The SBM Sports Recap of the 2013 NBA Season

Heat Champion Stage

Heat Haters almost had reason to celebrate, but in the end, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the rest of Miami had the last laugh for the 2013 NBA season. In the moments after their Game 7 championship win, I thought about how close it came to going the other way. A majority of the postgame analysis centered on James, undoubtedly the biggest and most interesting star in the Finals, but how strange is it that James’ legacy benefitted so much from others?

In Game 6, Manu Ginobili and Kawhi Leonard missed key free throws, and Ray Allen made a miracle three pointer. In Game 7, Shane Battier caught fire, and Tim Duncan missed a shot that’s usually automatic in the closing seconds. And somehow these plays change how LeBron goes down in history?lebron-james-championship-parade

Isn’t that silly?

This season more than any other has changed how I look at James (and all great players) historically. I get why James felt like he had to leave Cleveland. His situation in Miami is better in almost every way. He plays with two all-stars (one of which is a close friend) in an offensive system that compliments rather than burdens him. And the results – two championships and almost assured title contention – speak for themselves.

So regardless of how those shots by Ginobili, Leonard, Allen, etc. had turned out, we saw James prove that he’s the best player in the league over 105 games through the regular and post season. That should be enough to cement his legacy. A few random bounces in an incredibly close NBA Finals shouldn’t cloud a hundred games of evidence. Here’s hoping the last seven games of the season introduced sports analysis to common sense.

The Heat weren’t the only story to come out of this marathon NBA Playoffs. Here’s what else caught my eye:

The Spurs went out as well as anyone could have hoped.

From their first NBA title in 1999, to 2013 when they were just seconds away from another ring with the same core, the Spurs have been a model for all franchises in how to remain a title contender. Even after admitting they were “devastated” with their Game 6 loss, the team bounced back and took Miami to the wire again in Game 7. An amazing performance under the circumstances.

I’d be quick to write the Spurs off except that they always seem to figure out how to stay in the championship mix. Maybe Kawhi Leonard will take a leap offensively, maybe Tony Parker can fully take the reins and lead the team back. I wouldn’t rule anything out.

Stephen Curry catching fire is amazing.

We saw flashes back when he was in college, and in Madison Square Garden, but Curry’s performances in these playoffs built the legend even more. Feel free to text/tweet/email/carrier pigeon me anytime Curry starts hitting shots. I’ll definitely stop what I’m doing. Hopefully the Warriors keep talent around him because Warrior playoff games hardly disappoint.

What do the Lakers do now?

tim-duncan-deal-with-it

Well, that was an unceremonious exit. (Remix here)

Four ho-hum losses to the Spurs signaled the start of a new chapter in LA. Whether this will be the Dwight Howard Era remains to be seen. But even if it is, how far off are they from legitimate title contention? There are some glaring holes at power forward, small forward, point guard, and (for the first time in forever) shooting guard…with no cap space until 2014. The Lakers are another team that has been great at doing what is needed to stay elite. They might need to pull a rabbit out of a hat this time though.

Overall, this was a great NBA season with a great 7-game Finals to cap it off. Basketball fans get to have some fun this Thursday with the draft, then just a few short months until the NFL kicks off.

What will be your lasting memories from this season? Did LeBron’s performance during this second title run change your impression of him? Hit the comments and let me know!

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  • Tunde

    i'm a lebron fan so i was pleased with the outcome of the season. the only way i would have been more pleased is if the wizards won the title. i'm also a laker hater so i'm happy with the way their season ended.

    i was surprised with how well the clippers played in the regular season, the grizzlies (before the spurs series) and the pacers. i was disappointed with the knicks (but not really) #knickstape #shots and the nuggets. both teams made so much noise in the regular season but fizzled in the playoffs.

    My recent post Marriage for All…

    • Joe Sargent

      As a Wiz fan, how do you feel about this max contract they are about to give John Wall? You on board?

