Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:14 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2010 12:15 pm
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Miami Heat's Erik Spoelstra on the Hot Seat?

Being the head-coach of a professional sports team is no simple task.

When the athletes don’t perform well who does the media point their fingers at first?

When a team doesn’t live up to its hype who’s there to blame besides the coach?

Erik Spoelstra and the Miami Heat hold a record of 9-8 on the season, good enough for 6th best in the East.

The Heat entered the current season with arguably the most hype and expectations that the league has ever witnessed.

After 17 games it’s safe to say that the team looks discombobulated.

Wade and James don’t seem comfortable on the court alongside of one another and neither is playing the basketball that many expected them to play.

To add fuel to the fire, the team is in desperate need of a legitimate starting point-guard and center.

Carlos Arroyo does not complement the big three and all three centers for Miami are either too old (Dampier and Illgauskas) or lack offensive talent (Anthony).

Power-forward Udonis Haslem suffered what could be a season ending injury and the team doesn’t get sharp-shooting Mike Miller back for at least another month.

ESPN reported that a source has stated that head-coach Erik Spoelstra has been too tough on the team.

“He’s jumping on them,” one source said. “If anything, he’s been too tough on them. Everybody knows LeBron is playful and likes to joke around, but Spoelstra told him in front of the whole team that he has to get more serious. The players couldn’t believe it. They feel like Spoelstra’s not letting them be themselves.”

“He’s not a motivator,” one of the sources said. “Instead of coaching he’s at the point where the players are starting to sense that he’s fearing for his job.”

Miami’s President, Pat Riley, has stated in the past that Spoelstra’s job is secured and that Riley himself will not return to the sidelines to coach the Heat.

Most analysts and fans would take that statement with a grain of salt due to the fact that anything could change overnight in the crazy world of sports.

Right now it seems like Miami’s situation could not get any worse: they’re 9-8, chemistry is completely lacking, and worst of all their coach is starting to panic.

But is Spoelstra the one to blame?

Chemistry isn’t something that players can build overnight and one factor for the slow start could be attributed to Wade being sidelined for the entire pre-season; missing Wade for those seven games could’ve delayed the teams ability to coalesce on the court.

Instead of pointing fingers, the Miami Heat players, especially the big three, need to look at one another and find the heart of the champion within.

Do you think Erik Spoelstra will be fired before the end of the season?

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 28, 2010 12:28 pm
 

NBA 2010-11 Season: What we've learned so far

Last night I experienced an overwhelming dose of NBA League Pass for the first time in months, and let me be honest, there were no complaints on my end.

After a mere 48 hours of professional basketball played, I’ve already began to notice fans overreacting, and making stupid predictions based on what they’ve seed thus far.

With the season officially underway, NBAPrimetime’sBrandon Ribak presents questions and gives his first impressions on them for the 2010 season.

Were the Miami Heat over hyped entering the season?

Over hyped isn’t even the word to explain for all the attention that the Heat received once LeBron made his way to South Beach.

During Miami’s first regular season game the team seemed discombobulated at best.

But can you blame them?

Dwyane Wade’s preseason injury put the big three’s “practice time” to build chemistry in limbo. Without a gist of chemistry the team was destined for a loss, especially to arguably the best defensive team in the entire NBA.

The Heat definitely have their work set out for them, but by mid-season we should be seeing a completely new Miami team.

People like NBA commentator Jeff Van Gundy are the ones who set the bar ridiculously high for the Heat. Not once did you see Wade, LeBron, or Bosh come out and state that Miami would break Chicago’s historic 72 win record or that they would end the year with the best record in the league.

The Heat were not over hyped entering the season. They were undoubtedly discussed about more than any other team this offseason, but why wouldn’t they be?

Expect a 60-65 win season out of the Miami Heat and a competitive battle (against Boston) in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Will Blake Griffin give John Wall serious competition for the Rookie of the Year Award?

If you happened to miss Blake Griffin’s debut on Wednesday night then that’s unfortunate.

