A few thoughts this week. Here we go:
1st Quarter: James Jones should start in the postseason
James Jones is completely healthy. Finally. This is the guy who has been among the league leaders in three point percentage the last few years, the guy who Larry bird called the best shooter he has ever seen, and the guy the Heat signed to a long deal in the offseason.
I like Jamario Moon. I don't like Jamario Moon as a starter. Maybe it's the system, I don't know, but Moon has not been the defensive player we thought we were getting from Toronto. The defensive numbers at that position support this. Offensively, the Heat get killed at the small forward spot. I don't see any reason why Jones and Cook both need to come off the bench. Put a shooter in the starting lineup, and have the other come off the bench. The starting small forward in the playoffs should be James Jones.
2nd Quarter: Michael Beasley is as advertised
This is the guy we've been waiting to see. Michael has proven at this point that he is capable of monster numbers when he gets the minutes. The Heat fan may want to complain that this is what Beasley would have been doing the entire season, had Spoelstra given him the minutes. Two things there. 1) I disagree. The kid has never been coached. AAU, High School, Kansas State, he has always been the biggest, strongest, and best player on the court. Who cares if he doesn't play any defense, because he'll outscore his man anyway. Beasley gets to the NBA, and sees that most players are just as big and strong as he is. He's never the best player on the floor (Wade), and the player he guards is usually not some chump. Spoelstra works him into this role throughout the season, and you now have a nice little product going into the postseason. If you've been watching this team from Game 1, you know how much better Beasley is now. (The rebounding alone is enough to convince you he's improved) 2) Even if he was playing these minutes the entire season, how much better would the Heat have been? Not in the top 3 in the conference, that's for sure. So, maybe they'd be 4th?? Still playing Atlanta in the 1st round. It's really not even worth fussing over.
3rd Quarter: Jermaine O'Neal will be an All-Star again?
I thought Jermaine had some interesting stuff to say this past weekend to ESPN.com. Says he plans on playing another 3 to 4 years, and that he'll be an All Star again. I've been hard on Jermaine, as I have never liked him much as a player. But, I do think he can be an All-Star again. I mean, how hard is it to make the squad as a center? 15 points and 9 rebounds probably gets you a reserve role, no?
What I found interesting from Jermaine, was how he expects next season to be a big year for him. The last 3 offseasons have all been about rehab, not basketball for him. This summer, there is no srugery planned, and he'll finally be able to play some ball and prepare for the 2009-10 season. I thought that was intriguing. He may be right.
4th Quarter: How dumb is the MVP award?
I've had Heat fans e-mail/call my show about how insulted they are with the national coverage and the talking heads, in regards to where Dwyane Wade fits into the MVP race. Let me tell you something: While I have been championing for Dwyane for this award this season, this is not something worth getting all nuts over. Dwyane is going to be the Heat's first ever league scoring champ, and it'd be nice if he were the team's first MVP. Instead, he'll probably be the team's 2nd MVP runner-up. But how dumb is this MVP award. Shaquille O'Neal is going to retire one day as probably the most dominant player ever in the NBA. He'll certainly be considered a top 5 center in NBA history. In case you're hung up on the immobile version of Shaq we've seen the last 5 years, don't be afraid to check out some old footage of his Laker days. Shaq was ridiculous. 7'1" and 320 pounds running the floor the way he did is an unbelievable joke. The point being, Shaq is going to retire with ONE MVP award. ONE!!! It's a stupid award. Or maybe the folks voting for it are stupid. Probably the latter.