NBA Finals 2011: LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki and the Winners of Position Battles
As NBA fans enjoy their Memorial Day weekend, they have but one thing on their mind.
The 2011 NBA Finals.
People cannot wait to find out which team will win. Will it be LeBron James and the rest of the Big Three from South Beach, or will it be Dirk Nowitzki’s crafty group of veterans.
This is how the two teams stack up.
Point Guard: Jason Kidd vs. Mike Bibby
Advantage: Jason Kidd
Both of these two aging point guards are searching for their first rings. Likewise, both players’ best seasons are in the rear view mirror as well.
Kidd might be experiencing career low statistics for the Mavericks, but he can still make an impact on a nighlty basis. His three-point shooting, passing ability and crafty defense make him effective every night.
Bibby was a late-season pickup for the Heat. He was acquired from the Hawks in hopes that he could run the offense better than Mario Chalmers.
The Bibby trade did not exactly pan out as planned. Chalmers still receives the majority of the playing time.
Kidd wins this battle quite easily because he does more things for his team. He is one of the main reasons the Mavericks are currently in the position they are in.
Shooting Guard: Dwayne Wade vs. DeShawn Stevenson
Advantage: Dwayne Wade
This is the most lopsided position battle in the series. DeShawn Stevenson is no where near the player that D-Wade is.
Wade is one of the best players alive. In the playoffs, he is averaging 23.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.
Meanwhile, DeShawn Stevenson is averaging just 3.5 points, 0.7 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game.
The problem that Dallas will have is that they do not have anyone to slow down Dwayne Wade. They will probably be forced to stick Jason Kidd on Wade, but he will be eaten alive by Wade’s athleticism.
Small Forward: LeBron James vs. Shawn Marion
Advantage: LeBron James
The King vs. The Matrix.
This is the biggest matchup in the series. How well Shawn Marion can defend LeBron James will decide the NBA champions.
Marion is coming off a string of very good defensive showing against Kevin Durant. He has proven that his athleticism and quick jumping ability makes him an inconvenience on the defensive end.
However, he will need to bring his "A" game if he wants to slow LeBron down at all.
James is playing as good of basketball right now as he has played his whole career. He is closing games, hitting the three-point shot and is flat out dominant.
I expect LeBron to be the deciding factor in this game.
Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki vs. Chris Bosh
Advantage: Dirk Nowitzki
If any matchup is as big as James vs. Marion, it is this battle of Chris Bosh and Dirk Nowitzki.
Dirk has been unreal during the 2011 playoffs. He has been dominant and willed his team to plenty of victories.
Bosh meanwhile is the forgotten man in the Big Three. He might not supply that flash that LeBron or Wade does, but he is known to make a big impact.
I expect Nowitzki to run wild against Bosh. Last series, he embarrassed Serge Ibaka, who is a much better defender than Bosh.
Heat fans, be prepared to see frustrating fade away jumper after fade away jumper that Bosh will have no answer to.
Center: Tyson Chandler vs. Joel Anthony
Advantage: Tyson Chandler
The biggest difference between the Dallas teams of the past and today’s team is Tyson Chandler. He provides a toughness in the paint the Mavericks have needed for years.
Chandler dominants the inside game with his rebounding ability and interior defense.
Joel Anthony might not be as talented as Chandler, but he has also done many good things for his team. He gives the Heat a big body they can stick in the middle that brings a good defensive effort every night.
Even though these two probably won't guard each other too often, I expect Chandler to make a much greater impact than Anthony. The talent gap is huge, and Chandler is a much better offensive threat.
As a Suns fan and an Arizona State Sun Devils fan, I cannot stand Jason Terry. However, I have to respect him.
Terry leads the Dallas bench, who can seemingly score points at will. Most team’s second units come in and provide a big-time defensive impact, not Dallas.
With sharpshooters like Terry, Peja Stojakovic and J.J. Barea, this bench can score in bunches.
The Heat’s bench is not quite up to the Mavericks level. Other than James Jones and Mario Chalmers, the second unit is very thin in South Beach.
Winner: The Miami Heat
Winner: The Miami Heat
The 2011 NBA Finals will be the start of something special.
LeBron James will finally capture his first title, and the Heat will begin a stretch in which they dominant the league.
This has the potential to be the best team of our generation, and I expect LeBron and the Heat to prove it against the Mavs.