Welcome to the NBA Roundtable! With the Playoffs wrapping up, here we come again. This week we have the Frightful Four of EJ, Bill, Zach and David. We are talking Air Conditioning, Fisher, who should be the first pick and more! Lets get to the Qs!
EJ: The air conditioning was working? Although I picked the Spurs to win this series in 6 games, we saw what LeBron James could do when well hydrated, and cooled down. The Heat could have reasonably won Game 1 as well if LeBron was able to finish the 4th quarter, so the fact this series is tied up shouldn’t surprise anyone. The series moves to Miami, there’s 5 games left, and the team that can win 3 out of those 5 will be the Champion. I still say Spurs in 6, but I would have felt a lot better about that pick if the Spurs were to have won Game 2.
Bill: The Heat, especially LeBron James, showed a greater sense of urgency and determination to win even though they barely managed to hang on by a measly two points. The Heat’s recent history of winning the title despite losing the opening game in the Finals aside, this series is far from a guaranteed win for them. This may look like the same old Spurs of last year, but it’s a far more focused team who is wise to the working of the Heat. If this series fails to go all seven games once again, I’ll be shocked.
Zach: The Spurs have been very inconsistent this year, in all reality. As a team with limited interior play, and living and dying by the three-pointer, the type of play San Antonio puts on the floor can vary from night to night. Last game was a down game. The Heat are still coasting with limited compassion/intensity, while the Spurs are simply there to beat the Heat. All I can say is…let’s see what the Spurs bring in game three.
David: Look, I love me some Pops, and Duncan is my third-favorite player of all-time. But there is a reason why Duncan is going to retire with only 4 rings, 5 at the most despite having a top 5 PG, the best coach in the game, and one of the best 6th men of all time. Lets be honest- the whole Duncan/Malone debate ends here- swap Stockton for Malone and how many times does Dallas win a game- let alone a series? But I digress. The problem is, Pops has a tendency to be too smart for his own good, much like the Hoodie, and Parker tends to F* up the world- and the guy thats brought in to do ONE thing forgets how to do THAT ONE THING. Game 2 was one of those games. The Spurs are NEVER going to just blow a team out of the water, and have had problems putting a foot on the throat of a team in the 3rd Q. The Spurs happened.
EJ: Nah. Making the Finals 4 years in a row, winning 2 titles (3 if they win this Series), is nothing to hang your head at. If the Heat do break up, they can do so knowing they’ve accomplished a lot together. The thing is I don’t think the Heat break up. Not after this off season anyway. I can see Bosh and or LeBron leaving Miami eventually, but I think both choose to opt in this off season, and wait until Summer 2015 when there’ll be a few more teams that will have the cap space to bring them in.
Bill: No. I think if that if they win, there’s no reason for them to split the team up. Why mess with a proven winner no matter what the cost if winning is what it’s all about in the end? yes, I know that keeping the three of them together is going to be substantially prohibitive from a cost standpoint, but money and talent are what it takes to keep the Larry O’Brien trophy in your case. Breaking up this team would be a huge mistake. James is still well within his peak, Bosh is still serviceable, and Wade, despite getting older, can still bring it home if given the chance to do so. The supporting cast is going to be the read difference maker seeing that the three primary players can’t be expected to continue doing it all. Unless the three of them are given the chance to get in some rest, they’re going to flame out early. No pun intended.
Zach: I think there is little chance the Heat part after this year. There’s not really more to be said than that. I think four straight appearances in the Finals is enough for them to ask themselves, “why fix what isn’t broken?” I think the Big Three will be back in South Beach for another string of title runs.
David: It all depends on Bosh. I can see them coming back, and the move from LeBron+Wade+Bosh to LeBron+Bosh+??? is going to be interesting. I think they all come back for another 2 years, then to see what happens to guy number 3.
EJ: It doesn’t hurt. Some will say Fisher can have the same first year success that Jason Kidd did with the Nets, but Kidd had four All-Stars on his roster. Almost anyone could have made the playoffs with that bunch. The Knicks aren’t as good as the Nets right now, but Fisher will have Phil mentoring him, and he’ll likely have Carmelo Anthony to coach. As long as Fish can handle the pressure that is New York, he should be fine. He’ll also need to remember the company line that help will be coming in Summer 2015.
