by: Andrew Wilkes
Growing up I’ve always wished that I was old enough in the 90s to have seen the great Michael Jordan in his prime. Now, I am content to be able to bear witness to the most dominant player at this time in the world, Lebron James.
As of today, Lebron set a new NBA record that none of the great ones of NBA past have ever been able to do and that is score 30 or more points and shoot at least sixty precent from the field in five consecutive games.
Nevertheless, the debate can go on and on for ever. Lebron or Kobe, Lebron or MJ but quite frankly I believe we should look it at from a different perspective. Look at these great players from an era stand point. MJ had his time of greatness, the 1990s where he won an unprecedented six NBA Championships en route to the greatest basketball career to ever.
Then, in the 2000s there was the Black Mamba. Kobe Bryant was young and in the precious prime of his career where he averaged 28 points per game and hauled in five NBA titles.
The greatest player of the 1990s, Michael Jordan; the greatest player of the 2000s, Kobe Bryant; the greatest player of the 2010s, yet to be decided.
I say yet to be decided but I believe we all see the writing on the wall.
Just how Michael stole majority of the titles from Charles Barkley, John Stockton among others and the way Kobe kept Iverson and Michael Redd from obtaining their rings, Lebron will limit great players such as Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul from ever winning numerous championships because that is just what great era defining players do, win championships.
Every era has their own great players and in each era the great players come out on top in the end. In the 1960s, Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics won nine NBA championships; In the 1980s Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers pulled out five titles; the 1990s saw Michael Jordan take home six and the 2000s gave Kobe five rings.
Now, as we enter the 2010s one can only assume that Lebron’s time as started. He already took one title home in 2012 and in 2013 he is showing that even when we thought he could not get any better, he has.
Lebron James, who is 28, is beginning his prime just like Michael Jordan himself did at a similar age. Michael Jordan won his first championship at the age of 28 and his last at 35.
It is well known that the prime of a basketball player’s career is his late 20s early thirties and Lebron is entering that time and the way I see it there is nobody who will stop his path to greatness.
As we love to do, in ten years we will look back at the 2010s era of NBA basketball as Lebron’s time where King James reigns over all and keeps majority of the championships to himself because we have learned that all the great ones have one thing in common and it’s that they win.
So for all the debate who is the greatest basketball player my advice is let it rest. Frankly, there will never be a player who is considered by everybody the greatest to ever live. It is all a matter of opinion and I believe we should take each player for what they are, a once in a lifetime chance to watch a God-Given talent perform on the court. Each era will have their great one and lets stop worrying about who is the greatest ever and just begin to respect Kobe as he finishes his last couple of years and be in awe of Lebron as he begins his prime years and journey to be one of the greatest ever. We Are All Witnesses.
I intend to write this without mentioning my Ole Miss Rebels who just dominated #10 ranked Missouri, so here I go. The SEC dominates the NCAA in football and baseball but so far in the 2012-2013 basketball season, it has been a struggle for the conference to say the least.
SEC basketball has never been the best as a whole but it usually does not struggle this bad as a whole either. To the conference’s defense, the SEC still is home to the reigning NCAA Champions and also produced the most draft picks in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Still, nobody expected this many SEC conference teams to get knocked around like it has during the first part of the season.
First of all, I do understand basketball. I understand that the one and done rule can be a real hardship. With the likes of the super talent from Kentucky and Bradley Beale of Florida going 1,2,3 in the draft, it is never easy to build a team when you continue to lose your best players. Nevertheless, the same problem goes for every team in the country.
One of the problems lies in the ugly non conference losses that have plagued the league. The SEC teams who have made a habit of attracting top recruits who go one and done are always left with an unexperienced group of players. Anybody that knows anything about about basketball knows that experience and chemistry are everything and that is where the struggling SEC teams are at the disadvantage. The smaller conference schools come in with two or more seniors and the team entire team has been playing together for years. Even though they may not play professional basketball, they have developed the chemistry of a quality basketball team and a lot of times, these early non conference games can be a trap for bigger schools who tend to have to restart each year.
Struggles in the SEC have been all around though. Not only have SEC schools lost the majority of their games against other major-conference teams, they’ve struggled against teams smaller conferences who have a hard time making it into the Big Dance in March.
