Vol. V: Off-Season Daggers with Steve Buckhantz

WashingtonWizards.com caught up with Wizards commentator Steve Buckhantz to get his take on current happenings around the NBA

WW.com: So back in Volume I, you predicted a Heat-Thunder Finals and here we are 5 weeks later with a Heat and Thunder Finals. Are you sticking with the Heat as a champion or do you think the Thunder have too many weapons? Keys to the series?

SB: As I respond in this volume of Off Season DAGGERS, Oklahoma City has just defeated Miami in game one of the finals. I was surprised at the Thunder's comeback. It showed us all however, that not only do they have the ability to hit big shots and play great defense, but they are able to adjust. The Heat were killing them with wide open outside shots in the first half but OKC did a much better job of not allowing those shooters to get good looks. And when Lebron and Wade got in the paint, OKC bothered them and forced turnovers and bad shots.

Having said all this, I STILL believe Miami will win the series, possibly in six games. This next game is critical for the Heat. The two-three-two format is a big advantage for them IF they can win game two.

We shall see.

Meantime, game one was HUGE for OKC, not only to be able to comeback, but losing game one in their own building would have likely been catastrophic.

WW.com: Since you nailed the Finals prediction, can you give us a champion to the Euro Cup or is soccer outside your expertise?

SB: I truly enjoy watching DC United as well as the World Cup competition when it rolls around, but I know as much about soccer as I do nuclear fission. Can I phone a friend? Let me get back to you after I speak with Dave Johnson.

WW.com: And while we’re at making predictions, the U.S. Open is this weekend and Tiger looked like his old self in the last tournament he played. Will Tiger make it back-to-back tournament wins and take down the U.S. Open or is there someone else you like to win?

SB: Predicting a tournament winner each week on the PGA tour may be the most difficult thing in sports. Even though a guy can get hot and play well, it seems extremely difficult to earn back to back victories. I guess if anybody can do it, Tiger can. At least he has the capability.

Unless I missed something, he seems to have his rhythm back as well as his focus. It wouldn't surprise me if he won at Olympic.

WW.com: We’ve talked a lot about the draft, but there may be some key free agent acquisitions made this off-season as well. Are there any unrestricted free agents you have your eye on you would like to see the Wizards pursue?

SB: Again, I have virtually no idea what Ernie Grunfeld is thinking in terms of free agent acquisitions and possible trades. Two guys however, stand out and I thought were very impressive this past season. Steve Novak of the Knicks and Ersan Ilyasova of the Bucks. If they haven't already resigned, both should be available. Novak proved to be a deadly shooter who can knock down the three pointer with consistency and Ilyasova is getting better and better and is one of those guys who never gives up on a play. Don't know if they are on the Wiz radar, but I think they could be valuable additions.

WW.com: There are a lot of young inspiring broadcasters out there who are looking to make it in the broadcasting field. What’s one piece of advice you would give to a young broadcaster?

SB: Take advantage of your opportunities before you get into the real world. If you are fortunate enough to be going to college, utilize every single avenue at your disposal. Try to get involved at the campus radio station, newspaper, website, etc and try very hard to land an internship somewhere, either at a local TV outlet or print organization. A classroom will NEVER be able to afford you the same first hand look you'll get from actually being at a real station.

If you are not going to college, grab a newspaper, rewrite a column and read it on a recorder. Practice it over and over again until you look like the news anchors on TV, or do the play-by-play of a game off the tube. If you think you have some talent, contact every small market station on the planet and tell them you want a job in broadcasting. You may be surprised at the response.