Around the NBA - 10/28/10

October 28, 2010
Nick Matkovich



With the exception of the retirees and Tony Montana wannabes of South Beach and those poor, unfortunate sports souls of Cleveland, we the people of the United States of America were not upset with LeBron James.

We were disappointed.

The all too familiar phrase of parents who mastered the art of burdening their children with guilt describes LeBron's career choice to head south for the winter.

His decision to sign with the Miami Heat lacked adventure. Its creativity had the unoriginality of a TBS sitcom.

The "King" left the hot seat across from Regis (Meredith, pssh) four questions short of a million dollars with all of his lifelines intact.

Believe me, I didn't care for James' decision. Instead of shuffling the deck, he along with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade decided to stack it. I wanted to see James further shape his individual identity as the guy instead of joining the Heat as some sort of hired hand, or mercenary as others suggested.

Alas, time heals all wounds and hang-overs. I don't find myself tsk-tsking James for his decision. He's moved on, now it's time for the morally overt, they of the "Chicken Soup for the Sports Fans Soul" crowd to do the same.

All we're left with is the most anticipated NBA Season since the 95-96 Bulls pinned a target on the single season wins record.

Comissioner David Stern admitted as much, calling the upcoming season, "One of the most exciting in years for NBA fans."

Thank you for the understatement Mr. Commissioner. Though some fan bases (Bulls, Knicks, and Nets) are upset their respective teams failed to land James, Wade, or Bosh, a new villain emerged from their conjoining of forces. This monster is evil, dominating and maniacal enough to warrant an Academy Award.

The trio (though Bosh is hardly on the same level of Wade and James, think Pavarotti, Domingo, and the other guy) have become the league's black hats, creating a year-long soap opera of good vs. evil.

Yes, that same simple story line that made Vince McMahon rich enough to launch his wife's senate campaign will dominate the headlines for the 2010-2011 season.

There is no doubt we'll be oversaturated with Heat news. But to ignore the NBA Elephant in the room (that was not a snide remark aimed at Stanley Roberts or Eddy Curry) is foolish. The story is too delicious to leave at the table.

The type of league-wide following has not been seen since the Jordan Bulls. The superstar power will force a boom to an already thriving early bird dinner crowd in Miami. As further evidence of the team's popularity at home, the organization cut loose most of their season ticket sales staff because the only thing to sell was well-wishes and enthusiasm.

The road following will be unprecedented. Heat games will be the thing to do in every city from New York to New Orleans.

The team's quest for invincibility is the most intriguing preseason storyline since Karl Malone and Gary Payton unsuccessfully tried to hijack the Larry O'Brien Trophy as members of the Los Angeles Lakers. The difference being, Malone and Payton were a far cry from "The Mailman" and "The Glove." Fans at the Staples Center were treated to Cliff Clavin and the Arby's Oven Mitt.

In this version, all three are at the peak of their careers. While the move allows the trio to benefit in one shape or form, Wade stands to gain the most, or preserve the most. The seven year veteran who fell down seven times and stood up eight (on the ninth he was rolled away in a wheel chair as if beset with polio) ran his body ragged to make the Heat relevant. The addition of James and Bosh elongates Wade's career by at least two years.

James can continue to mimic photo shoots and deleted scenes from "Kingpin," before the game. Wade has alpha-dog status on the team so James can maintain his happy as a clam persona.

Bosh benefits by being associated with the other two, even though I've never been a big fan of his game with a delicate big man's approach to basketball. Bosh likes to step out to hit shots instead of mixing it up with the big nasties. With Wade and James being scoring options one and two in no particular order, Bosh is far and away the best number three scoring option in the league.

The three alone make the Heat a serious title contender but President Pat Riley assembled a crew of supporting players who won't overstep their limitations. No one on the rosters has illusions of grandeur about their capabilities. The roles of Mike Miller (hit open shots), and Jamaal Magloire (rebound and defend in the post) are well-defined. None of the Pips on this team have ever shown to think of themselves as Gladys Knight.

By assembling this group of superstars and role-players (a simple formula for long-term NBA success), the Heat are my overwhelming favorites to win the NBA Title. Risky, I know. However, pundits have soured on the Heat because of a supposed lack of depth after the top three. Go ahead and let your heart overrule your mind. I'll go with the Heat. Why bet against any team with two of the top four players in the league on one roster?

July's disappointment shouldn't make you delusional in October.

Note: These are the views of the 6th Fan Blogger. Thoughts and opinions expressed in this articles are not necessarily the views of the Milwaukee Bucks.