Auburn lost to Winthrop. Mississippi State fell to Alabama A&M. Texas A&M couldn’t handle Southern. Youngstown State defeated Georgia. Mercer beat Alabama.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan talked about this very exact problem, he does not believe it is fair to judge a conference based on November and December performance.
“I never really agreed with that.” Donovan said. “I think teams get better. I think one thing that has happened in our league is a lot of teams in our league have lost a lot of people. Kentucky lost a lot. Vanderbilt’s lost a lot. Mississippi State has got a new coach. South Carolina has got a new coach. There has been a lot of turnover in personnel from key guys.”
The SEC lost 12 players to the NBA draft last year and that has hurt significantly with teams trying to gel early on.
South Carolina’s new coach, Frank Martin also had a pretty avid opinion on judging the league mid way through the season.
“We make it out like the SEC is the only league in the country that’s losing non-conference games,” Martin said. “It’s happening all over the country. With the one-and-done rule in college basketball, there is more parity in college basketball than ever before. And you have to take into account that teams can get better. For us to be talking about this on Jan. 7 is a waste of time.”
Nevertheless, losing players or not, the SEC has looked rough this year and one can only hope that at least four teams can at least make the NCAA tournament. As of today, there are only three teams in the BPI top 50, Florida at #4, Ole Miss at #17 (I am sorry I just could not help myself) and Missouri at #27. Also, the SEC is ranked 9th in the country in conference RPI.( RPI is a ranking of strength of schedule)
Hopefully, by March the SEC will have more relevant teams and someone can make a run in the tournament. As of now, it could be anybody and there is no clear cut power team. One positive is that this could make for a very interesting conference tournament with a NCAA tournament bid on the line it will be anybody’s ticket to grab.
As of 1/13/12
|15||Ohio St||Big Ten|
|18||Notre Dame||Big East|
|22||Oklahoma St||Big 12|
|24||San Diego St||MWC|
|30||Michigan St||Big Ten|
Why will the LA Lakers will not make the playoffs this year?
Two words. Phil Jackson.
The Lakers have proven a lot of things this season. One being nobody on the team is comfortable with any offense but Phil Jackson’s triangle.
After coaching the Lakers to 5 NBA Championships in 11 years, why would any Laker want to change out of one of the most productive offenses in our era. The triangle perfectly allowed Kobe to flow with Gasol and Bynum. Even in the earlier years with Shaq it just seemed all to easy for the uber entertaining Lakers. Now those days are over and the Lakers are more talented than ever, they are more pathetic than ever. 5th from last in points allowed per game and hovering around 15th in the power rankings the Lakers have transitioned to average.
But who’s to blame?
It’s not Kobe who is leading the league in scoring. It is not Nash who cannot get a rhythm in D’Antoni’s offense. It is not even Dwight who is playing like somebody took his superman powers away. It is management.
Why hire Mike Brown then fire him a year later? Ok. You made mistake number one but you have to avoid mistake number two, which they did not. Hiring Mike D’Antoni was mistake number 2. I am not hating on Mike D’Antoni either. He has had a successful coaching career and he deserves the respect. But he was put in a lose lose situation. We all know he runs a pick and roll offense. This is a type of offense that takes time and practice to develop a feel for. When you run a pick and roll offense it can be very effective, but also it can be very painful to watch if not run properly because the amount of turnovers it can produce.
15.3 TO per game and the Lakers let their inability to be a productive offense effect their ability to play defense. We all know, the NBA is full of freak athletes, freak athletes that love to run fast breaks. Ever heard what the best offense is? A good defense. Wanna know what the best defense is? A good offense. When you force teams to take the ball up majority of possessions you won’t have LeBron James or Blake Griffin going coast to coast and putting Gasol on Sportscenter’s Top 10 for getting slammed on.
No matter how good Kobe is, there are four other players and none of them seem comfortable in Mike D’Antoni’s offense. I wonder if hiring him in the middle of the season and having to learn on the fly a complicated offense that takes preseason time to develop has anything to do with the struggles. But I am just Andrew Wilkes, First United Methodist Church League Basketball MVP and reigning League champion, not the GM of the Los Angeles Lakers.