“I have two starting point guards.” – That’s Kevin McHale after Tuesday’s practice, simultaneously ending and fueling the debate over Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley. Here’s the full exchange:
Reporter: On your point guard, are you just looking for how different combinations work, one and two…
McHale: (interrupts) Yes, I am.
Reporter: (continues) …as opposed to trying to find a starting point guard?
McHale: I have two starting point guards. Either one of those guys can start. So I’m just looking at different stuff. That to me is the most–I came off the bench in a lot of games. That’s the most irrelevant thing in the world to me, but I guess to other people it’s a big deal.
Let’s put McHale’s statement about coming off the bench in context. McHale was Boston’s sixth man from 1981-1985. During that time he won two NBA Championships, was named to the All-Rookie First Team, earned a spot on the All-Star Team, and was selected to the All-Defensive Second Team. He came off the bench for years after displaying not only that he was a starting-caliber player, but that he was one of the league’s elite talents. When he did move to the starting lineup, it was only because the Celtics picked up another player, Bill Walton, who was capable of filling McHale’s role off the bench.
Regardless of whether Lin or Beverley is handed the role of sixth man (and I think it will be Lin), it should be clear that McHale values that role immensely.
For Those of You Just Joining Us – SB Nation has launched a season preview of the Rockets. Most of the articles deal with questions that hard-core fans have been navel-gazing at since July, but two of them stand out.
The (Im)Possible Dream – SI.com lists off some dream scenarios for the 2013 NBA Finals. One of those scenarios: Rockets vs. Heat.
This would be a matchup based on collective speed, a meeting of two teams both inclined to jump passing lanes and trigger the break. It doesn’t seem all that likely that the Rockets could withstand the Heat’s barrage over the course of a seven-game series, but what this pairing lacks in proper balance it would more than make for in entertainment value.
While we’re fantasizing, allow me to throw out a few more tantalizing story lines from this matchup:
- It’s a revenge match for LeBron after Dwight squashed the Cavs in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.
- It’s a revenge match for Harden after the Heat embarrassed him in the 2012 Finals.
- It’s a revenge match for Wade after Kevin Durant said Harden was better than him.
- It’s a revenge match for Jeremy Lin after Mario Chalmers’ defense snuffed out Linsanity.
- The McHale v. Pat Riley angle carries the torch for the Celtics-Lakers rivalry teams of the 80’s.
- Despite the Heat’s clear superiority as a team, Dwight Howard has a chance to “Hibbert” Miami’s thin frontcourt, provided that Greg Oden “Odens out” this season.
Come on, David Stern. You know you can make this happen, and you know you want to.
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