The 6’10″ power-forward quickly made up for lost time within minutes of the first quarter, one handing an alley-oop, slamming down an offensive put-back, and ultimately ending the game with an obnoxious stat-line of 20 points, 14 rebounds (9 offensive), 4 assists, and one steal.

Many seem to forget just how good Griffin was in college and quite honestly, just how great he can become in the NBA.

With John Wall being the general consensus pick for the Rookie of the Year Award, I see Griffin giving him a major run for his money, just as long as he can remain healthy.

By seasons end, if all goes well, Blake Griffin will take him the trophy with averages of around 14-16PPG and 10-12 RPG, while providing fans with some of the craziest dunks ever seen in the NBA.

Is Kevin Durant on his way to his first Most Valuable Player trophy?

Kevin Durant was runner up to LeBron James for the MVP trophy last season when he dropped career-highs in points (30.1 per contest) and rebounds (7.6 per game).

With LeBron now paired up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, it will obviously be more difficult for James to post his career averages on a nightly basis.

Having said that, the 22 year old phenom has yet to reach his peak (scary, I know). With the same team surrounding him as last season, KD will get the opportunity to capture his second straight scoring title, and his first ever MVP trophy.

So is Durant on his way to his first MVP trophy?

Without a doubt.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 26, 2010 1:24 pm
Edited on: October 26, 2010 1:26 pm
 

NBA Primetime's 'Opening Game' Power Rankings

NBAPrimetime's Brandon Ribak presents the "Opening Game" installment of his NBA 2010-11 Power Rankings.

Be sure to check out his Western Conference's Preseason Power Rankings and Eastern Conference's Preseason Power Rankings.

RK= Ranking

REC= Last season record
Team                                     RK                        REC         SUMMARY


