FIVE QUICK NBA THOUGHTS:
1. NBA FINALS PREDICTION - Spurs in 7: A major percentage of folks are rooting for the Spurs - so am I - yet, I feel that when it's all said and done, both of these teams are pretty even when you compare/contrast their strengths and weaknesses. I do think the Spurs have a preparation edge, having had to play the tougher competition all season on a more nightly basis in both the regular season and playoffs in the Western Conference, and it helps that they've gone through the fire on a more consistent basis. The Heat have the better "Big 3" from a talent perspective and the best player on the planet in LeBron James. Tony Parker's health status concerns me for San Antonio. So many variables that you can toss around and argue over, which I've done, but I'm just going to go with my gut here and take the Spurs. Last year's series was terrific and I hope and think that this one will be even better. Enjoy!
2. RANDY WITTMAN (Wizards): A job well done in getting his team to the second round and figuring out how to win which led to a well deserved contract extension. This team was always a bit of a tease the past few years, yet Wittman pushed them to the next level and got nice buy in from them on how the game should be played. Now, they have to try and keep Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza who are both free agents. Regardless, I think the future is bright and on solid ground due to the leadership of Wittman.
3. CHANDLER PARSONS (Rockets): Houston has apparently declined to pick up the option on his contract. I love this guy's game and he's still really improving. Parsons shoots it and plays with great energy and awareness. He'll be a restricted free agent and it will be interesting if they can make a run at another big free agent to team with Dwight Howard and James Harden and then try to match Parsons's offer sheet that he'll surely get in the open market. He's a guy that I consider a glue guy who you can win with and has lots of value because he backs it up with production as well. It's going to be a delicate situation to navigate for GM Daryl Morey and coach Kevin McHale with an important piece of the puzzle. I'm quite curious to see how it unfolds.
4. JEFF BOWER (Pistons): Stan Van Gundy hired him as his GM and I really like this hire. I've known Jeff for over 25 years and he's a good basketball man. He's paid his dues as a NCAA Div. 1 assistant and head coach and has spent a great deal of time in the NBA with the Charlotte Hornets, as well as their move to New Orleans, as their assistant and head coach, scout, assistant GM and finally GM. He knows all the ins and outs of the business and is someone that Van Gundy can trust to handle the front office responsibilities for him. Van Gundy will have final say on all basketball matters, but you need someone to look after lots of details while you're busy coaching. This really makes sense to me.
5. LaMARCUS ALDRIDGE (Blazers): Aldridge was named to All-NBA Third Team today, but I really feel he should be on Second Team ahead of Kevin Love at the power forward spot. I strongly believe that winning should and does matter. You could argue that Aldridge has a little better supporting cast in Portland, yet when I give the eye test, I see Aldridge perform consistently at a high level against all competition and I see Love as a guy who gets nice numbers within the structure of the game, but I'm still just a bit skeptical about what he brings to the table in terms of competitive production in the major moments of the game. I think Aldridge is a Second teamer and Love is a Third. Just my opinion, but winning has to mean something.