As of today, the odds to win this year’s NBA Championship look like this.
If there is one player who is currently on the open market that Pat Riley SHOULD try to add to his existing squad, in order to ensure that his team has the best opportunity possible to win this year’s NBA Championship, it is none other than …
The Heat have offered contracts to both Joel Przybilla and Kenyon Martin, their agents told ESPN.com. Przybilla is expected to make a choice between the Chicago Bulls and Heat, according to agent Bill Duffy. Martin is interested in several teams, with the Heat in the mix, according to agent Andy Miller.
The Sporting News reported Wednesday that Przybilla is planning to make a choice by the end of the week.
Heat president Pat Riley has been recruiting both players as the Heat look to add depth to their frontcourt. According to multiple league executives, the belief is that the 7-foot-1 Przybilla is healthy and believes he can contribute to a contender in a limited role off the bench.
Przybilla played in 36 games for the Portland Trail Blazers and Charlotte Bobcats last season, averaging 1.8 points and 4.0 rebounds.
It says here and now that … if Mr. Przybilla is indeed 100% healthy, once again, and in position to play regular minutes, as a highly effective role player, either, as a “starter” or a “key sub” coming off the bench, then … the Miami Heat will win the NBA Championship this season, and the mere possibility of still getting them at odds of 5-2 is, in fact, a huge value investment.
Toronto chose Jonas Valanciunas with the No. 5 Selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Jonas plays the Center position and is currently listed as:
- 19 years of age.
Other KNOWN FACTS concerning Jonas Valanciunas, include the following:
i. He is a highly efficient scorer within close proximity of the basket [i.e. Euroleague/2010-2011: 70.0 FG%; 91.7 FT%; 0-0/3FG; 7.6 Pts/14.9 MP];
ii. Offensively, he has been used primarily in Pick and Roll situations;
iii. Rebounding is one of his strengths [i.e. Euroleague/2010-2011: 5.4 Rebs/14.9 MP];
iv. Shot blocking is one of his strengths [i.e. Euroleague/2010-2011: 0.6 BS/14.9 MP];
v. He plays the game with a good-to-high level of intensity;
vi. He is a relatively “good” athlete for a Center;
vii. He has a relatively “good” frame which should be able to carry additional weight, as he continues to mature physically;
viii. He was selected as the MVP for the European U 18 Men’s Championships last year [i.e. with 31 Pts and 18 Rebs in the Gold Medal game];
ix. He is under contract to his European club team for the 2011-2012 season and will only be eligible to join the Raptors for the 2012-2013 campaign, if there is a NBA season that year;
x. He is NOT Andrea Bargnani [C].
i. He is a relatively poor passer who does not yet display the ability to create easy baskets for his teammates [i.e. Euroleague/2010-2011: 0.2/Ast; 1.4/TO];
ii. He is NOTBrandon Knight [PG] or Jan Vesely [SF/PF], each of whom was also still available when the Raptors made the No. 5 Selection … and a player with the capacity to eventually become a “star” in the NBA – according to yours truly, based upon “positional upside” [i.e. relative skill-set and athleticism at the position played] – with Derrick Williams [SF] and Kyrie Irving [PG] no longer available; and,
iii. He is NOTTobias Harris [SF/PG] or Davis Bertans [SF], or [even] Josh Selby [PG], each of whom was still available when the Raptors made the No. 5 Selection … and a player with the capacity to eventually become a “star” in the NBA, if the Raptors would have decided to “trade down”, in an effort to acquire more than only 1 future rotation player from this year’s Draft.
2011 NBA Draft Prospects With Good Upside,
Relative To Their Position
Comp. Player Type
Projected as a 1st Round Selection
Mark Aguirre/Magic Johnson
New York/Walsh $
Larry Bird/Dirk Nowitzki
San Antonio/Buford $
Projected as a 2nd Round Selection
Jo Jo White
San Antonio/Buford $
LEGEND:Bold – Has the capacity to become a “star” player; Italics – Much better than many draft evaluators realize with the capacity to become a high end player in the NBA; * – Should be a target for Toronto, in effort to, either, trade up or down; $ – Former NBA Champion or Finalist, as an executive; % – Up-and-coming executive with a keen eye for NBA level talent.
