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After the Miami Heat assembled their big three many franchises believed that the way to win a NBA title is by signing big name free agents and teetering on the verge of luxury tax disaster in order to be crowned as NBA Champions.
Several teams foolishly followed suit assembling their own versions of the big three but none of those teams are in the conference championship fighting for an opportunity to dethrone the reigning NBA Champion Heat.
Big market teams like the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, and the Los Angeles Lakers led by their billionaire owners foolishly thought that they would simply write a blank check and the 2013 NBA Championship would be theirs for the taking.
As these owners get a strong dose of humility while in luxury tax purgatory small market franchises continue to thrive despite building a title contender on a budget. The San Antonio Spurs continue to be the standard for small market franchises who refuse to overpay players and rely on superb scouting and player development programs.
Although small market teams like the Indiana Pacers and the Memphis Grizzles will never win a popularity contest or ever attract big name free agents one thing is certain, these teams will likely find themselves in the conference finals for decades too come.
Since the San Antonio Spurs will be returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2007 the table it set for a clash for the ages. If the Heat duplicate their impressive performance in Game 3 its very likely that the Heat will clinch the east.
If the Heat and Spurs clash the game as well as how to construct a NBA Championship will be on the line. Both formulas have resulted in NBA Championship but which style will win in the end.
The Heat big three which was assembled via the free agency and the decision. And the Spurs wise three which was constructed through the NBA Draft. Which big three take its place as one of the best of all-time? Coach Pop, the Big Fundamental and his crew or The King and his court? Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 3 PM EST. Subscribe to podcast
At the end of every NBA season the coaching firing squad ensues and the franchises who failed to live up to expectation find themselves back at the drawing board searching for a new coach to excite a fan base and make their perspective franchise relevant once again.
Franchises invest millions of dollars to unearth hidden gems in remote countries all over the country but for some reason these same franchises fail to invest the same time in searching for their next coach instead selecting one from the Fired Basketball Coaches Association, ‘FBCA’.
Although a few fired coaches have won NBA Championships in their second stint, Doc Rivers and Rich Carlisle, its time for NBA front offices to finally think outside of the box. All eight of the teams remaining in the playoffs took the road less traveled hiring long time assistants, ex-video recorders, and an ex-commentator.
When the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat hired a longtime video recorder as its next coach Erik Spoelstra was a great unknown. However, in only three short seasons he won nearly 400 game as well as a NBA title.
When pundits were calling for a big name hire for the Chicago Bulls and the Indiana Pacers these franchises did entertain anyone from the ‘F.B.C.A’ and instead hired long time assistants Frank Vogel and Tom Thibodeau who have been home run hires.
As the NBA coaching carousel continues prominent names like Scott Skiles, Byron Scott, Mike Dunleavy, and Nate McMillian will continue to be mentioned as top candidates while little known assistants may the one to lead your franchise back to prominence. Six NBA franchises must find their next leader, will they go with the popular big name hire? Or will they venture down the road less traveled? Stay tuned… I know I will.
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST
The New York Knicks preserved home court in defeating bitter rival the Boston Celtics in Game 1. Although Carmelo scored 36 points it was defense that ultimately made the biggest difference. Led by old man wonder Jason Kidd the Knicks forced the Celtics into turnover after turnover. There were times during the regular season that many pundits alleged that the Celtics were better off without Rajon Rondo, but after Game 1 that argument can officially be put to the rest
In order to be successful in the playoffs talent alone will not get you to the promised land, basketball IQ is essential. Kenyon Martin performed remarkable in the clutch filling in for the foul ridden reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler. Although championships are not won or lost in Game 1, the Knicks scored a huge victory in securing home court in a series that may go the distance.
In a losing effort the Celtics can take a lot of positives from the game. The Celtics are unlikely to duplicate their turnover parade in Game 2 and it will be wishful thinking to presume to expect Kevin Garnett to frequently miss the jumper that has been automatic for so many years.
Many worried that Carmelo’s scoring alone would not be able to withstand the best coach in the NBA, Doc Rivers and two future Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce and Garnett. This series is far from over but it promises to be an entertainin one none the lease. Stay tuned… I know I will. – A. Denmark
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 PM EST & Sat 1030 AM EST
When NBA fans and pundits began to discuss title contenders and pretenders the key element often overlooked during these debates is the hated injury bug. The injury bug has already crippled the title hopes of the Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics whose point guards Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose tore their ACLs. Although each of these teams title hopes were dealt a serious blow their playoff chances were unaffected.
