Monday Listed: The NBA’s Top Five Stories For 2006-07
Check out Monday Listed, a new feature from HoopsVibe The Blog, where every Monday Oly drops an epic NBA list … The first edition of Monday Listed breaks down the biggest and baddest stories in The Association for 2006-07 … So read and reflect on the past season and get at us with your thoughts …
1) San Antonio Closing In On Dynasty Status
I’m supposed to hate. I’m supposed to knock the and mention how their razor-sharp execution on both ends of the floor is killing basketball.
I’m also supposed to take a shot at The Big Three: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker. And, while I’m at it, I’m supposed to insult the city of San Antonio and make a nasty comment about the color of their river.
Fair or not, this was the typical take being kicked around by sports fans.
Well, I won’t do it. I won’t take the bait. The Spurs deserve credit. They’re a world-class organization.
After all, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. And right now, NBA franchises are trying to imitate the San Antonio model, hiring their assistant coaches and front office execs.
So save your hate for the next twist in the Kobe Bryant saga. Four NBA Titles in nine years means and The Alamo are something special.
2) We Believe: Baron Davis & Warriors Make History
I thought B-Diddy’s career was done-game over for the talented, but often-injured point guard. Over the last two years, he had logged more hours in the rehab room than Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan put together.
I was wrong. Davis was far from finished, helping The Bay make the playoffs for the first time in twelve seasons.
Golden State didn’t just qualify for the playoffs. The Warriors clinched in dramatic fashion, sealing the Western Conference’s final playoff birth on the last day of the regular season.
But ‘We Believe’ was just getting started. Golden State, the #8 seed, went on to upset Dallas, the #1 seed, in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
This was the first time a #8 seed had ever beaten a #1 seed in a seven game series.
The world fell in love with these Warriors. Snoop rocked home games. Owen Wilson made an appearance or two. And, best of all, the oh-so-lovely Jessica Alba sat courtside.
Golden State’s up-and-down flow was a breath of fresh air. Consider their line-up. No other team would ever play at the four-spot. In fact, before this season no other team ever played Matt Barnes-period. No other team would jack three-pointers like lay-ups. And few teams ever played with such a carefree, loose attitude.
In a league that’s often over-coached, the Warriors were a refreshing change of pace. And they were pretty good, too.
Davis led the charge. I’m now over Golden State losing to Utah in the second round because B-Diddy gave us a highlight for the ages. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about AK-47.
3) The Suspension: General Stern Throws the Book At Stoudemire & Diaw
Game four of the Suns-Spurs Western Conference quarterfinals turned into Hockey Night In Canada. With seconds remaining, Robert Horry got his NHL-on, throwing a textbook body-check on Steve Nash.
Phoenix’s bench erupted. and rushed the floor before being ushered back to the sideline.
There was no incident. However, they left the bench-area, which under NBA rules is an automatic one game suspension.
There was enough wiggle room to let STAT and Diaw off the hook. Of course, Stern and the suits at head office decided against exercising discretion and suspended the two forwards for game five.
The series was tied 2-2. However, the game five suspensions took momentum away from Phoenix. The Suns lost game five and six. Some hoop fans felt cheated. They blamed the NBA and Stern for overreacting and deciding one of the playoffs’ best match-ups.
I don’t blame Stern anymore. However, I would advise the commissioner to steer clear of the Phoenix area for the next decade.
4) Kobe’s Trade Flip-Flop And Flip Again
On May 31st, in the AM, went on 1050 ESPN Radio with Stephen A. Smith and demanded a trade:
Stephen A. Smith: Well, if you don’t know how you can move forward that that situation, you’re still under contract with them, are you saying right here on this show that you you want to be traded?
Kobe Bryant: Yeah, I would like to be traded, yeah.
SAS: There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it?
SAS: It’s not a situation, I know before you reportedly said that you would like them to get Jerry West back. Are you saying now emphatically, regardless of what they done, you want out of Los Angeles?
KB: Yeah, I would like to be traded. And as tough as it is to say that, as tough as it is to come to that conclusion, there’s no other — there’s no other — there’s no other alternative, you know. They obviously want to move in a different direction in terms of rebuilding. I wish they would have told me that prior to me re-signing with the team. They obviously want to move in a different direction.
Just a few hours later, Bryant went on Dan Patrick’s ESPN radio show and backed off his trade demand:
KB: I don’t want to go anyplace else. I don’t want to. I want to be a Laker. I want to be here for the rest of my career.
This past weekend, Bryant met with Laker management in Spain, and once again requested a trade. Bryant also updated the date on a statement he released on his website after his May 31st trade demand:
“The more I thought about the future, the more I became convinced that the Lakers and me just have two different visions for the future. The Lakers are pursuing a longer-term plan that is different from what Dr. Buss shared with me at the time I re-signed as a free agent.”
I have no idea what happens next. But this Kobe thing is reality TV.
5) A King Emerges
I haven’t been brought out of my seat like that in a while. In game five of the Eastern Conference Finals, showed why he’s the future of The Association. It was epic-the best individual performance I’ve seen since Kobe Bean’s eighty-one against the Raptors sixteen months ago.
No doubt about it, the finals lacked excitement But hoop heads were impressed with James’ play and leadership skills.
put it best after game four of the NBA Finals when he told James that “one day you’ll own this league.”
Come back to HoopVibe.com The NBA Blog this afternoon for Part 2 of Monday Listed. We’ll break down some more of the NBA’s top stories for 2006-07.
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