first public flat-Earth comments came on a light-hearted podcast.
Will Stephen Curry also become notorious for his conspiracy theory, revealed on a light-hearted podcast?
The Warriors star appeared on “Winging It” with Vince Carter, Kent Bazemore and Andre Iguodala. The conversation:
- Curry: “We ever been to the moon?
- Multiple responders: “Nope.”
- Curry: “They’re gonna come get us. I don’t think so, either.”
Podcast co-host Annie Finberg asked whether Curry actually believed that. He responded affirmatively.
Still, Irving immediately doubled down outside the podcast – then tripled down and quadrupled down and… This hasn’t gotten away from Curry in the same way. He could still easily explain he was joking during the podcast.
Or he could stick with his conspiracy theory. I don’t know what he actually believes.
For what it’s worth, I believe we went to the moon. So many people would have to know if the moon landing were faked, and there’s no way they’d all keep it secret.
John Collins brings plenty of excitement to the Hawks, and he was pretty enthused after posting 30 points and 12 rebounds in Atlanta’s 106-98 win over the Nuggets on Saturday.
The Chicago Bulls suffered the worst loss in the history of the franchise this week. A 56-point drubbing at the hands of the Boston Celtics was an inauspicious mark on the record of head coach Jim Boylan, who was elevated to his position after Chicago decided to fire Fred Hoiberg earlier in the week.
The young Bulls haven’t taken to Boylan, at least that’s how it’s appeared on the court. On Sunday it came out that Chicago held a players-only meeting. After that, the players met with the coaching staff to discuss the issues of the day.
Players wouldn’t discuss in detail what their meetings were about, save for getting on the same page, whatever that may mean. Just about everyone used the word “productive” to describe the behind-closed-doors meetings.
According to a report from The Athletic, Chicago almost had a full-blown mutiny on its hands. Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez reportedly quashed that, but it’s not looking pretty for Boylan early.
Via The Athletic:
One idea that had significant support, according to sources, was the players simply not showing up to the Advocate Center on Sunday. A preliminary plan was to gather at one player’s house and wait for the phones to begin buzzing. That plan fizzled because Lauri Markkanen and Robin Lopez spoke up, voicing their concerns about the unprofessionalism of that potential act of rebellion, as well as the impact such a stance could have on the roster’s younger, less established players, sources said.
Another idea discussed centered on players walking into the practice facility Sunday morning as a unified group before turning and immediately walking out.
In the end, players reported to work and rather than practice on the court or review Saturday night’s game in the film room, they held two meetings — one with players airing their grievances among themselves, followed by one with coaches entering the room to do the same with players.
The Bulls have the worst record in the East at 6-21. It’s hard to see how it’ll improve much in that respect, but perhaps the guys on the team will like each other a little better after today.