Obviously, this is a New Jersey Nets blog, however, the NAS crew absolutely love the NBA in general. So, every week, Sebastian, Mark, Devin, and myself will answer questions regarding the L.
1) How much do you think Tom Izzo not taking the Cleveland Cavaliers head coaching had to do with LeBron James? Is this a sign that LeBron is bolting Cleveland?
I don’t think the actual non-signing has anything to do with LeBron. Although, I think a big indicator that he might be leaving is the fact that he refused to meet with Izzo when he was in Cleveland. If he is staying, doesn’t he want to talk to the new coach and get things figured out?
LeBron, LeBron, LeBron. I’m really starting to feel like Jan Brady here. Obviously, the uncertainty of the LeBron situation is connected to Izzo’s decision to stay at Michigan State, though I don’t think anyone can say with any certainty that this now tips LeBron’s hand and he’s going to leave. Regardless of LeBron, I thought Izzo risked ruining his legacy by jumping to the NBA to coach the Cavs. And maybe, when it’s all said and done, Izzo was much happier being the best college coach rather than another guy who came over to the NBA and failed. It’s not like Pitino, Calipari and Carlesimo haven’t set a precedent here.
It’s probably not specifically a sign, but do think LeBron is gone. Tom loves Michigan State (clearly) and obviously has a ton of allegiances to the university. While it would have been interesting to see him manning the sidelines at Cleveland, I think it’s probably best for him to stay in college, since most coaches have difficulties making the transition and Izzo’s got a huge following at MSU. All in all, I don’t think Izzo turning down the job had to do with LeBron’s potential departure, but LeBron will most likely only play in Cleveland on the road next year.
I think the uncertainty of LeBron re-signing led to the uncertainty and eventually rejection of Izzo. If there was any clue that LeBron was going to re-sign, Izzo would have been all over that job because who wouldn’t want to coach LeBron besides Mike Brown who seemed like he never really did anyway. I still believe that James will come back to Cleveland, but the coaching shambles did make me rethink that. However, after a few minutes, I came back to think that Cleveland will continue to be witnesses.
2) Jason Kidd is getting a lot more calm in his old age and said he would come off the bench if necessary for Rodrigue Beaubois to develop. Is Kidd just saying that considering how much of a competitor he is? Or is Beaubois just that good?
Rodrigue Beaubois is that good. He didn’t get as many minutes as he deserved last year, and I think that is because the Mavs’ coaching staff felt required to play Kidd. Now that Kidd has given his blessing on Rodrigue Beaubois getting more minutes, you are going to be able to see what he is going to be able to do.
When Dallas first came to New Jersey last season (and who can forget, they were loss #18 in the team’s 0-18 start), I watched Beaubois run up and down the court and light the Nets up and I was thinking who WAS this guy? Not saying he’s a superstar, but there’s definitely a freakish athleticism to his game that’s just impressive. With that said, who knows what Kidd’s motives are here. Even when he was in NJ, he would have these moments of clarity before having a “migraine” or killing another coach’s stint with a team. I love Kidd, don’t get me wrong, but I have serious qualms about him taking a backseat to anyone unless he honestly thinks Beaubois can lead Dallas to a championship.
One thing is true about Beaubois… he can fly. I only had the opportunity to see a few Mavericks games last year and he never seemed like the best player on the court but he was always in the mix. It’s possible that Kidd’s body is finally starting to catch up to him and he’s recognizing that he needs limited minutes (he is 38, after all) and needs to pass the torch. I’m not sure about Beaubois’s ability as a distributor – his assist & turnover numbers aren’t magnificent, and I don’t recall seeing anything that screamed passer to me when I watched Dallas – but there’s no better tutor than Jason Kidd in that department.
Kidd is feeling it, both the creaking of his bones and that window on winning a championship closing. Will Beaubois be the difference-maker in getting the Mavs to the Finals? No. However, he will allow Kidd to get some blow on the bench more often, which will only help Kidd’s efficiency when he’s getting burn on the hardwood. Kidd knows this, which is probably what led him to say he’d ride the pine if necessary.
3) Let’s assume Dwyane Wade stays wiht the Miami Heat, which is likely, which free agent other than LeBron fits best for Flash and the Heat?
The best fit in my opinion is Chris Bosh, for all of the same reasons he is the best fit for the Nets. He is the best free agent PF, can do a lot of different things on offense and is a pretty solid defender. More importantly is Chris Bosh’s demeanor. Everything about him says he doesn’t have to or need to be the number one guy of the team. I don’t know if someone like Amar’e feels that way.
Hello, Chris Bosh. Putting aside their friendly dinner this week, Bosh makes so much sense for Miami and Wade. You can tell Miami was going for that kind of combination with Jermaine O’Neal, but it just didn’t work out. But to have a guy in the post who can draw a double the way Bosh can would make Miami a scary, scary team.
Miami needs a big man to complement Wade, and they need it badly. O’Neal, Shaquille was that guy. O’Neal, Jermaine is not. I think the obvious choices are Bosh & Amare, so assuming those two sign elsewhere I’d like to throw another name in the pot: David Lee. Lee is a guy who can play the obvious #2 role effectively, getting tons of garbage points without begging for attention or touches. He’ll provide a solid rebounding presence and play as much defense as Bosh or Amare would have, if not more. Plus, it would be a perfect opportunity for Lee to prove he’s not just a product of D’Antoni’s system and can compete in a more rigidly paced offense.
I like Bosh here and it’s for a reason that’s kind of a backhanded compliment – Bosh can’t succeed as the number one guy on a team. I think we saw this in Toronto where he couldn’t elevate the play of his teammates no matter how much desire he had and effort he put in. However, as a number two guy? He’s perfect for that role and teaming up with Wade works in many ways.
4) If the Lakers win a sixth title next year, how valid does Kobe Bryant’s name come up in the “greatest of all time” argument?
Well, I know Kobe was named Finals MVP but I really think Pau Gasol was the difference maker for the Lakers this time around, and a legitimate case could be made that Kobe was pretty awful in a deciding game outside of being able to get calls and get to the line. Kobe Bryant is a great player, but I still don’t think he can sniffs MJ’s level.
Kobe Bryant is the single most divisive player of our generation. His fans obsessively love him, his detractors obsessively criticize him. It makes it nearly impossible to judge him solely on his merit: an amazing basketball player, on the most high-profile basketball franchise in the world, who now has five championships to his name. You either are firmly in the camp of “yes, he’s in the discussion,” or find every reason to say he’s not.
I think if Kobe gets his sixth ring, it should vault him into the conversation. It should be noted that I always make a distinction between “best player” and “best talent” with the former having number of titles put into the equation as basketball is a team game. For example, in today’s game, Kobe Bryant is the best player, while I think LeBron James is the best talent. In any case, Jordan has six NBA Finals MVP awards. Kobe just won his second last night. So, there’s no contest there.
But, what if Kobe gets seven titles? It would be interesting, but I think I would take the stance of my buddy, Jon L., Kobe is basically a wannabe-Jordan. From Jon, it’s an insult since he doesn’t share the affinity for Kobe that I have. But, I think it’s a compliment because Kobe has been the closest of any player to being Jordan, whom for the record I do consider the G.O.A.T.
However, more importantly, and I hope Jon doesn’t mind me pilfering this from our long conversation on the subject on Facebook, but:
Not to reiterate, but the tongue wag… The number changing… The finger flash for rings… The basic body and facial movements… Even speech. Can never get past that. Original always better.