By making this specific selection, the Raptors:
i. Added a very solid prospect … for the 2012-2013 season … with the ability to become a 10+ year, starting Center in the NBA;
ii. Increased their likelihood of being in the 2012-2013 NBA Draft Lottery;
iii. Failed to add a, possible, future “star” player to their current roster, in the form of Brandon Knight, or Jan Vesely, or Tobias Harris, or Davis Bertans [or, even, Josh Selby]; and,
iv. Re-confirmed their commitment to their players from last season, as their core group moving forward, including some combination of: A) Youngsters – DeMar DeRozan [OG/SF], Jerryd Bayless [PG/OG], Sonny Weems [OG/SF], James Johnson [SF/PF], Julian Wright [SF/PG], Ed Davis [PF], Amir Johnson [PF], Joey Dorsey [PF], Solomon Alabi [C] and Alexis Ajinca [C]; B) Young Vets – Andrea Bargnani [PF/C] and Linas Kleiza [SF/PF]; and, C) Veterans – Jose Calderon [PG], Leandro Barbosa [OG/PG] and Reggie Evans [PF].
Although Jonas Valanciunas [C] is almost certain to become a “good” Center in the NBA, sometime down-the-road … ala Pervis Ellison, Joel Przybilla, or Zydrunas Ilgauskas, etc. … in terms of being able to compete for, and eventually win, a League Championship … it is most unfortunate that the Raptors, once again, wasted another golden opportunity to add a future “star” player – i.e. with ahigh degree of Positional Skill, Athleticism, and Leadership – to their existing roster and, instead, were trumped by the likes of RC Buford, Joe Dumars, Pat Riley, John Hammond, Ed Stefanski and Daryl Morey.
Plenty of NBA observers … of both the astute and non-astute variety … have made the mistake of thinking that the current version of the Heat is “LeBron James’ team” because he is thought to be the best basketball player in the world today.
In reality, however, nothing could, possibly, be further from the truth, in this specific situation.
The authentic LEADERS of this version of the Heat happen to be:
#1. Micky Arison [i.e. their owner who stays out of the way];
#2. Pat Riley [i.e. their President/GM who has seen and done everything the game has to offer];
#3. Erik Spoelstra [i.e. their terrific head coach in-the-making who has apprenticed under a ma;ster]
#4. Udonis Haslem [i.e. their longest-serving rotational player who has 'sacrificed' the most for t;he team]
#5. Dwyane Wade. [i.e. their best player who has "been HERE ... and Succeeded" before];
in this exact order.
According to what was reported by Michael Wilbon, in the aftermath of last night’s Game 3 victory by Miami:
i. The Heat players took careful stock of themselves following their colossal late-4th quarter collapse in Game;
ii. The 2 players who led THEIR team through this process were, in order:
A. Udonis Haslem, and B. Dwyane Wade;
their respective Co-Captains.
When Dwyane Wade was interviewed by Doris Burke after the game, he said the following:
“I am the leader of this team and I’ve been here plenty of times before.”
Last night, he played like it … and, as a result, the Heat are back in control of the NBA Finals.
Some people make the mistake of thinking that:
“Leadership” means the exercising of a dominant personality type 24-7-365 … when, in fact, it does not.
Authentic “Leadership” actually means doing whatever is necessary to get the job properly, whether it be:
I) Exercising a dominant personality, when the situation calls for it; and/or,
II) Allowing others to exercise a dominant personality, when the situation calls for it; and/or,
III) Ensuring that each person fulfils their proper role … according to their own personality type … in oder for the TEAM to succeed in a major way; and/or,
IV) The ability to distinguish accurately between I), II), and III).
In sharp contrast to what many “stats-based NBA analysts” might suggest, the eventual outcome of a specific basketball game is determined by much more than just the on-court “production” of the players on the floor.
- Outstanding quickness, relative to his position
- Solid in all 3 main phases of the game
- Emotional stability
- Core Leadership
is the best in the league.
#2. If their opponent chooses to go “small,” Miami does not need to make adjustments to their best 5-man unit, in order to be able to cope successfully.
#3. If their opponent chooses to go “big,” Miami does not need to make adjustments to their best 5-man unit, in order to be able to cope successfully.
