Tag:Miami Heat
Posted on: September 7, 2010 2:52 pm

Pop Quiz: How will the All-Star Game look?

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

What will the All-Star Game look like?

Los Angeles. City of Angels. Home of the back-to-back NBA champions, the legendary LA Lakers. And in February, home of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. It's going to be ridiculous, it's going to be over-the-top (more so than even your normal All-Star Game). It's going to be expensive. Really, really expensive. It will also be interesting as next year there are likely to be big changes in the All-Star Game. So what exactly is that game going to look like?

It's difficult to predict, obviously, who will be participating in the game. Even more so than any other episode of predicting the future, there are so many factors that can play into who makes it. Not only things like injuries, team downturns, unexpected rises, and trades, but the popularity contest of the voting system. But there are some things we can examine the possibility of.

For starters, with Amar'e Stoudemire headed to New York, there's a spot down low for the West. You can slide in Tim Duncan, because he's like Johnny Cash. Steady like a freight train, sharp like a razor. Pau Gasol's another lock, as many think he's the best power forward in the league right no w. From there, you've got Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman as the other two bigs from last year's squad. Kaman's unlikely to return with the addition of Blake Griffin, and Randolph's success is tied to an inconsistent Grizzlies team. Meanwhile, Yao Ming returns from injury and will most likely look like a legitimate contender for the starting spot.

But what about Andrew Bynum? We've been waiting for Bynum to live up to his potential for three seasons, and he's constantly referred to as one of the best centers in the league, despite his numerous injury issues. With the Lakers getting older, and Bynum supposedly healthier than he has been in years, Bynum has to be considered a strong contender not just for the backup position, but possibly as a starting center (which would put Tim Duncan at power forward, where he belongs).

Speaking of Duncan, he and Dirk Nowitzki are headed down the stretch and it'll be important to note that one of them is going to take a step backwards. Age demands it. And though Duncan is widely considered the best power forward of all time by those that consider him a power forward, he's most likely to have the dropoff. You saw it at times last season. The writing isn't on the wall, but there's a pen by the chalkboard. Bear in mind we're talking about inches below the greatness he's always provided, but it might be enough with a rising Bynum to shove either him or Dirk out of the starting lineup. And that will just be weird.

This is all before we start trying to figure out the point guards in the West. Steve Nash showing no signs of slowing down. Chris Paul back to full health. Deron Williams healthy with Al Jefferson beside him and more of the offensive load. Tyreke Evans, out of the rookie well and into the general pool. Russell Westbrook, possibly coming on as one of the better slide and dice guards in the league on a team that looks poised to make a run. Stephoe Curry, a rookie of the year runner-up with another season under him and a license to score. This likely means Jason Kidd will not be returning to the team for the 11th time in his career.

And oh, yeah, Kobe will be back in the starting spot. No "probably." He will be.

In the East? Well, the Miami Triad was formed from guys in the East, so they're likely to stay. Even with a downturn in production from sharing the ball, all three should be locks, though it's hard to see Bosh making the starting spot as he was a reserve last season. Amar'e Stoudemire could wind up knocking Kevin Garnett out of the starting spot which would be another changing of the guard. But a more likely scenario is Joe Johnson being unable to reach the starting spot again and moving into the reserve spot as the East looks like the West from last year: four bigs and a guard (Dwyane Wade). Which will be disappointing considering Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo's existence, both of whom are probable to return as starters.

Carlos Boozer, freed from the big-heavy West, may be able to work his way into a spot, and Paul Pierce may be on the bubble. If Andrew Bogut returns healthy, he could complicate matters, along with Brandon Jennings. Basically, point guards are going to massively complicate these rosters.

Sure, some of these players are going to go down to injury, others will have downturn seasons. But there's a strong indication that this might be a year of big changes in the All-Star Game, both with starting rosters and the reserve spots.

But the parties will be awesome regardless.
Posted on: September 7, 2010 9:21 am
Edited on: September 7, 2010 12:54 pm

Shootaround 9.7.10: Believe!

Reggie believes in Wade, Thomas believes in loyalty, and Butler believes in Burger King.Posted by Matt Moore

Reggie Miller believes the Heat are still DWade's team . Miller's probably on target here, but the fact that this is debatable is an interesting thought exercise. After all, we say we determine the quality of a player not by his performance, but by how many rings he has. Wade is the only one of the Miami Triad to have a ring, and yet LeBron is burdened with leadership of the squad. It's possible that this whole thing could only serve to show us how we've been underrating Dwyane Wade the past few years.

In a summer that put a very large nail in the coffin of loyalty in sports, the Mavs' actions towards Tim Thomas remain a hand propping it open. Art Garcia spoke with both Thomas and the Mavs , and both sides used the Magic word, loyalty, in their joint decision to add Thomas to the Mavericks' roster this season after his wife's illness forced him away from the game. We'll see if both sides remain loyal if Thomas does well enough to earn more money next season, or poorly enough to force the Mavericks' hand at the trade deadline.

Derrick Rose has been obsessing over improving his three-point range shot. The Bulls were one of the worst offenses and one of the worst perimeter shooting teams in the league last season. They were simply without a perimeter threat. They brought in Kyle Korver to fix that problem. But Rose is taking that burden upon himself and working to improve it while he's with Team USA. Giving that kid range makes him essentially unguardable. Yikes.

A list of NBA pairings that should happen, including Greg Oden and the Phoenix training staff .

Caron Butler owns six Burger Kings , mostly due to the fact that he used to work at one. Do what you know, I suppose.

It's time to put childish things away and start acknowledging the potential that lies in Miami.

Larry Drew says the Hawks are going to switch less , which is a terrific idea. The switching killed the Hawks against the top teams in the league. Surprisingly, it worked against the Celtics, because they weren't fast enough to make the Hawks pay. But against Orlando, the Magic shredded them off switches by forcing penetration in the interim and creating space, the building block of their offense.

Kobe's ready to go at it again . Raise your hand if you're surprised.

An interesting look at who the Magic's rival is now. The Heat-Magic rivalry has several factors boosting it. It's an in-state rivalry, Dwyane Wade has killed the Magic (on a performance, not win-based level) over the years, and the teams play four times a year. The fans say the Celtics, but we'll see what they say by the end of the year.

In case you've been missing them, check out our Pop Quiz series .

Follow us on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA

Posted on: September 3, 2010 2:04 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 1:18 pm

Pop Quiz: What team is most improved?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Who is most improved?

"Who is the most improved?" is kind of a loaded question. Does it mean simply, who improved the most simply on wins this year versus last year? Does it mean who actually upgraded talent the most? Or does it mean who went from mediocre team to very, very good team?

I think that answer is really up to you. That's why every year, we have such a debate about the Most Improved trophy in the NBA. The league likes its awards ambiguous, even if it makes writers, fans and commentators want to punch a wall trying to figure out the criteria in order to vote. So I'm approaching, "What team is the most improved?" with that same sense of ambiguity.

The obvious pick is the Miami Heat. The Heat improved strictly through free agency. Other than three players, the entire team was built through dealings this summer. But while the Heat obviously improved a ton from last season's mid-level Eastern team, they don't fit my personal criteria and hey, I'm the person writing this, OK?

Another team to look at would be someone like the Thunder, who could be a team that could improve organically. Yes, they are a 50-win team already and while they may only win two or three more games than that this season, they have the chance to go from eight-seed-early-exit team to top-four-seed-actual contender team. And while that makes them certainly improved, they aren't most improved.

For that, I'm going with the Chicago Bulls. Mainly, because it's a middle ground in the hazy criteria to determine it. The Bulls improved their roster a ton this summer with huge free agent acquisitions. Bringing in Carlos Boozer to team with Joakim Noah gives Chicago a front line to be feared. Adding Kyle Korver gives the Bulls a deadly sharpshooter and the underrated addition of Ronnie Brewer gives the Bulls a slasher and defensive specialist for the East's tough guards.