1Lakers57-25The defending champs kick off the season on top of the NBA. The addition of Blake and Barnes will improve the teams bench, giving the Lakers an even better chance of three-peating.
2Celtics50-32A healthy KG, a 24-year-old Rondo, plus Allen, Pierce, and the offseason signings of both O'Neals place the reigning Eastern Conference champs one up on the Miami Heat.
3Heat47-35Chemistry and injuries are Miami's two major concerns entering the upcoming season. If LeBron, Wade, and Bosh can put those worries to rest, expect the Heat to shoot up in the rankings.
4Magic59-23Unlike the East's other two powerhouse teams (Miami and Boston), the Magic had a rather quiet offseason. Don't be surprised if their roster looks quite different by the February trade deadline.
5Thunder50-32KD and Co. gave LA a major scare during the first round of the postseason and they will certainly look to do so again. The teams young core should uplift the Thunder to a 50+ win season.
6Jazz53-29D-Will will have his hands full feeding Jefferson and Millsap in the paint, but the team will have to start playing better on the road if they want a shot at the title.
7Mavericks55-27Dallas' roster always looks stacked on paper. Maybe this year that talent can translate into a NBA trophy.
8Spurs50-32Parker is back to full strength and Duncan still has enough in the tank to play efficiently and give his Spurs dynasty one last go.
9Trail Blazers50-32Portland fans know just how good this team can be and this season the Blazers will finally prove it. Fingers are crossed for Oden to stay healthy.
10Bulls41-41Losing Boozer for a few months could cut into the amount of W's that Chicago was predicted to win when they first acquired the forward. Regardless, the team is young, well-coached and very, very talented.
11Bucks46-36The Bucks will have yet another successful season, but defeating any of the Eastern powerhouses is out of the question.
12Rockets42-40Yao's back, but he is only projected to play roughly 20 MPG. The combo of Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin is very appealing, enough for them to be ranked as high as they currently are.
13Hawks53-29Hawks must believe that Joe Johnson will take them far this season or they wouldn't have given him his $126 million contract, right?
14Nuggets53-29Melo is as good as gone by the trade deadline. Once a deal goes through the Nuggets will go from a top Western team to a thing of the past.
15Suns54-28Nash still has it and the offseason acquiring of Turkoglu, Childress, and Warrick should help. But lets face it, Stoudemire was a major loss.
16Knicks29-53New York will put themselves back on the map this season once they make the playoffs for the first time in 6 years. A first round exit should be considered a success, that's unless they acquire Melo mid-season.
17Wizards26-56If you haven't hopped onto the John Wall bandwagon yet then you definitely should. The combo of Wall and Arenas could prove to be deadly, but many questions arise regarding to the former Agent Zero.
18Grizzlies40-42Could an undefeated preseason be a sign of great things to come for Memphis? Probably not, but they definitely should be able to build upon last seasons 40-42 performance.
19Clippers29-53Blake Griffin's beastly self added to a potential breakout season from Baron Davis could place the Clippers in position to compete for a playoff spot.
20Hornets37-45A healthy CP3 could bring any team to the postseason. Add Trevor Ariza and newly acquired Jerryd Bayless to the mix and the Hornets already look destined for a bounce back year.
21Bobcats44-38Charlotte lost their starting point-guard and center this offseason. Forward Gerald Wallace posted career numbers last season and most likely will never average 10+ rebounds per game again.
2276ers27-55Jrue Holiday will enter the spotlight this season and Evan Turner should post solid numbers if all goes well. A playoff spot is possible, but unlikely.
23Pacers32-50Acquiring Darren Collison will undoubtedly help the Pacers snap out of their consecutive playoff absence, just not this season.
24Warriors26-56A backcourt filled with talent, plus a new frontcourt composed of one of the leagues top rebounders (plus a new head coach) will help the Warriors win 5-10 more games this season.
25Nets12-70The Nets are really a new team this season. They have a new coach, a new owner, a new starting power-forward, and a potential monster in Derrick Favors.
26Pistons15-67Detroit battled tons of injuries last season. Their major investments in Ben Gordon and Charlie V should be able to pay (half) off this season, that's if they both can stay healthy.
27Kings25-57Sacramento got off to a hot start last season. The team is loaded with young talent, led by ROY Tyreke Evans. If all goes well, they should notch close to 40 wins this season.
28Timberwolves15-67Michael Beasley thinks Minnesota is the team to beat this season. If they can capture 20+ wins this season I'll consider it a successful year for the Wolves.
29Raptors40-42Losing Bosh drops Toronto to the bottom of the totem, along with the Cavaliers. Unless Bargnani can average close to 30 PPG (even then it probably won't help much), the Raptors are far from making another playoff appearance anytime soon.
30Cavaliers61-21Cleveland will attempt to move on from the LeBron-era. Appearing in just 2 national games this season will make the Cavaliers less popular than a high-school girls volleyball team.

Posted on: October 24, 2010 12:12 pm
 

NBA 2010: Breaking Out The Boldest Predictions

LeBron JamesKobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade,Dwight HowardKevin Durant.

Just typing and reading out loud the NBA’s top players names gets me pumped for the season.

After watching the USA team bring home the gold the only thing on my mind was the official start of the NBA season.

With tip-off roughly 56 hours away, NBAPrimetime’s Brandon Ribak presents the boldest predictions for the upcoming season.

NBA commentator Jeff Van Gundy voiced his predictions on the Miami Heat.

The former NBA coach had this to say about the team, “They will break the single-season win record [of 72]. And I think they have a legit shot at the Lakers’ 33-game [winning] streak [in 1971-72], as well. …They will never lose two games in a row this year.”

Analysis: While it would really be incredible to see Miami break Chicago’s epic 72-10 record, I don’t see it being a top priority for the Heat.

Even though the cast of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have a better chance then any team in the league to break the record, it doesn’t seem likely to happen, especially since chemistry is still an issue.

The Heat will face off against the Orlando Magic (4 times), Boston Celtics (4 times), and the Los Angeles Lakers (2).

Although fully capable of doing so, even winning all 10 of those games seems unlikely as of right now.

Prediction: Miami exceeds 60+ wins for the first time since the 96′-97′ season.

ESPN’s NBA cast gave their playoff predictions and the New York Knicks‘ Eastern Conference seed average was a 7.5.

Analysis: Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph, and TimofeyMozgov have the ability to uplift this Knicks team into playoff contention.

With the East’s top 6 already in place (Miami, Boston, Orlando, Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee, in no particular order), the Knicks have the opportunity to sneak in as the 7 or 8 seed for the playoffs.

Prediction: Unless Stoudemire falls to a serious injury, or a team like the Pacers and/or Wizards compile for an unpredicted amount of W’s, the Knicks have the talent to secure their first playoff spot in six years.

ESPN’s Chad Ford predicted that the Portland Trail Blazers “could” be the best team in the West this season.

Analysis: The Blazers locker room was seriously affected by the injury bug last season and the team still managed to win 50 games due to their massive amount of talent.

With a virtually healthy roster (with an exception to Greg Oden) Portland undoubtedly has the ability to emerge as a dominant powerhouse out in the West.

Portland has been known to give the Lakers a difficult time when matching up (Blazers went 2-1 against LA last season) and just the other day when Kobe Bryant was asked who is the toughest player for him to guard in the Western Conference, he stated,

“Roy 365 days, seven days a week. Roy has no weaknesses.”

Prediction: The Trail Blazers have the coaching, leadership, depth, and talent to become a top team in the West. If Oden can somehow remain durable once he returns from injury, Portland will have a chance to overthrow the Lakers in the playoffs.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 15, 2010 12:32 pm
 

NBA's Top Players Destined For a Breakout Season

As the NBA season nears its debut, NBA Primetime’sBrandon Ribak breaks down the top players destined for a breakout this season.

J.J. Hickson (PF, CLE)

Last season J.J. Hickson posted 8.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in just 20.9 minutes per contest. With LeBron not around Hickson should be provided with plenty of minutes per game, giving him an opportunity to average close to a double-double every night.

At the age of 22, Hickson has potential to be a top candidate for the Most Improved Player of the Year Award, especially if he can remain healthy and produce with the ample amount of playing time given.

Anthony Randolph (PF/C, NYK)

The 6’11″ 21-year-old was a top name on this list just one season ago, but after playing just 33 regular season games and averaging a mere 22.7 MPG (due to Don Nelson) the athletic power-forward is getting the chance to make up for lost time in the New York Knicks run-and-gun system.

Randolph has extreme upside and has the arsenal to average a double-double on a nightly basis along with over a steal and block per game.

If Randolph can log starters minutes on a consistent basis, the young gun is capable of posting eye-popping statistics.

Brooke Lopez (C, NJN)

Lopez will look to build upon his sophomore season averages of 18.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and 1.7 BPG. Centers that can score, rebound, and defend efficiently are a rare commodity in the NBA and at the age of just 22, Lopez has the ability to emerge as a top two center in the league.

Considering that he has yet to miss a game throughout his two year career, with career shooting averages of 51.5 percent from the field and 81.0 percent from the charity stripe, Lopez has all the weapons necessary to emerge as an All-Star this season.

Jrue Holiday (PG, PHI)

In only 24.2 MPG last season, 20-year-old Jrue Holiday averaged 8.0 points, 3.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game.

Holiday will enter the upcoming season as the Sixers’ starting point-guard, signaling that the former UCLA Bruins should be in for a breakout year.

We can expect Holiday to become a top leader in steals per game, along with an above average assist rate.

Robin Lopez (C, PHX)

With Amare Stoudemire out of the picture, Robin Lopez will be leaned upon to log heavy minutes for Phoenix at the center position.

While Robin Lopez certainly doesn’t have the same game as his brother Brooke, he does have the capability of averaging close to a double-double per game.

Starters minutes with Steve Nash as your point-guard is the recipe for a breakout season for any big man.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 14, 2010 1:26 pm
 

Could Miami win a Ship without one of their stars

The Big Three, Miami Thrice, LeBoshade, Miami Vice…the superhero list goes on.

