We have some great basketball on the horizon this summer. The US Men’s National team has added drama and uncertainty due to injuries, and the Vegas Summer League is always fun. While we’re in this basketball lull, let’s recap the 2012 NBA season and look ahead to 2013. Here are the most important headlines about each:
LeBron “Finally” Won His Ring.
Welp, he did it. The LeBron meme industry is going to take a major hit. Sell that stock if you’re still holding it. The biggest NBA story of 2012 is definitely LeBron taking control of the entire season. After an MVP regular season, he was the best player in the playoffs and dominated the Finals. I’ve already written a lot of my thoughts here. While the Heat still aren’t fun to root for, they definitely outplayed the Thunder and earned their rings. Don’t give me that garbage about the refs. Miami was better.
What’s most interesting about this story is how the entire narrative about LeBron has changed. Skip Bayless and some people around the internet have continued their hate train, but all of a sudden many others have begun comparing LeBron to Jordan (hallowed ground). Has LeBron figured something out, or did he have one great season? No one knows, but the knee-jerk reaction is definitely premature. I think the stage is set for LeBron to play for a few more championships (see below), but doesn’t he have to win the rings before we give credit for doing so?
Has the Torch Been Passed?
Another big takeaway from this season is that the “experienced” teams turned into “old” ones during the playoffs. The Thunder ran through the Mavericks (four games), Lakers (five), and Spurs (six) on the way to the Finals. Those are 10 of the last 14 champions! These teams were beaten by a bunch of guys who can’t grow full mustaches (apologies to James Harden and his beard). As the Thunder gained steam, it felt like a shift in the balance of power in the Western Conference.
In the East, these playoffs proved that Miami should be considered the favorite for at least the next few years. Actually, this deserves its own section…
Can Miami Win a Few Rings in a Row?
There’s reason to think so. Considering the landscape in the Eastern Conference, Miami seems like the favorite for the foreseeable future. All the Heat’s rivals have big issues to face before they can realistically challenge them for the Finals. Derrick Rose is out for (probably) the entire season, so Chicago is done for 2013. After that, they are still paying almost the entire salary cap for a team that has yet to even play in the Finals. Yikes.
Boston took Miami to seven games this year, but did you ever really think they would win? They’re only getting older, so you have to think the chances of them upsetting the Heat will decrease every year right along with their mobility. Indiana is still a big piece away from contention. So who challenges Miami in the East? The Knicks? Philly? Nah son.
The Western Conference landscape is just as interesting. As mentioned, Oklahoma City showed us they are ready to challenge for titles as long as they keep their core together. Sounds great, but they were just beaten by Miami, so they’re at a disadvantage already. You certainly can’t call them a lock to upset the Heat. It seems like the Western Conference, outside of OKC, is playing for second.
#KobeSystem is making almost $30 million the next couple years so it’ll be hard to upgrade the Lakers’ roster (which still needs a small forward and entire bench). Lob City may not have CP3 or Blake Griffin after next season. The Spurs seem like they aren’t true contenders after running out of gas against the Thunder. So who’s left that can challenge the Thunder? I’ll wait.
I’m not saying Miami will win the next couple rings, I’m just saying I wouldn’t be surprised…despite Chris Bosh’s best efforts to make the team look soft.
Can the Bobcats Bounce Back?
Just kidding. No one cares.
These are my biggest takeaways from the season, What do you think, SBM Sports Fans? The NBA seems to be riding a high into this summer and 2013. What are you looking forward to? Let me know!
I heard something on ESPN Radio the other day that resonated with me. They were speaking on the comparing Jordan to Lebron and a caller made a point that Lebron has changed the game – literally. We use to look at the way Jordan and Kobe closed games out by taking the last shot, clutch moment right? Lebron proved that sometimes getting the ball to whoever the hell is open may be a smart move, and the star " closer" on the team should be able to do so without ridicule. Yes, during the last 5 min of the 4th quarter you need to make your shots, but I think that good ol Jordan/Kobe baseline turnaround J to end the game may no longer be what " clutch " is. Lebron has somehow redefined that.
That caller probably had that conversation 30 times before going on air.lol. But that really is interesting. Hadn't thought about it that way.
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He def argued it to death before calling…lol
"We use to look at the way Jordan and Kobe closed games out by taking the last shot, clutch moment right? "
as a Knick fan, and Jordan hater…one of my most vivid memories, was remembering when Jordan came back to the Garden after un-retiring…i think it was a tuesday or thursday night…but yeah…though dude dropped 55 on the Knicks, NY kept it close, Ewing had 34-36pts himself, Starks put on, i think…
anyway, final seconds score tied…you know the ball's going to Jordan…and he dribble the clock out, and at the final moments….
passes inside to Bill Wennington for the dunk, ballgame.
i say that to say this, it's not like Jordan took the last shot all the time, there are times he did pass if off, but yes, because LeBron doesn't have Jordan's skill-set, and isn't Michael Jordan, he's finally learning to make game winning plays his way, opening up the offense so that others get a wide open look for their shots.
Absolutely and that was kinda the counter argument, you need your role players.
The point the caller was making was kinda a swipe at the media who gave Lebron hell for not have what they consider a Jordan clutch moment.
I remember that game very well.
You and I both know that Jordan wanted and was going to shoot that ball….but dude was basically triple teamed when he rose up. He had no choice BUT to pass to the wiiiide open Wennington under the basket, lol. Still a great play and great awareness to find him and to make the right basketball play.
The caller is 1000% correct. I just never really understood what people's fascination of wanting every great talent to be "Just like Mike", smh. I blame those commercials, lol.
I've been watching LBJ play since his freshman year of high school. Dude has been the same type of player forever. Very unselfish, makes the right play just about every single time and is not afraid and wants the ball in his hands at the end to make "a play"….whether that's shooting or setting up one of his teammates. It's really that simple.
Jerry West lost the first 9 times he went to the NBA Finals and has one championship in 11 trips or something of that nature. His nickname is "Mr. Clutch" and he's the NBA logo. Yeah, so there's that….
Lebron has not changed the game. The very notion is absurd, and I think the entire sports talk industry has grown more and more absurd. As I see it, OKC should have gone up 3-0, had they only MADE THEIR STINKIN' FREE THROWS. And they were the best free-throw shooting team in the league… Statistically.
Miami would have been toast without Bosh. Throw in Battier & Chalmers–those guys had just as much to do with the Heat winning as Lebron. Just like Terry, Kidd, Chandler, Stevenson, Berrea et al. helped Dirk win his ring before that. So try again to tell me what Lebron has changed?
Umm…no one is suggesting that LeBron could have got it done without those key role players. Hence the whole reason why he left Cleveland, lol.
Oh, and if the Lakers don't turn the ball over late in a couple of ball games they would have been up 3-1 in that series looking to close out OKC, so we can play the woulda, coulda, shoulda game all day. Bottom line is they didn't get it done and Miami did.
The very fact that LBJ defended 4 positions regularly throughout the playoffs is probably unprecedented and therefore created unusual match ups at times for opponents. So in some respects he has changed the game for the mere notion we haven't seen an athlete of his caliber really do what he does on the basketball court. But that's just my opinion
i think i'm interested, obviously in how the Knicks will stack up, will we keep Smith, Lin, Novak, and who we'll pick in the draft…
i'm also quite interested in the Pacers and Grizzlies, i think they will be forces to be reckoned with in their respective conferences…
*takes off Knicks fitted*
*puts on Mets Fitted*
I can’t believe how long ago Linsanity seems. The Knicks have some tough decisions ahead. Don’t see them challenging as constructed, and I’m pretty sure their next 2 first-rounders go to Denver for the Melo trade.
I’m interested to see what Memphis (Rudy Gay) and Indy (cap space) do to change their rosters. They could definitely become contenders with some smart moves.
Well it seems that basketball is one of my passion and I am sad for loosing Oklahoma City Thunder in their game against Miami Heat. However, I am happy that Lebron James got his first NBA ring in the entire basketball season. Thanks for sharing it.
