Name one team in the last 30 years that has won an NBA Championship without having an elite set of big men on the team?
Did anyone come up with the 90's Bulls? That is the only acceptable response to that question. We can go back into the annuls of history and you will not be able to find another team without a dominant frontline that won an NBA title. So unless MJ comes back from that hot tub time machine and drags Pippen and a less mercurial Phil Jackson coaching him, it isn't going to happen again this year. Can you come up with another squad? Don't worry, I'll wait. Cue the Jeopardy music please...thanks.
What does this all mean? Its simple, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers will be in the finals for the 2010 NBA Championship. Now you might be wondering, "Ed, how can you use that premise when the Suns have Amare Stoudemire and the Magic have Dwight Howard??"
I'm aware of this and two points come to mind.
#1. Dwight Howard is overrated. There's no way I can cosign on a big man that his only real ability on the basketball court is predicated on his ability to just be able to jump real real high. We want to crucify LeBron, who's been in the league for 7 years for not being able to close for Cleveland, but hell Dwight Howard doesn't have a post move, can't shoot free throws, can't get a call from the referees, and gets easily frustrated. Yet, you all hype Dwight Howard because he gets weakside blocks and catches insane alley-oops. Call me crazy, but he sounds like a
#2. Amare Stoudemire is an elite scoring big man, probably the best we've seen since Bob McAdoo in that he can score from almost everywhere and anywhere. However, other than score...what can Amare do? Amare can't rebound, Amare can't play defense, Amare can't even psychologically get into the opposing teams' head. We all know the real reason that Amare can't leave Phoenix is because there's no one in the league that will make him look as good as Steve Nash does. (Example: Marion, Shawn) I'll take David West instead, thanks.
Plus, there's the simple fact that Orlando and Phoenix don't have any sustainable bigs on their team outside of Dwight & Amare. I take that back, Marcin Gortat can ball. In fact, from time to time I sometimes think that the Magic's offense functions a little better because of Marcin's ability to have 2-3 post moves. Not 12 moves like Kevin McHale or Hakeen Olajuwon, just 2-3. I bet Gortat balls out on Dwight Howard in practice. Phoenix is rolling out with a 7-foot guard in Channing Frye, one of the Collins twins, and 6'8" Louis "Hair Man" Amundson.
The Lakers have the most talented frontline in basketball, the Celtics have the toughest and grittiest frontline in basketball. The Suns and Magic have no answer for that, and unless they make some fundamental changes or just pray real real hard and get a miracle...these two series will be over by early next week.
P.S. If you missed our live show, you can download our weekly podcast of "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" on the ETSF Radio Network, as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan!