Pat Riley may possibly be on the verge of surpassing Don Shula as the greatest Miami sports figure. He has a resume that is untouchable. Coached at the prestigious Kentucky college coached by the great Adolph Rupp. Riley was so good he was even drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. His pro career was mediocre, he pretty much rode the pine and collected a ring in 72'. His coaching resume speaks for itself. Showtime Lakers. Great era of basketball. Onto the Knicks where he came a few John Starks field goals short of some additional jewelry.
What's most impressive about Riley's tenure is he has built 3 seperate championship contending runs in Miami. First were the Zo & Hardaway led teams of the late 90's who ran into Jordan in the Conference Finals. Had a #1 seed during lockout in which they were upset by the Knicks. Then put all of their chips in the center of the table for a run in the 2000-2001 NBA Season. That team was destined to meet the Lakers in the Finals. It really could have been a special run, but a rare disease to the heart and soul of that team Alonzo Mourning, derailed the possibility.
In 2003, he got real lucky. Miami held the fifth pick in the draft and with a few lucky breaks, most notably Detroit's selection of Darko Milicic they drafted D-Wade. Folklore tells it that he wanted Chris Bosh, as well as a desire for Chris Kaman. It is believed that he deferred and trusted the instinct of another executive on that pick. He hustled the Clippers on overspending on Elton Brand and lured away Lamar Odom. A young core of Wade, Odom, and Caron Butler lead the team to a second round berth. A big move in the form of Shaq had the team in the east Finals and eventually another title in 2006. Things quickly flamed out.
And most recently with a great free agent coup led by one of the most prolific free agent in sports history. The team fell short in the Finals in their first crack at it. And now are 1 win away from a title. He now is on the cusp to have done it as a player, a coach, and an executive. For that, he is higher on the hierarchy of the legends of South Florida. I know the geezers will preach Shula, Dan Marino, or..Thats what I thought. There's Riley and then there's everyone else.
This is a fun topic I like to debate with some of my friends who know the NBA very well. This is not necessarily about numbers, titles, chemistry, etc., This is about taking the 5 best players, each from their respective position and constructing the best possible squad.
I suspect that many of these will look similar, but would like to also see some variances and explanations to go with them. Here is my 5 and a brief explanation why that player was chosen.
PG - Magic Johnson - This was an easy selection. Without research I think he had 5 titles and was just such a dynamic player. His size alone would cause fits. Honorable mentions; John Stockton, Steve Nash, The Big O.
SG - Michael Jordan - I seriously doubt anyone could come out with a better argument here and keep a straight face. Maybe Skip Bayless can.
SF- LeBron James - Very hard choice to make here. You obviosly have Larry Bird also, who many would pick over this guy. But in 9 seasons he has been a winner, no off-court issues, 3 MVPs, a tripble double threat. When his career is finished, he should be in this spot like Jordan is at the #2.
PF - Karl Malone - Another tough spot here that is completely open for debate. Alot of people just few him as a very nice player, but I remember Malone as a bad ass. Research his stats, they will astound you. He was a machine. He also stayed healthy his entire career, playing 82 game seasons. And the times he didnt was because of wither last game of season rest or a 1-2 game suspension for being tough. Honorable mention; the great Tim Duncan, Kevin McHale, Elgin Haylor.
C- Kareem Abdul Jabbar - This one should have the most debate as there are several viable options. I go for the all time scoring leader and ultimate team player. Honorable mentions; Bill Russell rings, Shaq, Wilt, Hakeem.
So there you have it. Dare to face my squad?
Was going to post this in someone's comment section, but too many guys dont like to hear the truth and block rebuttals. Here is the truth on the whole Iverson vs Wade argument.
Points - Push
Iverson clearly has an edge on quantity, but he was just a ball hog who always took ill advised shots. Hes got 24k taking twice as many shots in a 14 year career. Wade has played 9 years and has clearly been more effective with his opportunities.
Spilts - Edge Wade.
Iverson edges Wade slightly from beyond the arc, but neither of these guys are Jesus Shuttlesworth. Wade is near 50 percentage points better FG% wise. Thats a big number.
Defense - Push
Iverson gets more steals. Wade is best shot blocking guard of his generation.
Playoffs - Edge Wade
Wade has made the playoffs in all but one year during his career. His rookie year he took a lottery team into the second round where he was outmatched by a strong Indiana team. He came a meltdown short of making a Finals trip during Shaq's first year and then capped it off with a Finals MVP when delivering a championship to Miami. In the first year of the Big 3 era, he made it to another Finals, falling short.
Iverson had that tremendous run in 2001. And thats it. There was nothing else worth mention.
Intangibles - Edge Wade
The microscope has been put on Wade over the last few days since his spat with coach Spo. Judging by some of the comments posted, people do not care too much for Wade. I also do not like whiny people who make excuses. I think Wade represents part of the bigger issue which are AAU basketball products. I just dont like their self of entitlement and softness. I like old school guys who get in your face or in your head. Guys like Ron Artest. But Wade is light years better than the piece of trash that Iverson was. Wade atleast had the Jedi mindset of how to deal with Shaq. He was referred to by Shaq as "Michael Corleone," as apposed to the "Sonny/Kobe" and "Fredo/Penny" of Shaqs past partners.
Wade also help persuade the greatest free agent in league history (since Shaq) to come on board and play in Miami. Also helped get Bosh to come as well, and Haslem to take less money to stay.
Posted Sunday, April 01, 2012 02:37 AM
Edge goes to Wade. Id rather have Wade than Iverson 100/100 times.
I have spent the last several hours trying to find a book who would take action on Sunday's rigged WWE matches. If need be I will fly to Vegas myself if necessary, already have a route set. The match that is most intriguing is the Hell in a Cell match vs Undertaker and HHH. Here is a snippet about the match
Basically, the Undertaker is 19-0 at this stage. For a twist, there is a guest referee who might not see things so objectively. Former partner of HHH, the man who lost to the Taker, HBK himself.
Would love to find a book to take this action. I wonder what the odds would be. Maybe -150.
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