The dreaded off-season is finally here. To be sure, parades and parties and the like will commence in Dallas and Maverick-themed bars everywhere, but for the rest of us, it is Day 1 on a journey that may lead to nowhere.
Let's look at some more Finals links to ward that off as long as we can, shall we?
Lisa Rotter, the GM at Mavs Moneyball, gives an account of what is every sports blogger's dream. It is a real-life reenactment of the movie "Almost Famous."
Simmons unleashes his retro-diary to look back at how the Mavs finally won. Of particular note is his armchair-analysis of LeBron's disappearing act. Simmons speculates that it might have had to do with either the weight of the expectations, or perhaps the fact that he got dressed down publicly by Dwyane Wade in Game Three. Perhaps one led to the other - LeBron was able to stand firm against the scrutiny, because if he was honest with himself he knew it was self-inflicted. But then to have his hand-picked teammate, his Robin, rip into him in such a public way, was the final straw.
Beckley Mason says it well:
Basketball is best when all five players are maximizing their capabilities within a framework of sharing, selflessness and confidence...
It was an immense pleasure to see how successful the pure game can be in the correct hands.
Everybody wants to know how Dirk Nowizki now feels after finally ascending to the mountain top. Here is a good question though - why? Is his moment more poignant than Kevin Garnett's? Than Paul Pierce's? I think it is, in the sense that Dirk more than any other NBA player seemed to singularly and willingly bear the heavy mantle of past failures. He took ownership of it in a way that we seldom see in pro sports, and better yet, he rose above it.
More links after the jump.
And now introducing to you a sports writer who apparently has not actually watched any pro sports in the past decade.
SB Nation's D-League site notes that Dallas truly plumbed the heights and depths of available talent to finally construct their championship mold. Jose Barea was instrumental once he moved to the starter's role, and even Ian Mahinmi had several critical plays as well.
One of the main story lines from the Finals was how the Mavs lost to the Heat in 2006, but as is revealed here, the make-up of the Mavericks consisted of so much more heartbreak. The Finals win was a salve for many of them.
Dwyer puts together a compilation of how some of the all time greats have celebrated their championship win. To Houston Rockets fans, your new head coach is featured in there, so you should be thrilled.
It is hard to believe that a season that began eight months ago is already over and left so many people satisfied. I do hope that not only Mavs fans are content today, because the season was one of the more remarkable ones in the past quarter century.
Blott writes about how the Thunder and other teams must adjust to make a championship run for next season. I agree generally with his assessment, but I'm wondering why he thinks Cole Aldrich will play such a critical role. If Aldrich is to have a role, he has to convince the franchise that he is ready to supplant Nazr Mohammed.
What made the LeBron James Finals lapse so remarkable is that it really didn't surprise anybody at all. Even worse, there isn't a whole lot of evidence that would indicate that LeBron even cares.
Here is a good look at the international players that may be available in the upcoming draft.
The Thunder drafted Tibor Pleiss last season but since he's not quite ready for the NBA, OKC has kept him overseas while his game develops. If this strategy sounds familiar, it should - it is what the Spurs have been doing for years, and how they developed guys like Manu Ginobili. You probably aren't surprised then to be reminded that Sam Presti used to work for the Spurs.
Dwight Howard joins the New Zealand All Blacks in practicing their pre-game Haka routine. If you're unfamiliar with the Haka, it is one of the coolest pre-match demonstrations you'll ever see. This is what it looks like at actual games.
It is a small note, but Thunder-relevant because the Charlotte Bobcats just hired Rich Cho, the former OKC staffer and Trail Blazers GM, to run their show. Cho is an analytics guy who probably got the short end of the stick in Portland. Hopefully he'll fair better under the non-watchful eye of Michael Jordan.