But after watching Dwyane Wade fall to injury during the first three minutes of the Miami Heat‘s (massively over-hyped) first preseason game, it’s time for reality to settle in.

No matter how bad fans would like to convince themselves that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh are dispensable immortals, at the end of the day these guys are humans just like each and everyone of us.

What would happen if one of the big three fell short to a season (and playoff) ending injury?

Would the other two superstars be able to carry their team to the promise land and capture a championship trophy?

James and Wade

Without Chris Bosh the Miami Heat would be severely undersized. Udonis Haslemwould most likely slide into the starting four spot (unless LeBron decided to step up and play the power-forward position).

While both James and Wade’s scoring averages would quickly increase, the Heat as a team would struggle on the boards.

Come playoff time, the Magic and Celtics would provide mismatches to their advantage due to the plethora of big men on both of their rosters.

Would the Heat win a championship without Chris Bosh?- No.

Wade and Bosh

Miami would place Mike Miller at the starting small-forward position without LeBron James on the court.

Losing LeBron would instantly put a serious load of work right back onto DwyaneWade’s shoulders (just like in the previous seasons).

Without James around to control Miami’s offensive scheme, Wade and Chalmers would be forced to split time bringing up the ball.

For every turnover Mario Chalmers averaged just two assists last season (good enough for 34th best out of leagues point-guards).

Subtract James from this Miami Heat team and they don’t seem too big and bad after all.

Would the Heat win a championship without LeBron James?- No.

James and Bosh

If the Heat were going to have any chance at winning the championship without one of their superstars it would be without Dwyane Wade.

Sound crazy? Well, it’s not!

The duo of James and Bosh are much stronger than the other two combinations listed above.

While talent-wise James and Wade would create a headache for any team that they match up against, they would also lack the legitimate big man needed to secure the paint on both ends of the court.

Similar to how James never had a top-tier power-forward in Cleveland, it wouldn’t be possible for Wade and James to pass through Orlando, Boston, and the Lakers come playoff time if they lack size.

Without Wade on the court LeBron would still be able to play his game while making his teammates better simultaneously.

With Mike Miller at the starting shooting-guard position, James would have the leisure of attacking the basket and dishing the rock out to various three-point shooting threats.

With Bosh being the versatile big man that he is, James would be able to feed the former Toronto Raptor in the paint and all around the perimeter on the offensive end of the court.

Would the Heat win a championship without Dwyane Wade?- Yes.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 12, 2010 1:17 pm
 

The Most Important Player From Miami's Trio

Many people became familiar with the name Chris Bosh once the NBA offseason free-agent extravaganza kicked off.

But after teaming up with Dwyane Wade andLeBron James in Miami, the 6’11″ forward out of Georgia Tech is finally beginning to receive the recognition that he so rightfully deserves.

During the 2003 NBA Draft, Chris Bosh was selected by the Toronto Raptors with the fourth overall pick (leaving Dwyane Wade on the board to be selected with the next pick by the Miami Heat).

Seven years later, Bosh has career averages of 20.2 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 BPG, and a shooting percentage just under 50%.

The five time NBA All-Star was one of only three players to average at least 20 PPGand 10 RPG last season.

Although the forward’s statistics should make him more of a household name, it hasn’t, well at least up until this point.

As a Toronto Raptor Bosh failed to pass the first round of the playoffs, but could fingers be pointed at the star when his best teammate throughout the seven years was arguably Jalen Rose (or maybe it was Charlie Villanueva).

This offseason Toronto’s head-coach Jay Triano spoke out about Chris Bosh, stating how he viewed him as a player.

“When you talk about Chris being the leader in the locker room,” Triano told a Toronto radio station, “I think it’s the one thing that he wasn’t for us.

“He did a great job of getting 24 points and 10, 11 rebounds on a regular basis, but Chris did not really take the leadership role into the locker room. He’s not a vocal person; he’s not a guy who really did that.”

“I think in the years that he’s been here,” Triano said, “he’s almost deferred to different people.

“Everybody kind of waited for him to take the reins last year and it could’ve been part of the issues we had.”

Now being a part of the Miami Heat, Bosh has the leisure of not having to be the leader of the locker room. He doesn’t have to be a vocal person and he doesn’t have to be waited upon to take the reins for his team.

Chris Bosh is best at putting the ball into the basket, whether it be in the paint or anywhere around the perimeter. He excels at boxing his men out and has been a toprebounder in the league ever since he first step foot onto the NBA court.

With LeBron James and Dwyane Wade receiving so much attention (from the media and on the court) the one most forgotten about will inevitably be the key reason Miami not only makes it to the NBA Finals, but win’s it all.

Expect big things from the former Yellow Jacket this season, because right when you thought it was going to be a toss up between James or Wade to take the final shot with the seconds ticking, the team will ultimately turn to Bosh to secure the victory.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
Posted on: October 11, 2010 12:10 pm
 

Will LeBron James average a triple-double?

The debate continues on whether or not LeBron James can average a triple-double for an entire season. Brandon Ribak and Ross Boulware debate on the topic below.

Boulware- If LeBron James was going to average a triple double, he would have done it in Cleveland. LeBron’s running mates will ultimately lead to his rise to a championship and his downfall of individual accomplishments. It will be a reverse effect from Cleveland where he won individual awards like MVP but no titles. Wade and Bosh will lead to lower stats for the King.

Ribak- What makes him have less of a chance to do so in Miami? Although Wade and Bosh will be alongside of him, his biggest drop in production will be his points per game average. James will be directing traffic at the pointguard position more than he did in Cleveland and should be able to grab close to ten boards with an undersized front-court in Miami.

Boulware- James is playing with the best rebounder he has ever played with. Rebounds in the double digits would be hard to come by on a nightly basis. He played with an aging and much less mobile Shaq and Ilgauskas only averaged four to five rebounds in Cleveland’s most dominant years. If he couldn’t average 10+ with average big man rebounders then it’s easy to doubt he can with an even great rebounder in Bosh.

Ribak- Varejao averaged 7.5 RPG last season and Shaq had just under 7 last year when James logged over 7 RPG. The Cavaliers also had Jamison for 25 games during last season. The Heat have Bosh and Anthony to collect the majority of rebounds with Haslem contributing as well. James will record career-highs in RPG, especially because he will be playing the point-guard role, which should enable him to pick up a few more easy buckets per contest.

Boulware- Overall, I see this Heat team getting more rebounds up-front then what LeBron is used to. In addition to that, it is not even convincing that James is the dominant player. I dont think the ball will be in his hands as much as he is used to and certainly to get triple doubles consistenly he needs the ball.

Ribak- Why won’t the ball be in his hands as much as he is used to? The Miami Heat are James’ team now and he should be able to rack up the assists and rebounds just like he did in Cleveland, except now he won’t be forced to score 30 PPG.

Boulware- An age old adage is possession is nine tenths of the law. The laws are no different in basketball. Possessions rule all and this year will be the fewest numbers of possessions LeBron has ever had in his career. He will certainly have the ball in his hands often but less than he did in Cleveland  because the laws of possession are much different when you cross the border into Miami Wade County. James is the new kid in town so at the start of the season it’s Wade’s team until LeBron shows the initiative to make it his own.

Ribak- You just proved my point. Fewer possessions will mean less points for James. When the ball is in his hands he will be distributing it to Wade more than half the time or Miller and Chalmers standing around the three-point arc.

Boulware- I believe in the assist stat just not in the rebounding. I’m not sure assists will be in double digits but it will certainly be very high. I believe James is perfectly capable of averaging a triple double based off his talent but I don’t believe this is a team that will be designed for him to do so. The acheivements are shared. Wade gets points, James gets assits and Bosh will get the rebounds. I believe he gets close to averaging a double double at best.

For more of Brandon's content be sure to check out NBAPrimetime.com and follow him on twitter @_nbaprimetime
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com