After watching most of the Knicks /Heat game yesterday, and my fit of laughter at the end game "heroics" of LeBron James had calmed down to a few mild chuckles. I just felt like sharing a few random thoughts on the subjects of both teams.
1. Chauncy Billups is proving very quickly that he has something to prove and isnt just "the other guy" that New York received from Denver. In averaging over 20 ppg and hitting yet another big shot in last nights game, he is bringing the same leadership and winning attitude to NY as he did when he came to Denver. Very underrated pickup for the Knicks.
2.) New York is really in need of another shooter that can stretch the floor. Landry Fields is adequate and Chauncy is still an excellent long ball shooter, but it's not going to be enough if they want to compete with the big dogs in the East.
3.) Landry Fields will be the player that pushes New York from a good team to a great team. He is the glue player that every team needs to win. His hustle, hardnosed play, rebounding, defense and shooting ability are making him invaluable to Mike D'Antoni and quickly winning the favor of his teammates. He will be the key to their success.
4.) I know I will take major flak for this one but it has to be said. Lebron James is not a player you want taking the shots in crunch time. His out of control drives to the hoop and extremely streaky jump shooting are a major achilles heel in close situations. His only ways of getting consistant scoring come by running over people and gaining a blocking call, easy layups when players just move out of his way because they don't feel like getting trampled, and a few jump shots when he is having a rare good game in that area. These strategies will be of absolute no use against teams like Boston, Orlando, Charlotte, the Thunder , Los Angeles, San Antonio and even now the Knicks. The experienced teams will take the charges, deny the driving lanes and force Lebron to take his awkward fade-away jumpers. He may get some drive and kicks to Mike Miller and James Jones , but does anybody really want them taking the last shot in an important game? The ball needs to be in the hands of Dwayne Wade when the game is on the line, period.
5.) Dwayne Wade is proving to be the heart and soul of the team. His shooting was off against the Knicks but he made up for it by handing out 9 assists, grabbing 7 rebounds and making off with 3 steals. His unselfishness and willingness to let James be the focal point and face of the team speaks volumes about his leadership and desire to win. However, since Lebron has failed many times over in the clutch, Wade needs to realize that is his time to step up and deliver. He is the only player on the team who has the competitive edge and overwhelming desire to win that is needed in a clutch player. He has proved that he can deliver quality shots and opportunities to win when it is needed. Wade needs to put the needs of the team over the ego of Lebron and just take over when needed. The Heat will never reach their potential if he doesn't.
6.) Miami would much better off if they took the money that was spent on James and used it on a quality big man and point guard. Bosh and Wade work better together with James off the floor than on, and the offense is much more effective when it is allowed to move freely without Lebron overhandling and forcing shots. If they had picked up players like Brendan Haywood , Raymond Felton or explored options to fill spots were needed then I believe they would truly be an elite team instead of a pretender. However, it is a little too late now.