What direction is the National Basketball Association going in the near future? You have to admit, things aren’t the same since the one and only Michael Jordan retired. You have to consider that lots of basketball stars are trying to get there with Jordan did with his six championship rings. Lebron James is trying to build up his legacy, but for how long? His jump shot isn’t as consistent or as percentage-heavy driven as Michael Jordan’s was. When I say percentage-heavy driven, I mean that Jordan shot the basketball at a high percentage and he relied on a fadeaway jumper and a jump shot as he got older. Lebron James doesn’t really have a reliable jump shot and he relies on his athleticism, especially his jumping ability to get him through the victory on the basketball court. There is no one who saw the game as gifted as Michael Jordan was.
Kobe Bryant is retiring at the end of this 2015-2016 NBA campaign. He has played 20 seasons in the league and deserves a spot in the NBA Hall of the Fame among basketball greats. He didn’t surpass Michael Jordan with six NBA rings. Kobe Bryant is retiring with five championship rings. Expect Kobe Bryant to be ranked with the top fifty NBA players by 2050. There’s no doubt he is one of the best basketball players who ever played the game.
Kevin Durant is on a tear. He is a pure scorer, a scoring machine, a do-it-all, this small forward can really put the ball in the basket. Nothing stops his determination and passion when he is out there on the court scoring at will. What makes him among the great leading basketball scorers? His love for the game. Don’t get me wrong, he will never attain the championship levels that Michael Jordan did, but he will reach those accolades that Jordan achieved during his lifetime. Durant is a basketball machine who shows passion and will with his drives to the basket and his shooting touch from three-point line is unparalleled, because his shot is hard to block. No one has found a way to stop Durant from getting his points, because the scoring performances he has put on are unmatched to perform with.
Tom Thibodeau’s squad of fearless and relentless and determined players are heading to the NBA playoffs and they want to surprise the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers. Out is Luol Deng traded to Cleveland. What becomes of the Bulls’ band of soldiers led by Joakim Noah? They have not accepted that this Bulls team isn’t the dynasty that had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and had role players who knew what they needed to do. This is a band of Bulls who don’t have a role in the NBA and are surprisingly giving us a few nods and shakes because of Noah’s physical activity and Taj Gibson’s energy. Joakim Noah is rallying up the team with his spirit and fearlessness. If anything, I don’t think anybody would like to face the Chicago Bulls in the first round, because they are scrappy and hate to lose a basketball game.
The Oklahoma City Thunder signed an acquisition in Caron Butler. What the Thunder want in Butler’s services are his veteran presence and savvy court leadership. Another pressing issue is now that Russell Westbrook is gone with a knee injury. Hurt from his performance against the Toronto Raptors recently, Westbrook’s knee flared up. Despite Westbrook’s injury, Kevin Durant scored 51 points in the Thunder’s double overtime win against the Raptors. This will test Kevin Durant. How will he survive without Westbrook? He must persist in leading Oklahoma City to victory in all of their games. Durant is scoring the way Scottie Pippen is scoring. If Durant isn’t scoring a Michael-Jordanlike performance, then he is doing it the new generation of basketball is doing.
“If you can have continuity, a good group, a team, so to speak, and all that that entails and keep it in a continuous manner so that it grows more or less upon itself, within itself and the knowledge and understanding continues to grow you have a pretty good understanding. You can deal with adversity and you cannot get too pumped up about success but just enjoy it and realize how fleeting it might be. But the change, change, change, change, change thing doesn’t really work. You can see that in a lot of organizations. The continuity I think breeds, it breeds trust, it breeds camaraderie, it breeds a feeling of responsibility that each member holds towards the other. The ability to be excited for each other’s success, not to develop territory and walls, but to stay participatory. To be able to discuss, to argue and come out at the end on the same page with the same passion and the same goals.” – San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
This is what I think should be the quote of the year. The San Antonio Spurs in basketball have one of the more level-headed organizations when it comes to disciplining players and coaching them. Gregg Popovich, R.C. Buford, and Peter Holt have created a long-lasting culture that has tamed the best of what the NBA’s best basketball teams has to offer. NBA basketball teams don’t last longer than the San Antonio Spurs, because they have a staple of foundation in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli that has lasted longer and matured longer than the Michael Jordan-era of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal-led Los Angeles Lakers teams. The San Antonio Spurs have learned from experience longer and faster and are full of wisdom when it comes to winning and losing playoff games. If there’s a playoff game going on, Gregg Popovich will let you know what is up with you and what you need to do to improve. Everybody on the San Antonio Spurs are playing as a team, from the number one star player to the last player on the roster. Everyone plays as a Spurs basketball player and has a role every time they step onto the court. The Spurs adapt very well to a lot of basketball situations and because basketball coaching is situational, they know how to scout their opponents, down from their strengths to their weaknesses. The Spurs are very good at doing what they need to do to stop their opponents from winning the game. There is no team that is more together than the San Antonio Spurs.
One thing that will hold back Miami if they do not win this year’s NBA title is complacency. Another year gone by. A championship year followed by this. If they don’t get over the fact it’s a new year and not the year 2011-2012 NBA season, the Miami Heat will see failure in their championship reign. They will not repeat again. I quite honestly think, winning the second NBA title is the hardest thing to do. Winning the first NBA championship is easy. It’s hard work, and like always, hard work always pays off. Michael Jordan was the only retired NBA player among NBA rivals to win multiple and consecutive NBA titles in a row not named Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Kobe Bryant won multiple NBA titles in a row, but can we say he did win it on a L.A. Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal on it? Try winning more than three NBA titles in a row and you got my vote. You might beat Michael Jordan to the spot for toughening up by upping him up on championship trophies. Lebron James is in that category now. This is his second season AFTER winning an NBA title. How will he fare? How will James do after winning his very first NBA title? This will be interesting considering the roster changes to having Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis on the roster now.