  • Larry

    Being one of the resident Laker fans it goes as no secret that we are disappointed with the outcome of the season with the expectations coming in and also the fact that any season that doesn't end in us hoisiting up the Larry O'Brien trophy is deemed a disappointment in general. What can I say? We have high standards in L.A. It was heart breaking to see Kobe will the team into a great end of the season after a horrendus start rupture his Achilles right before the playoffs. If there is any silver lining is that when we were relatively healthy we finished the season 27-11.

    • Larry

      I'm optimistic we'll re-sign Howard in the off-season and I'm sure Kupchak will do the best he can to get some pieces that can help build upon that 27-11 finish into next season and then we'll go ahead and grab up Kyrie Irving in 2014 and it will really be on lol :-)

      LeBron's 2nd title didn't change my impression of him. I've been watching this dude play since his freshman year of high school. I already know how great he is and it doesn't surprise me one bit how he has overcome such narrow scrutiny to be successful. Jordan needed Paxson and Kerr to hit big shots, Kobe needed Robert Horry and Fisher to hit big shots. It is what it is. Ray hit a big shot for LeBron. Happens more often then one thinks. Overall a great ending to the NBA season and looking forward to October already!

      • Joe Sargent

        In matters not related to the Lakers, you seem to be pretty level headed, lol. Glad you're on board with this view of LeBron. It's so easy to yell RINGZZZZ when comparing the greats, but this year more than any for me solidified how dumb that is.

  • Larry

    Oh, and I'd also like to take a moment to re-hash a comment I made right at the beginning of the playoffs in another post Joe had about 8 weeks ago:

    "I believe it's the Heat's championship to lose based on the the talent they have. Now I want to make one thing VERY clear…just because ppl think the Heat can win a championship does NOT mean ppl think the Heat are gonna sweep everyone and win by an average of 20 points a game….no one is saying that. They may go through a couple of 7 game series…get lucky a time or two. All of the Bulls great teams only went less than 6 games 1 in their title runs I believe. "

    They need to fire Bill Simmons and hire me. Clearly I'm good at pointing out when I was somewhat right while totally never bringing up when I was wrong (which is about 75% of the time) lmaooo.

    • Joe Sargent

      Negrodamus.

  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    Miami's run highlighted how close title runs can be. Miami should have been beat by the Spurs in Game 6. They also could have easily lost to the Pacers in 6. Odd that Vogel had Hibbert out at the end of Game 1 of the East Finals, and Popovich had Duncan out at the end of Game 6 of the Finals.

    That said, Lebron proved he's the best in the game. Lucky bounces, close calls, doesn't matter. He brought it Game 7, and hit a clutch jumper in the last minute to seal the deal. He's legitimately in the top 15 all time now.

    And poor Tony Parker. Lebron moved from 20-30 on the all-time list to Top 15. If the Spurs had Duncan in at the end of Game 6 (or could get a rebound or hit their free throws, or simply hold a five point lead with 25 seconds left), Tony Parker would have dramatically changed his legacy. We'd be talking about his clutch three-pointer with Lebron on him and his driving layup in the last minute of Game 6. Again, title runs are thatclose.

    • Joe Sargent

      Yeah Parker will always be slept on. He finished in the Top 5 of MVP voting for a couple years now, so the people "in the know" seem to recognize. It will take the public a while to catch up. May never happen, which is s shame.

  • Peter Parker

    Yeah, definitely a great year. Not a big NBA fan, but I am definitely a Lebron fan. I mean the King made his statement loud and clear. I wish he would just build that killer instinct that Mike and some of the other greats had in which they would literally take over the game, but then again it may not be in Lebron's nature. Nonetheless, I was pleased my boy did his thing and I can get ready for the NFL season and watch my Nationals until that time comes…

    • Joe Sargent

      He had the game you wanted from him In Game 7 I'd think. Hit the clinching jumper and had a good line overall. I agree the 48 minute scoring takeover may not be in his nature, but he does a lot over the course of the game. He controls the pace like all the great PG's AND can play from the post to the three point line. It doesn't always look like Jordan, but it's just as forceful.