But other than that, the Bulls also should improve from within. Tom Thibodeau is an obvious defensive mastermind, but he's also the kind of coach that possesses the ability to get players to buy into a philosophy. He got big egos in Boston to sacrifice and play his system so surely he'll improve some of the Bulls young studs.

Of course there's Derrick Rose who enters his third season in the league and is set to potentially break out. He's already a fantastic player with insane talent, but he hasn't really started to gravitate to that so-called "next level" yet. The third season is often when players make The Leap from young and talented to, young and awesome.

Then there's Luol Deng who will enter this season fully healthy, plus second-year player Taj Gibson who was a bright spot last year.

The Bulls won 41 games last season and barely slipped into the eight spot in the East. They faced Cleveland and in the first round of the playoffs and were barely competitive. While the common sense answer to "Who improved the most?" is the Heat or someone like the Kings or Nets who might improve their won-loss the most, the Bulls have gone from average to well above. Chicago has moved from a mediocre, playoff bubble team to a top-four contender in the East. And they did it without blowing up the entire roster and starting from scratch. So in a sense of improving the team itself from last year to this, I'm going with the Bulls.

Posted on: September 3, 2010 9:17 am

Shootaround 9.3.10: What's in a position?

Posted by Royce Young
  • Positionality has become quite a discussion this offseason and Daniel Leroux of Real GM has an interesting take: "The new-look Miami Heat provide an excellent prism for discussing the positional paradigm since they have a few atypical examples when it comes to positional definitions. Both Wade and LeBron have been the primary ballhandler on their teams in recent years, mostly to great success, as each led their respective positions in assists per game each of the last three seasons. In fact, other than Jason Kidd (who is listed at 6’4”, but is clearly a PG on offense and defense), all ten of the best assist per game seasons by a player 6’4” or taller since the 2003 Draft have been by Wade and James. However, neither spends much time guarding the point guard position, which is obviously the traditional lead position offensively."
  • Tom Haberstroh for Hardwood Paroxysm has an look at positions by shot selection: "[W]e find that Miami Heat point guard Carlos Arroyo deviates the most from the shot selection of a traditional point guard.  In particular, 65.3 percent of his shots come from long twos and he barely attacks the basket or launches from downtown.  His z-scores total to 8.19 which is the highest sum of the point guard bunch.  Perhaps is good that he doesn’t attack the basket, as he only converts on 47.8 percent of his tries which is far below new Charlotte Bobcat Shaun Livingston’s 71.4 percent success rate."
  • Aileen Voison of the Sac Bee: "A few hours before Israeli and Palestinian leaders met in Washington, D.C., Thursday in the latest movement toward peace in the Middle East, Omri Casspi placed himself on the fringes of the conversation. At the Peres Center for Peace youth sports camp Wednesday in Jaffa, Israel, he supervised drills. He answered questions about Kobe Bryant. He scrimmaged with a girls team against a boys squad consisting of Israeli and Palestinian youngsters. Sounding at times like a diplomat and on other occasions like a coach, the Kings' second-year forward spoke about unity and tolerance. He stressed the cultural, ethnic and political diversity of the Kings. He left the community center, he said, encouraged and better educated." 
  • Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun with some strong words for Steve Nash: "Hardly anyone talks about Steve Nash and the fact that the 2000 Olympic Games hero refuses to play for Canada now, even though he's still a great player. Yes, he has chronic physical issues, as do many other veteran players who pull on the jerseys for their country at international events. And, yes, he only has a few good years left in the NBA and wants to maximize his abilities in that regard. But, again, the same can be said for other, particularly European, veterans who play in the NBA. But consider this: Canada Basketball undoubtedly would have bent over backwards to get Nash on the team. I know for a fact they would have allowed him to arrive at training camp whenever he was ready. They would have limited his minutes to what he saw fit. Hell, they probably would have lobbied to have a street named after him. But, no, never a discouraging word is said about the man. Speaking out against Steve Nash is like speaking out against Motherhood in this country. Nash is a wonderful person and had given a lot to Canada Basketball the last few years. But you have to wonder why everyone, including Canada Basketball officials, are so reluctant to knock the Golden Boy, even just a little bit, for turning his back on the program and the country. It's not like he spent the entire summer lying on his sore back."
  • Bucksketball wonders if Milwaukee should worry about Andrew Bogut: "And even if he misses some time in October or November, better that then have Bogut battling issues all season.  The Bucks will do their best to make sure their franchise big man is in good physical standing for season, even if they keep the details to themselves.  If it’s late November and reports on Bogut are still muddied and unclear?  Yeah, then it’s time to grab a life jacket and jump ship.  But until then, let’s all stay on the ship and try not to get sick."
  • Hey Jazz fans, aren't you so fired up for Francisco Elson? You're not? Well, why not!?!?
Posted on: September 2, 2010 2:52 pm
Edited on: September 2, 2010 2:59 pm

Lisa Leslie on positionality, playoffs and more

Posted by Royce Young

Lisa Leslie is a four-time Olympic gold medalist, a two-time WNBA champion with the Los Angeles Sparks, a three-time MVP and an eight-time WNBA All-Star. She's also the first WNBA player to ever dunk in a game. So yeah, she had a nice career. She's not only one of the most accomplished female athletes ever, but one of the most accomplished professional athletes period. She's part of a group promoting a new college award and had a chance to talk yesterday a little about where the WNBA is today, the positional revolution and yes, about the Miami Heat too.

CBS Sports: You're one of the most accomplished international basketball players in the world with four gold medals. What's been your take on the World Championships this year and the growth of international ball in general?

Lisa Leslie: I think it's phenomenal. Especially for the USA, our guys are only together for a couple of weeks and then they go out there and compete against other national teams who train together year around. Those teams have more time and more chemistry together and then our USA team comes out trying to stop these guys. 

CBS Sports:
I think by law I have to ask you this: You're one of the all-time greats and with what happened this summer in Miami, what's your perspective as a former superstar player? Would you want to join them or beat them?

Leslie: I think for me, it's a tough call because I think LeBron did what he he thought was best for his career. When you're chasing a championship and you really want to be a legend, you have to win championships in order to have that label. I don't think he thought he could get it done. Me personally, would I have moved? No. I played for L.A. all 13 years and got a chance to win some championships and had the chance to lose some to, but I stayed loyal to where I was.

For him, if that's the best decision for him, he did it and I can respect that because at the same time it's a business and we've seen a lot of organizations move players around and they find out the next day that they're on another team. But at the end of the day, are they going to win this year? No. But I think overall they have a really special team. Dwyane Wade is a phenomenal player and plays really hard. Chris Bosh he is very much underrated and I think people will get a chance to what his skills are. So they're definitely going to be tough to beat.

CBS Sports: Reports have come out that WNBA revenues and corporate sponsorship are up while attendance is down. Is this a glass half full or empty situation here?

Leslie: I definitely think it's half full because we've got great sponsorship this year and good television ratings, but what we could use is a little help from the media, meaning the local media. Maybe showing the WNBA on a daily basis, showing highlights and giving people the option to go out and check out the WNBA teams in their local cities and we don't really have that support right now.

CBS Sports: I don't know if you're familiar with Free Darko, but they had a post up about WNBA, with the example being Lauren Jackson - someone I know you have some history with - about players and appearance on and off the court. They used the examples of Cappie Pondexter and Jackson about how Pondexter has tried to look more ladylike on the court with her style, and Jackson doesn't care about on-court appearance but goes to serious lengths off it with style and even pushing towards sex appeal. What's your take on that sort of thing in women's basketball and women's sports in general? Does trying to look "lady-like" matter?

Leslie: It depends on what type of sex appeal you're talking about. I think it's great for the women to show that they are women and be feminine. And that's something that I've always promoted. I played basketball and had ribbons in my hair and my nails were polished. I started out with what I could control and that's myself and my looks but now in the game, I couldn't really control that. But I'm a huge advocate for looking good while playing good when you step on the court. But in regards to sexuality, that's a whole other topic.

CBS Sports: An interesting topic in the NBA recently has been that of positionality and I think one could make the argument that in 13 years, the WNBA has evolved pretty significantly, especially in terms of talent and versatility. Players like Jackson, Candace Parker, Cappie Pondexter, Tamika Catchings and even yourself all play all over the place and I don't think they really limit themselves to their defined "position". What are you thoughts on positions, especially in terms of the WNBA and how it's evolved there?

Leslie: In actuality, I believe Europe has even been more of a trendsetter than the WNBA. But because most of the WNBA players played overseas, we just learned that a lot earlier. You just don't want to get pigeon-holed into one position. That's why even though I start out at center, I may play small forward, if I get a rebound and you're not there I can bring the ball up. That's because maybe we've had more international experience, I'm pretty sure more than the guys. So with that, I think we learned to be a bit more versatile earlier.

CBS Sports: So what's your take on the WNBA playoffs so far? The Storm are the favorite, but who do have winning?

Leslie: I would have to go with the Storm. They've looked great this year. They remind me a lot of our 2001-02 championship teams with the Sparks. They went undefeated at home which is great. That really helps when you have home court advantage you're more likely to win.

But overall I see Seattle pulling it out. But it's going to be tough to get by Phoenix because they are the defending champs and when Diana [Taurasi] is one, she's on. And then you have to look at New York with Cappie Pondexter who's had the experience of winning as well. It's just exciting basketball. I wish that the American public had more of an opportunity to see it on more of a daily basis throughout the summer so that they could really get behind these teams and these young ladies that are playing exciting and passionate basketball.

CBS Sports: Now you're part of a group promoting a new college award for top performing programs. Talk a little about that.

Leslie: The Capital One Cup is a prestigious new honor that's rewarding NCAA Division I athletic programs for their cumulative on-field performance across multiple men's and women's sports. But what's exciting about this program will also help raise awareness for those sports that don't usually get as much attention.

But it really comes down to the ultimate prize of bragging rights. You want to walk away with this Capital One Cup. And obviously I'm from USC so I'm really pulling for SC or the Pac-10. We're always going against the Bruins, so we want to make sure we get that trophy.

But also, other than just the trophy, they win $200,000 worth of graduate level scholarships for the student athletes. We're excited about that also because we know that not everyone is going pro after college so to have the opportunity to get that money towards scholarships is an awesome idea.

Be sure to visit www.capitalonecup.com to check out the new program that is rewarding college athletes and their respective programs.
Posted on: September 1, 2010 8:06 am
Edited on: September 1, 2010 8:07 am

Shootaround 9.1.10: Evans putting the J back in

Evans' J, Love's weird way, and the James kiddos' first day, today in the Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore

The Hawks aren't planning on taking their time with Al Horford's extension. They're planning on offering him a near-max extension before the October 31st deadline, meaning they'll have given up $190 million in salary for two players the year before the CBA dramatically shifts. Horford is an All-Star center, young, versatile, and extremely aware on both sides of the ball. Kelly Dwyer pointed out that the Hawks have some options with Horford. Unfortunately, they seem ready to rush into the breach with wallets wide open. You have to wonder how they're going to find salary room for any of the other players, let alone Jamal Crawford, who also wants an extension... or a trade.

Tyreke Evans has reinvested himself in his jump shot. What's interesting is that he was a terrible shooter (32%) from midrange, 16-23 feet last season, but a very decent one from 10-15 feet (43.2%). As Sam Amick's profile reveals, Evans used to be a tremendous shooter, he just needs to reacquaint himself with his shot. It could be a significant leap forward in his offensive development. Which is terrifying, considering how good he was last year.

A Wolf Among Wolves discusses Kevin Love's Team USA summer, and the fact that he's best suited for a third option role. Which makes sense, since the Wolves have buried him in the past for Darko Milicic and just traded for Michael Beasley who most scouts agree is best suited for the power forward role. You know. Third best option.

It's kind of a shame that Shaq's teams didn't end up meeting the Spurs over the years. Because the Duncan-Shaq rivalry is prett good.

George Karl was surprised at the firing of Mark Warkentien. He speaks highly of Warkentien, as well as Masai Ujiri. You have to wonder just how spread to the four corners the entire Nuggets organization is at this point.

LeBron James is a human . No one really seems to think so at this point, but it's true.

Ersan Ilyasova is tearing up FIBA play . Which could be a good thing for the Bucks as he develops and takes on more of a leadership role. Or it could cause him to wonder why he's been shoved to the back of the line in the Bucks' forward feeding trough with the additions of Drew Gooden, Larry Sanders, and others.

A fascinating look at roster balance on the wings for the Knicks, not in terms of skillset, but shot performance on the right versus the left side of the floor. Interesting note: Ramond Felton took exactly as many shots from the right side as the left, and hit the same percentage.

The numerous discussions of Marquis Daniels have overlooked one aspect: Doc Rivers completely took him out of the rotation in the playoffs, despite him having recovered from injury. The trust is simply not there on a team that depends on it so much.

The Bucks hope and expect Andrew Bogut to be back for the season opener. It's close, but don't hold your breath.

Posted on: August 27, 2010 4:10 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 5:32 pm

Dwight Howard on movies, the Heat, and tennis

Dwight Howard will be a guest coach at Gatorade's Replay event in Chicago on September 10th, and we'll be bringing you some interviews from their experience. Beforehand, though, CBSSports.com's NFL Facts and Rumors blogger Will Brinson talked to Dwight Howard on the phone about the event, dealing with the Heat hype, and being a movie star in China. Best of all, Will was able to get Howard to do a Stan Van Gundy impression so well, we've embedded the audio below the interview. Enjoy.

CBS: You got Replay 3 coming up -- I'm actually a two-time veteran, gonna try and make it up there -- are you excited to see how Gatorade got these guys trained and ready to taste redemption [laughing] … or something like that?

DH: Aw, man, I'm ready for those guys to get on the court and play the game. They've been training the last five weeks and the Gatorade Sports Science team has really put them on a good diet -- they've been training the right way, eating the right way, doing everything the right way. My guys are ready: they're in shape. We ran them yesterday and they got a little upset because I made them run, but you know.

CBS: Do you think you have any tactical advantage over the other side -- I mean, Dwyane Wade is the other honorary coach so do you think you're the better tactician?

DH: I think we're gonna win. I think we're gonna win the game, because we have the big fell on our team. He's about 6'5" which is big in high school -- he's about 6'5", 6'6" and he's a big strong guy and he plays overseas now. He's actually Quentin Richardson's first cousin.

CBS: Nice, nice … what about you, if you could pick any game from your illustrious career so far, what game would it be?

DH: High school. One game against Sebatian Telfair -- we lost the game supposedly by the buzzer, but he hit the shot with like 5 seconds left, and I ran up to the ref and I was calling timeout but the ref was so hyped that he hit the shot that he was jumping up and down and yelling and he didn't call timeout and we lost the game, so yeah, I'd love to play that game again.

CBS: The Magic didn't have any major roster changes over the summer like you guys did last year -- do you think that's a good thing?

DH: Yeah, I think it's a good thing. The more and more we build as a team the better we'll be. The team that went to the [NBA] Finals, I think that's why we were so effective -- we had great chemistry and everyone knew their roles and what they needed to do and that's just gonna make our team better this year.

CBS: Are you guys motivated by people constantly discussing a certain other team in Florida who shall remain unnamed because it's so early in the morning?

DH: [Laughing] We understand that it's gonna be there all year -- they hype surrounding the Miami Heat. You know, the team that they have, they should have a lot of hype. But I've been on teams where we had a lot of great players and we didn't win when it counted -- so it's not about who you have on a team in terms of stars and big names, it's about how that team plays together and what they can accomplish as a team.

CBS: Stan Van Gundy's one of my favorite … I'd put him in front of a microphone all day if I could. What's your favorite Stan Van Gundy quote?

DH: Stan Van Gundy quote …

CBS: Or your favorite line, whatever.

