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Smack / Jul 10, 2010 / 6:17 am

The East is a Beast

Amar'e Stoudemire (photo. King Lawrence)

No matter which side you claim in the ongoing LeBron-to-Miami argument, one thing you cannot dispute: The Eastern Conference is going to be a PROBLEM for the West next season. LeBron, Wade and Bosh are (at worst) a phenomenally talented group that should maraud through the regular season; Carlos Boozer gives Chicago the low-post scorer they’ve needed to go with Derrick Rose, who is a full-on superstar at this point; Amar’e Stoudemire makes the Knicks dangerous at least; Atlanta kept status quo by re-signing Joe Johnson; Boston brought back Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to keep its core intact; Milwaukee added wing scorers and frontcourt muscle to go with Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings; Charlotte is bringing back most of its playoff squad; and of course Orlando still has Dwight Howard and its title-contending core. Whether it’s Kobe or Carmelo or D-Will who leads his team out of the West, they should hope their opponent in the Finals is bruised from a tough playoff run, because they’ll certainly be battle-tested … Everybody had their say about LeBron yesterday, and some views were plain ridiculous. Majority opinion in the Dime office is simple: LeBron had six options laid out in front of him, and he picked the team that to him looked most ready to win a championship as soon as possible. But a lot of people don’t see it that way. You’ve seen know how hard Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is screwing his own franchise by making sure no other NBA player will ever want to play for him, but did you hear Orlando GM Otis Smith? “I thought (LeBron) was, I guess, more of a competitor,” Smith said. “The great ones do and usually stay in one location. This is a new era. It’s a little different than my time.” Yeah, this is the same Otis Smith who was a certified role player during his brief playing career and happily took his turn eating off Chris Mullin, Alex English and Nick Anderson. The fact that Smith praised Kobe for winning rings “on his own” shows how little even some experts really know … (And remind us again why LeBron is getting criticized for going to a team where he’ll possibly be the No. 2 option, but nobody is getting on Bosh for happily accepting a clear-cut No. 3 role after failing to make a playoff dent in Toronto?) … How crazy was the LeBron/Wade/Bosh intro to Miami last night? Packed gym, thousands of people outside the arena, and it started with the big three dropped from the sky on a forklift … With the news that LeBron and Bosh will head to Miami via a pair of convoluted sign-and-trades — ‘Bron and Bosh have signed for six years, $110 million apiece while D-Wade is getting $107 million over six — the rest of the League was able to move on. The Knicks are close to a deal with Ray Felton, the best PG available barring a Chris Paul or Tony Parker trade. He’s not Steve Nash, but Ray’s been one of the more underrated PG’s in the League for a minute. No more playing under the radar now, though. Felton is gonna be reminded he’s not Nash with every turnover and every NY loss. But hey, he’s the Knicks’ best point guard since Stephon Marbury … The Bulls could go from having no shooters to having it rain buckets. Kyle Korver signed with Chicago for three years, $15 million yesterday, then the team signed J.J. Redick to an offer sheet for three years, $20 million. If Orlando doesn’t match, the Better Basketball film crew should just set up shop at Bulls practice for their next instructional shooting tape … When you call Al Jefferson a “rebound” guy, apparently it has nothing to do with him grabbing 10 boards a night. First he got to be the guy carrying the sorry Wolves in the immediate post-KG era, and now if the trade rumors are true, he may end up headlining the sorry post-LeBron Cavs. Reportedly Cleveland is looking to acquire Big Al in a trade. Could a team led by Jefferson, Jamison and Mo still make the playoffs? … Lots of summer league action Friday, as the Orlando league wraps up and the Vegas league gets started: Derrick Favors had 23 points and 11 rebounds in Jersey’s win over Boston, including a career-ending dunk over one of the Celtics’ unidentified plodding big men; Paul George put up 22 points and 12 boards in the Pacers’ loss to OKC; Gordon Hayward scored 14 to lead Utah past Philly, while Evan Turner had 13 points and 6 boards; Sherron Collins dropped 32 points and 7 threes on Orlando in a Bobcats’ loss; Summer league vet Coby Karl had 16 points, 7 boards and 5 assists to lead Denver past Dallas; Patrick Patterson scored 18 in Houston’s win over Phoenix; Greg Monroe had 8 points and 4 steals as Detroit beat the Lakers, while Derrick Caracter posted 20-and-10 and Devin Ebanks went for 21 points; and Marcus Thornton (no idea why he’s playing summer league) scored 23 in the Hornets loss to G-State … We’re out like Al Jefferson ever playing on a good team …

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  • yoda

    i’m just happy that my lakers will have easier way to the finals this year than years before. okc and portland are still teams to beat, but denver and dallas will be no show again.
    if lakers stay healthy, they will win it all. and with that superstar trio in miami, winning over them is what kobe needs to gets out of mike’s shadow. perfect monster to slay to cement his legacy.

  • Mr. TKO

    Early Smack, The SuperFriends are not going to enjoy trying to make it out of the East this season. That looks like a bruising journey. Dealing with the Bobcats, Celtics and then Orlando(Possible Outcomes)just to get defeated by the Lakers in the end would be tough if they even make it that far.

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    I say Miami will pick up 4 of the following players: Brad Miller….Coby Karl….Anthony Johnson….Bassy….Damon Jones…Brian Scalabrine…..Shaun Livingston….Jerome Randle….

    and I know this sounds spiteful, but I hope that Bron ends up with bad knees at 31 years old and having never won a title….but I am glad for Varnardo for having a spot….came back for his senior year, even gave up his scholarship for the sake of his team, set an NCAA record, did not make the Tourney, and ended up hurting his draft stock when he could have been a first rounder the last 2 seasons….good for him….i’m out like hope in cleveland, where its easier to get carjacked than it is to get a job, even if driving a POS 1990 Buick Acclaim (which happened to one of my boys 2 years ago)….

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    Really Chicago? JJ Redick? Why didn’t you just keep Heinrich? Hopefully Orlando matches. I’d rather offer that 20 mil to Brewer.

  • dz

    20 mil to J.J. is a bit crazy.

    I don’t see the east getting much better this year. Miami will be great, but Cleveland will suck, probably worse than Miami did last year. The Raptors will still suck. Chicago — maybe a little bit better. Same with the Knicks. Bobcats could backtrack. Same with Atlanta. Meanwhile it looks to me like the west is getting pretty good too. Phoenix could suck but OKC will be better. Utah might suck but the Clips should be better. Oh well,the more things change…

  • luke

    Cleveland better make the playoffs or they just proved Lebron’s right that they never had enough talent around him. Not a huge LBJ fan but if Cleveland is a sub .500 team then it means he can carry almost any team to the best record in the league. So what will he do with Wade, Bosh??

  • Diggity Dave

    Felton = Duhon v2.0. The Knicks are going to suck just as bad as they did last year. They just lost their best rebounder, and will have a point guard that is poorly suited for their coach’s system. /fail.

  • Pedro

    @ Dave

    You’re actually saying Felton is as bad as duhon? Have you escaped from a mental institution?

    And now David Lee is better then Amare?

  • Legend 33

    If Amir Johnson and Travis Outlaw is worth $7M a year then so is JJ. At least JJ has contributed in the playoffs and you can’t never have enough shooting.

    Glad Dime recognize the ’11 Champs are coming out of the east this year and probably until the end of the decade. Like Lebron said they are not going for 1,2,3,4,5,6,or 7 rings they going for multiple chips. It’s about time, I think the east only won 3 titles the last decade.

  • Legend 33

    Each of the players took $2M less and now they have enough money to sign Haslem, M. Miller and Fisher. Maybe they can add Shaq for some more size but they already have the best PF in the east. If they get lucky and get by my Celts they match-up really well against the Lakers. Can’t see anybody from the west winning next year.

