- Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “There is a theory being perpetrated by ESPN’s Skip Bayless that the Van Gundy brothers are simply trying to heap undue pressure on the Heat. If it were any other coach but Stan Van Gundy, I might buy it. StanVan Gundy, at least from my experience, calls them as he sees them, much like his brother Jeff Van Gundy does as an analyst. The fact is, the Heat have put together a virtual Dream Team of talent. Of course, nobody knows how all of these gifted players will mesh together, and the Heat still have to go out and prove they can win a championship. But, on paper, they are the best team ever assembled in the modern-day NBA.”
- Josh Cohen of OrlandoMagic.com cautions fans to be wary of trade rumors.
- Kurt Helin of ProBasketballTalk: “Can you consistently knock down free throws? If so, you stand a good chance of beating Dwight Howard in H-O-R-S-E. And if you have the money, you can get to play him. Howard is auctioning off the chance to play H-O-R-S-E against him to raise money for Usher’s New Look Foundation. That organization trains youth to be the leaders of tomorrow, and in doing so increases their chances of graduating from high school and going on to college. It’s a good cause, a good place to put your money.”
- Want to know a team that does an excellent job of defending pick and rolls? Sebastian Pruiti of NBA Playbook says it’s the Orlando Magic: “Orlando is one of the best teams against the pick and roll, and in my opinion they are the best at hedging screens. This is because they have bigs in Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis who can show and get back to their man quickly. The goal of hedging is to force the defender to either pick up his dribble or turn towards the middle of the court. Doing this prevents the ball handler to get the rim and makes a pass harder.”
- Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie ranks Vince Carter as the 23rd-best shooting guard in the NBA right now: “Yes, I had him sixth last season. Why? Ask any Nets fan who watched him in 2008-09: Carter was a borderline All-Star that season. Not last season, where he floated and occasionally helped and absolutely disappeared in the playoffs. Carter has an all-around game, he can still rebound and make the pass while working a screen-and-roll, and he’s still a threat to shoot his way toward 37 points every so often. But he just never applied himself when the going got tough. Pity.”
- In the same rankings, J.J. Redick is pegged at 17th. Go figure.
- Trey Kerby of Ball Don’t Lie: “I don’t know what’s gotten in to the Van Gundy family, but they seem to be suffering from an acute case of Heat stroke. Miami Heat pun zing, for sure. First, Jeff spouted off about Miami breaking every conceivable team record in the history of the NBA, which is to be expected because he’s paid to have opinions. Now, his brother Stan, the Orlando Magic coach — is refusing to take sides against the family and echoing Jeff’s sentiments. Those crazy Van Gundys and their outlandish predictions. [...] In actuality, Stan isn’t totally crazy. I’m not entirely convinced that Dwyane Wade is better than Scottie Pippen. Offensively Wade tops Scottie, no doubt. But when it comes to the other half of the game — defense — there was no better or more disruptive perimeter defender, ever, than Pippen. That’s a big deal, and I’d be willing to offer a tie on that comparison. Furthermore, I will concede Toni Kukoc is not the equal of Chris Bosh, but Bosh’s corollary should probably be Dennis Rodman who is better at rebounding and defense than Bosh, just as much as Bosh is a better offensive player. We can call that one a wash as well, or give a slight nod to the Heat if you’re feeling generous.”
Thursday’s Magic Word
I could. I could've waited five lifetimes to see what a LeBron-Wade-Bosh combo could do on a team not named the Orlando Magic. Especially when I was kinda hoping for the Magic to win a title with Dwight, Jameer, Rashard and Stan.
@Billy (slickw143), @eltharion_doa, @hulKK
Whatever the case may be with the Heat, we'll find out soon enough how good they'll be. I, for one, can't wait to see how it all unfolds.
We can sit up here and be in denial all we want but the fact is the Heat have a really good All-Star combo and supporting cast. Mike Miller will thrive and have his best career shooting. Let's not forget about Juwan is old but still a pretty good veteran defender. Mario had a all around "off" season last yr but he def shouldn't be taken lightly. He's young and showed a good amount of improvement until last season. Carlos is a turnover waiting to happen with his flamboyant style of dribbling. I don't care how old Eddie House is he should never be taken lightly and be left open. But he will be a liability on defense for the most part. Hasslem and Anthony are undersized when it comes down to the Magic but they're still tough and they don't need the ball or even be involved in a play to make a difference.
I think have a "somewhat" good chance at beating the Heat but its going to have to be done with GREAT defense. Mostly getting back after a missed shot and not allowing the Heat to many opprotubities in the open court/fast break. Last but not least the rotations on defense have to be FLAWLESS. Kinda like what the Celtics did in the playoffs last yr. VS the Magic. That was some random, freakishly good defense. Def wasn't expecting that. Bosh needs the ball to produce and help his team to produce. lebron's jump shot is suspect at times so you wana make sure he takes a jump shot on the iso plays and make sure the help rotations on def. are FLAWLESS. As for Dwayne, I'd let him drive but sag the defense and force him to kick out and make sure your close out defense has been worked on this summer. It sounds easy but is really hard to do. It's possible but it's gona take a GOOD defensive team what GREAT close-out guards(makes you miss Courtney Lee) Basically Vince HAS to be better on defensive close-outs this yr. He was the leaky whole in the levy last yr on defense.
Ok I'm done. LOL!
I would not say pretty damn good, even if Haslem avoids any serious legal issues with his felony drug charge. Miller is good like you said, but Chalmers is serviceable at best, Joel Anthony is a solid shot blocker and not much else, Eddie House is getting old and shot 34.8% from 3 last year (and can't do anything but that), I've never liked Carlos Arroyo, and their trio of Z, Juwan Howard, and Magloire is... underwhelming, to put it mildly.
Oh wait, I forgot Shavlik Randolph. That guy is the TRUTH, let me tell you.
@ Billy - their supporting cast is pretty damn good. OK, Miller's not exactly Steve Kerr but he's going to get all the open shots he wants and sink a fair few of them while he's at it, and as Trey Kerby over at Ball Don't Lie points out, the Heat aren't filling their rotation with garbage like Dickey Simpkins, Jud Buechler and John Salley, who all played double digit minutes on various Bulls teams.
I guess if people still want to talk about the Heat's potential with history, I still think a big thing is missing that people don't bring up enough. It might not even matter in the end, but really, all of these other "dream teams" or "Big 3" combos or whatever have typically complemented each other perfectly.
Boston had KG, the best defender in the league at the time who could still rebound and score inside; Pierce who was the go-to perimeter scorer who could also drive and get to the free throw lane; and Ray Allen, the lights out shooter. The Bulls had MJ (who did everything), Scottie (as said, one of the best perimeter defenders ever and a great second option wing scorer), and Horace/Rodman for the dirty work inside. The 80s Celtics had Bird (again, did everything), McHale (go-to post scorer), and Parish (handling the dirty work).
Actually, Miami's three has all the ability to complement each other great, on offense at least. So I don't know where I'm going with this. Well, their supporting cast wasn't as good as any of those other teams I mentioned! I'm continuing to try to talk my way into believing the Magic have a decent chance to win the title this year.