Can’t believe that I’m going to be missing two (one?) of the most dramatic games in Finals history… but c’est la vie. One does not live by basketball alone, as the Thaiblonde will attest.
One of the more intriguing aspects of these Finals is that both of these teams are playing Nellieball. In particular the Mavs, who are built almost exactly like the 2003 team that Nellie might have won a title with, if Dirk hadn’t gotten injured in the Conference Finals. That team featured Nash and Van Exel in the backcourt along with Finley, and Bradley and Lafrentz at the 5 next to Dirk. In addition to Finley, Nellie had 4 quintessential Nellieball defensive wings at his disposal: Bell, Griffin, Abdul-Wahad and Najera.
The Heat took their true centers off the roster after the Celtic series, going with the 6-9″ Joel Anthony and Chris Bosh at the 5. Their next biggest player is Lebron… he outweighs Haslem by 15 lbs.!
Perplexingly, I think the Mavs have done the far better job of pushing the tempo. I don’t understand why the Heat, with their opencourt advantage, aren’t running more. They did it so well when they took apart the Lakers in midseason.
I truly hope that Joe Lacob is having his eyes opened by this series. Does either of these teams have a low post player? No. What they have are superstar closers, great passing, great three point shooting, spread fours, and an admixture of superlative TWO-WAY defensive pieces.
The takeaway from this series if I’m the Warriors GM is that Monta Ellis MUST BE KEPT. Superstar closers are the rarest commodity in this league. By contrast, defensive wings like Andre Iguodala are a dime a dozen. Witness DeShawn Stevenson: how much did he cost the Mavs? How much did Tony Allen, Shane Battier, Sam Young cost the Grizzlies? How much did Matt Barnes cost the Lakers? How much did Sefalosha cost, or Afflalo, or Batum?
The difference between these fine defensive players and Andre Iguodala is that most of them can shoot the three. And NONE of them believes they are a closer, which if you ask Philly management and Philly fans is Iguodala’s fatal flaw. These players know they are role players.
If I am Warriors management I open up the purse strings all the way in order to lure Nene or Gasol or Chandler to the Warriors. Then I dump Lacob’s pet bench players and pick up a handful of players like I listed above. Defensive role players who can actually hit a three and make a free throw (Iggy 69%). I surround the Ellis-Curry-Lee core with these players, just like Dallas has surrounded Dirk-Kidd-Terry-Barea.
And then I sit back and watch the Warriors start contending.