    PG Fisher>Blake
    SG Wade=Kobe
    SF James>Artest
    PF Bosh=Gasol
    C Haslem\Shaq=Bynum
    6th Miller=Odom
    Coach Riley=Jackson

  • Jdstorm

    @Legend33
    Why would fisher leave LA for minimum money in Miami? He Probably gets his number in the staples rafters if he wins another chip. Fisher will get Paid in LA. also

    PG Chalmers > Artest
    PF Bosh < Gasol
    C 2nd round pick <<<<<<<<< Scrub
    SG Roy = Wade
    SF Batum scrubs

  • Jdstorm

    sorry long comment got messed up in posting.

  • Eduardo

    While you’re all talking about the Miami BHeatches, Kobe is working out, sticking jumpers and threes aaaalllll day.

  • One life

    Motherfucker is talking about championshipS..He doesn’t know what’s that. I was watching the presentation, they’re all convinced they will win it all just like that, they’re talking like ‘we’re superstars’..’our super-man capes’..WTF!
    Kobe lives bitches, and he’ll come after you, for every shot you make he has an and1 for you, for every dazzling dunk he has an easy lay up..for every three you make he has a buzzer beater..You’re fuuuuucked Miami!=D

  • melo’11

    HAHA did i just see someone say that roy is as good as dwyane wade?
    wade’s better. much better. it’s not even close

  • Arno

    Boozer and Stoudemire go West to East and no impact player is going the other way. So the East is probably stronger.
    But the Lakers made a clever move with Blake and Portland sgould be very strong : they are more experienced and they recover Oden and Przybilla. The SAS get their Brazilian center and he will give them good minutes.

    BTW, who’s gonna play center for the Heat ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mr.Brogden Mr. Brogden

    Chicago looks poised to do the damn thing in the East Central Division. Rose, Deng, Noah, Boozer, JJ, Korver. And throw probably 1 or 2 slightly marquee players and a couple of solid position pluggers. Not Bad At All.

  • LeVon
  • Otto

    LeBron’s decision reminded me of when Hogan revealed himself as “the 3rd man” with NWO. Pat Riley is the NBA’s Eric Bishoff. Hogan’s speech is eerily applicable to his relationship with the city of Cleveland.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H76DwHgOwpA&feature=related

  • JUNJUN

    wade is the real winner here.

    it is almost a certainty that LBJ will never overtake him for number of titles. every time MIAMI wins a title, it will be always +1 ring for wade over LBJ.

    and wade can always say he won a chip without LBJ but LBJ never did without him.

    and that will be a good debate in time for each of their legacy.

  • mules

    way to relay Bill Simmons’ twitter feed otto.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Articles I’d like to see by Dime within the next week:

    Updated power rankings (Rockets and Memphis up?)
    An analysis on how the newest “Big Three” will actually play together
    An interview with Erik Spoelstra before he gets SVG’ed – sheer comedy as he has to pretend to be excited for “his” new roster
    A look at the remaining C/PG free agents that the Heat could sign
    A writeup on the new look Jazz and Suns

    Please and thank you.

  • bookkwormmaster

    Glad that the East is finally making some moves and getting some good quality talent to their respective teams. ALOT of teams got better if only by a little.

    The West is still strong but prob not as strong as we’re used to seeing. Two of my favorite young teams (Portland, Oklahoma) led by two of my favorite NBA players (Kevin Durant, Brandon Roy) are unquestionably two of the top five teams in the West (along with L.A., Dallas, and San Antonio) and barring injury could come of the West.

  • Heckler

    how is phoenix going to get wins next year? last time they didnt have amare, nash was mvp but still had shawn marion playing allstar lever, boris as most improved and barbosa blurring off the bench. i dont see how phoenix can get to 45wins.

  • Chise

    @4

    They didn’t keep Heinrich because they THOUGHT they were going to sign LeBron.

