Welcome to the NBA Roundtable! This week, we put a bow on the Finals, debate the future and where Duncan fits on the GOAT list. Today we have EJ, Zach, and David!
EJ: Not as much blame as people want to place on him. LeBron cannot do it all by himself. He needs help and he didn’t get it from his teammates. Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade weren’t too much help, and the rest of the Heat roster was non-existant. The problem in Miami is very simple. They require so much of LeBron that by June he’s done. They may have won two titles in the four years they’ve made the Finals, but LeBron is gassed by the time June comes around. So, I don’t blame him. I blame everyone else and hopefully this summer Pat Riley is able to do the financial juggling needed to get some younger bodies in there to help their star.
Zach: Man I really would LOVE to say it was all him…but they guy really had no help. The Heat need to seriously think about what they want to do going into free-agency, now. Because either Bron Bron needs to pass more…or the others need to step up. Then again, the Heat mentality this year just sucked. From their training camp in the Bahamas to the entire post-season, they just coasted. And now it caught up with them.
David: I don’t think it was on LeBron at all, or even really on Bosh- Its the other ton of wasted cap space on the Bench, we all knew that Wade was done, hell, thats why Wade played about 5 more minutes than I did during the season, on average. Lets be honest, this loss goes on Spo, and Riley more than LeBron. Haslem did less than I did. Chris Anderson was missed, and when you are needing Rashard Lewis is going to do anything, you have built a BAD ROSTER.
EJ: Yeah he is. He’s not going to be the old Dwayne Wade. He’s just an old Dwayne Wade which is sad because he’s only 32. Tony Parker is the same age, and between the two I think anyone with sense would rather have Parker at this point. Problem with Wade is he has to understand he can’t be the same player he used to be 5 or 6 years ago because of his knees. That also sucks for LeBron because the Heat are essentially stuck with the guy. Of the Big Three, Wade should be the only lock to opt in. Why? Who’s going to pay this guy $20 million or more a season after what we’ve seen of him the past two years?
Zach: Describe done. Should he be renounced to just a solid-starter rather a superstar? Yes. Does it make him any less of a player? Ehhh. On some points, yes. But everyone gets older. Wade either has to recognize that…or get back to where he was. I think for Wade, it’s that simple.
David: Of goodness yes. I think he should be able to come off the bench and be productive. . .kind of like Manu? He might be able to play a few more years, but he’s not really worth his money he’s going to be making.
EJ: I think he should but I’d be surprised the guy retires. He’s still playing at a high level, Tony is still playing at a high level, and if Kawhi Leonard can produce at a consistent level, the Spurs will be back in the hunt next season. Also, I should mention that Duncan has $10 million reasons to return for one more year.
Zach: Fat chance. I think he WILL retire on top, and it WILL be in the next two-three years. I don’t think this is it for the gang. These guys are just going out and having fun, not worrying about their age. I would love to see these guys in the mix for a few more years…cuz I know we’ll miss them when they are gone.
David: I’d like to see him, but part of me wants to see him keep going. Tony Parker isn’t exactly on the downslope of his career, and I would have to think Manu is going to step away, and thats some salary cap money that would be freed up. I could see several second tier coming to the Spurs to get thier carrer back on track. How about Lamb? Kopono? You can just start adding bit players as the season moves on.
EJ: 30%. I know I just spent this roundtable talking about Wade being done and Bosh not being much help but the East is bad enough that the Heat can easily be back in the Finals. Maybe Indiana will still be around but they need to make a few moves. The Bulls should be back if Rose stays healthy and assuming they pick up Love or Melo. Other than that, I can’t see any real obstacles for the Heat. The Spurs? That’s why I say 30%. I’ve come to really love this team but the West is brutal. OKC is still around. The Clippers have an ownership obstacle but they have the coach and players to get it done. The Blazers, Rockets, and Warriors should all be in the playoff picture and I’ll even consider Dallas and Memphis as teams to keep an eye on. The Spurs as defending Champion is going to get every team in the West’s best shot, and at the end of the day I think someone is going to knock them off in the playoffs.
Zach: I doubt it will happen. The Heat are going through some obvious changes and will need to take the next few years to start a rebuild going on. I’m not saying the Heat won’t get back to the playoffs next year. I just don’t think it will be in the finals, if they are going to take their re-build seriously behind Lebron.
David: I’ll actually go 50/50 here. The Spurs, if everyone comes back, are as solid a threat as ever, and even though they have gone back to back in the Finals- I really dont have faith in the pairing in OKC, and I’m not a big fan of the Clippers systems. Over in the East- Who gets better on the highest level? Indiana has problems, Chicago never knows whats its doing, and the bottom is getting better, but I’m still taking the Heat over anyone else, as long as LeBron is breathing.
EJ: Even though I hate the whole legacy debate, it’s hard to overlook the man with 5 rings. As far as I see it he’s better than Karl Malone. Shaquille O’Neal might not want to hear this but the Big Fundamental is a better big man than Shaq Diesel. 5 rings gets him that spot. As far as best forward of all time, or best big man of all time? I’m only 32. I don’t feel comfortable making that argument. I’ll let others do that but I’m showing my respect to Timmy.
David: Taking last year into account as well, I think he moves past Bird. Seriously. I mean Jordan is still the best in my lifetime, but I think Duncan has passed Bird for 3rd place on my lifetime list.
Zach: I’ve been saying for a few years now that Duncan is one of the top-five greatest players ever. Just because he doesn’t come with the sizzle and swag Shaq, Jordan, Wilt, or Kareem did doesn’t mean he’s not one of the greatest ever. He is. I will talk all day about why Duncan belongs on the top-five list and I would dare someone to try and say he’s not. Just because he wasn’t in the spotlight?
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