-So Amar’e Stoudemire is a Knick. The James-D’Antoni-Amar’e pick-and-roll would have been perhaps the single most unstoppable offensive set in the history of the NBA. (According to Synergy, LeBron was a more efficient scorer as the pick-and-roll ballhandler than Steve Nash was last year. Consider this, and also think about who James’ roll partners were.)
Too bad for New York, and Amar’e, that they never thought about how a complete team needed to be built around that pick-and-roll. Amar’e hasn’t shown he can play any defense. In 2010, it’s very hard to get by with a flat-out liability at the 4 or the 5. Maybe Amar’e could be convinced to play some defense by the right coach, but it’s not like Amar’e played good defense under D’Antoni in Phoenix. (Although I will say that Phoenix was an underrated defensive team when they had a Marion-Amar’e frontline.)
As for the Knicks, all they can offer LeBron is a good pick-and-roll partner. Danilo Gallinari plays LeBron’s position and can’t take any pressure off of LeBron defensively. The Knicks have nobody who can guard the rim. Toney Douglas is their point guard. They have no draft picks.
Part of me is sad that I’ll never get to see a LeBron-Amar’e pick-and-roll, but alas. Just another example of the human flaws in the foundation of something that could have been beautiful. (My apologies for counting out New York as a legitimate possibility — I know that anything can happen in free agency, and don’t have any access to the inner workings of LeBron’s mind, but New York has seemed like a fringe possibility for some time now.)
Just so we’re everybody clear here, Toney Douglas is 24 years old and had one eight-assist game last season. Steve Nash has averaged at least 8.8 assists since LeBron’s rookie year. This is going to work out great.
-THANK THE LORD THEY PUSHED BACK FILMING ON THAT STUPID LEBRON MOVIE. That may be the best news I’ve heard all month. The media would have rained BRIMSTONE upon that film. You have to win a championship before trying to pull stunts like starring in Ballers. It doesn’t matter whether or not filming would have actually kept LeBron from improving his game; what matters is that people think it would/will. Now LeBron just has to spend a few hours working out with Kevin McHale and making sure photographers are on hand.
-Good, somebody is going to take Shaq off of Cleveland’s hands. I’ll get to this in depth when I do Shaq’s report card, but I felt like he took stuff off the table more often than not last season. During that brief period before he injured himself when he had his one-on-one scoring touch going, he was something. And who knows what we’d be saying about Shaq if the Cavs had met Dwight Howard in the playoffs.
That said, I have had enough of watching the Cavs sacrifice possessions to a flat Shaq hook-shot in order to appease their center. I’ve had enough of Shaq getting tied up on the pick-and-roll. I’ve had enough of Shaq and Varejao crashing into each other around the rim like college kids trying to get a drink at a crowded party.
I don’t mind watching players try and fail, but I don’t like watching guys who aren’t with the proverbial program. Shaq tried to stay in shape and keep his ego in check, but he never really looked comfortable being a role player on offense. (All the good attitude in the world wouldn’t have helped Shaq on the pick-and-roll.) Finally, I am still holding Shaq’s refusal to come off the bench at ANY POINT against him. Especially when he was coming back from the injury.
-It makes me sad to see Delonte referred to as “Delonte’s contract.” Whether the Cavs will get 08-09 Delonte or 09-10 Delonte next season is impossible to know, and it has huge implications for the team’s offseason strategy.
-Derrick Rose would have preferred Joe Johnson over LeBron? Really? Because Rose and Johnson share and agent, and Johnson would theoretically be better as a second banana? (I will note that Joe has been running the “Iso-Joe offense for a good while now in Atlanta.) I’m happy about this development as a Cavalier fan, but it does kind of make me sad as a fan of people.
Alright, that’s all for tonight. Until tomorrow, campers.