Time to pick sides for tonight. Are you a LeBron, or are you a Hibbert? I’m going with the ugly yellow and blue for tonight (never forget the 90s…) – here’s why:
1. Haven’t we had enough of the Miami Heat?
Dan LeBatard, on his Miami radio show, likes to quip that the Heat to the Finals is a sure thing (he’s been doing it since October). Whether or not that is correct, the obvious is generally boring.
Do we really need more headlines involving LeBron? Is another championship for him really that exciting? More memes mocking Chris Bosh? I am all in for that. Headlines questioning the whether or not Dwyane Wade is done? Fun.
Speaking of which…
2. Who does not want an off-season of, “Will LeBron opt out and go back to Cleveland” talk?
Back in May, Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, among many others, brought up the fact that the Cavaliers adding the 2013 #1 pick gives the rumors of a Cleveland return…that…much…more credibility.
After all, LeBron more than most is highly concerned about his legacy. After winning a championship, the biggest cloud on his career is “The Decision” and its lingering effects.
Could he use his 2014 opt-out to make a return to his hometown? The Cavs have a young roster with talent, including another #1 pick, Kyrie Irving, and Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, and others.
Being bounced out of the playoffs before the Finals will only add speculation that LeBron sees diminishing value his the “Big 3” and less help from Wade and Bosh. The Heat may be forced to make interesting moves – including a possibly amnesty of the greatest…um…Heat of them all, Wade – in order to keep LeBron.
Of course, some of this should be about the Pacers, who are quite unique…
We may be missng out on a possible best team of the ’00s vs. ’10s matchup if Spurs-Heat never occurs, but there is something to seeing a team make the Finals that has almost no business being there.
The closest recent comparison to the Pacers are the 2004 Champion Detroit Pistons.
Both teams were two of the NBA’s premiere defensive teams their years and boasted a team game over superstar-led team.
But the Pistons never lost their leading scorer for the season, as Indiana has with Danny Granger in street clothes for most of this season.
The Pistons traded for a veteran All-Star player in Rasheed Wallace, while the Pacers are depending on the drastic improvement and playing out of Roy Hibbert’s potential.
And of the like, while Chauncey Billups found his way with Detroit in 2004, a much younger player is taking over for the Pacers in 2013, with Paul George becoming their leader this year.
And for spiteful Knicks fans reading this who hate the 90s Pacers the same, here is one more…
This is mostly irrelevant, but Reggie Miller was the leader of the Pacers only other run, in 2000. If another Pacers team can make the Finals, and perhaps wins even, that shuffles back his legacy a bit.
His team will always be important to Pacers history…but hey, maybe this team will be better remembered, and will shift Miller’s importance down a bit, to go along with his questionable Hall of Fame bid.
As a fan base that still has to listen to him take shots at the Knicks, and listen to him in general on TNT broadcasts, anything that hurts him a bit is fun for us.
Pacers vs. Heat, Game 7 from Miami is tonight at 8:30.