Thanks for joining me this week. Let's get right to the questions.
Who are your top five teams (in order) heading in to this week?
My top five teams (in order) right now are the Heat, Spurs, Thunder, Nuggets and Grizzlies.
I'm not going to call Clyde Frazier a hater, but it does bother me when former players feel the need to apply "perspective" to the accomplishments of current teams without perspective of their own (for example, the drug addled 70s). Is there really an era of the NBA, other than the 80s with Celtics/Lakers/76ers, that couldn't be somehow called "weak"?
Each era of the NBA is unique. I tend to think that the 80s and 90s were the glory years but when you win 33 games in a row in any era, it is an accomplishment. You're not catching 33 straight weak teams. Clyde is a bit of a hater on this but he's entitled to his opinion.
Why people try to overate KD playmaking ability...he is not even averagin 5 assist a game he is barely .5 assist more than the TO he do...there are only 4 players in the 20-5-5 club and those are Westbrook, Kobe, Wade and LBJ...He is highly overated i like him but all this talk about him being the 2nd best player in the nba is nonsense...then when u think about last year nba finals the biggest game of the finals was game 4 and westbrook was the only player from okc that showed up...to me he is not a top 3 player in the legue...i like him but he is more of a Carmelo anthony type of player than he is a D wade...im not even going to compare him to lebron because is not even a question...why u think his all around game get overhype when he is a real bad defender with bad habbit, he gamble to much he have horrible foot work on D...i mean the great tim legler say that he is and i quote"Kevin durant is eclipsing lebron james as an all around player and specially playmaking" that just overating a guy who is only elite at scoring the ball...specially FT's...
Like Clyde, you're entitled to your opinion but I totally disagree with your take on Durant. He's legitimately the second best player in the league.
Do you think the Lakers getting the 8 seed is a blessing in disguise? Could avoid OKC/LAC until conference championship?
The Lakers will make the playoffs but they don't have the luxury of avoiding tough competition. If you think the Spurs are any easier than the Thunder or the Clippers, then you might want to think again.
Who takes the Atlantic Mike in light of recent events?
Brooklyn is sneaky and I wouldn't rule them out. But something tells me that the Knicks are going to be the team to win that division.
Kobe Bryant: 17th season, putting up the numbers he is, at that level of efficiency - personifying greatness, or greatness personified?
I'm not sure what you mean but greatness is greatness, and Kobe has been great for a long time.
Hi Mike, love your work! Especially when you used to run the post game "Temp Check." Anyways, do you think Mike Miller's role will increase (a la Dan Majerle) or stay the same as the Heat make their run in the playoffs?
Thanks for the support. It's much appreciated. As far as Miller, he's going to have a hard time finding minutes in a rotation with Shane Battier and Ray Allen coming off the bench ahead of him. But as Mike has shown in the past, he's capable of a breakout game at any moment when he's called.
Who's your favourite player of all time Mike? And will LBJ end up at number 2 in the GOAT debate if he ends with 3 titles and 7 regular season MVP's? Thanks
My favorite player of all time is Michael Jordan, second on my list is Bill Russell, and third, for selfish reasons, is Bernard King. But if LeBron finishes with the numbers you suggest, he'll be right there in the mix.
Michael, which happens first; Heat lose a game or Bobcats win one?
Bobcats win one. I think.
What do you think the Heat will do if they get to 34 games? Try to extend the streak or go serious rest mode for LeBron/Wade/Bosh?
Go serious rest mode. But keep in mind there will be a couple of weeks left in the season so there will be plenty of time for rest.
What's up Michael? Big fan of your work. What's your take on the whole Royce White situation?
I've said from the start that this is a disturbing situation. Royce is definitely a talented player and the Rockets knew from the beginning that he had issues yet drafted him anyway. Unfortunately, it should come as no surprise that matters have reached this point. Hopefully both the Rockets and Royce can reach some sort of resolution and move forward.
How many games, if any, could the Nuggets win in a best of 7 series against the Heat?
Depends on homecourt advantage but it's certainly a series I would like to see go seven. Perhaps the better question is which team stumbles first on these streaks.
Does Denver's streak make them legitimately the best team in the west?
As of right now, they're the hottest team in the West. Does that translate to being the best in a playoff series? That remains to be seen. I do know that the Nuggets and the Grizzlies are two teams no one in the West would want to face in the playoffs. It would be such a shame if they end up having to face one another in the first round.
Could the Heat win 26 if they played in the Western Conference?
It's logic like this that gets me. It's not as if the Heat didn't play Western conference teams during this streak. In fact, they've beaten the Thunder, Clippers, Grizzlies, Rockets and Lakers during this streak. Those are five of the West's eight playoff teams as of today. Yes, the East, especially the bottom of the East, is a bit weaker than the West. But the Heat have handled their business against the best of both conferences this season.
Hi Mike, thanks for the chats! With everyone obsessing about where LeBron will end up in 2014, perhaps we can focus on more immediate unrestricted free agents. Where do you think CP3 and D12 will end up?
I think Dwight will ultimately stay with the Lakers, but I'm not so sure I trust my instincts that Chris Paul will remain with the Clippers, especially if they get bounced in the first round. Both of those guys have been sort of fickle in the past when it has come to their respective decisions. But still, I'd be more surprised if CP3 stays than I would with Dwight staying, all things considered.
Thoughts on Derrick Rose? Does he need to commit one way or the other? Seems like the Bulls have been in flux lately (apart from this past weekend).
I'm truly torn on this D-Rose situation. I do think the mental phase of this comeback is the part that's holding him back. But he's not just playing to prove something for this season. He's got his entire career ahead of him. Every time I say I'd like Derrick to just suit up and give it a shot, I remind myself of what I saw Robert Griffin III go through when he threw caution to the wind and played in games he shouldn't have played. I know each body is different, and that these are two different situations. But I err on the side of the players. And if Rose is apprehensive for any reason, he's doing what's best for him.
What has been your favorite team to watch this year, other than the Heat?
It changes by the week. There were times earlier this season when I wouldn't miss a Warriors or Timberwolves game if I could help it. Obviously I've been intrigued by the Lakers, Heat and Thunder. And the Rockets and Grizzlies have been fun to watch. In other words, thank goodness for my NBA League Pass.
Could the Heat finish the regular season without being defeated again?
I've wondered that myself but they will lose again before the regular season ends. At least once, right?
Do you think anyone can beat the Heat the next 2 to 5 years?
This season and next will be tough on Heat opponents but in 2014, LeBron will have a decision to make.
Do you think the Spurs will beat the heat on Easter Sunday to end the streak at 29?
The streak could end before that. And on top of that, I'm not sure the Spurs will play all of their star players because they don't have anything to prove in the regular season.
Do you think the Thunder regret letting Harden go, or have they been okay without him?
We won't know the answer to that one until the playoffs. The Thunder made a bold move by letting him go and they don't seem to be as dynamic as they were last year but it's still early.
What did you think of Durant's tackle of the Thunder fan that hit the 1/2 court shot? I think he wants to be LeBron....very lame!
Will Bosh be in a heat uniform post 2014 ? You can find cheaper talent that does what he does. Shoot mirange jumpers. And that's the only way I see to keep heat competitive with a good surrounding cast. I don't see LBJ leaving Heat because of Wade. And wade is going nowhere
It was very LeBron-ish but very sincere on Durant's part.
Any truth to the rumors that Mike Wallace signed with the Miami Dolphins just to join you in South Beach and create the Mike Wallace Squared show?
We've been there, done that. Lil Mike and I worked in the same town about eight years ago, when he was a freshman WR at the University of Mississippi and I covered the SEC while living in Oxford. Back then, he was known by his first name, Burnell. He didn't blossom into Mike until after I left town. The place, apparently, was only big enough for one Mike Wallace. True story.
Do you think that the supposed "inability" for the Heat to be flexible with their rosters, or the assumed fact that LeBron, Wade, and Bosh will want heavier contracts in 2014 is overstated? I agreed with the analysis of the Heat in the luxury tax, but hey, look at teams like the Celtics. Always said to be "going away" yet they were ONE game from the Finals, against the Heat (!) last year!
All I can go by is what Heat owner Micky Arison has always said. He will spend into the tax if he's convinced he's got a championship product. Just because the Heat will be more expensive to keep together under the stiffer tax penalties doesn't mean Arison will be reluctant to keep the team reasonably intact. The man is worth about $5 billion. Any NBA tax bill relative to his overall net worth will be manageable.
That's my time for this week, folks. Thanks for joining me. Looking forward to doing this again next week. Take care and peace. MW