As the NBA enters its stretch run the injury bug has begun to rear its ugly head yet again and even the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat have felt the brunt of its harsh sting. Currently on a franchise record 16 game winning streak Heat fans all held their breath when Lebron James twisted his knee, however fans all breathed a sigh of relief when x-rays came back negative. Although no NBA team has ever been considered unbeatable James injury is reminder of how quickly fortunes can change.
Since James was fortunate enough to avoid an injury scare it appears that the franchises that poses the biggest threat to the Heat winning another NBA title were not so fortunate. The New York Knicks who are a close second in the Eastern Conference behind the Heat is currently without their All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony who twisted his knee two nights ago in a freak accident against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although the Knicks won the game their chances of securing home court throughout the playoffs were dealt a serious blow with the Indiana Pacers a game and a 1/2 behind them.
However, the Pacers also a star to injury, Danny Granger who is out yet again for an indefinite period of time due his surgically reconstructed knee swelling up after playing extended minutes against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
In the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs who have the best record in the NBA lost All-NBA point guard Tony Parker for a month due to a sprained ankle. Although the Spurs record will lead one to believe that they won’t miss a beat in Parker’s absence their title hope rest on the ankle of the diminutive French point guard who was playing at an elite level.
As the NBA Playoffs grows near the title hopes of the Spurs, Knicks, Heat, and Pacers can all change due to an errand pass or a wet floor. Despite injury scares by their franchise players each of these teams have continued to persevere even when their stars were not 100 percent. So the next time you discuss title contenders, do what bookies in Vegas do, check the injury report and hope that your favorite team makes it through a meaningless regular season game unscathed. Stay tuned… I know I will. – A. Denmark (@eatdrkslpsprtz2)
NBA Game of the week <Pacers vs. Heat, March 10th>
Anthony Denmark is a writer for eatdrnkslpsprtz.com. Follow him on Twitter@eatdrkslpsprtz2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Listen to eatdrnkslpsprtz radio Tues/Thurs 630 EST & Sat 1030 EST
Not too long ago the New York Knicks were hailed as the team to dethrone the Miami Heat and contend for a NBA title. Jason Kidd had discovered the fountain of youth, Steve ‘discount-double check‘ Novak couldn’t miss a three pointer , Carmelo Antony was actually playing defense, and Coach Mike Woodson was considered a front-runner for NBA Coach of the Year. Many presumed that the return of Amare Stoudamire and Imam Shumpert from injuries would add depth and the needed scoring punch to continue their impressive play.
But my oh my how things have changed, the Knicks limped into the All-Star break with little resemblance of the team that had blown out the defending NBA Champion Heat by 20 points in their two regular season match-ups. Kidd had to assume more minutes due to the Raymond Felton missing 6 weeks because of an injured finger and he now looks every bit of 37 years old on the court: slow and exhausted. Anthony has resorted to playing 1-on-5 Melo ball and despite his impressive scoring performances the Knicks record has suffered as a consequence.
Although the injuries of Felton and Rasheed Wallace is an understandable reason for the Knicks decline in play the selfishness of Anthony and JR Smith is inexcusable. These two former Denver Nuggets continually to launch up prayers failing to play within the offense frequently settling for 1-on-5 ball and not involving their teammates.
Teams who contend for titles buy into the team concept if they truly wish to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy and be considered a NBA Championship. If you doubt this check the San Antonio Spurs and the Chicago Bulls NBA Championship banner count, these franchises won multiple championships due to their stars embracing the team concept. Until Anthony and Smith resist their urge shoot and make a highlight-reel shot or dunk the Knicks as a team will continue to suffer.
The Knicks have nearly 30 games to rediscover the magic that warranted the talk of them contending for a NBA Title. Felton has returned from injury and Woodson has wisely slashed Kidd’s minute to prepare for a playoff run. Many wondered whether Stoudamire would embrace his new role? And to the surprise of many he has thrived in his new role. However the fate of the Knicks now rest in the hands of Smith and Anthony, will they embrace their roles and buy into the team concept? Or will they return to their selfish me-first ways that led to early playoff exits in Denver? Have the scorers finally learned their lessons, will they shoot or will they pass? Stay tuned. I know I will – A. Denmark