  • Streetz

    I was moderately happy with the Knicks season. I felt the ECF was the destination and we fell short. Im optimistic going forward that we will be competitive but we're still 1-2 away unfortunately.

    Mad respect for Bron. He's the best right now and there's no denying it

    • Joe Sargent

      Hopefully the rest of the decaying roster retires to give your Knicks some more flexibility. The problem IMO is Derrick Rose is coming back which puts another roadblock in your way to the ECF. Might be a step back before any forward.

      • Streetz

        The whole Knicks old thing was a swindle anyway. Rasheed Kurt Camby and Kidd were the old guys and thats only 1/3 of the roster.

        We'll have the starting 5 back (whoa re all under 30), most likely have Copeland and JR (under 30), not sure about Prigioni (35) and cambys old ass will be back.

        Rose is another roadblock but I think we will be fine. Knicks are def in the top 4 in EC teams.

        • Larry

          Thought the Knicks starting 5 was Felton, Prigioni, Chandler, Anthony and Shump?

          By the end of next season I think only 2 of those players will be under 30 (Felton and Shump), right? Chandler's 30 going on 31 and Prigioni is 35 and Anthony will turn 30 during the upcoming season. Stoudamire, Camby, Kenyon all 30+ off the bench.

          I see JR Smith opted out and wants to explore free agency. I think the Knicks re-sign him no problem, though. I really like Copeland, too.

          Knicks have a good blend of youth and veterans in my opinion. I agree with you…1 or 2 pieces away from being serious (or an injury or two to another team). Top 4…maybe even top3 in the east no question!

  • langwichartz

    First off, I will give kudos to the Heat for their title win. I am not going to blubber on the greatness of LeBron James. He is talented, I will leave it at that.

    I am proud of the Spurs for defying conventional wisdom and winning with a semi-aging roster. They have been a consistent team of excellence since the turn of the century, and for that I tip my cap!

    I am even prouder of my Indiana Pacers, even in defeat they are on the right track as being perennial contenders. On another note, this team had a lot of adversity overcoming the stench of the "Malice at the Palace." Coming to within 1 game of dethroning the defending champs is a huge step for a franchise that took a step back after that unfortunate event.

  • MaggK

    Heat fans are still sending me messages to explain me how they won… This is why i didn't want Miami to win… These peope are ANNOYING!!!

    I won't lie when i saw Duncan missed that shot i was like "Nooooo :O!!!"… (The little Miami hater inside of me whispered "this is an arranged game" ahahahah) Duncan doesn't have to jump to make a shot… Are you kidding me?! How did he miss that shot?
    But anyway i think it's a well deserved win… And yeah James is the best. ( people don't like him because he's cocky as hell.) I hope other teams will step up, because ok right the Heat had some difficult times against the Pacers and against the Spurs… But they dominated the whole season, can they have competition? por favor!!!
    About my Lakers… Larry said it all!

  • Adonis

    @Joe Sargent

    This is a repost from Lincoln’s Blog

    Good. For. Him.

    Considering LeBron’s unstable background, he is the personification of Drake’s song “Started From The Bottom” & has everything a man can dream of.

    I can’t hate on that. We are all witnesses.

    —–

    I was rooting for the Heat lose simply because today would have been a way more interesting & compelling morning for all. The slander would have been EPIC!!!

    In life you have to be one of two things, be GREAT or be INTERESTING.

    I rooted for INTERESTING, I got GREATNESS.

    Not a bad consolation prize.

    ——–

    As for the LeBron haters. Lincoln, I am in my mid twenties, and at the moment, a black male with little power & influence. People will feel how they feel for the most irrational of reasons. I am included in that last sentence.

    So, for the most part, I allow people to have their responses & I capitalize on it.

    Reminds me of the moment where you wrote about your attractive friend & the old black women cornering her about her marital status.

    People feel how they feel, people believe what they believe.

    But you & I enjoy f*cking with them from time to time. Lol