The 2012 NBA Finals are finally here (albeit 6 hours away) and all of the analysis and discussion that has percolated can finally be put to the test. Here is my early prediction - with Jeff Van Gundy ostensibly providing color commentary for ABC, we just might see his tiny bald head explode with the amount of flopping we're going to be seeing, between James Harden, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Shane Battier.
This is a great piece here because it dispenses with the silly notion that Westbrook, with all of his amazing talents and hard work, cannot be an effective point guard. Even if he never does become a 'point guard,' who cares? It reminds me of when Bobby Knight was trying to convince the Portland GM to draft Michael Jordan instead of Sam Bowie. When the GM said, "But we need a center," Knight retorted, "So play him at center!" The point being, when you capture a volcanic talent as promising as Westbrook's, you figure out a way to tailor the team to him, not the other way around. This is so much common sense that I can practically feel my brain seeping out my nostrils when I discover such a thing is open for debate.
Lang Whittaker got to write about the original 1992 Dream Team here. Their legend has only increased with time; this might be the best thing you read all week.
Our SB Nation's Miami Heat site should be the 2nd site you visit each day as we follow the progress of these Finals. They breakdown the key matchups here.
It is pretty amazing that a season that almost never happened has culminated in the two best players on the planet about to go head-to-head. It goes to show what matters most is not the overall aesthetic of the game, but whether or not the players on the best teams give a darn.
I am seeing a lot of these kinds of predictions so far. While I am pleased to see that this is the general sentiment, I cannot help but think that many people thought the same thing about the Spurs two weeks ago.
I really like this move. It was great when the NFL invited former head of referees Mike Pereira to appear in the booth to comment on the in-game calls, and I think it will be great for the NBA to to the same. And my goodness that's a frightening bunny rabbit.
One of the key wars that is going to be waged is how OKC deals with the Heat's post-up game. The Thunder do not like to double-team, so I'm eager to see how they handle LeBron in the post.
The Thunder have gone on a historic run scoring the ball in these playoffs. That's great, right? Well, we were saying the same thing about the Spurs two weeks ago.
More links after the jump.
The Thunder's ascension is so meteoric, so illogical and unexpected, that we start having to think about them in terms of other weird things, like child math prodigies and Van Halen.
Prada runs down his list of things to look for in Game 1. Point 1 is well taken, because if you recall, LeBron was starting to wear down in the Celtics series before Chris Bosh returned.
Here is a look at what we might see when Durant and LeBron are NOT guarding each other. Durant in particular has to avoid his tendency to lose track of his man in the corner; guys like Shane Battier will make him pay if he does. Also, here is Part 2.
One of the biggest questions is going to be whether OKC can continue to protect the ball better than in the regular season.
Robson writes that Dwyane Wade is a big X-factor, and so far he has been spotty in the playoffs. How healthy is he, and if he is not right physically, how will OKC exploit the advantage?
Now you know the rest of the story.
Mark Cuban set the stage for young billionaire tech savants to become owners in the NBA. Robert Pera is next up.
Blott does a great job breaking down here who in the WC have really stepped up to show their worth on the grand stage. He gives Thabo Sefolosha props, because Thabo has been a huge defensive force in each round.
Since fan-made music videos are all the rage, here is one for the Heat.