5X5: MVP Talk, Help for the Heat, Crappy NBA Team Names, and more…
Those of you that have met me will know that no matter where I am or what I’m doing, I can never be found without three things in my pocket: tic tacs, hand sanitizer and a notepad. You see, I’m a serial scribbler, and on any given day I’m liable to fill ten or more pages with non sequitur observations, article concepts and cryptic notes to myself that invariably make no sense to me twenty minutes after they’re written.
In particular, I’m prone to making lists, and during basketball season they more often than not relate to the NBA in some way. Until now, they’ve gone unnoticed and, once the notepad is filled and tossed in the shoeboxes that house the forty or so others of its type, forgotten forever. So, instead of letting my lists fester for eternity in the back of my closet, I’ll be publishing them here for you all to enjoy, critique and pepper with insulting comments that suggest a knowledge of the English language derived entirely from MySpace. Oh, and for no reason other than to fit the “5X5” title, I’ll be dropping five lists at a time, each with five points.
Let’s get right into it.
Five Things the Miami Heat Should Do to Improve
1. Have Alonzo Mourning follow the team as an assistant coach. With the freedom to focus his boundless energy on motivating the squad, ‘Zo could really inspire the Heat to step up their effort. He might have seen the end of his on-court career, but he’s still valuable as a professor of the art of hustle.
2. Run the ball through Shaq on at least every other play. Despite his lacklustre stats thus far this season, he remains one of the best passing big men in the league, and as long as he continues to shoot sixty percent from the field, he’ll never be a bad option on the block.
3. Find a new coach. Pat Riley is a proud man, and until he gets his swagger back, he’s a mediocre coach at best. His gimmicky tactics (starting perennial benchwarmers, for example) reek of desperation and, sad as I am to say it, it looks as if it’s time for him to move back to the front office.
4. Take some names. I’m not saying they should look to put in suspension-level fouls, but the team could certainly do with re-establishing its identity as a hard-nosed defensive squad. James Posey was traditionally the man to send a message, but since his relocation to Boston the Heat have looked like a bully with a broken arm.
5. Share the love. Dwyane Wade’s buzzer-beating game-winner is obviously the story of tonight’s contest, but a glance at the box score will reveal that six Heat players scored in double figures, half of them from the bench. When the superstars are slipping, the only way to stay afloat is to share the burden, and Miami have a few guys riding the pine who are capable of putting up quick points when it’s required.
Five Players Who Deserve More Court Time
1. Glen Davis
2. J.R. Smith
3. Steve Francis
4. Nenê (when healthy, of course)
5. Kelenna Azubuike
The Five Best Active Players Without an MVP Award (in no particular order)
1. Kobe Bryant. In fact, if Mamba doesn’t find himself in a better situation in the next few years, he might end his career as the best player never to take home the award.
2. LeBron James. If Dirk were a decent dude, he’d hand his trophy over to the rightful owner.
3. Dwight Howard. Something tells me his first isn’t too far in the future, though.
4. Dwyane Wade. Referee-assisted or not, he put his team on his back and carried them to a championship.
5. Carmelo Anthony. Perhaps the league’s most versatile scorer, ‘Melo is a monster on the court who’s yet to see so much as a sniff of MVP consideration.
Five U.S. Cities That Could Accommodate an NBA Franchise
1. Las Vegas
2. San Diego
3. Oklahoma City
4. San Jose
Five Team Names That Need Rethinking
1. Utah Jazz. It’s been suggested that they swap names with Memphis or New Orleans. Both would work for me.
2. Toronto Raptors. Sure, “Jurassic Park” was a good movie, but it’s not reason enough to give your franchise such a terrible name. Besides which, if you had to pick a dinosaur, wouldn’t you go for a T-Rex or something a little more rugged?
3. Washington Wizards. “Bullets” was a bad-ass nickname, so, naturally, the forces of political correctness worked their hardest to have it changed to something so infinitely soft that they needed the greatest player in history to don the jersey before I could stop laughing at it.
4. Orlando Magic. Another team name that looks to have been selected by an expert panel of six-year-old girls. The cutesy stars they use for the “A” and to dot the “i” in the team logo don’t help.
5. New Jersey Nets. What’s sad is that there’s a suit somewhere who earned a pretty penny for coming up with this name. If you ever meet him, promise you’ll punch him on the nose for me.