The NBA Finals are under way with the Miami Heat taking game one against the Mavericks, 92-84. However, the series has not been the only NBA news within the past week. Therefore, I wanted to offer my thoughts on other recent NBA news as well as the finals.
Last week, Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen said that LeBron James is better than the great Michael Jordan. The statement was made on the hells of LeBron’s superb defensive effort on NBA MVP, Derrick Rose. I do not mean to take away any credit from James as his performance on the defensive end was impressive, but people cannot over hype players based on one post-season. Unfortunately, such over generalizations happen too often in basketball. LeBron finally makes it back to the NBA Finals, and he’s suddenly the best player ever. Pippen got caught up the moment, and even former teammate Horace Grant had to come out and say he was wrong. But this is what people do after great performances. It happened last season when Kobe won his fifth title and people said he was the best Laker of all time. It happened this same post season when Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle claimed Dirk Nowitzki is in the list of top 10 all-time players, when he isn’t even the best European playing today. The comparisons and high praise needs to stop. Here’s the deal: James is not better than Jordan. Until Bryant retires, James is not even the best current player, and Bryant is not better than Jordan either. Let’s evaluate these two players’ careers after they retire and then we’ll talk about who was better.
After game one of the NBA Finals, it looks like James could win his first title after winning his first Finals game. The Mavericks were hot, but no one is hotter than the Heat. Watch as the Mavericks’ reliance on threes will finally end, and Nowitzki will not be able to carry the team on his own. Jason Terry will have to remove his Finals trophy tattoo. The Heat should be able to close the series in Dallas.
In other news, the Los Angeles Lakers found a new head coach, and his name is not Brian Shaw. It is former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach, Mike Brown. Brown proved he could win in the regular season while he was the coach at Cleveland, but his teams folded in the postseason and it seemed as if the players were led by James and not him. I don’t believe the way the Lakers lost in the playoffs this season was a result of the coaching staff, but the lack of a good point guard. The NBA is quickly leaning toward becoming a guard league, leaving big men out to dry, and having Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum is not the way to win anymore — pick one and get rid of the other for a point guard younger and faster than Derek Fisher. But the hiring of Brown seems to indicate that they want nothing to do with what Jackson brought to the team, as Shaw was his understudy. What’s worse, is the Lakers did not discuss Brown with Bryant, the leader of the team. Although Bryant publicly endorsed Shaw, he should have been contacted about Brown before the hire, and the Lakers realized their mistake in hindsight. Good luck to Brown as he tries to control Bryant’s Lakers when he couldn’t control James’ Cavs. Mo Williams thinks the hiring of Brown is good for the Lakers. Sure, because his word is worth noting.
Lastly, Shaquille O’Neal tweeted today that he is retiring. It’s about time. There’s nothing else to prove for him nor can he keep up any longer.