So, you haven’t been paying attention to pro hoops this season? Fear not, I have. Here’s what you need to know:
Lebron James is really good at basketball. If you stopped caring after Michael Jordan retired, here is your reentry point.
Lebron is currently enjoying a level of sustained dominance we’ve only seen from Michael Jordan (if you don’t believe me, check out the advanced metrics), but in a totally different way. His preposterous speed, power and finishing ability gets lots of deserved ink and SportsCenter real estate, but it’s the little things he does that set him apart from his contemporaries like Durant and Carmelo. Check out this pass:
It’s not flashy, but it is deadly. Incredible velocity, impossible to defend. There are maybe a handful of players in the league who can make a pass like that, and none of them have anything close to Lebron’s athleticism and skill set. It’s unfair.
Here’s another one:
Other things that make The Heat fascinating:
- Ray Allen: He ditched the Celtics because of a feud with Rajon Rondo, took less money to join the Heatles, is 59 years old and now the all-time leading three point shooter in both regular season and playoff history.
- Chris “Birdman” Anderson: Dennis Rodman-lite, Anderson has the craziest tattoos of any pro athlete and seems to change the vibe of the game the moment he checks in.
- Chris “VelociRaptor” Bosh: One of the homeliest players since Sam Cassell, Bosh is on the short list of legit power forwards who can change a game from beyond the arc along with Durant, Kevin Love and Dirk, and is a perfect superstar-as-role-player.
- Juwan Howard: 63 years old, somehow still getting paid to play basketball, impossibly well groomed.
- Mike Miller: He played with a destroyed lower back in last year’s finals, he’s capable of spurts of incredible play, super gutty. Check this shit out
- “Positionless Basketball” – The Heat are pioneering what they call “positionless basketball”: surrounding Lebron and/or Dwayne with a squad deadly long distance shooters. It spreads the defense wide open and creates a nightmare of mismatches. it’s a Moneyball-esque paradigm shift.
- Shane Battier: He’s hilarious and erudite off the court, as clutch as it gets on the court; the second coming of Robert Horry.
None of this means Miami is going to sleepwalk their way to a second consecutive title. They have vulnerabilities and, like every other team, are an injury or two away from elimination on their best day. But if you love greatness, or love to root against it, here is your muse.
The New York Knicks are relevant for the first time since Patrick Ewing was in short pants.