2011 NBA Finals Prediction.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Well, who do you think I'm picking?

These are my preseason picks.  In which I said that "Miami's absence of a defined "Alpha Dog" will surely mean LeBron will be taking his talents to a golf course come June."

Nah, I didn't say that.  I picked Miami to win the whole thing.  Go ahead, check.  I'll wait.

These are my playoff picks; now, I must admit, faced with the prospect of playing a veteran, battle tested bunch like the Celtics in round two; and then, if they did manage to escape, the best team in the East - MVP Derrick Rose and the defensive minded, deep benched Bulls caused me to revise my picks, let's say.  LeBron's not a "closer" - after all, and at game's end, you'd much rather have Rose with his hands on the ball.  It's really a battle of two different visions of what basketball is; Miami doesn't have a bench, doesn't have bigs, doesn't have a point guard - and fundamentally, their selfishness, their lack of manly courage, is what will....

Yeah, I picked the Heat to win the whole thing.  Go ahead, check.  I'll wait.

I also made posts just to specifically pick them over first the Celtics and then the Bulls.

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for Dirk (and Kidd too; I'm a Pac 10 guy; the only college hoops I really pay attention to outside of March is west coast; Kidd has a game I've dug since he was a teenager). I'm a Golden St. fan, so that's always left me plenty of room to make postseason alliances; I like superstar athletes about whom the sports media spins a narrative explaining a lack of titles as a character flaw as opposed to teammate flaw or, what is often the right answer, "sometimes things just go like that."

The random nature of a single game or even a short series doesn't make for a compelling narrative, so instead we make up psychological insight "Kobe is selfish; his need to be the man, the sole reason for winning caused him to run Shaq out of town" that we then flip once proven wrong "Kobe has grown up; he's now a stone killer.  Ruthless.  The Black Mamba!"

It's Fox News level nonsense, but its how sports analysts get down; with Dirk the only remaining overt bigotry we allow becomes the explanation for his failures "Euros are soft; look at Dirk, 7 feet tall shooting jump shots; he scores a bunch of meaningless points when no one's watching; you look up and he's got 27, but they aren't impactful."

So, a title for Dirk/Kidd, even Cuban would be cool.  But not this year.  The full weight of the sports world has pinned its worldview (Bill Simmons even said something like the playoffs being a referendum on everything he believes about basketball - hey Bill, I agree) on this Miami team not winning the title.  It was a reasonable gamble - if any other team had won, for any other reason - then from Simmons all the way down, they'd proclaim victory.  They took the field - they took Kobe and Durant and the bones of Duncan and Garnett and Dwight Howard and (cough, cough) the MVP Rose and if any of them held the trophy come season's end they'd all light up victory cigars.   There are sports analysts who saw LeBron leave a city like Cleveland for a city like Miami; who saw a group of athletes clearly maneuver their way into playing together instead of having it engineered by men in corporate suites - and it was everything they hate about sports.

That type of analysis - the "stay where you're drafted, go where you're told; who do you think pays your salary; you'd be working at Burger King if not for me" analysis is everything I hate about sports.

Heat in 5.

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