Tuesday, September 27, 2005

30 Reasons to Get Fired up For the 2005-06 NBA Season - #14

The Jelling of the New Miami Heat

Let’s face it, operating with a plethora of personalities works for certain groups better than others. In the acting world, sometimes the more diverse a team, the better their show/movie/act turns out. Look at Saturday Night Live which has thrived off of their collection of assorted comedic personas for years now. The same can be said of the cast of Seinfeld, Friends, Melrose Place-- even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for God’s sake. The one place however, where a group of diverse characters does not necessarily thrive in, is sports. Look at the New York Yankees, who think adding a slew of high-priced has-beens/emotional head-cases is the answer to winning their 27th World Series. The New York Rangers employed the same foolish mentality for years and missed the postseason for eight straight seasons (and counting). Team chemistry is essential in sports and while actors don’t necessarily need to get along behind the scenes, professional athletes almost certainly do. There is however one exception, that being Shaquille O’Neal. Don’t forget that Shaq won three championships with Kobe Bryant despite their well-documented, malice-laden relationship. Having been accustomed to a team with conflicting personalities, perhaps O’Neal can be the hand that guides the way for this Heat ball club. But with veterans like Gary Payton, Antoine Walker, and Jason Williams all eventually colliding at some point during the year, Miami could also face the ‘Perfect Storm’ of personalities.

Adding GP, J-Will, and 'Toine to any basketball team looks excellent on paper, but quite the contrary from a team perspective. All three have been known for their blowups, blowouts, tantrums, selfish play, egotistical nature, etc. Let’s take a quick look at each.

Last year in Boston, Doc Rivers allowed Payton to run the show. If he wanted to slow down the pace fine, as long as he took the time to tutor the young point guards on the team. Well, here we are one year later, Payton’s gone, and the Celtics’ point guard situation is no better than it was a summer ago. So essentially all GP did is come in and slow down a group of young players who would have been much better suited as a running team. But that’s Gary. He bitched and moaned for weeks after being traded to Boston then told Ainge and Rivers that he’d come and play but that it was his way or the highway. Well his way got the Atlantic Division champs bounced in the first round of the Playoffs. Add to it that his bad back prevents him from even touching iron from 3 and you basically have a stubborn 85 year-old grandfather vying for starting PG duties in South Beach.

How much would you pay to be sitting on the bench next to J-Will and GP when Payton first discovers the tattoos across Williams’ fingers? I bet it would go something like this:

GP: What the fuck does that say? White Boy?

J-Will: Yeah, what’s the problem?

GP: That shit's stupid kid, we can all see you’re a white boy. You don’t see ‘Black Guy’ across my knuckles

J-Will: Shut up old man, who’s backing me up this season?

GP: (Sound of a punch)

Shaq: Oh, damn!

Stan Van Gundy: (Looking for Pat Riley over his shoulder)

Add to it that Williams has a new hair color every week, historically shoots under 40% from the field, and tries to make the 'And One' pass at least three times a game, and this battle for point guard duties could become a physical war. Plus, these two guys couldn’t have more conflicting games. Williams likes to run, razzle-dazzle, and knock down the 3. Payton likes to play at a turtle’s pace, post up defenders, and hasn’t hit a 3 since ’94. I cannot see this playing out well for anyone.

Perhaps the most frustrating player to watch in the history of the sporting world. He has redefined the words “chucker,” “gunner,” “choker,” “bastard,” and “son of a bitch.” The guy has the shot selection of Ray Charles with a loaded rifle. But just after he misses five 1-foot finger rolls in a row, he’ll hit a three-pointer from 40-feet to win the game. I don’t know if he’s bi-polar, schizophrenic, retarded, or just a mediocre ball player. Miami fans laughing at this, please stop immediately. This is no joke. No one will frustrate you more than Walker. Think your mom or girlfriend pisses you off when she changes a game in the 4th quarter to check the weather for tomorrow? Toine brings frustration to a different dimension. You can’t help but love his passion for the game and dedication to firing up the crowd, but after you watch him for a month or so, none of this will matter.

Yeesh, I feel like I just filled out a report for three delinquent children. It’s clear that these guys have legitimate issues on and off the court. Putting these three together is like making a sitcom with George Alexander, Damon Wayans, and Ellen DeGeneras—there’s less than a -43% chance of it succeeding. I’m sorry to surround this franchise with such pessimism, but I’ve watched GP and Walker first hand as a fan of the Celtics and read enough about Williams to know that unless Shaq threatens all of their lives immediately, things are going to turn ugly. 60 wins may be a certainty for this Heat squad, but getting through teams like Detroit and Indiana is a whole different ball game especially with a ‘White Boy’, ‘Grandpa', and a ‘Chucker’.


At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LMAO That Jwill/GP dialogue is priceless, and so on the money!

This post is definetly gonna get some major airtime across the net, if only just for that bit....

