“This fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat”. When Lebron James uttered these words in front of a surprised nation, a new villain had been spawned. “The Big Three” of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh became the new villains of basketball. Much like the movie Star Wars, this evil empire is led by three NBA juggernauts who for the past three years have bullied the NBA’s best. In those three years the Heat have won two championships and have been in the finals every single year. Now the question is can anyone take down the empire? While it remains to be seen if Chris Bosh will return, there is no question that the Heat will be the favorites to three peat. The thing is that there aren’t many eminent threats to this evil empire’s reign. The Pacers and Bulls represent the biggest threats with their deep pools of talent. However, the Bulls will need Derrick Rose back and healthy if they want to beat Miami. If healthy I think that the Bulls could be the team that is the biggest threat in the East. That is if they can stay healthy. What about the Pacers? While the Pacers have a talented roster and a physical style of play that can exploit the Heats, I think Miami will do two things to prevent this. First I think they will not underestimate the Pacers again, and second I think that the Heat will add a physical big to help counter the physical in the paint style of the Pacers. The only other team that could compete with the Heat would be if the Celtics can reload their roster with young talent while removing the original big three of Garnett and Pierce. What about the West? While Kevin Durant’s Thunder pose the biggest threat it was apparent this postseason that he still needs help around him. The LA teams? The Lakers and Clippers are both messes right now, with the only exception being that the Clippers are a glorified highlight reel. The Spurs? Unfortunately I think this was the last hoorah for Parker and Duncan as father time becomes their biggest challenger. While there may not be an immediate end to the Heat’s reign, the one thing that all other NBA fans have is hope. They hope that their team, or some other team will rise from the NBA depths and overthrow the Heat’s empire for good.
Kevin Durant is one of the best players in the NBA today, period. However, he can never seem to get out of the shadows and into the limelight. When drafted, he was the number two pick after Greg Oden, and at the time considered the second best college basketball. Fast forward to 2013, and once again Durant is still number two behind the King, Lebron James. Unfortunately for Durant, no matter how many points he scores, or how many wins he brings to Oklahoma City he will never truly be inducted into the NBA’s elite until he wins a championship. It’s unfortunate, but even Lebron James went through the same thing. Lebron would have never been considered one of the greats until he won a championship. Now that the King has accomplished that, and will probably add another trophy to his hardware this season, he is without question considered one of the greatest. For Durant he must win a championship to solidify his greatness. We can now say that Lebron James is truly one of the greats, however we can’t say that about Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, or Dwight Howard because they don’t have a ring. Is it unfair? Yes, but winning a championship is the finally piece of cementing a lasting legacy in the NBA. Look at Charles Barkley, undoubtedly one of the greatest basketball players ever, but will never be considered one of the best because he doesn’t have a ring.
The thing that worries me is that Durant has embraced the fact that he’s the Thunder’s star. He’s to0 eager to pass to his teammates in big situations instead of manning up and proclaiming that this is my team, I’m taking these important shots! Listen, I’m not saying that Durant didn’t have a good playoff series, but if he wants to be an elite player in this league he needs to step up his game especially in difficult situations. If it’s the end of a game and the Thunder need a big shot, he shouldn’t be looking at his teammates to take those shots, but demand the ball. By winning a ring, it proves that Durant overcame his trial by fire and deserves to be included in basketball’s elite club. Without question, Kevin Durant is one of the best in the game today. But, if he wants to be an NBA legend he needs to take his game to the next level and bring home a ring to Oklahoma City. This reminds me of a great quote from the Sandlot; “heroes get remembered but legends never die”. For Kevin Durant he can no longer be complacent with being the second best player in the NBA. He needs a ring if he wants to be one of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood!