June 13, 2011

The consequences of the Mavs’ title

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

This turned out to an NBA final with a ton at stake for a few of the players involved. And we’re not just talking about rings and titles here; we’re talking about legacies and how players will be viewed historically from here on out.

With Dirk Nowitzki winning his first title and the Finals MVP, he should now be the undisputed second-best foreign NBA player ever behind Hakeem Olajuwon – who it will be really hard for anyone to unseat. Even though he was terrible for the first half of the clinching game, the big German turned it on when it matter – unlike someone else in the Finals, who we’ll get to in a minute. Nowitzki was stunning, he was clutch and he was a leader on and off the floor. What more could you want from your franchise player?

Also, Dirk got his playoff redemption. After the crushing defeat to the Heat in the 2006 final and next year then becoming the first ever top-seeded team to lose in the first round, it was hard to take Dirk’s Mavericks seriously as contenders. Well, we’re not going to overlook them, or any one-star teams any more, are we?

Dwyane Wade did something that we knew he could do from 2006 – become his team’s leader in the final and try to will them to a title. The only thing about this year was that he wasn’t supposed to be the alpha dog and that proves that Miami is – and always was – his team. He may not have his teammate’s natural talents, skills or physique, but he showed that is the better player. He showed that whoever takes their talents to South  Beach, it’ll be as his wingman and surely not the other way around.

Quickly onto Chris Bosh, who is now about 50-50 to be traded this off-season when some sort of CBA is worked out. Apparently three stars aren’t enough to win you title when you lack the right amount of depth and that’s why the logical move is deal Bosh for some nice pieces to surround Wade and the Prince with. Looks like Bosh is destined to be the guy who racks up big numbers as the primary guy on a team that hovers around .500.

Finally, we get to the man whose legacy was hurt the most in all of this: LeBron James. The supposed best player in the world who literally disappeared at the most crucial times in this series. The man who set a career-low for points in an NBA Finals game. The man who has now lost the two Finals that he has been in – once as a leaders and once as a follower. The man who recorded perhaps the weakest triple-double in Finals history – and it doubled as his best moment.

As I mentioned earlier, he has now lost his reputation as the best player in the league because, quite frankly, he was only the third-best player in this series and the second-best on his own team. Heck, you could even make a case that Jason Terry outplayed him.

So now what happens? Is LeBron and the rest of the Heat still the villain, or will this loss humble them in the eyes of the public. Where do they go from here, besides trying to deal Bosh? How tight of a leash will Erik Spoelstra have if the Heat slip up next season? Well, let’s just hope we don’t have to wait too long.

1 Comment

  1. Villains ! It’s amazing how many people were cheering for the Mavs to win. It would be interesting to see, other than south Florida, who was cheering for the Heat. Certainly not anyone from Ohio.
    Looks good on them

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