This season’s version of the NBA playoffs have already featured the elimination of the western conference’s top seeded San Antonio Spurs, a 46 point game from the Orlando Magic’s All-Start center Dwight Howard and a 40-foot three-point bank shot from the Atlanta Hawks sixth man scoring machine Jamal Crawford that helped eliminate Howard’s Magic. The Boston Celtics swept the injury depleted New York Knicks while Kevin Durant lead the Oklahoma City Thunder over the New York Knicks, I mean Denver Nuggets. The championship contending Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and defending champion Los Angeles Lakers also advanced to the second round.
At the beginning of the season I predicted the south beach marriage of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh would lead the Miami Heat to a championship this season. That prediction was looking pretty bad when the Heat started the season 9-8 and lost their first three match-ups against the defending eastern conference champions, the Boston Celtics. However, the Heat won their last regular season game against Celtics pretty convincingly and now lead the squad from Bean town 2-0 in their eastern semifinal best of 7 series.
The Heat have looked super human and the Celtics have looked their age. While Miami moves up, down and over the court at will, the Celtics have looked…..old. Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are all fighting injuries while Rajon Rondo has looked disinterested on defense the past two games.
The Heat will capture this series in 5 games and will defeat the Chicago Bulls in the eastern conference finals. As long as Carlos Boozer continues to play poorly, the Bulls will have no chance to reach the NBA finals.
The NBA has a history of being a big man’s league. The early domination of players of like George Mikan, Bob Pettit, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain made it impossible for any team in the league to succeed with out size. The trend continued into the 1990s when players like Shaquille O’Neal, Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning became anchors for their respective teams.
The 90s were also dominated by big shooting guards. Micheal Jordan, Mitch Richmond and Allan Houston used their strength to create space and dominate their opponents. As time has progressed, the game has gotten bigger and faster.
The new trend in the NBA over the last decade has been the development of superstar point guards. The recognition for these smaller floor generals started when Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash won back to back MVPs in 2005 and 2006.
The player who has made the biggest jump this season has been Chicago Bulls superstar Derrick Rose. Rose is averaging a career high 25 points and 8 assists per game. The biggest addition to Rose’s game has been a reliable jump shot. Rose is shooting 40% from the three point line and hit five threes against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. The addition of free agent forward Carlos Boozer to the Bulls has helped Rose get, take, and make more jump shots. The form and consistency on Rose’s jump shot shows the commitment he made to getting better in the off-season.
Rose’s development instantly makes the Bulls a threat to the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics, the superstar heavy Miami Heat, and the Superman powered Orlando Magic. Plus, he can still do this…