  • baseline

    so, lets get this, the probably best player out of those three guys (most battle proven, successful and crunchtime ready in the playoffs anyways) gets the least amount of cash?! bosh worth more than wade, are you joking? for james it doesn’t really matter, since he has all but openly admitted that he needs ALOT more help to win anything but individual titles and hoopla… his celebration of his own persona at the expense of others says it all, “the decision” being only the tip of the iceberg. not that dan gilbert thinks he isn’t one big berg himself… when will people finally get that pampering those “superstars” only makes them lose their respect for people… they’re way out like owners who whine about financial losses but dole out insane amounts of money to “non-superstars” the next day….

  • UncheckedAggression

    Eduardo–That’s funny, because he was doing the same thing last summer and you know what happened when the finals started? Jacking bad shots all over the place, nearly shooting the better team outta their championship dreams. So how do you think it’ll go when Wade is guarding him instead of Allen? At least you all will be able to blame some injury when Kobe puts up bad performances next year and falls short.

  • clips

    man talk about dime kissing a$$ to james…. dime does james also pay your paychecks how about u guys become less bias n report things the right way

  • Otto

    @ mules:
    dude, I don’t even know how to use twitter, let alone how to follow someone on there. I posted this on my facebook accountant yesterday.

  • That’s What’s Up

    the first post by yoda didn’t mention the Spurs.

    The Spurs don’t like to be disrespected son. It’s on now.

  • D. Gilliam

    I think the East and West are just more balanced. I would not give the East the edge. I would still take the Lakers over Miami, Boston or Orlando. Fischer (If he stays), Bryant, Artest, Gasol, and Bynum (When Healthy) is the best starting five in the NBA, by far. It’s a fine balance of offense and defense. The only team that comes close is Boston. With Yao coming back, OKC up and coming, and Dallas, Utah, Portland and San Antonio still stable, the West actually may still be the better conference overall.

  • eazy yeezy

    the bulls are a backup point guard, defensive specialist and big man away from beginning their run.

    anyone holla at luke ridnour, ronnie brewer and da killa thrila brad milla yet?

    rose/ridnour
    korver/reddick/brewer
    deng/johnson
    boozer/taj
    noah/asik/miller

    solid from top to bottom. just let em’ grow together and within a year or two it’l be between them and miami. boston has too much age and orlando has too little heart.

  • BiG_RoB_n_cali

    @clips

    Because Dime sees where James is coming from dude is nothing like Kobe trying to equal or go above Jordan I totally see Lebron doing this because yes he is trying too build his brand but doing that you have to win and win young LeBron wants global dominance in basketball and marketing which equals more money.Also teaming up with dudes that can take turns winning games and being da man nightly also equals longevity he seen how Kobe and D.Wade gotten so banged over the yrs doing it alone so ya’ll say what you want I think dude is smart as hell for doing this.

  • Claw

    6 options, he wins a title so what, he’s not the man, he didn’t build a team, don’t care what you idiots say winning a championship in Miami with the funky bunch will not be the same as if he had won in Ctown that hasn’t won a title in over 60 years in any sport.

    He screwed over the city, he has hurt his own “brand” and lost a lot of respect. When he was talkin about how “Lebron wants to win” seriously?? What is this the WWF? I applaud Dan Gilbert for going off, Lebron not returning calls, knowing all along his plan, he f*d them over. What player wouldn’t want to play for an owner that spends money, pulls off deals to make the team better and in the best position to win. Riley is better because he tanked the last two years and the Heat sucked and play to half empty arenas?

  • oo wee

    how do people feel about a group of stars taking less money to try to win championships?

  • Eduardo

    @UncheckedAggression

    Man,you really believe what you wrote?
    I won’t start this discussion,we would just throw points at each other and everything would stay the same so…I’ll let Kobe speak for myself when the time comes. If you think my opinion is not valid,this is what Orlando Magic GM said: “Asked if James’ move to Miami will cause a power shift in the NBA, Smith responded, “Is Kobe retiring?”