#4. That said …
Miami’s bench now includes a mix of players with diverse skill-sets that capably support their best 5-man unit, including:
i. Mike Bibby, PG [veteran 3PT-shooter with good size, relative to his position]
ii. James Jones, OG [veteran 3PT-shooter with good size, relative to his position]
iii. Joel Anthony, PF [veteran shot-blocker, solid rebounder and interior defensive specialist]
iv. Mario Chalmers, PG [perimeter defender with good size and quickness, relative to his position, and a spot-up jump-shooter]
v. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, C [veteran high percentage mid-range jump-shooter with good size]
vi. Eddie House, OG/PG [veteran perimeter shooter with a championship ring and large size cajones]
vii. Juwon Howard, PF/C [one ‘tough hombre’; veteran ‘Leader’ on the bench]
viii. Jamaal Magloire, C [veteran non-disruptive ‘tough guy’, along to ride ‘shot-gun’, if necessary]
ix. Erick Dampier, C [veteran non-disruptive ‘nice guy’, along for the ride]
x. Dexter Pittman, PF/C [typical Pat Riley ‘project’ – with a terrific ‘background story’ - who is eventually going to be a solid player in the NBA]
#5. Regardless of their opponent’s style of play on offense, Miami has a profound commitment to Team Defense and Rebounding, as The Foundation of their Collective Identity, which is a Cohesive Unit that refuses to be broken apart.
#6. This Collective Identity includes having 4 individual players who are each capable of defending in an adequate way against the Mavericks’ best and most important player, Dirk Nowitzki, in a 1-on-1 match-up:
I. Udonis Haslem;
II. Chris Bosh;
III. Joel Anthony; and,
IV. Juwon Howard.
This provides the Heat with tremendous versatility at their Big positions.
#7. Erik Spoelstra [Head Coach] really does know what he’s doing, as a strategist and tactician, after being mentored for 16 years by – the one and only – Pat Riley.
#8. Pat Riley [President & GM] really does know what he’s doing, as a strategist and tactician, after being a dominant head coach in the NBA for a period of 20 years and winning 6 NBA Championships [i.e. as a former player, head coach and GM].
#9. Micky Arison [Owner] has been willing to do what’s necessary, over an extended period of years, in order to build a championship-winning franchise in South Beach … which includes:
A. Being patience [when needed];
B. Being quiet and remaining in the background;
C. The will to pay-the-toll-required on, “The Championship Highway.”
#10. Unfortunately … Life does not always provide a happy, story-book ending, even for a “great teammate” and “tremendous individual player” like Dirk Nowitzki [PC/C].
Hopefully, Raptors fans who doubted Chris Bosh’s ability and willingness to play the Center position for a high end team in the NBA have been paying close attention, now that Udonis Haslem [PF] and Mike Miller [SF] have resumed their rightful places in the regular rotation of the Miami Heat:
PG, Mike Bibby
OG, Dwyane Wade
SF, LeBron James
PF, Udonis Haslem
C, Chris Bosh
PG, Mario Chalmers
OG, James Jones
SF, Mike Miller
PF, Joel Anthony
C, Zydrunas Ilgauskas
When Coach Spoelstra uses their personnel like he did in Game 2 and 3 against Chicago [i.e. with all hands now on-deck], then:
* Chris Bosh has the opportunity to play the game in a way which best reflects his true nature, as a person and a player, at the Center position, where he can effectively take advantage of [I] his relative quickness [i.e. offensively, defensively, and in terms of rebounding] and [II] his psycho-emotional stability, on a consistent basis … without having to be a dominant scorer, each and every night, which is actually incongruent with his personality/character;
* Miami becomes a truly formidable contender to win this year’s League Championship, led by their “Big 7″:
Riley had to share the NBA’s Executive of the Year award with Chicago’s Gar Forman, and it’s hard to believe he lost an outright claim to the award on much beyond jealousy and spite. Just give the Bulls one of the Heat’s stars with Rose – James, Wade or even Chris Bosh over Boozer – and you’d probably be fitting them for rings this spring.
Chicago lost out on the three of them, and blew the $75 million on Boozer who seems to shrink with every challenge here. Everything’s played out in a way that’s justified the Heat’s choices.
Riley and Forman shared 11 first-place votes, but three former NBA executives of the year say they voted for Riley. As one says, “It should’ve been unanimous. I’m not close with Pat, but I’m embarrassed how that went.”