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Guys, it feels really good to go to the parade of your hometown team. Some people never have this chance in their lifetime. That was my second with the Miami Heat and My 3rd overall. Good to be me..LOL…
3 Superbowl parades, 1 World Series (i know they won twice i didnt go to 2007), an NBA final and Stanley Cup parade….Boston >
too bad them last 2 SuperBowl parades aint go down. Giants >
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I like Lebron and, even though he had his ups and downs all season he and Wade and the rest of the key players on the team were determined to get this championship and they did. They played their azzes off and are deserving of this ring, regardless of folks personal feelings about the Heat and Lebron & Wade.
Lebron is NOT Jordon, there can and will only be 1 Jordon. One person I've seen compare to Jordon's outside shots and 3 pointers is Ray Allen. Folks need to stop trying to resurrect Jordon thru other players and let him Rest In Peace. He's retired, he had his day and he has his rings, let it go. Appreciate the great players we have now for their skills, freshness and what they bring to the game.
I think the Thunder are going to come back strong and try to take it next year because they came so close this year. The Thunder will be giving everybody a run for their money next year like they did this year. I think the Lakers and the Pacers are strong contenders too, I agree with that. I think the Heat will play as hard as they played this year and try their damnest to get another ring. Go Heat!
You're right…LeBron is def not Jordon….he's not Jordan either 😉
"One person I've seen compare to Jordon's outside shots and 3 pointers is Ray Allen."
10 things i took away from the season:
1. Now that the Big 3 Celtic era is presumably over, 2010 Finals piss me off all over again…i mean we had them on the ropes smh
2. Dwight Howard is an idiot
3. Derrick Rose has T-Mac/Penny written all over him
4. Linsanity was fun for a lil bit
5. The Atlanta Hawks need to realize they arent going to be better than a second tier playoff team
6. I still don’t like Blake Griffin, i like my stars “dominate” thank you
7. Is it me or did half of the top 15 players in last years draft not play at all
8. ESPN needs to assemble an NBA crew with chemistry like TNT has
9. People need to stop comparing LeBron/MJ at 27…LeBron started at 18 (and MJ didnt have Len Bias in his way, retired before Hakeem could dominate the Bulls primary weakness but still)
10. For an abysmal season, the Playoffs sans Spurs/Jazz was incredible.
ATL is a sports cesspool. that team will never not be mediocre
Jon Barry is HORRIBLE
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Regarding #3…don’t curse Rose like that. Nobody deserves that fate, lol
Re: #8…can’t see it. The TNT show is flawless. I wish they would do post game for ESPN/ABC games!
All the Heat have to do is make certain off season acquisitions and they all but sew up another ring. Mike Miller and Juwan will probably retire. Miller needs like 100 surgeries to get right, and Juwan validated the fab5 NBA career so he skrait
get Shuttlesworth and Nash/Kidd and watch out!
The west is OKC's to lose from this point forward. I would also look out for Memphis.
LeBron will most likely get at least one more ring in the next 3-4 years
" All the Heat have to do is make certain off season acquisitions and they all but sew up another ring. " – Steve Nash maybe??
Apparently Ray Allen is all but signed. Definitely an upgrade over Mile Miller (aka NBA Herman Munster). If they can lure guys like this, it’s a wrap as long as LBJ isn’t cramped.
Ok I will be honest I always watch these sports games but when I do……. I can really get into them.
1. I am a Celtic fan… don’t care if they are the oldies… don’t care if I KNOW they are going to lose… will root for them when they are down by 30 in the 4th quater with 1:53 on the clock an :05 on the shot clock.
2. Not a Heat fan but I can give credit when credit is due. Which leads me to 3
3. Was not a fan of James. Actually thought he was a ball hog… but I felt that came from him coming from a team he had to carry (noticed they were not mentioned in the post) and had to get use to and learn that he now has teammates that can help. I feel that he deserved that ring… all the hell he took…
4. A moment of silenc
4. A moment of silence for Rose’s Knee and his upcoming season… hope it gets better.
I notice a lot of Celtics fans out there. More than I thought there were anyway. Health is a key for them. Plus they have 2 first-round picks on Thursday. They could make enough moves to challenge again. Still think Miami is the favorite, but it’ll be interesting.