    Nuff said.

  • penya

    Jamison + Mo Williams + Al Jefferson = 8th playoff = Miami-Cleveland in first round. Cool!

  • Ballin247
  • Conoro

    Dime, you’ve completely lost any credibilty in my personal opinion regarding the NBA due to your disgustingly biased announcing. You’re defending him as though he’s your fucking lover.

    Needless to say, you can have him. His constant jerk-offs into your face have clearly clouded your vision and ability to write in a respectable manner.

    Take notes from SLAM.

  • Conoro

    * biased reporting

  • one and done

    I find it funny how you guys say that each other’s opinion is wrong by offering one of your own.

  • boto

    Why are people getting mad that others are getting excited and thinking about what Miami can possibly do? It’s not everyday that 3 All-Stars in their primes decide to join forces. If this were a few years ago and kobe, t-mac, and let’s say Dirk Nowitzki all went to the same team, Lakers fans would jizz in their pants.

    Let people speculate. The game is played on the court, not on paper anyway. The Lakers are still the defending champions, so just be secure in that fact. But I forgot, not a single laker fan is threatened by or worried about Miami. That’s why you can’t stop bringing them up.

    i’m just saying….

  • ace

    Biased reporting…

  • UncheckedAggression

    Eduardo–Exactly, that’s what I’m saying. Let Kobe speak for you.

    That Smith quote is hilarious. He’s just trying to belittle Lebron any way he can because he’s pissed that the dude will have a team around him. Bye Bye, Magic.

  • Joe Cooley High

    1. It’s not “reporting,” idiots. Smack is an opinion column. And if you want biased “reporting,” go over to Yahoo and read some of the shit Wojanarksi is writing. He acts like LeBron beat him up in high school.

    @Claw — Are you drunk? For one, how is LeBron not “The Man” on Miami when he’s clearly better than Wade? Players don’t “build a team,” the front office does. Kobe didn’t build the Lakers, Wade didn’t build Miami, and LeBron didn’t build Cleveland. You want LBJ to be the superstar AND the GM? And how did LeBron “screw over” Cleveland? By making their franchise relevant? By putting them in the title hunt for the last 5 years? By selling millions in merchandise for them? By constantly giving back to the community? Here’s the better question: What did Cleveland do for LeBron that should have made him stay?

  • K Dizzle

    @ Unchecked Aggression

    It’s been over a month now and it’s clearly understood that Pau, Artest and Fish won game 7.
    If you think Kobe shoots 6-24 in a clincher again, I’ll see that bet.

    @ Dime
    “And remind us again why LeBron is getting criticized for going to a team where he’ll possibly be the No. 2 option, but nobody is getting on Bosh for happily accepting a clear-cut No. 3 role after failing to make a playoff dent in Toronto?)”
    Chris Bosh is a kid from Texas who’ll mean nothing to Toronto in a couple seasons. He’s got no ties, never did anything in the playoffs and was widely regarded as a 2nd option anyways, and by going to Miami to ride the coattails of 3 and 6, prove that 2nd option opinion as fact. Just a good basketball player. Toronto might have the same record without him next year.
    Lebron James is Ohio born and raised, straight from high school to his hometown team. “The Savior” “The Chosen One”. Maybe the best player in the world (Kobe). 2 Time MVP. Cleveland won’t win 40 games next year. Does an hour special on national tv to say “I’m out” to his hometown team, doesn’t have the class to tell the owner or teammates or anybody. Just lets them find out on tv like everybody else. Understand that most people are more shocked that he would drag his hmetown thru that rather than just doin a Durant and quietly signing a deal.Understand that it’s worse when the hometown kid rejects you. Understand what it means that the kid who grew up in Cleveland and knows all about “The Shot”, “Art Modell” and countless other painful moments in Cleveland sports history would go on tv to say basically, “Fuck you!”
    Try to see the difference between a kid from Texas playin in Canada and just being a good player and a kid born and raised minutes from his hometown arena who transcends the game and does what he did on espn….That’s the difference.
    Try to keep up…

  • Big Island

    Legend 33, really?
    PG Fisher>Blake
    SG Wade=Kobe
    SF James>Artest
    PF Bosh=Gasol
    C Haslem\Shaq=Bynum
    6th Miller=Odom
    Coach Riley=Jackson

    At this point:
    Blake = Fish
    Kobe>Wade – sorry, it’s true
    Gasol>Bosh – Who do you want to count on? Gasol was a beast as the man. Miami would take Gasol for Bosh, the Lakers wouldn’t do that trade.
    ArtestShaq, Haslem and whoever IF healthy so I give an =.
    Odom>Miami 6th man. Hell, he’s better than Miami’s 4th man.
    Jackson > everyone else.

    I am a Laker hater too so there is no homer in my analysis. Top to bottom, outside of Lebron being better than Artest, the Lakers are better.

  • Big Island

    Dammit, my post got screwed up. Artest < Lebron got messed up.

  • Big Island

    And Bynum > Miami centers if healthy. Now I just look like a retard who can’t post. Like the Miami centers. ZING!!!!

  • QazQami

    yes east got better but LA is still the best team in the lg.. by far

  • Yucca Man

    I can’t stand the Lakers. I can’t stand Kobe.

    But the idea that Haslem + ready-to-be-a-corpse Shaq = Bynum is so absurd it’s funny.

    The idea that Bosh = Pau almost as bad.

    And the idea that Fisher has anything left to contribute is downright insane.

    I’ve never seen a team that was built on 3 stars and 9 vets who were really bad the previous year win a championship. But who knows. Anything’s possible, I suppose.

  • Ian

    big island
    sorry but
    wade and kobe are a wash and so are bosh and gasol
    lets give em numbers if u want
    lets say kobe is a 95 wade is a 94 same for gasol 95 and bosh bosh 94
    now bron is a 96 artest is a what 80 at best

    if they meet in the finals i hope the heat lose but it doesnt matter who starts with the 3 in miami that starting 5 will be better.

  • boto

    For people with a selective memory, let’s look at some numbers.

    Pau Gasol (with Memphis)

    Regular Season: 229-310
    Playoffs: 0-12

    Pau Gasol (with LA)

    Regular Season: 149-51
    Playoffs: 46-21

    Chris Bosh (with Toronto)

    Regular Season: 254-320
    Playoffs: 3-8

    Chris Bosh (with Miami)

    Regular Season: n/a
    Playoffs: n/a

    …..Gasol was known as a very good player who wasn’t great on Memphis. Now he’s known as a dominant big man. Bosh is also described as a very good player who isn’t quite a superstar. Let’s check back in on him in a year or two.

  • SlimeBucket

    I just want the season to start. Bulls look really good if they get Redick as well and Orlando looks like it is going backwards since both Shard and VC are not going to get it done in the playoffs. Right now you have to figure the Bulls have to be the favorite out of the East with their new coach improving their defensive and they will clean the boards with Boozer as well. Celtics are another year older and I don’t think they will even have the 4 seed this year with both the Bulls, Bucks, and Heat moving up from last years seedings. The Hawks could still be a playoff team although not a 4 seed; in any case they match up well against the Celtics.

  • SlimeBucket

    Eastern Conference playoff seeding prediction

    1. Heat (South Beach and ring means veterans will come)
    2. Bulls
    3. Orlando
    4. Bucks
    5. Hawks (could move up to 4 if they get Shaq)
    6. Celtics (injury bug will hit them again; they are old)
    7. Charlotte
    8. ??? (Maybe the Wizards depending on what they do with Areas but it is a crapshoot since it will be a team with less than a .500 record)

    I also think it will be very close in terms of win and loss record between 1 – 7 like the Western Conference last year.