As the Heat moved within three victories of the NBA Finals with the series returning to Miami, the sight of Pat Riley standing with his wife, his assistant GM and team owner Micky Arison spoke to the undeniable truth of these modern Miami Heat: For all the talk about Wade as the lead recruiter, the most important selling point of the Heat is that Riley lords over them. That franchise is relevant because of his presence, his stature in the game. Wade sold a partnership to James and Bosh, but Riley engaged everyone in the kind of bigger, broader vision that only he can.
there should be no doubt, whatsoever, that Gar Forman did, in fact, deserve his share of this year’s NBA Executive Of The Year Award, as the principal architect of the resurgent Chicago Bulls with a current player roster that looks like this:
Derrick Rose, PG [No. 1 Selection 2008 NBA Draft *]
Keith Bogans, OG [signed as UFA last off season *]
Luol Deng, SF [re-signed as RFA July 2008 *]
Carlos Boozer, PF [signed as UFA last off season *]
Joakim Noah, C [No. 9 Selection, 2007 NBA Draft]
CJ Watson, PG [obtained, via trade, last off season *]
Kyle Korver, OG [signed as UFA last off season *]
Ronnie Brewer, SF [signed as UFA last off season *]
Taj Gibson, PF [No. 26 Selection, 2009 NBA Draft *]
Omer Asik, C [signed as UFA last off season *]
Rasual Butler, G/F [signed as UFA this season *]
Kurt Thomas, PF/C [signed as UFA last off season *]
John Lucas, PG [signed as UFA this season *]
Jannero Pargo, PG/OG [signed as UFA this season *]
Brian Scalabrine, PF/C [signed as UFA last off season *]
Tom Thibodeau [hired last off season *]
[Note: * - First-rate personnel moves made by Chicago the last 3 seasons.]
An authentic ranking of the GM’s in the NBA today, should look like the following:
TOP NOTCH 
RC Buford [San Antonio Spurs, past NBA Champs]
Mitch Kupchak [LA Lakers, past NBA Champs]
Joe Dumars [Detroit Pistons, past NBA Champs]
Danny Ainge [Boston Celtics, past NBA Champs]
Pat Riley [Miami Heat, past NBA Champs; New York Knicks, past NBA Finalists]
ABOVE AVERAGE 
Kevin O’Connor [Utah Jazz, past NBA Finalists]
Donnie Nelson [Dallas Mavericks, past NBA Finalists]
Otis Smith [Orlando Magic, past NBA Finalists]
Donnie Walsh [New York Knicks; Indiana Pacers, past NBA Finalists]
Gar Forman [Chicago Bulls, up-and-comers]
Sam Presti [Oklahoma City Thunder, up-and-comers]
On June 23 2009, prior to that year’s NBA Draft, this corner said that the Raptors should trade down from the No. 9 position, in order to secure the services of more than just one good-to-very good young player, to go along with Toronto’s best player, Chris Bosh [C/PF].
If the Raptors would have followed this simple prescription, at that specific point in time, instead of acquiring the services of DeMar DeRozan [OG/SF], in all likelihood, the last 2 seasons would have played out very differently for  Toronto,  Chicago and  Miami:
For example …
i. The Raptors might not have made the trade for Hedo Turkoglu [SF] at all;
ii. The Raptors [40-42, 9th/EC] might actually have made the playoffs in 2009-2010;
iii. The Raptors might then have been able to retain the services of Chris Bosh last summer;
iv. The Bulls [41-41, 8th/EC] might not have made the playoffs in 2009-2010;
v. The Bulls might then not have been able to obtain the services of Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Keith Bogans, Kurt Thomas and Omir Asik and Rasual Butler during the last 12 months; and,
vi. The Heat might then not have been able to obtain the services of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwon Howard last summer.
Those Raptors fans who still believe that Bryan Colangelo is something other than “just an average GM” in the NBA:
are, quite simply, delusional.
LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Kyle Korver, CJ Watson, Ronnie Brewer, Keith Bogans, Kurt Thomas, Omir Asik, Mike Miller, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Juwon Howard did not leave their respective teams and sign with Miami and Chicago because they did not enjoy playing in Cleveland, Toronto, Utah, Orlando, Milwaukee, Turkey, Washington and Portland.
The chief reason they each chose to seek employment with their current team is because they each believed the GM for that franchise is someone who actually knows what he is doing, when it comes to being able to build a legitimate contender for the NBA championship.