Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Finally, a Unified Theory of Basketball

The NBA season, you might have heard, is over. Congratulations to the 2011-2012 Dallas Mavericks who have, by all accounts, proven that the only way to win an NBA Championship is to be the 2011-2012 Dallas Mavericks. 29 other teams, you are now on notice: conform now or remain ringless, hatless and balless, says Marc Berman of the venerable (and by 'venerable' I mean exactly the opposite) New York Post.

Mavericks show Knicks should change 3-star plan

It does not look like the way to go for the Knicks, who boast two stars in Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire and have contemplated adding a third, with the rest of their 2012 cap space, in Chris Paul. But at what expense?

At what expense should the .500 Knicks pursue the best point guard in the NBA? How about all of them. All the gold doubloons in Tartuga. Trade both Amar'e and Carmelo for him. Throw in the Empire State Building. I'm confused. Why wouldn't the Knicks do this? Because the Miami Heat did not win an NBA Championship this year? Unconfuse me, Marc.

America's Team -- the 2010-11 champion Dallas Mavericks -- proved during the riveting Finals that a deep, full-bodied team with lots of varied parts can overwhelm a club made of three players -- no matter how good.

America, eh? I suppose in a world where LeBron James is evil and Dirk has a goofy grin, we must hand over the mantle to the red, white and Cuban, but Marky Marc, let's be honest: the Mavs didn't *prove* anything. They were the better team in this series, no diggity. Does that proves that the make-up of this Mavs team is inextricably most superior to all others? Of course not, that would be dumb and stupid. Let's agree that the Heat had the best two players in that series (they didn't play the best in that series but are the superior players this year) and Mavs have the third, Dirk. The Mavs also employ the fourth, fifth and sixth (some order of Kidd, Chandler and Marion) and we'll slot Bosh as the seventh. After that we have some decent players on both sides (Miller, Haslem on the Heat) and if you like chucking, Terry and Barea for the Mavs.

Yet, one of these teams is some three starred Justice League and the other is "full-bodied" like a Belgian ale? What is it about a series between the two best teams (and I'm being generous with respect to sample sizes in the playoffs) that causes poop-for-brains to believe that two different essences of basketballdom are on trial for the prize of world domination of hearts and minds? And are serious people making serious basketball decisions on such nonsense? Is it a Cold War mentality? Am I getting too analogical one sentence after using the phrase 'poop-for-brains?' I digress.

The LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh experiment failed not only because "King" James choked, but also because the Heat had no supporting cast to perform the Heimlich. Whether Miami president Pat Riley can add solid complements without cap space is questionable.

Oh... I see what you did there, Marc. You put "King" in "quotations" to call into "question" the "virility" of that "nickname," you "sly" "devil."

You're right, though. Heat? Big failure. They failed their way to 58 wins. They flopped and choked past American full bodies like the Celtics and the Bulls. Those losers!

Haven't we already determined that, in the playoffs, teams shorten their benches and the top players play almost complete games. Isn't that how we were explaining the Heat's relatively easy path through the first three rounds? I can't keep up. And let's remember the Heat were missing Haslem and Miller most of the season (and decided that Mike Bibby was suddenly going to become... not Mike Bibby). The Mavs did it (Nowitski +5 MPG in the playoffs, Chandler +5, etc.)

And to this cap room nincompoop, I plead ignorance. Why is the Miami Heat's cap space situation a story? The Miami Heat are in a great cap situation, whatever the next CBA brings. Let's remember they were a cap team this year and spent just as much as the Toronto Raptors on salaries. The Mavs, goliaths that they are, had a $20 million higher payroll. Going forward, the Heat have two of the four best players in basketball signed for max deals (which is a steal) Mike Miller and Haslem for reasonable mid-level contracts and yeah, they overpaid for Chris Bosh, but whatevsies, you know? No they will not have cap room any time soon and neither will the Mavs, Lakers, Bulls, Griz, Blazers, Magic, even the Celtics have to divest of the "Big 3" in a couple years to even get a whiff of cap space. This is argument that the Heat are all tied up is exactly true except for the fact that it's exactly false.  The Heat will have about as much access to the free agent market as most contending teams. They can offer starting centre and point guard jobs. I am begging Samuel Dalembert to sign with the Raptors and not the Heat. I think my begs will fall on deaf ears.

None of the Big Three will be traded this summer, but if the star trio does not win the 2012 championship, the concept may be scrapped.

I agree. Sell the franchise. Bring in a starting five of all midgets. Or are we calling them "little people" now? I'm pretty sure "smurfs" is too offensive. 

Late Sunday night, Riley's wife, Christine, approached a James confidant and whispered: "You learn more from losing than winning."

What a bizarre and creepy non sequitur. What else is Christine Riley whispering to confidants? #cougar

Knicks outgoing president Donnie Walsh has given strong recent hints adding Paul may not be in the plan, especially with the new labor agreement shrinking their 2012 cap space. Better to spend the cap room on three solid contributors.

"You really need all the pieces or roles filled to win a championship," Walsh told The Post yesterday. "Miami gave it a great run, though, with what they had."

In his conference call 10 days ago announcing his impending resignation, Walsh was prescient about the series while giving strong indications the Knicks need role players -- not Paul.

Donnie Walsh knows that Chris Paul is three solid contributors. But he's also saying this on a phone call to announce his quitting so, grain of salt, I suppose. 

"We have the stars. They will do what they do. And we're lucky to have them," Walsh added. "But you need more than that. So that's the job. And that's how I've felt about this since the day we did the [Anthony] trade."

This is only significant in that Donnie Walsh is clearly admitting he did not want to trade for Carmelo Anthony.

Miami's entire cap space went to the Big Three -- nothing left for established role guys. They had no point guard or center and a terrible bench. It was damning that starting point guard Mike Bibby received a DNP in desperation Game 6 on Sunday. Of the nine players who played in Game 6, three went scoreless -- starting center Joel Anthony, Mike Miller and Juwan Howard. Ex-Knicks castoff Eddie House played 21 minutes, taking big shots in the fourth quarter.

Right. We get it. The 8-15th player on the Heat were a big bag of suck balls. I could point out other teams with suck ball benches that cost a lot more money but I'll let you close your eyes and imagine I'm doing so instead.

Yes, Dirk Nowitzki played better than any of Miami's Big Three, but the Mavs came at the Heat in waves. Sixth Man Jason Terry and guard J.J. Barea lit them up. Jason Kidd was poised and clutch. Center Tyson Chandler seemed to keep alive every ball in the fourth quarter.

We've hit the clutchiness argument which means it's time to end this. Congratulations once again to the Dallas Mavericks, America and God's team.

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