  • SlimeBucket

    Also I wouldn’t count out the Suns again. They had a really bad stretch for about a month and they turned around that ship. Amare is gone but I think they have enough offensive still and they just need to keep developing that second unit. Frye moves into the starting lineup and other than the Western Conference Finals he was lights out from 3 point range. That second unit is key. Also, Richardson was not getting a lot of touches at times. He will get a few more touches and Lopez needs to pick up a few more baskets. I think people are going to realize that Amare is not as good without Nash just like Marion fell off the radar. Suns should still be a top 4 seed.

    Also, I think the Thunder matched up well against the Lakers so I think people are expecting a bit too much from them. I think they could move up from the 8 seed that they were but I don’t see them making it into the top 4. They were pretty much injury free whereas most of those other top teams had injuries to key players.

  • Legend 33

    People are underestimating LeBron he is like 1 and a half Dwades, that’s why he was head and shoulders above the field in free agency, ask any GM if they had to start a team who would it be and 30 out of 30 will take Lebron.

    Bynum if healthy is better than a Haselm\Shaq combo, but I doubt he will be a 100% when the Finals roll around. Hmm now all you Lakers fan that want Fisher to start over Blake and was saying how clutch, experienced and a leader he is are saying Blake is better? I’ll take Fisher over Blake in the Finals because he has been there and done that.

    I bet even the die-hard Lakers fan would not bet that they will win more chips this decade(2010-2019) than the Heat and you guys are already up 1 by wining the first chip this decade. Realistically I say the Heat will win at least 5 this decade.

  • Legend 33

    The Heat will shut a lot of folks down with their perimeter defense with Wade and Lebron on the wings deflecting passes and stealing balls(with their long arms and speed)it will be hard to score on them. Chicago was locking people down with Jordan and Pippen much the same way during their run. People are forgetting Wade and James both avg. 1 blk and 2 stls a game.

  • barons beard

    @legend 33 – Lebron is an average on-ball defender at best, chase down blocks on 6 foot guards doesn’t equal being a good defender

  • SlimeBucket

    Western Conference playoff seeding prediction

    1. Lakers
    2. Spurs(they got rid of RJ and finally picked up Tiago; Manu is resting this summer; Parker should be healthy; they have some good young players in Blair/George Hill)
    3. Mavericks
    4. Suns
    5. Jazz*
    6. Portland(I think they will get bad karma for what they did to their GM KP and Oden/Camby will get hurt again)
    7. Thunder
    8. Denver(contract year for Carmelo which means he jacks up more shots to pad his numbers at the sake of wins)

    Jazz probably seems too high but Jerry Sloan always delivers the goods. You can bet against him if you want.

    The more I look at the Western conference potential seating it still seems way too premature to call the Eastern Conference better or even equal. The Clippers should be better as well as the Kings. Hornets should play better with a healthier Paul. The Western Conference is still ridiculously stacked. “West is still the Beast.”

  • S-SiN

    Which one is funnier?

    “Orlando still has Dwight Howard and its title-contending core”

    or

    “Whether it’s Kobe or Carmelo or D-Will who leads his team out of the West”

  • SlimeBucket

    @barons beard – Lebron is better than an average defender. He did a good job against Paul Pierce and even made Rose take ridiculous shots to beat him at times in the playoffs when he was covering him which is ridiculous considering how fast Rose is. With that being said, I think the Lakers are still the favorites to win with or without Bynum. As long as Odom and Artest play decent then they should be fine. I am a Kobe fan hater so it pains me to stay he will get his six rings and 2 3 peats like Jordan. But the following year the Heat should be able to start eclipsing them since they will have their exceptions. Most likely there will be a lockout after this season so who knows if they will even have a playoffs in 2012.