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

can the heat sign glen robinson or trade for sam cassell to go for the complete dynamite team?

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Haha, nice call on the Big Dog. And I didn't even mention a deteriorating/cranky Alonzo Mourning off the bench. The Heat may need both Stan Van and Riley by the end of the season.

At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they should make a move to get a hold of Spree. Then they could mix it up by putting the most fantastical 5 of J-Will, Spree, Posey, 'Toine, and Alonzo.

At 9:54 PM, Blogger asdf said...

I honestly think with this mix of players personalities and styles of play, the Heat are worse now then before. They might make it to the Finals, but I think it'll all come crashing down at some point.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger BBallBlog said...

The JWill/GP dialogue is priceless. But the myth that Jason Williams is the same 'And 1' player he was when he entered the league is overblown. Jason has toned down his game a lot, to the times when I was bored watching him last season. You can also tell that he's changed based on how assist to turnover ratio has made a dramatic turn for the better the last few years.

Either way, the dialogue was priceless. :)

At 9:17 AM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

While J-Will's AND1 game may have toned down a bit, so has everything else. Last season he averaged his lowest minutes per game (27.5) in his entire career. His PPG (10.1) were their worst since 2000. APG (5.6)-worst in career, and RPG (1.7)-worst in career. And his assist-to-turnover ratio that you said has made a dramatic turn for the better, was his worst in three years. '02: 3.77, '03: 3.58, '04: 3.11. Perhaps he should resort back to playing with more flash.

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous rom said...

great piece here, I don't know what to think of this new heat team. On the paper it's a great team, but you are right it will be impossible to manage for van gundy. Hopefully, Shaq will make it clear from the begining that he didn't sign for 25 million less to watch his teamates ruin their chance of a title. If van gundy manages to get to the title with no fights in the locker riley will have to triple his salary immediately.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger The Cavalier said...

I'm going to go against the norm and say what brings the Heat down is a nagging Shaq injury of some sort.

I also think one of the more interesting trends in the NBA is the "fake superstars" of the late 90s. Guys like Walker or Stackhouse. They were supposed to be the next big thing, but it's like they're regarded as washed up before 30. It's not like their games are gone, it's just everyone realized they aren't that good.

I'd like to see someone do a serious analysis of the drafts from like 1993-98. There's all kinds of crap in there.

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

Cavalier, Paul has analyzed quite a few drafts. Check out his archive on the sidebar. Enjoy...

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Ryan said...

Did you guys notice that ESPN.com is completely ripping you guys off? This morning they have their "Top 30 Stories in the NBA" and are having users rank them. That's total BS... you guys came out with the Top 30 a long time ago. Anyways... nbasource.com is where I go for the REAL top 30 stories in the NBA... keep up the good work.

P.S. I really appreciate your guys views towards my man KG. The man has the heart of the champion and gives his all (which is A LOT) everytime he puts on a uniform, even when his knee is messed up. I think he's been unjustifiably blamed for last season, and it's not right. So thanks!

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Anthony Peretore said...

You're the man. Glad someone else can see KG's fire. I love our readers, but sometimes they argue with me just to get me all FIRED UP!!! Mission accomplished.

At 7:38 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

I cant wait to see the Heat. There's so many questions to remain unanswered around them. Van Gundy will be the busiest coach next season for sure.

At 11:23 PM, Blogger BBallBlog said...


While his assist to turnover ratio was his worst in three years, it was still good enough to rank #17 in the entire league. He ranked #4 in 2003-2004, and #2 in 2002. His sharp decline in 2004-2005 can be blamed on two people: Himself, and not getting along with coach Mike Fratello.

My overall point was that he's not nearly the same player he was when he first entered the league. As someone who's followed his career and has more games of his on tape than should be humanly allowed, I can attest he's become rather boring, at least the last two years. Every once in awhile he'll make a flashy play, but it's not a regular occurance like when he was with the Kings (which might also have to do with not having guys with good hands like Webber or Vlade catching his passes anymore).

At 4:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive been reading the posts on this site for a while now, mainly due to that fact that they are always honest and to the point.

But this post took it to another level, you dont have to know a damn thing about basketball to appreciate how funny the "he has the shot selection of Ray Charles with a loaded shot gun" line is.....thats just great writing.

Keep it up guys, you've got me ready for this new NBA season, without question.

At 1:47 AM, Anonymous Jim Online said...

With Shaq down, the Heat will not be as good as advertised. The Heat's success will totally depend on Wade who is having a career year. However, the problem with Wade is that he commits a lot of turnovers. His new teamates, Wlaker and Williams are not helping that much. I think it is only Payton who has substantially contributed to the team

At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lmfaooooooo MIAMI HEAT 2006 WORLD CHAMPS you must feel like a total dumbass dammmm man fukin idiot tryin to sound funny

your soo stupid


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