Dominance in sport is age old. Since the invention of sports there have been individuals seemingly destined for greatness who make the game seem easy. In team games, these players are invariably those who make their team perform better; is it possible for a player to be considered truly one of the elite whilst playing for a team bottom of the standings? I would say no. Players do not bestow themselves with the tag of greatness; they earn the tag through years of perspiration and hard work.
Who is the most dominant player in basketball today? Undoubtedly the players who receive the most accolades in the media are Mr James and Mr Bryant. With the playoffs less than a month away much of the talk surrounds how far these players will lead their team. The media makes it difficult to remember that there are more than two teams and two players preparing for the second season. So, what about everyone else: who has to be dominant to give their teams a chance?
Boston. The Big Three. The PGA Tour. The Champions. They are still champs right? You probably wouldn’t know it given the emphasis placed on the Cavs and the Lakers. But, despite injuries to just about everyone in the city of Boston, the Celts will be in the playoffs and will make noise. Finals? Maybe. If Garnett is down New England will hold its breath. And they should. 5 and 5 in their last 10 without the Big Ticket. Ouch. Pierce may be the team leader, but without KG the Celtics are lost, especially on the defensive end. If Detroit lurks in the first round as is looking likely, a Kevin-less Boston are no sure thing.
Re-jigs and the ‘bench’ problem have left Detroit stumbling in the regular season but over the past 5 years, no team has been able to turn it on and off at will as the Pistons have in the post season. Hopefully the sour taste of a mediocre season (by mo-town standards) may ignite them into a championship push. One thing is for sure, for the D to have any chance Rasheed has to be firing. Simple as. No big man can guard him when he gets going. But which Wallace will appear? If it’s the technical liability then Detroit may as well stay home.
The Magic have been touted as potential winners. No Jameer Nelson makes this less likely, but with Superman in the line-up you just have to wonder. Although the Magic cannot afford Howard to go missing in big games: did he play the second half against Cleveland last week? Looked like he was not feeling it AT ALL.
One player sure to turn up every night is Flash, simply because he has to. All Wade needs is a chance to win games for Miami. Which means that Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal have to combine to put Wade in a position to sink teams: dude can’t score ALL the points…
Atlanta may not have THE player like most of the other playoff contenders, but they are a Team. They play for each other. And in the shape of Joe Johnson and Josh Smith they possess two game changers. If Johnson represents for the ATL as he did in their first round exit last year they can push any team.
Atlanta + Miami = EXCITEMENT!
Meanwhile, Philadelphia need Elton Brand to get even close to the hump. Oh, wait…
Chi-town has got a rough deal playing the King on his court (31-1 at home. Ridiculous.) To have any chance blah blah blah. Who am I kidding? Chicago is never beating Cleveland. Although you might have said that about a certain team from the Golden State when they drew the Conference winning Dallas Mavericks a few years ago….. For a similar occurrence, every Chicago starter would have to play out of their skin. And the ‘Luvabuls’ would have to kidnap Lebron for the length of the series.