DH: Well before every practice, he goes "GET THIS IN YOUR MIND" [Ed Note: This impersonation is nearly as amazing as Brinson's cackling is awkward, which is why we've embedded it below.] And he's acting like he's cranking his mind up: "I WANT YOU GUYS TO GET THIS IN YOUR MIND!"

CBS: [Still laughing] That's a pretty good SVG impersonation, man. Wanna ask about your summer -- you're not doing Team USA, but you've still got a lot going on. You're in this movie -- a Chinese movie called "Amazing" with Carmelo Anthony -- how'd that come about?

DH: Well, I love acting and the NBA asked me to come to China and film a movie and I was there for four or five days. I had a lot of speaking parts in the movie and it was very fun -- I enjoyed it a lot and actually the director wants to write a script so I can come back and do another movie.

CBS: Almost seems like the "Summer of Dwight" really -- you've got India, Israel and China on the books for travel, right?

DH: Yup, I've been all over the place -- it's been great. Basketball's opened up a lot of doors for me …

CBS: What's the coolest thing you saw this summer?

DH: That's a good question. I've been to China like nine times, so just going there is always fun for me. I guess the last time I went they had an expo there and it was all the countries and built this one big brand building to represent their country and it was just an amazing site to see. And there were like 500,000 people there a day so it was just crazy.

CBS: Have you spent any more time since June working with Hakeem Olaujuwon?

DH: Well, all I really needed was that one session. We wanted to get back together, but it's very tough -- he stays in Jordan during the summer. But he sent me the tape of my workout and I've been doing some of the things on the tape, but the biggest thing was the footwork, just learning the footwork and the small little things to add to my game.

CBS:   Brandon Marshall and Donovan McNabb recently made some jokes about playing in the NBA -- my buddy Matt Moore and I had a big discussion about this and didn't think either could make the team. If you had to play another sport, what would it be?

DH: Ummmmm .

CBS: Golfer? Tennis? Football?

DH: Tennis is the first thing that came to my mind. I think I'd be pretty good at it -- being a good server, but also slams -- I played tennis growing up. And I played football so I'd probably do one of those things. Or I'd do track

CBS: Alright, good deal … get you out on this one -- you're known as Superman no matter what Shaquille O'Neal says, so if you had to pick one super power to have, what would it be?

DH: Sort of like the Midas touch but it would be where -- I like changing people's lives, so the ability to change people's lives … sort of like the Midas touch.

CBS: Wait, so you'd use your powers for good?

DH: Yeah.

Hah, you're a better man than me.

Posted on: August 27, 2010 2:46 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 3:47 pm

LeBron's elbow looks better, which is nice

King James works out at Heat facilities without elbow sleeve.
Posted by Matt Moore

Celtics-Cavaliers Game 5 is going to haunt LeBron James for the rest of his career. There are millions of people who believe that he simply quit, which is pretty preposterous given everything else we know of James' career, egotist or not. The guy doesn't exactly have a history of shrinking from the moment. Many also questioned his health, and while he never admitted it until after the playoffs were over, it was clear whatever elbow injury he suffered all the way back as far as possibly late March had an effect on his play. He mentioned in the famous GQ article that his elbow was still not right when that interview took place.

Well, the Heat have posted video of an early workout with James, Chris Bosh, and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. And that elbow? Looks pretty good.

So no sleve on the elbow, dribbling with both hands and looking authoritative at that. It's a light workout, so maybe it's still bothering him when things get heavy, but right now, he looks like the James we know, or at least the one everyone described before last spring: the best all-around player in the league (yes, Kobe has more rings, everyone is aware. "Count them rings", right,  thanks.).

It's also good to see him working with teammates even in August, a full month before training camp. That's the kind of effort you want to see for a guy expected to win his first title. The Celtics and Lakers are taking the month off (no doubt working on their own, though), and they've earned that right. It's good to see that the Heat are aware that the hard part's just beginning, and are already working to get where they need to go. Because everyone will be aiming for them, and their elbows, from here on out.
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