Bill: No. I completely believe that while Fisher may, some day, prove to be a solid coach… that time is not now and most certainly not with as volatile an organization and team as the New York Knicks. His familiarity with Jackson and the well oiled and proven “Triangle Offense” is a huge plus, but is it enough? Will Fisher’s experience carry through to the players to a point where they are all on the same level and able to do it the way that it worked for Jackson? I just don’t see it. Not yet. Fisher needs a few years as an assistant coach before taking the reins on as the big cheese. Forcing him into it will likely overload him and lead to him being fired before he could even set the groundwork in place.
Zach: No. Don’t get me wrong, I love Fish. He’s always been a team-oriented guy and would gel well with the players. It’s not him…it’s the Knicks. That team is doomed for failure due to too many chiefs syndrome. There is not enough capacity to please everyone in that building, with too much animosity among the front-office and players. I see what NYK tried to do here, mimicking their cross-town rivals. I think Brooklyn got lucky with Kidd. They took a gamble and it paid off (for now). I give it two years before the position is open, again.
David: Hiring a coach that isn’t going to make the star happy is just a stupid move at all times. We are FAR BEYOND the point when a coach can tell a player to do push-ups in front of the team, so ignoring a FREE AGENT just to make a GM happy?? Any coach is screwed. Yeah, and don’t get me started on THIS guy. If Melo leaves, Chuck Daly and Pat Riley combined with the ghost of Red couldn’t make this team work.
EJ: No. The referees made the decision to play the game, and the NBA had no problem with that. Sanctions, or any kind of fine, would be ridiculous.
Bill: No. I guess I’m just full of “no” this week! As the saying goes, “shit happens” and it clearly hit the arena A/C system Thursday night. Naturally, the Heat conspiracy crowd will be screaming at how it was a setup and done on purpose, but I have trouble believing that. Besides, each and every one of those players out there grew up playing outside in the heat, so why all the sniveling all the sudden? I’m sure it was hot and the conditions were tough, but there’s no way they were anywhere near as bad as playing outside during the summer. I’m from Arizona. I know.
Zach: Definitely not. Stuff happens, guys. It’s not a conspiracy past a few grumbling Heat fans who are mad LeBron couldn’t hack the real heat. I, for one, find it comical. What’s more funny than a basketball player who is dehydrated because it’s too hot on the court? As they say, “If you can’t stay the heat…”
David: So . . .bad Question? Sorry.
EJ: Jabari Parker is pro ready. Joel Embiid could be the next Olajuwon if his back holds up. Dante Exum is the unknown, but my #1 pick is Andrew Wiggins. He’s not day one ready like Parker, but Wiggins is what Cleveland needs. You slot him next to Kyrie Irving in the back court, and you allow the franchise to either trade Dion Waiters, or unleash him as the team’s 6th man. Wiggins might not be Rookie of The Year, but he’ll be the star of this class in 5 seasons.
Bill: It’s hard to argue against a potential game changer like Wiggins, but I’m not completely sold on him. He’s a lot of flash and hype and to me, that’s not what being the number one pick is about. So, that said, I’d be more likely to roll the dice on a possible franchise big man in his teammate Embiid or either Parker or Randle. It’s the draft after all and nothing is a totally sure thing. We’ll see in a few weeks what Cleveland does, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they worked out a trade for the pick with another team who covets one of the few I mentioned. CLE is pretty close to making some headway in the playoff hunt, but I don’t think that it’s going to happen via the draft. If they can secure a veteran or two and possibly move down, I think they’ll be better off than taking someone in the number one spot.
Zach: Jabari Parker, unfortunately. I think Cleveland and Parker would fit nicely, but hate to see another player of his caliber get lost in the black hole that is the Cleveland Cavalier roster. Parker would probably fit best in L.A. or Philly, but I doubt it will happen. Instead, he seems doomed to go to the “Land of the Lost” and compliment Kyrie and company with another sub-par season.
David: Its going to be interesting to see what Cleveland does with the pick however, but taking team needs out? Depends on how much I trust my medical staff- If he used to work in Pheonix- then I take Joel Embiid. If he used to work in Portland, then I take Jabari Parker.
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