  • S-SiN

    This one tops em all

    “the Better Basketball film crew should just set up shop at Bulls practice for their next instructional shooting tape”

    out like Al an 30 plus wins

  • Conoro

    Has he not written a report on his views?

    Shut the suss up, Joe Cooley High.

  • one and done

    I noticed a recurring sentiment that there can never be a debate between Kobe and Lebron now. Kobe has 5 rings and he did it on his own terms. He didn’t need to “chase” a ring. That’s kinda like comparing someone born into a rich family (Kobe) and someone marrying into a rich family (Lebron). Neither one did it on their own. Kobe always had a solid foundation, that’s why he never left. Minus the 2005-2007 seasons, Kobe never had a bad team. Look up the Cavs 2007 finals team, that team is garbage compared to Kobe’s finals teams.

    I’m going to put this out there. Kobe has NEVER won a title without an elite big man. Dwyane Wade can legitimately claim that he has.

  • S-SiN

    Kobe had a solid foundation? in trophie rooms they had in the Forum? yeah maybe.. but what he really got rite away was a Shaq oriented team from 97 and on with Nick the Quick, Ced 25 per Ceballos and Ediie “The best swingman in the L this side of Scottie Pippen” Jones to battle his spot over AND Del Harris as a head coach. Get the fuck out of here with that rich fam bullshit. we all know what it is, problem is we all know we all woulda done it as well if we were in Brons Nikes. Shit, I go ball with CB or Wader rite now..

  • one and done

    1996-1997 Lakers

    Corie Blount
    Elden Campbell
    Cedric Ceballos
    Derek Fisher (rookie)
    Robert Horry
    Eddie Jones
    Jerome Kersey
    Travis Knight (ha)
    Shaq
    Byron Scott
    Nick Van Exel
    Joe Kleine
    Larry Krystkowiak
    Rumeal Robinson
    Sean Rooks

    2003-2004 Cavaliers

    Tony Battie
    Carlos Boozer
    J.R. Bremer
    Kedrick Brown
    Mateen Cleaves
    Ricky Davis
    DeSagana Diop
    Big Z
    Jason Kapono
    Jelani McCoy
    Jeff McInnis
    Chris Mihm
    Darius Miles
    Lee Nailon
    Ira Newble
    Kevin Ollie
    Michael Stewart
    Bruno Sundov
    Dajuan Wagner
    Eric Williams

    …..yeah. I thought so.

  • Big Island

    Ian, I can respect that almost a wash statement with Kobe/Wade and Bosh/Gasol. Bron is better than Artest, that’s fact. Fish isn’t as good as Blake for the Lakers, and Bynum is as much better than Haslem as Lebron is better than Artest. So assuming everyone is a tie in the starting five, it comes down to the bench (Lakers) and coack (Lakers). You could maybe argue Riley, but he ain’t the coach.

  • frmkt

    Only one way Miami wins a chip next season: Riley comes back to coach… He will have that time conditioned, primed and ready to kick ass. They are younger, more athletic and real fucking hungry… If the Lakers make one mistake or Bynum isn’t available, Lakers go down in a 6 … If not, Lakers in 7. That’s how lethal this Miami team is right now and they’re only going to get better… for years to come… this is a dynasty in the making. we’ve just witnessed “fertilization.”

  • Legend 33

    don’t forget Miami win probably have home court in the playoffs too, they can easily win 65 games in the east playing the NJ,NY,WAS,CHA,TOR of the world.

    And LeBron is a great on ball defender when he wants to be. Yes, he doesn’t go hard on def all the time but he got the natural talent to defend like crazy, trust me Riley will get them to defend.

  • Seamus

    All this talk about free agents and what not..

    What exactly is the story with Allen Iverson??

    I’m sure he could be a nice piece with any team this year. I know he’s 35 but I reckon he could get 15-20ppg. He’s arguably one of the best scoring PG’s of all time.

  • dano

    Because no one ever said bosh could go down as the greatest ever, thats why.