In our new weekly feature John Cronin breaks down what is happening in the NBA world and lets us know what he thinks is good and not so good in the league…
Isiah Thomas has been playing out of his mind this season, earlier in the week the 5 ft.9 point guard was a named an All Star for the second time in his career. I think it’s time we sit back and appreciate what the second best little man of all time (Allen Iverson will always be number one) is doing for the Boston Celtics.
It’s been 6 years now since Thomas was selected with the very last pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the dysfunctional Sacramento Kings. Thomas was shipped out of Sacramento after 3 seasons, it’s said that the Kings Star DeMarcus Cousins didn’t see eye to eye with his point guard and the front office taught it best to trade Thomas to keep Cousins happy. After a brief stint in Phoenix with the Suns Thomas was traded to the Celtics, in Boston Thomas found a home becoming there number one option on offense.
People questioned whether or not Thomas could lead a contending team but this season he has proven his doubters wrong averaging a career high 30 points a game as well as being the league leader in points scored in the 4th quarter. Thomas was once considered a novelty because of his size but he can no longer be overlooked, he is a legitimate MVP candidate and while the Celtics may be a player or two away from threatening the Cav’s in the Eastern Conference, I would find it hard to bet against a guy who’s made a career of proving people wrong.
The Cleveland Cavillers
Earlier in the week the Cav’s lost to the Pelicans who were missing their All Star power forward Anthony Davis. LeBron finished the game with a triple double and Kyrie Irving scored a game high 49 points, the normally very media savvy James couldn’t hold back his frustrations which can be seen in his comments below.
“We’re not better than last year, from a personal standpoint…We’re a top-heavy team. I just hope that we’re not satisfied as an organisation. I’ll be 33 in the winter and I ain’t got time to waste…We need a f@*king playmaker. I’m not saying you can just find one, like you can go outside and see trees. I didn’t say that. It’s been a sh*t 2017 so far”.
James makes a very fair point, realistically he is the only player on the Cavs who can create for his team, Kyrie may be listed as a point guard but he is a scorer first facilitator second. LeBron has played more basketball than anyone in the last decade and at 32 should be resting for the playoffs during the regular season, but due to their lack of a true point guard James is leading the team in minutes, playing almost 38 a game!
If you have LeBron James on your team it is up to the organisation to do whatever it is in their power to keep him happy, the Cleveland Cavaliers should remember that he left once and he could leave again.
The Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls went through a colossal change at the beginning of the season, trading Hometown hero Derek Rose and defensive anchor Joakim Noah to the Knicks it was expected that they were going to go into rebuild mode. There was even talks of trading there young star Jimmy Butler but with additions of Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade the Bulls looked like they were trying to assemble a team that could compete against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference.
There is no doubting Rondo and Wade’s pedigree but the fact of the matter is that these two players are no longer capable of leading a championship contending team, even with a player like Jimmy Butler.
The Bulls have been lagging in the bottom half of the Eastern conference playoff picture and look like there are going straight for a first round exit in May. Earlier in the week the Bulls lost to the Atlanta Hawks and Dwyane Wade decided to throw his Bulls teammates under the bus. Wade commented.
I don’t know if people care enough. … It just doesn’t mean enough to guys around here, and it pisses me off…I’m 35 years old. I have three championships. It shouldn’t hurt me more than it hurts these young guys. They have to want it. I can look at Jimmy and say Jimmy is doing his job. I think Jimmy can look at me and say Dwyane is doing his job. I don’t know if we can keep going down the line and be able to say that.”
Butler echoed Wade’s sentiments.
“If you don’t come in motherf*#kin’ pissed off every game, any game. If you’re not pissed off that you lost, something is wrong…This is your job. This is what you’re supposed to love to do.”
After the comments Rondo posted a picture on Instagram of him and his former Boston Celtics teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Peirce with the following caption “My vets would never go to the media. They would come to the team. My vets didn’t pick and choose when they wanted to bring it. They brought it every time they stepped in the gym whether it was practice or a game. They didn’t take days off. My vets didn’t care about their numbers. My vets played for the team. When we lost, they wouldn’t blame us. They took responsibility and got in the gym. They showed the young guys what it meant to work…If anything is questionable, it’s the leadership.”
While there are better mediums than Instagram to get your message across I think Rondo had the right idea in mind, your established vets can’t be undermining the rest of your squad in the media like that.
It is clear that the experiment in Chicago did not work, second year coach Fred Hoiberg is out of his depth and cannot control his disgruntled stars. The have got a couple of pieces, id say blow it up and go for total rebuild.