How mad would it make you to see Ray Allen in a Heat uni? Seems likely.
Great points made in this post and every scenario/prediction layed out is very plausible.
Being a Laker fan I'll just speak about my opinions revolving around my team and the competition. First thing is that OKC definitely looks primed to make a run over the next few seasons. One thing I'll point out is how teams and competition can/will change drastically. I specifically remember back in '06 when a CP3 led Hornets team was the "soup du jour" and they were going to run the rest for the forseeable future after a good playoff run and having a young team….obviously that never materialized. I can name other examples, but you get my drift.
With $71 million tied up between Kobe, Bynum and Gasol and Sessions opting out of this player option becoming a free agent it doesn't look great in La La land….and by not great I mean not winning a championship. Obviously, we'll be in the playoffs and compete, but we all know the Lakers have higher standards than most teams. I'm not sure what's going to happen, but never count out Mitch Kupchuk and his ability to put together a title contending team in a short period of time. OKC has the upperhand now, but the Lakers, Memphis and the Clippers are all possible one or two moves away from being on top.
Seriously though…things can definitely shift. With teams fearing the “super” luxury tax, we could see some big swings. After all, the Lakers got Pau for Kwame Freaking Brown. Maybe they can flip McRoberts into Rudy Gay? Haha
Stopped reading after the first sentence. I’ve done it! Lol
The Lakers are one of those teams that can do great things even despite of salary cap restrictions and seemingly no players being available. Kobe's not the problem on that team. He's a Top 10 player in the NBA and so he deserves a max contract like all the rest of the Top 25 players in the NBA. With that said, we can trade Gasol and/or Bynum and revamp the team for a third time in the Kobe era. Or, we can do what San Antonio did and try and rape the waiver wire to get free agents for cheap. I don't think our bench sucked as much as the players didn't fit Mike Brown's system at all. Mike Brown will have to figure out a beautiful balance of a system that works with his players. In all of this, the Lakers aren't really reliant on Kobe, Gasol or Bynum to get them back to the championship, it's Mike Brown's ability to take that team and put them in a position to win. If he can take the Cavs to the Finals, he can take the Lakers to the Finals.
I can see Kobe getting that one last trip to the Finals, I just hope it doesn't end like Magic in 91. But I think they've got one more run in them.
"Or, we can do what San Antonio did and try and rape the waiver wire to get free agents for cheap."
I say this every year about the Lakers. They're wasting away cap space on guys like Josh McRoberts and Matt Barnes when they can get slightly better production for the same price. If I remember correctly McRoberts is making around $6 mil for 2 yrs. Lakers could easily sign a younger guy like Ilysova (sp) for a cheap, longer term. The 1 thing I've always respected about the Spurs is they pick up guys that no team would even consider touching and Pop's coaching makes it work. I agree w/ you though, if they can find a good package for Gasol, Kobe could make 1 or 2 more runs at a ring.
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Can the Bobcats bounce back?
…To WHERE??? Lol
Bounceback from “worst ever” to merely “sucking”. Progress!
My boy King James did it! I will agree, MIA does have the fire and manpower to win a few more. My only concern is Wade's age and knee right now. Also, OKC did their thing and it was a learning experience. How many NBA teams went to the finals with a 22 and 23 year olds as starters? My that experience alone will be the greatest teacher for that team. I just hope they can keep all the pieces together (ummm Harden don't think about going to another squad). Overall, this was a good season in my opinion. I think next year will be full of energy and who goes to the finals next year will depend alot on trades, off season moves, and how the draft pans out in my opinion (even after A. Davis, there is really no sure-fire players). My thoughts.
Harden came out and said how much he wants to stay, sees the team as a dynasty, love his teammates etc etc. Agree that we could be seeing Heat/Thunder for the next few years. I ain’t e’em mad.